Staycation, All I Ever Wanted: Boston February Vacation Ideas


By now you may have heard that we in Boston are drowning in snow. There are a million places online to find out about our woes—from blogs to The New York Times to Buzzfeed—so I won’t add more. But we’ve had plenty of together-time so far, with all the million snow days. It all seemed like prep for February vacation, when we’d all be snowed in together yet again, looking out our windows at snowbanks, but at least we’d be getting the mail and cars would be allowed to drive on the roads (not sure why they’d want to; I’m finding the games of chicken, and the pulling-over-into-snowbanks, and all the terrifying blind corners in my neighborhood just a little too much).

Unlike our friends who’ve fled to Florida, California, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere, we had no plans to go away. So the kids and I brainstormed a list of things to do.



In case you can’t read it with the addition of tonight’s added “Jump Plans” schematic (by the boys), it says:

1. Playdate with Anna. She’s somewhere warm and snow-free for the week, so that’s out.

2. Great Brook Farm. This is a cross-country ski place near here, with groomed trails over fields and through woods, and ski rentals in case your four-year-old doesn’t yet have his own XC ski gear (ahem).

3. Pinocchio. A play being put on at a local family theater. We have tickets for tomorrow.

4. Robbie. (Friend of my older son’s.)

5. Sledding. I don’t know why we don’t go sledding more except the sledding hill is almost a mile away, a touch too far for the younger one to walk to and from, and too close to justify driving.

6. Hotel pool. Doesn’t that sound nice? Going to one of the nice, warm, lovely hotel pools in town and paying a fee and swimming? On Sunday, during the fourth huge snowstorm in a row, I actually priced an overnight at one hotel that has an “atrium-style” pool. Sadly, with the trains not running and an unofficial travel ban in place, it was hard to get there except on skis, and it was just too far for Max to ski there on his own and too tricky to have to tow Ben in the sled the whole way there if sidewalks weren’t clear.

7. (not numbered) Skate at the rink (or “Scate at the ringk“).

So we started off with the weekend, all normal including the blizzard (yeah, at this point that is normal, lots of digging and snowblowing, lots of snowy children stomping into each other’s houses, etc.). Then Monday, another Monday of our homebound family. It was bitterly cold, with a wind chill advisory in place. I agreed to meet a running friend and head out to Lexington, where the bike path is beautifully plowed (they finally plowed the bike path in my town, finally, after the fourth storm). It was 3 degrees (F), with a windchill of -12 or so. Whatever. We ran six miles, then I dropped off and got a cup of coffee while she ran another four. (I’m not lazy; I’m sticking to a gentle training plan.)

I got home, ate, showered, and realized that we all needed to go do something. It wasn’t optimal to just go play outside, but we couldn’t think of any great indoor options. Once I mentioned cross-country skiing, Max was really excited and wouldn’t consider a more frostbite-avoidant trip to Legoland instead (really).

Off we went to our favorite local cross-country ski center. We weren’t worried about the cold, because we have warm stuff to wear (not trying to sound cocky, but seriously, there are places much colder than this where people are outside safely. Don’t fear the cold; dress for it). Also, it had warmed up to the teens, and the windchill was no longer so worrisome.

Ben finally took to cross-country skis and had a great time (until he got tired and then cold and then was done, in the way that four-year-olds who are hungry and fatigued are just done).


Good thing I put sunscreen on, right?



This kid! He’s awesome. They both are.


We were all a little cranky by the end, but at least we were outside, in the great wide world, with a sunset like the one below as we skied back to the barn. (null)


Today, we went to the ice rink, where my new little winter sports person had his best day ever on skates (and was happy about it!). “Mom! You go the red line, and I’ll skate to you, OK? Don’t help me!” and “Mom! Did you see? I did a twirl-around fall-down.” “Mom. You go to the blue line and don’t move. Wait for me.” Meanwhile Max was happily skating around the rink. Wait, when and how did he learn to skate?

Then some errands and a trip to the library to go up and down all the stairs and then check out a million books (and one video and one book on CD).

Tomorrow: Something active in the morning, followed by Pinocchio. 

Maybe we’ll get to a pool on Thursday and then skating again on Friday. Or maybe we’ll get to a museum. That might be a good idea, for a change of pace.

So that’s how we’re spending our February vacation. Yes, I wouldn’t mind being somewhere where we don’t need snow pants, staying in a hotel, but that’s not what’s up with us this break. We’re here, having a pretty good time, and eating plenty of unseasonal fruit (because come on, with all this snow, I feel pretty OK about winter strawberries).




Leave a Reply