The cold temperatures can do a lot to quash what little motivation you might have to get outside in the winter. It's a season when the swirling snow drift also seems to be sending mixed messages: Beware the biting wind! Look how pretty it is out here! What to do?
We revisit a conversation from 2021 to hear what our listeners enjoy the great outdoors in and around Boston during the winter as part of WBUR's Field Guide to Boston. We also get suggestions from Mark Lowenstein, chief running officer for the running guide website Great Runs, and Quiana Agbai, a Boston parent and author of the blog and Instagram account "Harlem Love Birds."
In no particular order, here are a few favorite outdoor spots our guests and callers suggested:
"I've lived in Boston for over 30 years and have written running guidebooks, but I discovered a totally new area near where I live last weekend: the Lynn Woods. ... There's 30 miles of trails in there, including 10 miles of wide roads for running. It's beautiful and hadn't known about it before." — Mark Lowenstein
"I've discovered the Great Meadows in [Lexington], which have some really wonderful boardwalks that go into these deep wooded meadows that I used to ride by many times on the Minuteman bike trail, but I never knew there were trails back there." — Miles Howard, Jamaica Plain
"We really like the Blue Hills and the fact that, you know, they do have skiing opportunities. My kids haven't been brave enough to give that a try yet. But even for hiking, the Blue Hills — to have this on right on the edge of the southern outskirts of the city, it's a really great way for us to get out and do family hikes and explore together. ... Depending on what protocols are in place, sometimes you can kind of get a little high and see the city, see the skyline from afar. And so it's really beautiful and I highly recommend it." — Quiana Agbai
"Stony Brook Reservation, which is a wonderful open space that's accessible to multiple neighborhoods in Boston, is a great place to to take kids for outdoor adventures." — Jennifer, Hyde Park
Cemeteries, like Mount Auburn or Forest Hills
"I have a 1 year old who spends most of his time in the stroller, and I work full time. So it's really hard to get out and find something new to do. And we've taken to walking in the town cemetery — it's paved, it's safe, it's peaceful. And that's kind of where we find ourselves a lot to get outdoors." — Lexy, Wilmington
"There is a wonderful path that goes all the way from Bremen Park to the harbor side with incredible views of the Boston skyline." — Mark Lowenstein
"Another favorite for families is the Battle Road Trail, which is restored historic trail that parallels the route to between Lexington and Concord. That's a real gem. It's operated by the National Park Service." — Mark Lowenstein
"Even though Lawrence is a big urban area, we have a huge hill at the reservoir section in Tower Hill; and kids get up there with whatever they have, sleds or whatever, and slide down that hill and it's always nice when the snow comes down." — Arlene, Lawrence
And even a few unconventional ideas you could do anywhere:
"It's not for everybody, but I have been doing polar plunges all winter long and I would highly recommend it to anyone who's up for it. It's just such a burst of endorphins and it's an all-consuming activity. ... [It] invigorates the senses. You get to be at the beach, even though it's the wintertime, you can still get in the ocean. And usually there's a beach accessible to most people in eastern Massachusetts. — Michelle, West Yarmouth
"They're a really fun way to engage kids and all of their senses outdoors. You can do something like ask them to look for special leaves, sticks, rocks, shells, something that's older than them, something that's alive, something that's dead. And I notice with my 5 year old that as soon as I say, 'Hey, let's do a scavenger hunt,' he's totally engaged and engrossed." — Jennifer, Hyde Park
This segment aired on November 16, 2023.