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Late snow bringing much-needed relief to businesses that rely on winter traffic

Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook and Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford both opened ski trails for the first time this season.

WESTBROOK, Maine — When much of the state hunkered down amid a heavy snowstorm Friday, others flew their "open" flag proudly.

At Smiling Hill Farm, ice cream is served year-round. But, until Friday afternoon, skiing was off the menu.

Manager Hillary Knight explained the dynamic of the year-round farm: Animals are still open to visits in some form, there’s the ice cream and other food at the nearby store, and the professionally-groomed ski trails welcome thousands each winter. 

Knight said they greet 150 people on a busy winter weekend who are drawn there because of the skiing. They come for the trails and spread their money around.

"We always appreciate when they spend a few extra dollars supporting us—buying lunch, ice cream. It definitely helps our bottom line," Knight explained.

Tim Adams made a bet on ski and snowshoe traffic when he bought an Oxford farm with trails on it and brought Oxbow Brewing here.

"We have yet to beat a beautiful, perfect mid-winter weekend," he smiled. "That’s the busiest that we get, when the conditions are perfect; the parking lot is full; we extend up into the field for an additional parking lot; we’ve got people all over the trails."

Friday brought the first skiable snow there as well, and visitors wasted no time trapesing through the woods.

"That brings a whole other level of business to us that we really do need," Adams continued. "Especially since it’s been a crazy few years for restaurants."

They’ll soak in the snow lovers as long as they can. 

"I know there’s rain in the forecast, so, we’ll take what we can get," Knight shrugged.

They know this good fortune, however needed, could be gone in a day.

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