The gifts have all been unwrapped and the guests have headed home, marking the end of the holiday season and the beginning of Maine’s long cold stretch. During this time each year, tried and true Mainers swap their holiday cheer for outdoor gear and find ways to turn the state’s snowy landscape into their personal playground.

 Whether you’re a seasoned local or visiting from away, you’ll find that participating in winter recreation is one of the best ways to conquer the cold. No matter how you choose to enjoy the chilliest season, you’re going to work up an appetite, and Elsmere is here to help. Our expert pairings combine the best local activities with mouthwatering menu options, giving you the inspiration to fill your winter calendar and your stomach too!

 Hit the Slopes
If you’re willing to take a short drive, then a day of skiing or snowboarding at Shawnee Peak is the perfect way to make the most of the snow. The Southern Maine ski mountain is less than an hour from Portland, in Bridgton Maine. You can rent gear there or bring your own, then ride the chair lift to the top and take in the view as you carve through the fresh powder on the way down. When you’re done, you’ll be hungry for something heartier than lodge snacks, and Elsmere will be ready. Come in, tell us about your day on the mountain, and try one of Mama’s BBQ Plates to warm up and refuel with a custom combination of meats and sides.

 Chill Out on Ice
Whether you can land a triple toe loop, or moving in a straight line is your biggest claim to fame, nothing says winter recreation like ice skating. Luckily, Portland is home to one of the best Maine outdoor ice rinks! The Rink at Thompson’s Point has skate rentals and a cozy warming hut so you can skate or choose to watch your family while sipping a hot drink. Once you’ve had enough of skating around in icy circles, head to Elsmere, where our Tornado Burrito will fuel you back up for more winter fun, while warming up your frozen hands!

 Blaze Your Own Wintery Trail
If you love the thought of outdoor recreation in the snow, but want to create your own unique adventure, here’s how. Start by buying your own used equipment at Play it Again Sports. This will allow you more flexibility with your winter adventures, while saving money on rental costs. Next, check out the beautiful public Portland Trails, on which you can hike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski. Afterwards, bring your sense of adventure and your appetite to Elsmere, where you can build your own nachos, burrito, flatbread pizza or tacos. When it comes to winter fun and food, it always feels good to try something new!

 Build a Backyard Igloo
If being at home is your favorite part of winter, then turning your backyard into a winter wonderland is the perfect way to get outside! Bundle up the family and shovel snow from unwanted areas into big piles, giving everyone the opportunity to build snow forts, snow men, or whatever they can come up with! When you play at home, the last thing you want is to interrupt the fun to go inside and cook, so why not order takeout from Elsmere? Our huge menu has hot and hearty meals for everyone in the family, so once you’re all cold and hungry you can come inside and enjoy a delicious meal, or bring your Elsmere dinner out into your igloo and eat it there!

No matter how you choose to have fun this winter, Elsmere will be here with delicious wood-grilled BBQ that’s guaranteed to keep your fueled up. Whether you decide to come enjoy a meal by our cozy fire, or you’d rather take it home, you can leave the cooking to us.