The best of times are sometimes the simplest of times.

Just before a blizzard covered Windham’s Chaffin Pond – and the rest of Maine – Windham Parks & Recreation put out an invite for a s’mores and skating night Jan. 28 at Donnabeth Lippman Park. Families from several Lakes Region towns showed up with skates, some folks with hockey sticks and pucks bright enough to see under a dark sky.

“We brought my parents, brother and sister-in-law and niece out for a good time,” said Ashley Caswell, of Windham. Her husband Ben, a hockey player, was playing with sons Carter, 7, who was using his father’s old hockey stick chopped down to kid-size, and Dawson, 3, who enjoyed being pushed around the pond on a double-stacked milk crate.

Kelsey Crowe, deputy director of Windham Parks & Recreation, set up a spotlight and a sound system with family-friendly party tunes, tended a fire pit and set up a table with hot chocolate, hand warmers and individually wrapped s’mores kits. And that’s all it took to get the party started.

“We try to do this twice a year,” Crowe said. “Sometimes we don’t get the weather for it. But this, I’m not going to lie, is a pretty good turnout. After a rainstorm, the fire department came earlier in the week and sprayed the whole thing and flattened it out. Then Kevin Bailey, our maintenance foreman, plowed it all out nice and big.”

Windham Parks & Recreation will host one more s’mores and skating night Feb. 22, weather and pond conditions permitting (check the Windham Parks & Recreation Facebook page). The town tries to keep a marked-off skating section of the pond cleared and skateable – without ice fishing holes – as much of the winter as possible. The 123-acre Donnabeth Lippman Park is off Route 302 behind Sherwin Williams. There’s no cost to use the park, which also has hiking, biking and Nordic skiing trails.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer from Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]

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