Fun winter activities in Gloucester

The Gillnetter's Maria Kotob explores the wonderful winter activities that Gloucester has to offer

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Maria Kotob

Gloucester kids try pond skating for the first time

MARIA KOTOB, Staff Writer

As winter sets in, all of the well-known Gloucester activities begin to fall away. Most kids stay inside all day, not knowing what to do during the next few months. But with some brainstorming, you can make this time of year a little more exciting.

If you ask around, many people will say that they spend a couple hours of their weekend at the O’Maley rink skating with their friends. Take a little bit of your time and spend it skating with others to create more memories than just sitting at home. But make sure to go earlier in the day, so that you are not tripping over other people’s tracks in the ice.

If you find that you prefer to skate with a less populated rink, try out pond skating. On ponds, you can play hockey with your friends, fool around, and not have to worry about running over anyone or having them run over you. But make sure that the pond is frozen for pond skating: because it’s all fun and games until the ice breaks and you fall into the icy water.

Ponds in Gloucester that are safe to skate on are Miller’s Pond on Park Avenue, “Minnie Hole” which is about a block away on Johnson Blvd., and Niles Pond.

When making plans, it’s helpful to keep childish activities in mind. Sledding isn’t just for kids, you as a teen can have just as much fun. Grab a couple sleds, go down to Stage Fort, and sled for hours. Create miniature forts in the snow, grab some cocoa, and hang in there. Or, my personal favorite, build large walls and have a massive snowball fight.

Everybody needs a few hours of peace and quiet to allow their mind to rest. For those days, instead of spending the day in your room, snowshoe in Ravenswood Park or take a hike through Mount Ann over in West Gloucester. The views at the top are breathtaking and can be a great time for peace. At the top of both are places to sit, whether it be the bench at Ravenswood or a wide, flat boulder at Mount Ann to relax in silence. Or, if you would rather avoid dirt and trees at all costs, take your dog on a walk at the beach. It can have the same result.

If you are more of an adventurous type of person, consider cross-country skiing through wide forest trails, or participate in the annual polar plunge.

Snow can be a no-no for a lot of people, making them want to stay inside the whole winter. But there are many activities available that allow you to avoid the snow.

Art Haven and the Hive provides lots of great art and photography classes throughout the year each day of the week. Stop in there one day, grab their pamphlet, and see if any of them are of an interest to you.

Other classes include the Gloucester Writers’ Center, or you could check out new museums you haven’t been to. Although they may not seem interesting, it could spark your curiosity. You could also grab some coffee or tea at Lone Gull Coffeehouse or Pleasant St. Tea Co. Walk up and down Main Street and stop in stores you haven’t been in before.

If you are looking for volunteer hours during the winter season, positions are available at the Open Door Food Pantry, Cape Ann Animal Aid, Pathways, etc.

Gloucester athletes train hard to get the gold and being there to support them can be a big push in confidence. So if you are at home with no plans, check out the sports schedule and try to catch a couple games. When the game has ended, you can invite some friends over, build a bonfire, and make s’mores.

For days where you feel like sitting at home and not leaving at all, make the best of the situation. Make some hot cocoa and invite some friends over to binge watch your favorite Netflix shows or watch a movie. You could also look through some cooking or baking books and find a nice little recipe to make (like homemade cinnamon rolls, for example). Go full out; have all of your friends bring over food or desserts. Have a potluck and play cards or board games. Or just kick your legs up and catch up on reading (and for those of you who don’t read, we know you think it’s boring, and we don’t care).

And when all of these ideas fall through or you do not want to try them out, there is one last idea. You can hibernate. Sleep for the three months of cold, endless winter days. But remember that in years to come, when you’re looking back at your high school years, would you rather remember the experiences you had with friends and family or the hours spent staring at your phone all winter?