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Old photo of a couple’s snowshoeing adventure. Courtesy of Beaver Brook Nature Center.




Snowshoe for two

Stay outside after dusk with these Valentine’s Day events.
 
Fullmoon Valentine Couples Candlelit Snowshoe Hike
Where: Beaver Brook Nature Center, 117 Ridge Road, Hollis
When: Saturday, Feb. 14, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $40 per couple, $35 for members
Visit: Beaverbrook.org or call 465-7787
Enjoy a peaceful hike or snowshoe along a candlelit trail that finishes at a bonfire with hot mulled wine and mulled cider.
 
• Candlelight Snowshoeing
Where: America’s Stonehenge, 105 Haverhill Road, Salem
When: Saturday, Feb. 14, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $12.50, $18 with rentals
Visit: stonehengeusa.com or call 893-8300
Walk the woods under a blanket of stars before warming up in a log cabin with hot chocolate and cookies.
 
• Valentine’s Day Candle Lit XC Ski or Snowshoe Tour
Where: Gunstock Mountain Resort, 719 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford
When: Saturday, Feb. 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 per person
Visit: gunstock.com/events, 293-4341
Discover the trails with only candles to guide you. Venture out on skis or snowshoes and finish at a woodland cabin for a fire and s’mores.
 
Love on the slopes
• Gunstock Valentine’s Day Fun
Where: Gunstock Mountain Resort, 719 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford
When: Saturday, Feb. 14, from 9:30 to 4 p.m.
Visit gunstock.com/events, 293-4341
KISS 108 Winter Games features snowball throwing competitions, family zone with face painting, games, music, trivia and prizes; apres-ski party and more.
• Mount Sunapee Valentine’s Day Fun
Where: Mount Sunapee, 1398 Route 103, Newbury
When: Saturday, Feb. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit mountsunapee.com, 763-3500
Features a “Heart Hunt” on the slopes with lots of prizes and other activities.
 
Spend the day outside
Winter-friendly trails for snowshoeing, hiking or strolling
• Mack’s Farm, Londonderry
Trailhead parking between Pillsbury and Mammoth roads. Adam’s Pond Trail: Three-mile loop goes around orchard, through wooded section and over four bridges. North Orchard Trail: Less than a mile loop among apple trees, downhill section and wetland crossing. See londonderrytrails.com.
• Mine Falls Park, Nashua
Park in Stadium Road lot. 325-acre park in the center of Nashua includes forest, wetlands, and open fields. Nashua Canal Trail: Part of 6- mile loop series. See gonashua.com.
• Silk Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Concord, McLane Center, 84 Silk Farm Road
Trails with easy to moderate difficulty. Rentals offered Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $10 per day. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions. See nhaudubon.org/silk-farm-sanctuary.
• Massabesic Center, Auburn, Deerneck Road
Level trails with easy to moderate difficulty. Rentals offered Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $9 per day. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions. See nhaudubon.org.
• Deering Wildlife Sanctuary, Deering
Two parking lots plowed in the winter located off Clement Hill Road. More remote trails feature wooded areas, wetlands and ponds. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions. See nhaudubon.org/deering-wildlife-sanctuary.
• Ponemah Bog, Amherst, off 101A, features 1-mile-long, flat loop trail through a bog. Trails open dawn to dusk. Seenhaudubon.org/ponemah-bog.
Samuel Myron Chase Wildlife Sanctuary, Hopkinton, off Jewett Road. Heavily wooded trails are level, with marshes. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions. See nhaudubon.org.
Abe Emerson Marsh, Candia
100-acre property features large pine trees and a large marsh. Trails open dawn to dusk, subject to trail conditions. See nhaudubon.org.




Love is in the air
Enjoy the outdoors with your valentine

02/12/15
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



You’ve got all day to celebrate with your valentine this year, so why not head outside? Whether you prefer to work up a sweat snowshoeing or would rather stroll through the streets of a picturesque town, there are many ways and reasons to spend Valentine’s Day outdoors.

“I feel the real essence of another person is revealed better [in nature],” said Celeste Philbrick Barr, education and community affairs director at the Beaver Brook Nature Center. “The person is not hiding behind a fancy outfit or a lot of makeup. … People get away from their facade.”
While some may hesitate to spend a February day outside, Philbrick Barr said there are numerous benefits for couples who step out into the wintry air, including health benefits like combatting depression, getting a boost of vitamin D, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress. You’ll also be in a better mood due to higher serotonin and dopamine levels. 
“Obviously the better you feel, the better a partner you would make,” she said.
A snowshoe trek or bird-watching walk offers a chance to reconnect with your partner, away from the routine and monotony of daily tasks. 
“If you’re doing something outside with each other you're more likely to have an intimate conversation,” Philbrick Barr said. 
Taking on an outdoor activity together can be as simple as taking your dog for a walk through a local park or stopping to look at the stars at night. 
“There’s a shocking amount of beautiful places to go for walks in people’s backyards, even in cities like Manchester and Nashua,” she said. 
If taking a nature walk or going for a snowy hike isn’t your thing, you can still take in the benefits of being outside in the winter by spending the day shopping, sightseeing and strolling through historic downtowns and cultural and historic sites. 
“I think being able to enjoy a downtown walking tour is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day,” said Tracy Messer, member of the board of directors for the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. “In this day and age, we live in kind of a disposable short-term society where you don't repair anything, you just throw it out and buy a new one. For couples … to be in the presence of a historic downtown area, it’s all about enduring relationships.” 
Like Philbrick Barr, Messer said making the time to be outside in any capacity is beneficial to overall health and happiness. 
“I think so much of your life is spent indoors in work and entertainment that it’s really important to reconnect in nature and see people face to face,” he said. 
 
As seen in the February 12, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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