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Boston, MA – January 2017 – With this winter already much snowier than last year’s, The Trustees is aiming to inspire Massachusetts residents, visitors, and members to get out, explore, and embrace the season. As the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation nonprofit with 116 scenic, natural, and cultural sites spanning Greater Boston to the Berkshires, The Trustees has nearly doubled its number of programs and activities this winter in order to celebrate winter and connect more people to nature, culture, and the great outdoors.
“Our winter programs calendar is now almost as full as our summer calendar,” says Kristen Swanberg, Director of Programming for The Trustees. “This season we’re offering hundreds of indoor and outdoor adventures like guided hikes and bonfires with hot drinks and refreshments, indoor craft and cooking classes, and of course, cross-country skiing at places like Notchview, the largest Nordic ski center in Massachusetts. With all these options, including some newer offerings like ice skating, snowshoe rentals, and vacation drop off programs at several of our properties, we’re definitely anti-cabin fever here at The Trustees.”
With so many properties and programs to choose from statewide, there’s no excuse not to get out and be active this winter. As the Farmer’s Almanac from January 1847 tells us, “It is a cold, inclement season, white earth and blue sky. But, what of that? Keep the blood in motion, no danger of freeze then.” Below is a sampling of ideas on how to embrace winter at Trustees properties, but many more can be found at www.thetrustees.org. Most properties and programs are free or discounted up to 50% for members who also receive many other benefits year-round.
Ongoing Winter Fun Statewide
For the winter of 2017, The Trustees is excited to announce that its ice-skating tradition has once again returned to Rocky Woods this season! As Chickering Pond does not always freeze enough to meet safety conditions, Rocky Woods is opening their first ever Backyard Skating Rink, open on weekends through March. The Chickering Pond Cabin has been transformed into a cozy visitor’s center with hot cocoa and snacks for purchase, a nature corner and kids area, and indoor ADA compliant restroom. The cabin will be open on weekends and during programs, and will also serve as the rental office for snowshoes and skating check-in. The portable toilet is always available! To find out the latest conditions of the skating rink or other programs and events, follow Rocky Woods on their brand new Facebook and Instagram. For those who visit or live in Western Massachusetts, the go-to Trustees spot for snowshoe rentals this year is Bartholomew’s Cobble, a National Natural Landmark in Sheffield known for being a snowy playground for all ages in the winter months. Rent snowshoes on Sundays this January and February. Or check out the striking beauty of the Crane Estate in the winter at Full Moon & Folklore Hike, once a month at the Crane Wildlife Refuge.
Also this winter, join The Trustees at Frozen Fruitlands on Saturdays and Sundays through March, and explore the hills and trails for sledding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing followed by a warm up with hot chocolate at the fire outside the visitor’s center. Check in at the Gift Shop for admission, which also includes the Art Museum, featuring two exhibitions: “Find Your Park: National Parks in New England," a photography exhibition celebrating the National Park Service's 100th anniversary and “Comforts, Cures, and Distractions" which invites visitors to reflect on the challenges and also fun and creativity of New England winters before modern conveniences.
The Trustees’ most popular outdoor winter gem is, of course, Notchview, the largest Nordic ski center in Massachusetts, with more than 3,200 acres of rolling terrain offering skiing, snowshoeing, and opportunities for winter fun daily. Trustees staff regularly groom 17 kilometers of trails for classical cross-country skiing and 12 for skate skiing. The property also offers a separate trail system groomed for “skijoring,” or skiing with dogs. Visitors can go off track and explore the backcountry, or snowshoe on the dedicated snowshoe trails that traverse the property’s woods and meadows. After an exciting day outdoors, warm up at the Budd Visitor Center lodge, sustainably renovated in 2015, which features a café serving locally-sourced menu items including soup, hot cocoa, sandwiches and other delicious offerings. Visit XCSKIMASS.COM for daily conditions and updates. Nordic Ski Lessons are available on weekends through March 26 at 11AM, 1PM or by appointment. Notchview also offers programming throughout the season like Notchview Game Night, the Brew Moon Snowshoe & Ski Series which incorporates beer and wine tastings after a moon-lit outing and more.
Many Trustees properties which are open year-round, sunrise to sunset and are ideal in the winter for strolling and hiking, sledding, winter wildlife watching and more. For an extensive list of things to do, visit Get Out and Embrace Winter: Where to Hike, Walk, Ski, Skate and Snowshoe By Region, in the Explore on Your Own section of The Trustees website. For even more ideas, check out Trustees Winter Wildlife spots and Trustees January Thrill of the Chill events and activities.
Valentine’s Day Festivities
With The Trustees, there’s something for everyone this Valentine’s Day. Visit the flock at The Farm Institute on Martha’s Vineyard and use the wool to craft a farm Valentine at Felted Farm Valentines. On the mainland, craft a pop-up card at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard in the Family Fun Day: Happy Hearts program. At Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens in New Bedford, arrange a basket of garden goodies for that special someone, including seeds, potting soil, succulents, the trimmings and more at A Garden for Your Valentine.
What would Valentine’s Day be without sweets? For those in the mood for chocolate, Fruitlands Museum will be offering a Discovering Chocolate class and tasting on high quality chocolate varieties, as will the KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market with a Truffle Making Workshop with Taza Chocolate. Appleton Farms in Ipswich will be featuring a Valentine’s Day Cookies: Little Cupids in the Kitchen class in its farm kitchen for families with kids 7+. For adults, Appleton Farms is offering a Valentine’s Day Farm Dinner and Culinary Workshop and Powisset Farm in Dover will host a Tapas and Champagne event. For more farm fun, Weir River Farm in Hingham will host Full of Love at the Farm, an event for the whole family with barnyard tour, crafts for kids, wine and cheese tasting, live music and more.
Looking for something totally grown up and unique to do? Check out Notchview’s Snowshoes, Beer & Chocolate—Oh My! for a curated beer tasting with chocolate pairings after a self-guided snowy on Notchview’s woodland trails.
School Stay-Vacation Weeks: February and March
The Trustees are bringing families even more things to do over February and March school vacation weeks, including more drop-off programs in addition the wide array events and programs for families to enjoy together. For those looking for the drop-off variety this February, Appleton Farms is offering three-hour days Tuesday through Friday, February 21-24 for two age groups: 5 to 7 year olds and 8 to 10 year olds. Both programs will feature a small group, camp-like setting all about embracing the season with outdoor explorations, crafting, cooking, games, and nature study. Notchview will offer three days of Ski & Outdoor Adventures for kids ages 7-12 who want to learn how to cross-country ski or hone their skills. Popular outdoor recreation destination Rocky Woods in Medfield offers a three day, drop-off Staycation Adventures (ages 7-10) program for an afternoon of wilderness skill-building like shelter and fire-building, campfire cooking, and animal tracking.
Join your kids for some history at the Old Manse in Concord at their Making Music at the Manse February 20-24 where you’ll learn about the giant outdoor wind harp at this famed National Historic Landmark while enjoying a sing-a-long on the 1865 Steinway piano. Also during February Vacation Week, there will be Book Making and Snowglobe Workshops at Fruitlands Museum, a Donut class and Pizza & Board Games at Powisset Farm, a Yeti Expedition at World’s End in Hingham, a Snowman Building Contest at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate and even a Greenhouse Beach Party at Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough!
During March Vacation Week, Appleton Farms will again offer it’s three-hour camp, Tuesday through Friday from March 21- 24 for 5-7 year olds and 8 to 10 year olds. And for those on the Vineyard, where vacation week falls from February 27-March 2, The Trustees is offering a four-day February Vacation Exploration!, program for 1st-4th graders at Long Point Wildlife Refuge featuring activities like exploring the beach, woodlands, and ponds while learning about their surrounding ecosystems. The Farm Institute will feature Farmer for a Day on Tuesday, February 28 and March 2, which includes two hours of farm activities for ages 6 and up. For families with older kids looking to get out of the house for some laughs, take in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the gorgeous ballroom at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, running for six nights!
What is New England without Maple Sugaring? For those who’ve always wanted to try their hand at maple sugaring, Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough will host both a tapping techniques workshop, Maple Tree Tap-a-thon, in February and a MapleFest in March where participants can enjoy the fruits of their labors in the form of syrups, candies, and other treats. The Maple Culinary Class and Sugaring Tour as well as Sugar Shack Saturdays throughout March at Appleton Farms is great for families who want to learn about the process together. For the 21+ crowd, the farm will host a Happy Hour at the Sugar Shack featuring local beers as part of the mix. For a more historical experience, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead presents Maple Days at the Old Homestead, a day of activities with a talk on the history of maple sugaring, outdoor demonstrations, face painting and even a pancake breakfast!
For a full list of fun programs and events for all ages happening at these and other Trustees reservations, visit: http://www.thetrustees.org/things-to-do/.
The Trustees preserves and cares for some of Massachusetts’ most treasured natural, scenic, and historic sites for public use and enjoyment. Founded in 1891 and celebrating our 125th Anniversary in 2016, we are the world’s first land preservation nonprofit and the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation organization. We believe in protecting the irreplaceable for everyone, forever. Our passion is to connect more people to outdoor recreation, culture, agriculture, and healthy, active living by using our 116 diverse properties, community spaces, and over 5,000 annual programs as a powerful and compelling platform. Located within minutes of every resident and visited by 1.6 million people in 2015, our properties span more than 26,000 acres across the state – from working farms, landscaped and urban gardens, and community parks, to barrier beaches, forests, campgrounds, inns and historic sites, many of which are National Historic Landmarks. In addition to our properties, we are also an active leader in land conservation. We hold conservation restrictions on more than 20,000 acres and have worked with community partners to help protect another 25,000 acres across the state. In 2014 we became a founding partner of the Boston Public Market, the first all locally-sourced indoor market of its kind in the nation where we operate our Appleton Farms vendor booth and serve as the educational programming partner for the Market’s demonstration KITCHEN. Funded by our nearly 125,000 members and supporters, we invite you to get out, get inspired, and find magic in the moment at a Trustees property near you: www.thetrustees.org.