By Neil Fater
---- — People don’t need snow to enjoy the Ward Winter Fun Day this Sunday, Feb. 10. The Charles W. Ward Reservation’s 14 miles of trails and its views of Boston will be available regardless of the weather.
But, let’s face it, Winter Fun Day is a whole lot better when there’s white stuff on the ground – and the forecast is calling for significant snow to arrive Friday.
“There’s just so much more for people to do: cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, and for the kids it’s so much better to go off and sled while the parents are relaxing around a warming fire,” said Adam Rollfs, property manager. “Fresh show makes it much better.”
The Winter Fun Day is an annual opportunity for community members to be introduced to all that the property has to offer – even during colder weather. While people can enjoy each other’s company for group hikes, skiing and sledding, they can also explore the area on their own, and find a secluded spot with a breathtaking view that they can return to another time.
“That’s one of the great things about the property. I like to be off by myself and you can go up on Boston Hill and not see anyone all day,” said Rollfs. “You can be isolated from the noise of Route 125 and 28 and not hear anything except the chickadees.”
Winter Fun Day will provide more social opportunities, including the chance to toast s’mores and hot dogs over the warming fire. Hot chocolate will be available.
Throughout the day there will be short hikes around Holt Hill and the site’s unusual “quaking bog” of floating vegetation. Atop Holt Hill is the view of the Boston skyline for which Ward Reservation is known locally. History says that on June 17, 1775 Andover residents climbed the hill to watch Charlestown burn during the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Bunker Hill.
Officially running on Sunday, Feb. 10, from noon to 3 p.m., will be two three-mile guided hikes of 90 minutes each. A hike to Boston Hill will leave at 12:30 p.m. and a hike to the Judy Trail, also part of the 700-acre reservation, will leave at 1 p.m.
The day will provide even those familiar with the Ward Reservation with something new. They can get their first look at the property since a number of trees were cut down to recreate a grasslands bird habitat.
The Reservation was able to use about $400,000 to cut down trees that had taken over a former field, said Rollfs. The work also makes the Boston skyline visible from more of the property, including from the base of operations for Winter Fun Day.
“There’s a few people around who can remember what it looked like in the 1950s, [when it was still grassland] including John Kimbell who lives in the house where the Winter Fun Day is held,” said Rollfs. “It’s a really neat spot and a great view.”
The Charles W. Ward Reservation is one of more than 100 properties owned by conservation organization The Trustees of Reservations, and all are open to the public.
People can park at the Ward Reservation entrance on Prospect Road, east of Route 125, in Andover. There will be signs pointing to the nearby activities. Because of the limited, unpaved parking lot, Rollfs asks people to carpool when possible.
For more information, call Adam Rollfs with the Trustees of Reservations at 978-886-5297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINTER FUN DAY
Sunday, Feb. 10
noon to 3 p.m.
Charles Ward Reservation, a property of The Trustees of Reservations
Prospect Road, east of Route 125