Winter is a great time to hunker down and work your way through your Netflix queue—or is it? Here in New Jersey, families and couples can avoid the dreaded cabin fever with a short trip to the Skylands Region. Whether you're stoked to hit the slopes or escape to a spa, New Jersey's "Great Northwest" is your go-to winter destination. Use these well-timed tips from New Jersey Travel & Tourism to plan a fun break or romantic escape.
Tip #1: Go to the Snow
Wishing for snow? Head to Mountain Creek in Vernon, which boasts snowmaking capabilities that cover 100% of its terrain. Combine snow power with four mountain peaks, eight lifts and 46 trails—ranging in difficulty from Sugar Slope to Kamikaze—and you have a winter destination suitable for every member of your family. Cruise the long groomers, take a lesson or head over to three dedicated terrain parks.
Tip #2: Treat Yourself to a Couples Spa Treatment
Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg is a four-season playground that's home to two award-winning day spas. The glam Reflections Spa welcomes you with a shimmering ceiling adorned with 8,000 quartz crystals, a glass of pink champagne and a spa menu of pure luxury. Try the Chardonnay, Nectar & Honey Couples Bliss, a side-by-side full-body exfoliation. For a more Zen sanctuary, choose Elements Spa & Salon, ranked one of the top 30 spas in America. The beauty of the outdoors comes inside at this spa, where you'll sip organic tea before indulging in the Shared Tranquility, a naturally therapeutic massage for two.
Tip #3: Dine Around the Area
Your Skylands winter getaway is sure to build up an appetite. At Mountain Creek, relax by an outdoor fireplace and enjoy a burger or brat off the grill at the Biergarten. Or enjoy a gourmet repast at Hawks Nest, Mountain Creek's homage to vintage ski destinations. Foodies will find plenty to savor at Crystal Springs, including the locally sourced food and artisanal cocktails at Crystal Tavern and contemporary American cuisine and eclectic cocktails at Kites. But the pièce de résistance is Restaurant Latour, where Executive Chef Anthony Bucco and Chef de Latour Martyna Krowicka create haute cuisine using the finest ingredients from New Jersey's farms, foragers and food purveyors. Your Latour culinary journey is complemented with wines selected from The Wine Cellar, which has won Wine Spectator's Grand Award every year since 2006.
Tip #4: Try a New Sport
In addition to alpine skiing, Mountain Creek offers extra-small to large freestyle parks for snowboarding and snow tubing, a family-friendly activity that embraces all the fun of sledding without that grueling trudge back up the hill! And now Mountain Creek adds one of the hottest sports around to its activity roster: fat biking. If you like Mountain Creek's bike park in the summer, imagine how fun it will be to pedal winter trails atop Vernon Peak. A few rentals are available or bring your own fat bike—you only have to purchase a $10 sky ride ticket to take the Cabriolet.
Tip #5: Extend Your Stay
What's better than a day on the slopes or at the spa? Another day, of course! Take advantage of Mountain Creek's two lodging choices to extend your stay: The Appalachian, offering ski-in/ski-out studio and 1- or 2-bedroom suite accommodations, or Black Creek Sanctuary, a cozy gated community with 1-, 2- or 3-bedroom townhouses, just a two-minute drive to the lifts. At Crystal Springs, choose the AAA Four Diamond Grand Cascades Lodge or the laid-back Minerals Hotel. (Hint: For a dreamy combo of Adirondack charm and cozy romance, consider a one-bedroom suite with fireplace deck at Grand Cascades.)
Tip #6: Explore More of New Jersey's Great Northwest
During your Skylands visit, check out ice fishing at Wawayanda State Park, trail rides with Legends Riding Stable and hiking on the Appalachian Trail. The area also offers historic sites, breweries and B&Bs, like the antique-filled Alpine Haus Bed & Breakfast.
Make the most of your winter with a luxury mountain escape at Crystal Springs or fun family getaway at Mountain Creek. Discover more winter fun at visitnj.org, where you can download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for e-news from New Jersey Travel & Tourism.