By Carla Charter
With the holidays over and the Christmas decorations tucked away for another year, a quiet New England winter settles in. If you still find yourself wishing for Jingle Bells and one-horse open sleighs, you may want to consider the following farms who offer winter sleigh rides. Note that all sleigh rides are dependent on weather and require reservations to be made ahead of time.
Wood Acre Farms in Terryville, Connecticut with 25 acres of endless wooded trails, offers the ideal setting to enjoy a winter sleigh rides. Their magnificent draft horses will take you on a 40-45 minute ride over the hills and through the woods where you can sit back and enjoy nature at its best. They offer several versions of sleigh rides including a Victorian Sleigh Ride where visitors can snuggle up under a nice warm blanket together and enjoy a private horse drawn sleigh ride and Group Sleigh rides for families & friends. Afterwards a complimentary hot chocolate in a warm and cozy room in the Banquet Barn is offered. For large groups of more than 12 guests, the farm runs continual shorter sleigh rides until everyone gets a ride! The warm & cozy ‘Wollman Party Room’ is available for waiting visitors for the duration of the sleigh rides. More information can be found at the farm’s website. www,woodacresfarm.com
Carousel Horse Farm in Casco, Maine, offers a sleigh ride through the winter wonderland of Casco, in the heart of the Sebago Lake region of the state. The farm offers couples sleigh rides which they recommend for celebrating an anniversary, Valentines Day or maybe even a proposal. Also available are private sleigh rides for groups or individuals and a larger sleigh for up to 6 adults and 6 “lap” children.
Sleigh rides will begin as soon as the farm has at least two storms equaling 8 or more inches of snow. The sleighs will travel through the farm property and along a wooded trail out to the back pasture with a great view of Mt. Washington. They will circle the pasture and make several passes for the best views of the mountains. Hot cocoa and a homemade dessert are also part of the fun! Carousel Farm also offers Sleigh Ride Gift Certificates. More information can be found at www.chfmaine.com
Mainely Drafts in Ludlow, Ma. At Mainely Drafts, visitors can take a sleigh ride through the beautiful trails of their farm while listening to sleigh bells ring and runners gliding through the snow. Their group sleigh holds up to 12 people for a 45 minute ride with complimentary hot cocoa afterwards. They also offer smaller personal sleigh ride for up to five passengers. More information can be found at www.mainelydrafts.com
Charming Fare Farm in Candia, N.H. offer Vis a Vis sleigh rides, perfect private rides for romantic couples as well as logging sled rides that carry up to 16 passengers. The sleigh rides travel along old meandering logging trails past animals out in winter pastures. Their smaller sleighs are able to head out on secondary trails to Moose Meadow. Some of the rides include a campfire stop over where you can bring along refreshments. If visitors join a Sleigh Ride Social hot dogs for roasting, marshmallows for toasting and hot cocoa for sipping campfire side will be provided. Visitors can also choose to incorporate the farm’s warm up room with the field-stone fire place and wood burning stove. More information can be found at www.visitthefarm.com
Gentle Giants in Stowe, Vermont offer one or two horse sleigh rides being pulled by their Percheron and Belgian draft horses Justin, Tom, Donny, Mack, Bret or Jack. The Sleigh ride begins with a ride through a covered bridge along an open brook on a winding wooded trail through the woods. Sleighs are lit with enchanting lights for early evening rides and come complete with warm blankets. Families and groups are welcome. A new red 11 passenger sleigh is also available for larger groups to use. More information can be found at www.gentlegiantsrides.com