Getting out

About this time every year I end up asking myself why I live somewhere that gets this cold! When this question pops up I realize that I haven’t been getting outside enough in order to avoid cabin fever. During warmer weather I love going for walks and hikes, so I try not to let the cold stop me.  Yes, it does involve a bit of planning and many more layers but it is worth the extra effort.

Inspired by attending Essex Country Ornithological Club lectures at PEM over the last few years, I have started paying more attention to birds and trying to identify them on my walks. Since I’m a beginner bird watcher, the lack of leaves in winter makes it easier for me to find birds with my binoculars. It also helps that I’ve finally learned how to use binoculars correctly.

mhead audubon

The author bundled up for a winter walk.

I like either exploring smaller places in the winter or not venturing out in larger places as far as I would in warmer months, just in case I feel like I need to run back to the car to defrost. A great smaller place to explore that I’ve discovered since moving to Salem is the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.

There are many great aspects of a winter walk: glistening snow, seeing animal tracks, justifying that afternoon hot chocolate —  but my favorite is that there are generally a lot fewer people, making the experience so peaceful.

more tracks



winter walk

After bird watching I love heading to the bird case in the Art & Nature Center to get a closer look at some of the birds I’ve seen outside.

bird case no watermark

Bird case in PEM’s Art and Nature Center. Photo by Allison White/PEM

Feeling inspired to get outside? There are tons of great programs for all ages that happen all winter long. For ideas, a couple of my favorite resources for outdoor activities in the area are Trustees of the Reservations and Mass Audubon.

Where are your favorite outdoor places to go in the winter?


One Comment

  1. John LeJeune says:

    Wonderful post Lisa. Also try Cape Ann for great birds in winter. The Brookline Bird club has many walks each month on the North Shore. Check out They are free and open to everyone. Another great resource is the Essex County Greenbelt.

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