Intuitively, winter might seem like the wrong season for a New England driving tour. But imagine how freeing it feels to drive along dramatic coastal routes without summer’s standstill traffic. How meditative a forest can be when tree-lined arteries are no longer clogged with autumn leaf-peepers. Of course, you must be mindful of road conditions and storm forecasts if you’re setting out on one of these ideal-for-winter drives. But with cellphones and GPS apps adding a warm layer of security, a road trip is an exhilarating way to spend an ice-kissed, blue-sky day.
Best 5 New England Winter Drives
Best Connecticut Winter Drive
Winter’s Essence in the Litchfield Hills
Even if you don’t plan to get out of your car to cross-country ski or snowshoe, drive the pine-lined entry road to the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Connecticut, and admire old stone walls frosted with winter’s icing. More iconic New England scenes await, as you drive east on U.S. Route 202 and turn left on state Route 63 to journey north toward rural Goshen and its eclectic farms, including Sunset Meadow Vineyards, which is open for tastings Thursday through Monday in the winter. Drive west on state Route 4, and you’ll pass the entrance to Mohawk Mountain, where snowmaking was invented in 1950. Continue on state Route 128, and drive through the classic red West Cornwall covered bridge, which strikes a photogenic pose when the Housatonic River churns below and snow coats the hillsides. You’re headed south next on U.S. Route 7. Watch for a left turn onto state Route 45 south, which clings to the eastern shore of Lake Waramaug, the prettiest lake in the state. Turn left at the U.S. Route 202 intersection, and complete the loop back to Litchfield. Never mind that it’s winter — you’ll want to stop in Bantam for luscious ice cream at the Arethusa Farm dairy. Warm your tongue at Litchfield Distillery, where tours and craft spirit tastings are free Wednesday through Sunday. A bottle of their Batchers’ cinnamon bourbon is the antidote for the rest of winter’s chilly days.