With snow in the forecast, now is a great time to start thinking about some fun winter activities to get you and your family outside to enjoy the brisk but beautiful weather. Winter is my favorite season, and when I’m not enjoying a weekend on the slopes in Vermont, you can usually find me around town enjoying some of the best that our area has to offer. Here are some of my favorite things to do to beat the winter blues:
Mountain Biking. You might be thinking that mountain biking is better suited for spring or summer but new fat tire bikes are all the craze and they make for an awesome winter activity. Check out what Bikers Edge has to offer and then head down to my favorite spots, Sessions Woods on the Bristol/Burlington line or the West Hartford Reservoir for a ride. Both places have great tracks for beginners right through to advanced riders and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the area’s amazing wildlife.
Skiing. There is nothing like having fresh snow under your boards to make you fall in love with winter. You can usually catch me up at Killington, but if you’re looking for a local place to ski or snowboard, you can’t go past Mt. Southington which is in good shape with a dozen trails open and better conditions to come with snow heading our way. Ski Sundown in New Hartford is another great spot to check out. Both are perfect for children and first-time riders and boarders.
Hiking. For a slower pace activity, Sessions Woods and Talcott Mountain State Park offer beautiful hiking where you can enjoy amazing views and a great opportunity to connect with nature. Don’t be intimidated by the cold, a good pace and the warmth from the sun will have you working up a lather in no time!
Sledding. Anyone my age will remember many a winter barreling down Deadman’s Hill on just about anything we could find that would go fast! These days, sledding is still very popular in the area and Page Park, Nelson’s Field, and Rockwell Park all have great areas for the kids to get their adrenaline pumping.
Ice Skating. When the local ponds freeze, ice skating is a great activity for the whole family. I love to pick up a hockey game, but just a leisurely cruise can be a whole lot of fun too. Rockwell Park is a great place to go and I love Malone’s Pond, also known as Pine Lake. Of course, ice skating can be a dangerous activity if the lakes aren’t frozen so be sure to check with the Park Department, who also builds a rink on Middle Street that’s safe for all to enjoy.
Make Your Own Activity. If you don’t feel like leaving home on a cold winter day, one of my favorite things to do is to light up the firepit with a crackling fire and have the family over for some hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting. On a chilly winter evening, there is nothing better than cozying up to a warm fire, laughing and telling stories with the people you love the most.
With that, I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you in 2017!
Bob O'Donnell is the owner of O'Donnell Bros, Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro”. All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O'Donnell Bros, Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.