The Trustees of Reservations offer hundreds of acres of open spaces, woodland trails, and hills around the state where you can get out and embrace the winter. Studies show that exposure to nature and outdoor exercise, or “nature therapy” – even as little as five minutes a day – has significant health and wellness benefits including improved mental health, reduced stress, and a more positive outlook and spirit.
“In our increasingly digitized and busy lives, nature deficit disorder has never been more prevalent,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees’ President and CEO. “It’s our mission at The Trustees to inspire more Massachusetts residents of all ages to disconnect from technology and get out, be active, and experience our many wonderful outdoor places across the state.”
Whether you’re looking for great spots to hike, sled, snowshoe, cross-country ski or just launch a spontaneous snowball fight, you can easily find a Trustees’ property near you where you can enjoy and embrace winter.
Appleton Farms Grass Rides, Ipswich and Hamilton
This family-friendly network of grassy trails adjacent to America’s oldest continually operating farm, Appleton Farms, spans over 250 acres and provides an ideal environment for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as well as winter walking and nature watching. On weekends,warm-up in the visitor center with a hot drink and a tour of the historic farm house, now a Visitor Center on the property, which also offers year-round cooking classes.
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, Ipswich
The undulating, half-mile long Grand Allée on Castle Hill, a National Historic Landmark, provides some great family-friendly sledding terrain, especially the farther east you walk from the Great House. Hike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski around the property and enjoy panoramic views of Cape Ann and Crane Beach. Stop by the newly restored “Casino” complex, which will serve as a new entertainment venue for the property, for a rest.
Ravenswood Park, Gloucester
Miles and miles of meandering carriage paths offer the winter explorer fresh tracks and surprises on a wintry day. On weekends and holidays, let the Cape Ann Discover Center be your jumping off point, providing snowshoe rentals, hands-on nature exhibits, and discovery backpacks. When it’s time to thaw, visitors are welcome to warm their toes by the woodstove with a warm cup of cocoa.
Ward Reservation, Andover and North Andover
At 420 feet, Holt Hill, one of three on the 695-acre property, is the highest point in Essex County and gives sledders a thrill, especially those who climb to the top. Formerly home to two long distance ski jumps run by nearby Phillips Academy until the 70s, Holt Hill offers great views extending from the surrounding Merrimack Valley to the Boston skyline. The reservation features nearly 10 miles of trails for winter recreational activities. The Red Trail loop is perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
For a list of fun programs and events for all ages happening at these and other Trustees reservations, visit: thetrustees.org.