Finding Joy – Making the Most of It!
Jay shares thoughts on embracing the season and finding joy in what winter has to offer.
Around this time of year, it’s not hard to feel like the winter has dragged on long enough. And, while it’s true that this has been a particularly cold, tough winter season in many respects, we still have a bit of winter yet ahead – and we have a choice. We can either hunker down, stay indoors and grimace as winter passes us by – or we can embrace the winter and all the joy it has to offer. Some final days of skiing, ice fishing, cross-country treks, heading out on the snowmobile trails and more. And while so doing, using these activities as fun occasions to spend with family and friends, making memories to last a lifetime.
This weekend in my hometown of Newport, we will be marking the 106th consecutive Newport Winter Carnival, the longest running winter festival in the United States. Even when threatened by COVID, some extraordinary members of the Newport community made sure the title was maintained. It’s an incredibly festive occasion, one that celebrates community and, though it may sound strange to some, the joys of winter. Newport isn’t the only place that celebrates during this time, with some larger cities like Quebec City and Rio de Janeiro also being known for their winter carnivals as well.
After the excitement of the holiday season in December, sometimes the rest of winter can feel like it drags on. But Carnival as it’s colloquially known, is traditionally the celebration of the beginning of Lent, and the eventual ushering in of Spring. It marks a moment of transition. While we may make our resolutions at the beginning of the year, this period is where we act on our intentions. It’s where we set ourselves on a trajectory to accomplish our goals for the year. It’s where we double down and commit to trying our hand at that new thing, we set out to try at the start of the year or prepare for what the rest of the year has to bring. In short, it's a moment for action.
Those of you who are avid gardeners know that the flowers which bloom in the spring are actually planted in the fall. They not only endure the entirety of a harsh, cold winter, it turns out they actually need it. It gives them the nutrients, and time, necessary to eventually blossom in the spring. It’s a metaphor, and lesson, that many of us can use as we look to the months ahead (especially those of us who may not like the cold or are ready for the warm spring months). As we go into this weekend which heralds the coming of spring, celebrate this opportunity to put intentions into action, and set your own path, on your terms.
Winter Festivals: A Proud New England Tradition
New England is known for its harsh winters with cold winds, ice, and snow, but we love to celebrate this season anyway. I think our winter is one of the things that adds to the character and personality of our wonderful part of the country. There is no bigger or better way to show this appreciation than with our winter festivals with their ice skating, ice sculpting, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides. These gatherings are true community events and traditions that many cases span over 100 years.
In my hometown of Newport, NH we have the record for the longest recurring winter festival in the country. This year the Newport Winter Carnival will be back for its 106th year! When COVID threatened to shut down the Carnival a few years back the community came together to keep the tradition alive, and the Carnival was able to be safely held. But these festivals occur all over our great state as proud and defiant New Englanders come out for some fun under the cold sun. Some notable upcoming winter festivals include Dartmouth College’s 112th Winter Carnival and Derry’s 23rd Annual Frost Festival.
If you’re looking to break out of the comfort and heat of your home, I highly recommend traveling to one of the many festivals and enjoying the great outdoors while doing something that is uniquely New England!
Ice Fishing - It’s a ‘Solid’ Good Time
During the recent snowstorm, I had the pleasure of re-watching the hit movie, ‘Grumpy Old Men.’ You know the comedy with the late Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon? Some of the funniest moments in the movie occur while ice fishing. And, while driving through the Granite State earlier this week, I passed by both Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Sunapee. Sure enough, ice fishing huts and fishermen enjoying their time on the ice.
From the moment ‘Ice In’ (not ‘Ice Out,’ that's for boaters), is declared, patrons take to the ice because it's safe, secure, and are ready for a good time. There are more than 85 locations in the Granite State where ice fishing enthusiasts can take part in this winter sport.
One of New Hampshire’s most popular ice fishing events is the Meredith Rotary’s Annual Ice Fishing Derby. In fact, it's this weekend! Taking place on New Hampshire’s largest lake, thousands of participants take part in the Rotary’s longest running fundraising event which awards tens of thousands of dollars in prizes and student scholarships for area children. It's the Super Bowl of ice fishing in New Hampshire and rightfully so as they have been doing this awesome event for over 40 years.
The sport has evolved from just sitting in a chair, putting a hole in the ice, and dropping in a line. Today, electronic fish finders play a key role in reeling in the big one. And I would be remiss if I didn't talk about bob-houses. The name comes from the bobber of a fishing line. Originally a simple 4-sided plywood box to keep fishermen out of the elements has now become tiny luxury and creative cabins. Heaters, satellite television, even pizza takeout ovens are part of some of the cool bob-houses seen on the ice around the state and region.
So, as we are in the middle of the winter months let's get out there and enjoy our winter sports including Ice Fishing!
Positive Profile of the Week: Bode Miller
The spirit of Olympic athletes is upon us this week. As such, we are highlighting a special New Hampshire native who has flown down mountains around the world and especially New Hampshire’s own Cannon Mountain. We are of course talking about Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller. Raised in Easton, New Hampshire, Bode grew up in a log cabin within walking distance of Cannon and embrace the mountain and the sport of skiing from an early age. .
Bode is the most successful American male alpine skier of all time with five World Championship medals and six Olympic medals while also standing on 79 World Cup podiums. Always looking for the fastest way to fly down the course, Bode has been one of the sport’s greatest innovators - from developing new techniques to shaping improved equipment. In fact, he has shared much of this and more in his truly terrific book, Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun. Bode has even had a biographical film made about him called Flying Downhill.
Yet with all his success and international fame, Bode has never forgotten his home state. He has been an active participant and supporter of worthy causes throughout New Hampshire. For instance, he played for the Nashua Pride professional baseball team in a fundraiser for the Turtle Ridge Foundation, an organization founded by Bode that helps youth and the disabled community participate in various sports and recreational activities that would not be available to them without such assistance.
Bode has since retired from skiing and has been investing his time and effort in horse training, IT technology and most of all, family. We are honored to profile Bode this week – a true New Hampshire treasure. Thank you!
Quotes of the Week: Winter
“Winter forms our character and brings out our best.” – Tim Allen
“Winter is a glorious spectacle of glittering fractals complete with a soundscape and atmosphere entirely its own.” – Anders Swanson
“Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.” – Anamika Mishra
“Winter is the time of sacred balance and rejuvenation of life in preparation for the coming spring. It represents abundance, teaching and gratitude.” – Noelle Vignola
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.” – Edith Sitwell