Each year, as we mark the Winter Solstice, the first day of the new season, we anxiously anticipate the initial snowfall of the season. Not the flurries, or the light coating of fluffy flakes, but the storm that coats the city with clusters of glistening ice, bringing with it a period of quiet and stillness.
We’re still waiting for the arrival of a winter wonderland, but in the meantime, we’ve rounded up some of the best activities in the area for the days you want to embrace the cold and head outside.
Located at the intersection of High and Pond streets in Newburyport, this park is great in all seasons, but the cold weather and snow provides for several kid and adult friendly activities.
When the powder is fresh, grab your sleds to glide down the hill, and once temperatures hit below freezing, the Frog Pond is perfect for ice skating (you will need your own skates).
Get your steps in by walking the circumference of the pond, or enjoy a hot coffee and scenery at one of the benches along the route.
Ice fishing in New Hampshire
Each year, the state of New Hampshire offers up two free fishing days – where you don’t need a license to fish in public bodies of water. One is in June and the other is the third Saturday in January.
If you’re an avid fisher, or have always wanted to try ice fishing – this month is the time to do it.
Lake Winnipesaukee is a popular place to go, but the state has numerous bodies of water where you can cast your line. Check out the New Hampshire Fish and Game’s recommendations here.
Know before you go: Make sure ice conditions are suitable for fishing. Bodies of water need to be at least 4 to 6 inches deep. Review these safety tips here. You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with trapping regulations – do that here.
Once you’ve got your gear and your warm clothing, you’re set!
Old Newbury Bonfire
If you’ve never experienced the Christmas tree bonfire, mark your calendar. It’s a winter event you won’t want to miss.
When: Saturday, Jan. 15 at 3-8:30 p.m.
Where: Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury
What: Gather round the campfire – made up of hundreds of Christmas trees – as an end of the holiday season celebration, sponsored by the Newbury Fire Department.
Grab some food, hot chocolate and libations as you cozy up by what will likely be the biggest bonfire you’ve ever seen.
Parking is limited, so it’s advised that you purchase a pass in advance. Do so here.
Become one with nature at this 600-acre park in Gloucester. With 10 miles worth of trails to explore, it’s the perfect spot to walk or cross-country ski under sparkling hemlocks and pine trees.
Get lost in the magic of the forest on the 2-mile Fernwood Lake trail, or hit the 1-mile Ledge Trail for a more child-friendly walk with views of Gloucester Harbor.
Leashed dogs are allowed at the park.
Address: 481 Western Ave., Gloucester
For more time in the woods, visit Ward Reservation in Andover. This spot also boasts 10 miles of trails that’ll give you views of the Boston skyline, or take you to the highest point in Essex County, Holt Hill.
Also atop Holt Hill are the “Solstice Stones,” which are displayed to illustrate the sunset on the longest and shortest days of the year.
Hit the boardwalk trail for a view of the bog. It might be frozen this time of year – it’s once rippling waters home to a variety of vegetation, now still and glistening, giving way to even more quiet peacefulness.
Address: 65 Prospect Road, Andover