Updated: Feb 12

It is cold but there isn’t a lot of snow everywhere. We are still under restrictions from a pandemic. Covid-19 and variants are still a serious risk.

It's a tough time to figure out something different to do that's safe and fun.

Here are five ideas - some indoor and some outdoor - that will bring some magic to this dreary time of the year.

I didn't go on dates here - just day adventures! It's always good for the soul to get out and explore!

1. Explore the Tower Hill Botanic Garden (Boylston, MA)

This is PERFECT if you are trying to stay socially distant. You can walk around the grounds and take in their latest exhibit called Yarnstorm.

I might be easily amused but I was squealing with delight – actually squealing looking at the yarnbombing or yarnstorming. That’s what they call it! It’s the equivalent of graffiti for knitters and fiber artist and it’s magical.

All of that is just outside – inside you get to take a break from the cold and surround yourself with greenery and flowers. It’s an instant mood boost.

They also allow dogs in certain parts of the property (for an additional price) so you can make it a doggy date!

Price: $16 pp (Adults)

Pro Tip: If you leave nearby or can travel here often - buy a membership while you're here! Your ticket price goes toward the cost. You can then visit as many times as you want throughout the year as their exhibits and in-season plants/flowers change.

2. Learn to Blow Glass at the Bubble Factory (Essex, Mass.)

I made a Swedish dish. I am an artist now. Kidding. I feel far from one after watching how difficult it is to make the delicate glass creations.

This isn’t a delicate adventure though; it gets fiery and steamy! You’ll also hear a double entendre or two in there when the process is explained which someone like me can’t avoid noting.

The instructors demonstrate the whole process first then guide you through your own creation.

The maximum number of people in most classes is 4 and they do offer private classes.

I chose the Swedish dish because it was simple and pretty but they have a lot of options. My choice did require getting to Essex for 8am and as a former night owl, I am very proud to say I made it not just on time but early!

Price- $75 pp (varies based on class)

Note: Your creation won't be ready to take home the day of your class so plan ahead for a second day of adventure in the area, if you're not local, or you can have it mailed.

3. Dinner or Lunch in an “Igloo” at Mile Marker One (Gloucester, MA)

Being experts at winterizing boats – the team at Mile Marker One which is part of the Cape Ann Marina and Resort created private dining “Igloos” using the same material. There are many of these “igloos” and “bubbles” across the state but these are among the most affordable I found.

Price : $30 igloo fee + meals

Pro Tip: While you’re in Gloucester – you can also head to Turtle Alley Chocolates and pick up some treats!

4. Brunch at the Inn at Hasting Park (Lexington, MA)

The Inn at Hastings Park offers a reasonably priced multi-course pre fixe brunch on weekends that is very well presented.

They also have igloos that book up fast. I did not act that fast and ate inside of their “Town Meeting Bistro” (only ones in the room) for most of the meal.

The décor of the Inn is lovely and overall, it felt like a getaway.

There a 90 minute limit for dining - but they pace the courses so you don't feel rushed. If you really want to make it a getaway you can stay at the Inn!

Price: $50 pp or $60 pp with champagne - check out their weekend brunch menu here.

5. The decordova Sculpture Park and Museum (Lincoln, MA)

This should really say “Buy a membership to The Trustees and you’ll never be bored again” but a good first stop is this outdoor sculpture park.

Bundle up (not shown here) and check out all of the contemporary art on the property. They have indoor exhibits too but if you are looking to stay outdoors, you can spend a day doing so.

You MUST buy your ticket in advance. You can choose to buy a ticket just for the outdoor exhibits or for both indoor and outdoor.

Pro Tip: With timed ticketing, if you choose a later time and want to see all the exhibits, see the indoor exhibits first because they close first. You can then see the outdoor exhibits and take your time until they close - Wednesday – Friday, 10AM – 4PM, last pass slot at 2PM

Saturday – Sunday, 10AM – 5PM, last pass slot at 3PM.

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