There’s great sledding and winter fun to be had throughout the season at Ward Reservation in Andover which has the highest point in Essex County, Holt Hill, offering great sledding and views of Boston on a clear day. Later in the month on January 28, don’t miss Ward’s Winter Fun Day, an annual tradition which draws families from all over Greater Boston. For a new twist on an old classic, try night sledding at Chestnut Hill Farm, featuring Light-Up Lanes with hot drinks after every Saturday through March! The winter weekend tradition of Frozen Fruitlands continues this year every weekend through March, with opportunities for visitors to enjoy sledding and explore the hills by snowshoe, cross-country skiing, hiking or walking, followed by a warm up with hot chocolate at the fire outside the visitor’s center. For more sledding favorites, click here.
As snowshoeing has become more and more popular over the last few years, The Trustees has added rentals and activities to get people out enjoying this classic form of great exercise at several properties around the state. If you crave silence, you can easily find it at Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton, which includes 90-acres of woodlands, meadows and gardens, with three miles of trails. Snowshoe rentals and lessons are available on Saturday, weather permitting.Also, Francis William Bird Park in Walpole offers Snowshoe Meetups throughout the season. For more snowshoeing opportunites, click here.
For those who live nearby or are up for an excursion, The Trustees’ unparalleled winter gem of a destination is Windsor’s 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. For après recreational enjoyment, the Budd Visitor Center lodge 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 or by appointment. For more cross-country spots, click here.
Sure, the days are shorter for a while longer, but The Trustees is offering even more programs after dark to keep the winter doldrums at bay. Full Moon Hikes and Owl Prowls (guided hikes to find local owl species!) will take place at Rocky Woods in Medfield, Stevens Coolidge Place in North Andover, Francis William Bird Park in Walpole, Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, World’s End in Hingham and Crane Beach. Rocky Woods will also host its highly popular monthly Brew Moon Hikes, a trek followed by local beer tastings and snacks, as will Chestnut Hill Farm, if you’d prefer an agrarian locale. There’s even a Full Moon Transcendental Meditation at the Old Manse and a Silent Meditations Hike at Castle Hill for those looking to get their ‘om’ on. If you’d prefer to be indoors, check out the unique Landscape Ladder Tour at Fruitlands, where guests can get up close to the beautiful “A New View” landscape exhibition paintings with ladders and magnifying glasses, led by curator Shana Dumont Garr, and stop by the other exhibits featured there.