Meriden bloggers offers tips on COVID-safe activities this winter



For so many of us who have been anticipating a well-deserved holiday break, another lovely Christmas has come and gone. While the holiday season still technically lives on through the first week in January, many have already started to pack away the stockings and bows and have returned to everyday routines. 

If you’re looking to reclaim the joy of the season in a fun, COVID-friendly fashion, check out these activities for a glimmer of winter cheer!

Beaumont Farm, a family-owned Wallingford business, transforms part of the farm into a brilliant, cartoonish wonderland each year around the holidays. Each year’s display features a traditional or well-known theme.

This year’s theme is the 1969 classic TV special — “Frosty the Snowman” — and features characters, quotes, and tableaus from the film. The display, at the corner of South Airline Road and East Center Street, is free and can be enjoyed from the warmth of your vehicle or up close by families and individuals alike.  

Another COVID-safe activity to enjoy this season is driving through one of Connecticut’s vibrant light displays. In East Hartford, check out the extraordinarily dazzling Magic of Lights with different themes throughout the path. For $22 per car, enjoy LED animation, drive-through light tunnels and more!

For a simpler, more traditional experience, pull through Meriden’s Hubbard Park and enjoy the Festival of Silver Lights.

Consider enjoying the great outdoors this winter to play it COVID-safe and get active! In central Connecticut we have two charming ski spots —  Mount Southington Ski Area in Southington and Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort of Middlefield. Both are within a very reasonable driving distance and provide a plethora of options for skiers of all levels. 

Personally, I’ve spent most of my time at Powder Ridge in the dining igloos enjoying a decadent hot chocolate and meal from their Fire at the Ridge restaurant, but I’ve also enjoyed a thrilling afternoon of tubing at Mount Southington. Needless to say, if you can’t ski or snowboard, have no fear! There are ways to have an incredible time at both ski parks regardless of skill level. 

A final way to add some warmth to these cold winter days is by heating things up in the kitchen! While this time last year take-home DIY kits were all the rage, these fun, family-friendly boxes have been a bit more scarce this year. With some preplanning, online shopping, and a creative approach, you can recreate these iconic DIY kits on your own. Call a local bakery, like Sweet Mia’s Gourmet Cupcakes in Southington or Wallingford’s Mr. D’s, and ask for some undecorated cupcakes to go or any gingerbread houses left over from the holidays. Then, pick up your favorite frosting and sprinkle options, or pre-order them online for curbside pick-up. (Yes, there are still some stores that offer this COVID-savvy option!) Once all your pieces are collected, then all there’s left to do is enjoy decorating!

Another relatively simple but savory route to explore is a DIY Pizza night. Illiano’s of Meriden and Middletown might be able to help you if this option is more ideal for your family. 

As COVID cases are climbing again across the state, it can be easy to slip into a slump. Don’t let it get you down– it is possible to play it safe and have a great time for those who are willing to get a little creative!

Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves and surrounding areas. When she's not teaching ELA at Washington Middle School she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at eastsidevibeswithcess@gmail.com with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!



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