My grandfather taught me how to ice skate. On weekends, we'd drive to our local pond, sit on the bumper of his car, and change from our boots to skates before heading out to the ice. Like all kids, I was wobbly at first, but before long I was gliding alongside him. Mimicking the professional skaters I watched on television, I would raise one leg in the air, and shout, "Grandpa! Look at me!" imagining the Olympics were in my future.
And while I never became a world-renowned skater (not even close), I still love ice-skating with my family in winter. Fortunately, skating centers are prevalent in Maine. From Biddeford to Brewer, you'll find beautiful outdoor ponds and indoor arenas that offer great skating options for all ages and levels.
Our personal favorite is the Lee Twombly Pond in Falmouth. If you don't have skates of your own, skate rentals are available at The Family Ice Center next door. There is a warming room with a stone fireplace plus tables and small cubbies for your gear and snacks. Pop music plays outside while you skate, and it's not uncommon to see girls from the local skating team perfecting their jumps and turns after practice. For little ones who are just learning, there is a metal bar around one side of the pond, which helps with balance. And when it gets too cold to skate any longer, you can warm up by the fire indoors.
In mid-coast Maine, the college town of Brunswick boasts three outdoor ice rinks. We like the Mall Ice Skating Rink at the town center. The scene will remind you of a Norman Rockwell painting. There is something special about skating near Brunswick's historic homes on an ice rink lined with established trees.
Ski areas like Sugarloaf and Bethel are also known for great skating. The Bethel Inn floods its tennis court for outdoor skating, and the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center has an impressive NHL sized rink—perfect for kids who love ice hockey. Like many other skating centers, Sugarloaf offers skate rentals, plus music and lights at night.
Indoor rinks are perfect on days when you just can't brave the outdoors. The Bank of Maine Ice Vault in Augusta is a traditional ice hockey arena that is open for public skating. A small fee gets you admission into the rink. You can rent skates for the whole family or bring your own.
Whether you choose an indoor or outdoor rink, wear plenty of layers. Even indoor rinks can be chilly! Be sure to call ahead or check online for ice conditions and skating times.
For a list of skating rinks and arenas throughout the state, plus a handy map, visit here. Enjoy the ice!
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