I had a shocking realization last Labor Day weekend. Summer had come and gone, and I hadn't put on a bathing suit once. No trips to the beach. No dips in an outdoor pool. And with rain forecast for all three days of the holiday weekend, it looked as though I wouldn't be cutting the tags off the new swimsuit I'd purchased before the year was through.
But then... I received an invitation to the first Goddess Girls Getaway Weekend at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa (check rates) in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and the weekend's line-up of events included an outdoor pool party. I was thrilled until I realized... it was in November!
The Rainbow Falls Saltwater Pool at the Cape Codder is heated year-round, though, so even when flurries fall on Cape Cod, guests can take an outdoor plunge.
"Yes, I am about to go swimming outside at night on Cape Cod in November. Wheee!"
That's what I posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook before my friend and fellow goddess, Jessica, and I ventured into the pool. The temperature was an easy-to-take 89°F. Yes, it was a bit chilly when we climbed out after a half-hour of lap-swimming and floating with the night sky overhead, but it was only about three seconds before we were enveloped in the warmth of the adjacent 104°F outdoor hot tub. To be honest, that swirling, steaming bath was so hot, I had to sit on the edge and cool off several times, and my entire being was so warmed by the time we headed indoors, the night air didn't chill me at all.
If you're visiting New England during the winter months and want to swim outdoors without freezing your parts off at a Polar Bear Plunge, the Cape Codder isn't your only option. Here's a look at other New England hotels and resorts that offer year-round, heated outdoor pools:
After a long day of tackling the slopes at Newry, Maine's Sunday River, skiers love the muscle-soothing warmth of the heated outdoor pool and hot tub at the Grand Summit Hotel (check rates), as my colleague Bob Curley shares in this review. In nearby Bethel, Maine, the Bethel Inn Resort (check rates) also offers guests a year-round outdoor heated pool, which is kept at a toasty 90°F.
Budget-conscious Maine travelers who want to be able to say they swam outside in a snowstorm should check in at the Best Western Merry Manor Inn (book direct) in South Portland, where rooms can be booked for less than $100 this winter. The hotel's heated outdoor year-round pool is wonderfully designed so you can swim out from inside, where your towel and clothing will stay warm and dry.
In North Conway, New Hampshire, you can swim outdoors all year long and enjoy fabulous views of the White Mountains. The year-round outdoor pool and hot tub at the North Conway Grand Hotel (check rates) has a heated patio area, too. And at the White Mountain Hotel and Resort (check rates), the year-round outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi are inviting after a day of vigorous winter snow sports or outlet shopping.
In Bartlett, New Hampshire, the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel (check rates) offers slopeside access to Attitash Mountain Resort plus the après ski enticement of outdoor hot tubs and a year-round outdoor pool. The outdoor heated pool at Indian Head Resort (check rates) is lakeside, and winter guests at this century-old Lincoln, New Hampshire, retreat can catch snowflakes on their tongues while they practice the backstroke.
Mist rises to greet those who dive into the heated outdoor pool at the Green Mountain Inn (check rates) in Stowe, Vermont, on frigid days. And at Hawk Inn & Mountain Resort in Plymouth, Vermont, they practically invented the idea of swimming outdoors in the dead of winter. Hawk Inn debuted Vermont's first year-round, heated outdoor swimming pool in 1997, and guests will find it heated to a comfortable 90°F in the winter months. With views of the snow-capped Green Mountains, you'll feel as if you're submerged in a dream... until you have to brush the icicles out of your hair.
Packing Tip: If you're staying at a New England hotel with a heated outdoor pool this winter, be sure to pack a cozy robe or cover-up to don when you step out of the water, as well as footwear that is easy to slip on.