After a soggy summer and an abbreviated autumn we’re faced with another winter in Western Mass. No matter how you feel about it winter can be a drag for anyone. But unless you’re going to run away south it comes with the territory so we might as well make the most of it.
Sure, we miss the flowers of Spring and swimming in Summer but at least there aren’t any mosquitos. Maybe the gold of the dry grass doesn’t match the crimson leaves of fall but how about the shadows cast by that low winter sun? Oh, and the snow. There’s nothing like a fresh blanket of snow to remind us why we live here.
Whether you’re hitting the slopes at Berkshire East or hiding under your blankets there are plenty of ways to enjoy winter in Western Mass.
This guide is full of ideas for activities and events that can motivate the most cold averse to get out of the house.
Yes its cold out but you have to use those adorable mittens and scarf you got for Christmas at some point. Throw on some layers, stick some hand warmers in your socks, whatever you need to do, just get outside. You won’t regret it.
Many of the nature centers in Western Mass have special winter programing like learning how to track wildlife and birdwatching.
Or just take a short hike that will leave you with great photos but no frostbite.
Berkshire East offers downhill skiing but if you’re not a fan of the slopes there are plenty of cross country ski trails for all skill levels. If you’re a little more comfortable in the cold you can snowshoe by moonlight.
Even if your body doesn’t want to be active in winter your mind still can be. Learning isn’t just for the students. There are always lectures and workshops going on throughout Western Mass.
There are presentations on everything from local history to technology and politics. Western Mass is full of experts on just about anything.
If you’re feeling creative there are workshops where you can learn a new craft, art form, musical instrument, or cooking technique. Workshops do tend to fill up so don’t forget to follow the links to check for availability.
Play Some Games
Not feeling nerdy? There is no shortage of opportunities to let loose and play some games in Western Mass. We have indoor parks, game rooms, barcades, old school pinball, minigolf, and go karts.
The local game stores offer plenty of opportunities for hardcore role play gamers to get together. Several bars offer game nights so you can drink local craft beer while you play Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity.
Western Mass even boasts several local game designers. You can meet them and try out their games at Prodigy Gameroom once a month.
Escape Into A Movie
Western Mass is a great place for a cinephile. You can catch the latest Hollywood, art house or foreign releases at half the price of a big city theater. The Amherst Cinema is home to many special programs and retrospectives. Community organizations also host screenings of old favorites in unique venues. For a more casual and social movie going experience plenty of bars host movie nights.
There are no shortage of local filmmakers either. Their work is often shown at a variety of venues.
Western Mass has also hosted quite a few productions over the years. For the serious film buff you can visit many of the filming locations going as far back as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and as recent as “The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot.”
Have A Night Out
Sometimes you need to peel yourself off away from Netflix and head out into the darkness. Even in winter Western Mass is full of live music, theater, beer tastings, food and drink events and more.
You don’t need Valentines Day as an excuse to have a romantic dinner for two. Or if you’re flying solo grab a seat at the bar and have a great meal while you read a book, watch a game, or people watch.
Nothing warms up a cold winter night like a dance party whether it’s old favorites on vinyl, an up and coming local band, or the best of international music.
Not all live music has to be a party of course. There is no shortage of amazing local and touring songwriters playing at venues throughout Western Mass. From intimate shows at The Parlor Room to legends at the Shea Theater and more adventurous offerings at The Root Cellar.
Classical and jazz concert series also go on throughout the winter. Local performers and grammy winning soloists play almost every night.
Of course make sure to keep an eye on the weather because cancellations are sometimes unavoidable.