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Ice Skating Near And Far

When the Kershner family from Madison wants an out-of-town adventure, they head to the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation
When the Kershner family from Madison wants an out-of-town adventure, they head to the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Photo credit: Bryant Park Corporation

Anna, one of my neighbors, recently asked me if I knew of any good skating rinks where she might be able to take her children. I didn’t. So I asked around. 

My friend Kerry responded promptly. “The Stop & Shop parking lot,” she said. 

No kidding! We’ve gotten so much wet and cold weather recently that walking my dog down the street feels like a training session for the Iditarod. Only 79 days to go before the big race!

Some “old school” options nearby

Still, for those of us who want to strap on some skates and celebrate some good, old-fashioned winter fun, there are some options, near and far.  

Nearby, there is Heser’s Pond in Clinton, although Clinton First Selectman Willie Fritz says he doesn’t think it’s quite ready yet. It might be a good option for later this winter. Heser’s Pond is at the corner of Airline Road and Old Nod Road in Clinton.

Madison Patch reader Joan Risner was among many who said they like their skating experiences “old school." Risner recommends Mill Pond in Guilford and Young’s Pond in Branford. Mill Pond is part of the town of Guilford Recreation Department and it is located on North River Street in Guilford.  Young’s Pond is part of the Branford Recreation Department as is located off of Blackstone Avenue not too far from lots of eating and shopping options in the center of Branford.

When, exactly, is it safe to skate on these ponds? You can call the Clinton Recreation Department (860.669.6901), the Guilford Recreation Department (203.453.8068) or the Branford Recreation Department (203.488.8304).

Here are some tips on now to know when the ice is safe: http://www.wikihow.com/Know-When-Ice-is-Safe. “ If in doubt, do not go onto the ice; moreover, it never pays to be too early or too late in the season,” says this article on Wikihow.

Sounds like good advice to me. So what are some other options?

Holiday hours, New Year’s Eve party, and lessons at the Walker Rink in New Haven

Madison Patch reader Melissa Tortora Minickene says she likes the Ralph Walker Ice Rink in New Haven.

Located at 1080 State Street in New Haven, CT, the phone number for the Walker Rink is 203-946-8007.

Check the website for hours, including special holiday hours. There is even a New Year’s Even skating party scheduled at the Walker Rink. If you don’t know how to skate, there are lessons available for adults and children.

Skate with Santa in Northford

Madison Patch reader Tonya Kershner likes to go with her kids to the Northford Ice Pavilion at 24 Fire-Lite Place, Northford. 

You can learn to skate there as well, and there is a Skate With Santa event planned for Dec. 22 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Check out the Northford Ice Pavilion website for more information.

Skating, hot chocolate, outdoor fire pits at Foxwoods

Clinton Patch reader Robyn Lisa says Foxwoods just opened an outdoor rink.  “Skate seven days a week on our outdoor rink.  Enjoy a hot chocolate while relaxing by one of our outdoor fire pits that surround a fully decorated 30-foot Christmas tree.  Take your family holiday picture near one of our great backdrops of oversized Christmas lights and presents,” says the Foxwoods Rink and Patio website. (http://www.foxwoods.com/foxwoodsrink.aspx)

Hours of Operation at the Foxwoods Rink:
Sunday: 11am - 9pm
Monday - Thursday: 2pm - 9pm
Friday: 2pm - 10pm
Saturday: 11am - 10pm

Special Hours for the Foxwoods Rink:

Dec. 26-30, Jan. 19 & 20, Feb. 16-18: 11am - 10pm

Christmas Eve: Noon - 8pm

New Year's Eve: 11am - 7pm

New Year's Day: 11am - 9pm 

And, if you’re ready for an out-of-town adventure …

And, every now and again, when Madison Patch reader Tonya Kershner is ready for an adventure, she heads into New York City to the Bryant Park ice rink and Winter Village. The Bank of America Winter Village offers free skating, along with “high quality rental skates, skating shows, special events and activities.”

Tonya says there can be a bit of a line and the skating rink’s blog offers some tips to make your visit easier, including timing your trip for certain hours, or purchasing a “fast pass.” For more information, check out the blog post.

Tonya says not only is the skating fun, but the Winter Village is a great place to shop, and there are many places to grab a bite to eat as well. “They have one stand that makes crepes, which are so yummy,” she says. “And one stand has heaters and outdoor swings to relax on while you eat!”

“There is a restaurant there called Celsius too, but I’ve never eaten there,” she says. “You have to get to the skating early to avoid the lines. It’s worth it, though!”

joan December 13, 2013 at 07:47 PM
I think that they should put up a big liner at the old airport that Madison owns, and let it freeze over, then no one has to worry about falling in, and there would be plenty of parking.

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