Snow Days in Sturbridge, MA
We are having a wonderful old-fashioned winter here in New England. This is the type of winter I remember from my childhood, and the type of season I have long been awaiting. The kids have had several snow days from school already, and it looks like more storms are on the way. Time for some outdoor fun!
Here is my quick list of things to do and places to go that will help make winter more bearable:
1. Sledding (or sliding). There are two main areas where people sled around here. First is at Burgess Elementary School. Burgess has two hills. The north hill is known for its progressive level of steepness. One end of the hill is fairly short and mild, and the other end is for extreme speed lovers. But there is a lesser-known hill past the south end of the school. Down the footpath into the softball fields is a nice gentle hill for beginners. Do be careful to stay away from the drainage ditch, though.
The second area is at Westville Lake. Enter the park from the Sturbridge side, off Wallace Road, and walk toward the lake from the parking lot. There is a fairly long hill beside the lake with varying degrees of steepness. At the bottom there are some concrete bumpers to separate the hill from a driveway, so you'll want to watch out for those. Experienced sledders learn to steer in between these bumpers. As an alternative, you can just roll off your sled.
2. Cross country skiing and snow shoeing. Westville Lake also has some good trails for skiing and snow shoeing. You can take the wide, fairly level trail up to the dam, or cruise through the woods if you dare. Another place for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing is Wells State Park, off Route 49. There are wonderful trails and hills here.
3. Ice skating. While Sturbridge does not have an indoor rink, there is a wonderful outdoor option for skaters at Old Sturbridge Village, where a level portion of the land is prepared for skaters. OSV also offers a hill for sledding. Check their web site for details: http://www.osv.org
Update: As of January 2010, the town of Sturbridge has created a public skating rink on the tennis courts at Cedar Lake recreational area. Bring your own skates.
4. Indoor places: If you have cabin fever but the weather is too severe to go outside, I recommend a visit to the Joshua Hyde Public Library. They now have available a coffee and hot chocolate machine, and the kids always enjoy spending time in the downstairs children's room. Also, the Sturbridge Coffee House is a wonderfully cozy place with a fine variety of coffees and baked goods. For those with young children, there are sing-alongs. Call for details at (508) 347-2288.
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