Monday, January 27, 2014

5 Things You Have to Do This Winter! (Boston Edition)

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! It’s been a little while. I want to wish you all a happy, healthy, prosperous and sexually gratifying 2014. May everything you want be granted to you. May all your aches and pains go away. May whomever is annoying you and pissing you off fall down an elevator shaft or at the very least get some type of extremely  itchy fungal rash on themselves which will make them have to focus on that and not on annoying and pissing YOU off.

Right about now you should be pretty sick of the winter. The end of January usually brings about the worst case of the winter doldrums a person can possibly get. I call it the GTFAFMe’s. You never heard of that? It stands for the Get The F*** Away From Me’s.  It’s the point in a New England winter where you don’t even want to go outside any more. The thought of putting on five layers and shoveling snow gives you an instant headache. It’s cold, icy, wet, dirty and nothing is growing or blooming anywhere. It’s just desolation and death. Grim. Grey. Death.

BUT I have a solution for you. I can’t stand being inside for too long. If the weather keeps me from going out more than like one day in a row….I’m going to kill someone!
We are lucky here in the Boston area though because there are tons of things to do. Some of these you may know about and some you probably don’t. Some of these things you may not want to do but don’t jump to that conclusion so quickly. EVERY thing on this list is fun. Take it from me. (Mr. Fun) Add to this list at the bottom in the form of comments. I need stuff to do because at this point the GTFAFMe’s are pretty bad. So read. Enjoy. Then Contribute.

*One thing. Right click on links and open in another window. It's easier.
CoCo Key

1. Coco Key Water Park  - Located about twenty minutes north of Boston in Danvers is an indoor water park that most of you had no idea was there. If you knew it was there you had no idea that anyone over the age of 5 would love it here. WELL, you would. Here’s why:

  • Wet Rooster Bar. Yup they have a bar in there and food too.
  • Giant Water Slides. Big ones. You sit on a raft and shoot down in the dark.
  • Lazy River. There’s an indoor lazy river. Put your butt on a tube and relax.
  • Hot Tub. One of those indoor/outdoor hot tubs.
  • It’s in a Doubletree Hotel so you can stay overnight if you want to.

I wouldn’t call this a “Cheap” day out because it costs about $45 for a whole day pass but they have discounts for night only and deals all the time. Rates

Brooksby Farm

2. Brooksby Farm - While we are on the  North Shore there is a hidden gem you should be aware of. In the town of Peabody is a great little farm where many of you have gone to pick apples, eat cider donuts and pet the llama but did you know that they also have a great winter activity that I HIGHLY recommend?

It is cross country skiing and it’s a CHEAP way to get outside and have a great time. It is only $10 for the ski’s and if you have never done it before it is only $15 for a lesson and the ski package! You literally slide down their many trails into the woods where it’s really peaceful and beautiful.

I can’t tell you how important it is to get outside and enjoy the weather when there is snow on the ground. It’s peaceful and it’s calm and believe it or not there is still plenty of nature out there. If all you do in the snow is shovel it or slip on the ice then New England is probably not where you should be living. Cross Country skiing is easy and anyone can do it.

It is also about 15 miles north of Boston and afterwards you can grab a hot cider in their store or check out these places to eat two minutes away from there.

  • Mr. G’s Pizza - The best NY style pizza in my opinion anywhere .
  • Family Fare - It’s a diner! Breakfast all day and it’s GOOD!
  • Brodies Pub - Maybe you need a beer and some good food. This is a great local pub.

Downhill Skiing

3. Downhill Skiing

Skiing is also easy. If you have never gone downhill skiing you have to try it. You can learn in one afternoon but you have to take a lesson. I do not recommend trying to teach yourself. Within one hour of Downtown Boston there are a ton of options to learn how to ski . 

Keep in mind, all of these places are set up to teach beginners although if you are experienced there are great runs for you too. I’m going to list them and you can click on the links to get more information. There are ways to get deals. There are ways to save on ski rentals and there are ways to learn to ski much quicker. You can ask below or PM me and I will help you out. Keep in mind if you have never skied before you only need to know three things to get going. 

How to turn left, how to turn right and how to stop. It is EASY. You CAN do it.

Close places to learn:

Nashoba has a tubing park too if you don't feel like skiing! 

Also a little further away in New Hampshire is some great places to go. (1 ½ hours ) Places like Gunstock, Sunapee,Loon and the best deal I’ve seen is at Waterville Valley where every Tuesday you pay whatever the temperature is at dawn on Monday! I paid $10 dollars last time I went. Check here for Waterville Valley’s deals.

F1 Boston

4. F1 Boston Racing - Indoor Go Kart racing! This is not anything like the outdoor go kart track on Cape Cod you went to as a little kid. This is serious adult racing! Get a group together (you don’t have to. You can go by yourself) It’s a few minutes south off Rt. 93. 

These cars go something like 30+ MPH. They fly. When you get there you are told about the rules, you get a racing suit and helmet and are allowed to race the heck out of the cars. It is so much fun! There is also a bar/restaurant there for afterwards. The track is amazing. Keep in mind that there are guys watching you race so if you like to play smashemup derby or drive like a lunatic they will show you the door. Be cool and drive like a .....race car driver I guess. You will love it. Just GO!!!

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

5. Sledding on the Boston Common -

Everyone always talks about ice skating at the Frog Pond on the Common. It is always crowded and if you are like me (you hate ice skating) and would rather do something more fun and easier then sledding is for you.  

What is sledding really? You find something to lay down on , you find a hill and you slide down the hill on the thing you are laying down on. Most people don’t know there is a pretty good size hill right on the Common.

You can walk past the Frog Pond and go to the giant monument at the top of the hill. It’s called the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for you trivia buffs out there.  While you are at the statue walk a few dozen feet towards Charles Street and you will see the hill to sled on. The best time to go is when it’s all ice, when the snow has been packed down by kids already or when it’s just snowed but is warm enough to make a snowman. That way you can pack it down and make a good run. It may not look like Mt. Everest but you can fly all the way to Charles Street down that hill when conditions are right and if you have the right sled.

The right sled:  Just get over to Ocean State Job Lots on Route One in Saugus and get the plastic toboggan for a few bucks. They work great or Toy’s R Us also has them. The one I'm talking about is the cheap plastic kind that you can fit two people on or lay on your stomach. Fun Fun Fun. Then afterwards since you are in the center of Boston you might as well go have a few DRINKS: name a few Cappy approved bars. However you are literally surrounded by places to eat and drink and you are right next to my home away from home Downtown Crossing. Check out my comprehensive eating guide of DTX to see even more places to go.

Know How to Dress for Winter

Before I leave you until the next entry I feel , as an expert, I should give you a few pointers on how to dress for the New England winter.

Expert = Someone who works outside for 20 years in all weather including right now in winter and is almost never cold.

Once the temperature drops below 32 you need to layer up. This what I do. I am feeling good in this outfit to about 10 below Fahrenheit. If you need to know Celsius move to Europe. Someone there will assist you. You can adjust this outfit to what is comfortable for you.

Bottom layer - I have a Duofold Union Suit from LL Bean . It’s wool on the outside and fleece on the inside. I wear a t-shirt and underwear underneath it. A union suit is good if you don’t use the bathroom a lot. The trap door in the back is too small. Take it from me. Otherwise get a two piece but make sure it’s either wool or a lighter material like polyester. See here: LL Bean  
PS. As long as there is an Ebay you never have to pay full price for this stuff.

Wool socks - Get them cheap at Marshalls or TJ Maxx. NEVER wear two socks on one foot.
You can get chemical pack foot warmers at Ocean State or City Sports. They stick to the outside of your socks and last about 3 - 4 hours. If it’s below 20 degrees then get some. They are lifesavers.

Lined Jeans. - If I’m skiing I wear a waterproof ski suit but otherwise get some flannel lined jeans like these (click) they come in men's or women's style.

Over my Union suit I usually wear a sweatshirt with a fleece over it. A heavyweight fleece is the most important piece of clothing every New Englander must have. Lately the fad is to get a North Face Denali fleece like THIS   but since you aren’t a sheep know that you can get a good heavy fleece in any sporting goods store like Modell’s or again on Ebay for a LOT less than the status symbol North Face.

Gloves - Get a good pair of ski gloves with a glove liner inside. The good ones come with a little pocket to put a chemical pack in for the really cold days. They cost about 20 - 30 bucks and are a good investment.

Hat - ALWAYS wear a fleece or wool hat when you are outside all day in the winter. Heat really does escape from your head and you won’t believe how much warmer you are with a good winter hat on. Ear muffs alone won’t cut it.

AND if I were you I would get some good waterproof , insulated boots to wear or at least some Timberlands BUT never anything with a steel toe unless you like frostbite.

Layering is great because you can always take a few off if you're warm but you can't add them if you're freezing.

So there you have it. The winter is never easy when you feel like you are stuck inside with no options for fun. I hope I have shown you that fun is a twelve month a year activity. You should never feel stuck inside. If you are stuck inside then at least make it inside a bar or an indoor water park.

No More GTFAFMe’s! It’s amazing how they go away when you are enjoying yourself with good friends or making some new friends at one of the places above. REMEMBER to add your own ideas below. I see a million people are reading this but not commenting! So contribute please! See you soon out in the streets of Boston!

Love Ya,