Snowmobiling, Ice Fishing, Dining and more!
Written by: Gaston Gray Jay
Bio: I love to meet visitors to the Grand North, especially when they stop for lunch trailside and share their sandwiches and snacks with me. I’m rather chatty, but I have good manners and will eat right from your hand if you’ll let me.
Winter is the perfect season to visit Pittsburg, New England’s largest township, with a Main Street that is 23 miles long! From my high-flying vantage point, I can tell you that the local snowmobile club, the Pittsburg Ridge Runners, keeps the more than 200 miles of snow-covered trails perfectly groomed, so you can zoom along for hours through lush forests and around sparkling ice-covered lakes and ponds (and don’t forget to take a break from riding — I love treats!).
First Evening: Settle into one of comfy and cozy cabins at The Cabins at Lopstick, overlooking First Connecticut Lake and the mountains. After dark, step onto your porch and look up. With no light pollution here, the Milky Way stretches across the sky and thousands of stars twinkle so brightly you’ll easily be able to spy the Big Dipper and many other familiar constellations.
Morning: If you didn’t arrive with your own machines, The Cabins at Lopstick rents snowmobiles, so you can get right out on the trails. Be sure to pick up a map. The Pittsburg trail system is vast and well-marked, connecting you to trails in Canada, Vermont, Maine and points south in New Hampshire. The Pittsburg Ridge Runners boast that you can ride a different trail every day for a week and still find more to ride. As a frequent flier, I couldn’t agree more!
Lunch: Young’s General Store on Main Street stocks everything you need to pack a picnic lunch, from deli meats and subs to salads and pizzas. You can also gas up here and even register your snowmobile.
Evening: After a day on the trails, you’ll want to kick back and relax over good food and spirits. Head to the award-winning Rainbow Grille & Tavern at Tall Timber Lodge on Beach Road. Enjoy casual dining in the Tavern or opt for gourmet fare in the Grille, along with a full-service bar.
Day Two: For a change of pace, pack your fishing rod and try your hand at ice-fishing. There are plenty of fantastic spots, including the First, Second and Third Connecticut Lakes, Lake Francis and Big Diamond Pond. Expect to find lake trout in all the lakes and ponds, and cusk in First and Second Lake. Cusk, a freshwater fish that is a cousin to the eel, cooks up into a mighty fine chowder. A word of caution: taking salmon through the ice is not permitted.
Fish are sneaky creatures, so you’ll have to be patient. Hint! Hint! Bring your lunch or a couple of snacks to keep up your strength. If I’m in the area, I may pay you a visit.