In the wake of "snowmageddon", (which turned out to be more of a run-of-the-mill snowstorm in the Northampton area), I've been thinking about how we experience winter here in Western MA. Around this time of year, the topic of winter seems to be on the tip of everyone's tongues. We are growing weary of the cold, the shoveling, the ice, the extra clothing and boots, the mess that the snow and ice creates in our homes, etc. This weariness is predictable. We yearn for the warmer weather, the ease with which we can move about, and get from place to place. This winter, 2 things are different in my household. For one, we have a puppy - which means one of us (me) is out walking that puppy every day. For another, my family is finally on the same page about skiing together. Between my daily hikes at one of the many beautiful hiking trails which surround us, and my weekly skiing jaunts with the family - I have a newfound love of winter! On that note, I wanted to list some of the beautiful places nearby where we can ski, cross country ski, snow shoe or hike here in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts (or nearby):
Photo credit: dreamatico.com
1. Notchview - Ok, so technically this beautiful 3,100 acre reservation is in the Berkshires, rather than Hampshire County. However, we Northamptonites love to take advantage of the myriad trails for nordic skiing and snowshoeing this time of year. It's just a hop, skip and a jump up to Windsor, MA.
2. Fitzgerald Lake - Right here in Northampton are opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter
3. Mineral Hills Conservation Area - This beautiful conservation area, just off of Sylvester Road in Northampton, does not yet have a website. The trails are clearly marked, and their is a MHCA facebook page for more information.
4. Berkshire East - What a great family mountain! With a newly renovated lodge, the addition of a lounge/bar for the over-21 set, and just enough groomed trails to keep all levels of skiers happy for the day - this mountain helps make winter fun! For those who don't ski, there is a mountain coaster, and tubing park. You can also snowshoe or hike on the trails.
5. Stump Sprouts - This cross country ski area and guest lodge is a lovely place to come ski for the day -- or rent the lodge (complete with delicious vegetarian home cooked meals) with friends and family. Situated in Hawley, MA, Stump Sprouts is less than an hour drive from Northampton.
So remember, we do live here for a reason, or many reasons. Among those reasons is the change of seasons! So, bundle up and get out there to enjoy what our beautiful valley has to offer.