The Way I Was

28 Ice-and-Snow Festival Hours in Keene, New Hampshire

Ice and Snow Fest, Keene, New Hampshire (Tracy Lee Karner's blog)
The Monadnock Travel Council sponsors the Keene Ice and Snow Festival and has courteously supplied all photographs for this article.

Winter World–you’re a wonderland!

Let’s build a snowman. Make a snow angel. Go sledding, skating, snow-shoeing. And on Saturday February 8, 2014, let’s get ourselves to downtown Keene, New Hampshire for an off-the-beaten-path Ice & Snow Festival. Make it a cozy couple’s date or bring the family.

From 10AM to 4PM,  Central Square, Gilbo Avenue, and the surrounding area of this Victorian-era historic mill town will be decked out with ice sculptures like these!

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Ice & Snow winner 2007 ctopusClock-Austin Long

Fish-J&W student (2)

Carving stations will line Main Street for an ice sculpting contest. Both professionals and amateurs–students from Keene State who have taken culinary ice-carving classes–will carve, melt and chip their visions into stunning creations using an array of tools (including chainsaws, chisels, hair dryers and hot plates). There will also be snow sculptures made by area civic organizations and non-profits.

thumbnailCA39QXUD-Snow Sculpture Owl-Keene Ic & Snow Festival

You can help judge the sculptures,  join a snowball throwing contest,  build a snowman, or have your photo taken with the Ice Princess, Polar Bear, and the Snowman. Be entertained by musicians and train rides (for children and adults). When you get chilly, head indoors to the warming station sponsored by Life Art, for face painting, arts and crafts activities and hot chocolate.

Plan on arriving in Keene before noon on Saturday, February 8th. Eat lunch downtown and participate in the free festivities. Check into your motel/inn around 4:30. For the best travel experience, eat and stay at the places Ken and I prefer (based on our under-cover traveler-espionage visit a few weeks ago).

Budget-minded Family Plan:

For those who want a cut-above experience without over-the-top expense:

  • Stay at the new LEED Certified Courtyard Marriott downtown Keene. Rates are reasonable, rooms are spacious, beds are comfy, there’s in-room coffee, a shallow salt-water pool and a fitness center, plus complimentary WiFi and parking.
  • Lunch at: The Thai Garden on Main Street. The facade is shopping-center plain but the beef satay and spring rolls are very good. If you’re not accustomed to spicy-hot, watch out for those little peppers next to the main course descriptions. 1 is really hot, 2 is really, really, hot; 3 is really, really, really HOT! The majority of the menu items, however, have no peppers beside them. We first dined here in 1999 and have been coming back regularly ever since. Ken can’t resist their ginger ice cream.
  • Dine at: Fritz’s- known for their hand cut Belgian fries with dipping sauces, grilled panini style sandwiches and made to order salads–is committed to using locally-sourced foods whenever possible. They have reasonable prices and offer half-portions of salads and sandwiches for light eaters (why doesn’t everyone?). Good hamburgers!
  • Watch a film at the art-deco Colonial Theater.
  • Sunday Breakfast/BrunchStage American Bistro has a great brunch menu. With comfort classics and upscale reinterpretations, there’s something for every taste.

And for live-it-up Tycoonish luxury (at reasonable prices because this is sweet little old Keene, New Hampshire, not NYC!):

After brunch on Sunday, families might take advantage of Keene Cinema’s special $5 Matinees (find specials under showtimes), while those with young children can head to the Cheshire Children’s Museum at the Colony Mill Marketplace for a few hours of indoor play.

And culture/history fans will want to take a relaxing drive to see and photograph the Monadnock region’s 7 charming covered bridges before heading  home.

So, let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! And this winter, visit the ice and snow festival in Keene.

Which itinerary do you choose, and what’s your favorite thing about winter? (I call dibs on “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.”)

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19 thoughts on “28 Ice-and-Snow Festival Hours in Keene, New Hampshire”

  1. What a wonderful festival, Tracy! This morning mid-Kansas closed down the interstates, and even all the 11 local churches postponed services. We have at least ten inches of snow–over ice–but it’s a sunning whiteness, vivid and sparkly where the sun tries to break through the fog.
    Merry Christmas, Tracy!

    1. Goodness–that’s a lot of snow and ice!

      Keene had to cancel last year’s festival because of winter storm Nemo! Hoping that this year there’s snow, but no storm…

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Marylin.

  2. Those ice sculptures look amazing. We have nothing like them here. At the moment – no snow – not even that chilly – but lots of rain and high winds forecast. No chance of a white Christmas for southern UK this year.
    Merry Christmas Tracy!

    1. It snowed quite a lot when were were in Keene (spying), but down here in Rhode Island, only 2 hours away, it only dusted. And today it was 62 F (17C) and it surely doesn’t feel very Christmassy.

      But no matter the weather, we’re celebrating. Merry Christmas to you, Jenny.

  3. Beautiful ice sculptures. Looks like the festival will be a fun event. I recall a few winters in Syracuse, New York that the sun made its rare appearance and melted the ice sculptures. It prompted the City Fathers (and Mothers) to move the event that was sure to be frigid and snowy. (This is true if my memory serve me right. If not, it’s still a great yarn.) Enjoy your winter fest.

  4. Amazing ice sculptures and I love the idea of an Ice & Snow Festival. Not heard of that before, but I would love to go to one!

    As I type this we are having terrible storms here in the West Country (Somerset) in the UK, wind and rain, but no snow, it’s too mild. The worrying thing is that both my boys are arriving by train tomorrow for Christmas Eve and already there are line closures. I am really hoping that this storm eases off in time as so many will be travelling tomorrow. Looks like I might be on the road tomorrow doing some rescuing if not…

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas Tracy from across the sea and a New Year filled with every blessing. It’s been lovely to meet you, I’m really enjoying sharing our blogging journey and adventures and learning about so many interesting places to visit thanks to you…I dream!! Here’s to many more 🙂

    1. Snow festivals are not unusual here in the far, cold and snowy northern part of the continent. There are so many, that we actually have a number of very good ice sculptors–it’s an art that one can pursue here.

      And the festivals are good fun.

      I hope the storms subside and you and your boys get together for a peaceful, blessed Christmas. I, too, am enjoying our blogging journey —

      keep dreaming. And let’s wish they come true!

      I’ll “see” you in the New Year! (I’m going to take a little rest between now and 2014).

    1. Oh, Stefano–happy Holidays to you and Fran and her royal highness, too. (And yes, the sculptures are wonderful–it seems almost a waste, to put so much effort into creating such beauty, only to have it melt. But perhaps that’s the meaning of life–put in the effort to make it beautiful, even when we know that beauty is always so very ephemeral…)

      1. Precisely, Tracy! I think that’s exactly what it is: it reminds us all of the beauty we can create or simply enjoy and how fleeting it often is, whether we like it or not. But that does not mean there is no point in enjoying it while it lasts! 😉
        Happy Holidays once again! 🙂

        1. Stefano, you sound as if you’re so much older and wiser than you could possibly be. It’s true: we must enjoy (and not only enjoy, but create) the present, fleeting moment. I’m so happy to have “met” you and Francesca this year–you both always remind me to enjoy life!

          It would be nice if we could find a way to get together in 2014.

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