By Amy & Nate Swisher, outdoor enthusiasts and Hannah parents
Fall and winter on the North Shore are exciting times to get outside and enjoy nature! Taking as little as 15-20 minutes a day to get outside for a quick walk as a family can help boost your immune system, soak up some natural vitamin D, improve mood and re-immerse your senses in the natural environment. Join up with one of the walking school buses on the way to Hannah in the morning, take a trip to the local beach or playground, or walk around Kelleher Pond.
We are so lucky to live in such a gorgeous community - head on out and enjoy it! Here are some of our favorite go-to spots for longer local walks:
Red Rocks Conservation Area, Gloucester - Short easy hike with incredible ocean views. Fall foliage is sure to be spectacular on an afternoon hike right now! This could be a fast-paced hour round trip, or stroll and explore as you reach the summit, spending a few hours easily. Be warned, the first section parallels 128 south for roughly a 1/4 mile and is less than tranquil, but as the trail breaks away it feels amazingly wild. Take exit 14, go under the highway and parking lot is immediately on left.
Endicott Park, Danvers - Two unique hiking trails wait for your discovery at Endicott Park. If you're not up for a hike, it's a super kid friendly place to let them run wild in the playground, visit the animals at the barn and pasture, fish in the pond, or explore the new Nature Center. Parking fee on weekends and holidays ($3 for nonresidents) and limited Nature Center hours on Wednesday and Saturday. But if the Rangers aren't busy they're always happy to let you in and show you around. Tell them Nate said to give you the VIP tour, snake handling and all. Restrooms and warm visitors center open every day of the year, 9 a.m. to sunset.
Long Hill, Beverly - Federal-style mansion surrounded by lush gardens with walking paths. A popular 1.2-mile main loop trail – great for families – passes through quintessentially New England woodlands dotted by vernal pools and imposing boulders. Free access to all. Dogs welcome.