6 New England towns to visit in February

From Meredith, New Hampshire, for an ice fishing derby to Salisbury, Connecticut, for a ski jumping competition.

A Maine sign portrayed for 'Paint the Town Red'
A glowing sign helps celebrate the 'Paint the Town Red' event in Kennebunkport, Maine. 'KPT' is short for 'Kennebunkport.' –Heidi Kim

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter, but that doesn’t mean February is a bust. Here are six New England spots offering plenty of winter fun throughout the month.

See ski jumpers soar in Salisbury, Connecticut

Dress warm and bring a cowbell — the traditional way to cheer on the skiers — at the 92nd Annual Jumpfest Winter Festival at Satre Hill in Salisbury. The Feb. 9-11 festivities will kick off Friday night with a chili cook-off followed by target jumping under the lights, as well as a human dogsled race, in which five people pull a teammate on a vehicle without wheels. On Saturday, you’ll watch 20- to 30-meter jumps in the Salisbury Invitational Ski Jumping Competition, as well as an ice carving competition. Then on Sunday, the competition will heat up on the 55-meter jump during the Eastern U.S. Ski Jumping Championships.

Hit up an ice fishing derby in Meredith, New Hampshire

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The 39th annual Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby will draw fishermen from across the country to New Hampshire’s scenic Lakes Region. More than $50,000 in prizes will be up for grabs throughout this year’s competition weekend, Feb. 10-11, as well as a trip to Disney World. Spectators who register for the event are also eligible for prizes and the Disney trip. Prizes for the top-winning fish are $3,000, $5,000, and $15,000. Kids under the age of 16 can attend a free fishing clinic throughout the day on Saturday.

Newport Winter Festival
Beach polo players during a previous Winter Festival. —Brittany Rosenberg / Newport Winter Festival

Take in a beach polo match in Newport, Rhode Island

When’s the last time you attended a beach polo match? The sport is one of the highlights of the Winter Festival in Newport, and the 30th annual one will take place this year from Feb. 16-25. Other festival events will include a chili cook-off, a Sam Adams beer dinner, live comedy, and a polar bear plunge. You can also stroll beneath thousands of lights and take selfies with illuminated sculptures made by local students and community groups in what’s called the “Illuminated Garden” on the grounds of Ballard Park.

Chow down on sugar on snow in Brattleboro, Vermont

Have you ever tasted sugar on snow? The winter treat is made by drizzling hot maple syrup over snow to create a taffy-like candy. You can order the sweet treat, a Vermont winter tradition, at the event-filled Winter Carnival, also a Vermont winter tradition, set for Feb. 17-25. Other food-related things to do at this year’s carnival will include a chili cook-off (a trend around these parts, apparently), cooking classes, and a murder mystery dinner. Plus, you can watch downhill ski races and attend an ice fishing derby.

The carousel at the Lowell Winterfest
The carousel ride at the Lowell Winterfest. — Tory Germann/courtesy City of Lowell

Eat, drink, and be merry at the Lowell Winterfest in Lowell

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For this annual winter celebration, taking place this Feb. 23-24, JFK Plaza and Luzy Larcom Park will be transformed into a winter beer garden, complete with fire pits, outdoor heaters, and twinkly lights. U2 fans can listen to live music that will include a tribute band. Children can hop on a carousel or play in a Family Fun Zone full of music, games, and crafts. Shoppers can peruse a winter market that will feature more than a dozen vendors. And food lovers will delight in the array of vendors and trucks, as well as an all-you-can-eat chocolate festival scheduled for Saturday at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.

Celebrate romance in Kennebunk, Maine

It’s all about love this month in the Kennebunks area of Maine. The Kennebunkport, Kennebunk, and Arundel communities are taking part in a “Paint the Town Red” event throughout February, which means restaurants, hotels, shops, and galleries will be decked out in the romantic color and offering special deals. The Brick Store Museum, an 82-year-old museum dedicated to regional history and art in Kennebunk, will conduct tours featuring the love stories of well-known local residents from the 19th century. You can also take a photo with an Instagram-ready six-foot heart decorated with lobster buoys, go ice skating, attend beer and wine dinners, take cocktail and truffle-making classes, and sign up for massages for couples.

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