Travel


Top 5 Skiing Mountains in New England

It’s going to be a gorgeous weekend to go skiing! New England is luckily enough to have some of the best ski resorts in the country.  We choose our favorites based on a variety of different criteria including largest resort, to most family friendly.  Here are our top 5 mountains within a 3 hours drive from Massachusetts!

Best Family Friendly Mountain
Loon Mountain in New Hampshire

Located in the scenic White Mountain National Forest, this mountain offers beautiful scenery and ample snowfall. Loon offers wide groomed trails, tree glades and steep moguls. At night take advantage of the variety of shops and restaurants. For those of you who need a break from skiing, the resort includes an ice castle, a winter zip-line, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, snow tubing and an adventure center.

Runs: 61

Most Terrain Parks
Okemo Mountain Resort in Southern Vermont

Okemo’s accommodates skiers of all levels. With an almost equal balance between beginner, intermediate and advanced trails, everyone is sure to find the perfect run. For boarders and freestylers, the park offers 8 terrains parks, including a Superpipe. Okemo’s trail network spans over five distinct alpine areas, and let’s not forget it has one of the highest vertical drops in southern Vermont of 2,200 feet.

Runs: 120

Biggest Mountain/ Resort
Killington Resort in Southern Vermont

The biggest resort on our list spanning 6 mountains providing 155 runs, with the longest run 6 miles. Killington’s terrain is extremely diverse, ranging from gentle groomers, learning areas to steep mogul runs and gladed trails, as well as some of the best terrain parks in the northeast. With 5 base lodges around the resort, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Killington’s fine dining options.  By the end of the day, if you aren’t wiped out from the amazing skiing, take advantage of Killington’s awesome nightlife.

Runs: 155

Most Environmental Resort
Jiminy Peak in Western Massachusetts

Jiminy is the only one on our list in Massachusetts, and the only resort in America that generates their own energy by using alternative wind power from their Wind Turbine. A great mountain for beginners and for those who want relaxing runs with over half the runs on beginner trails. Don’t let that deter those of you advanced skiers. Jiminy peak offers advanced and expert runs on challenging terrain that you can easily get to from a ride on the six-passenger express ski lift to the summit. And if you can’t get enough skiing in during the day, stay for a night ski!

Runs: 45

Best Pricing Offers
Stratton Mountain Resort in Southern Vermont

Stratton is offering a great deal of 2 one-day lift tickets for discounted rates. Recently revamped, guests can now enjoy new snowmaking, grooming, new trails, and newly remodeled lodging and dining. With 100 acres of glades, and 95% snow making coverage, skiers and boarders are sure to be pleased. But, for some reason if you are not happy with the mountain, Stratton offers a “Great Snow Guarantee.” Ride the trails for an hour, and if you aren’t satisfied, Stratton will give you credit towards another day.

Runs: 97

ski mountain NE copy

Top 10 Places to go Sledding in New England

For all the annoying problems that come with snow, it can be easy to forget how much fun it can be.  New England, with all its wonderful mountains and hills, has great places to go sledding. Don’t fret if you don’t have a sled, grab a inner tube, or trash can lid, or check out these awesome DIY ideas to make your own!

1.For those brave at heart and willing to travel, check out Suicide Hill in Bangor, Maine.  It’s icy and steep, which makes fast the only speed to go down.

2. Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, MA will make anyone happy.  They have all types of hills, and a snack shop.  Also, huge bonus for having bathrooms.

3.  The “Bowl” next to Jamaica Pond in Boston, MA provides a little extra fun at the end of your trip down. Like the name suggests, its bowl shaped so when you go down one side, you go back up the other before you come down again.

4.  One of the best make shift sleds I ever used was a cafeteria tray from my college cafeteria.  Take a visit to Wellesley College, in Wellesley, MA , to try out their sledding hill near Severance Hall.

5. Make a day out of Flagstaff Hill in the Boston Common, Boston, MA.  Along with sledding, there’s an ice skating ring, and plenty of kid friendly restaurants.

6. Although this one might be a bit of a hike up, Prospect Park Hill in Waltham, MA is worth it.  With amazing views of Boston, it is definitely a site to see.

7. Norfolk Golf Club in Westwood, MA has great slopes for sledding.  Unfortunately, everyone seems to know that so it can get crowded.

8. If you don’t want to have to worry about parking, Lexington High School in Lexington, MA is worth checking out.  It has a good hill behind it, and because it’s a school there’s plenty of places to park on the weekend.

9. No one wants a tree in the middle on their sledding route. Bradgon’s Hill in Amherst, NH has a nice long open hills with no trees in the way.

10. Want to socialize but still want plenty of room to sled? Amory Park in Brookline, MA has the best of both worlds.  While there’s lot of people who love coming to this park, there’s still plenty of room for you to have your own space.

Feeling inspired? Grab a sled and hit the hill of your choice before it’s too late! Though it may feel like winter is lasting forever, there are only a few weeks left until spring. Make sure you make the best of it by getting in some sledding time this season.

Do you have a favorite sledding hill that’s not included? Comment below to share your pick!

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How to Drive Safely With Snowbanks

The four blizzards in three weeks have left mountains of snow all around New England. Removing the snow has been challenging for towns everywhere, and with nowhere to move it all, the streets have becoming increasingly clogged. Travel lanes have been reduced from four to two, and two-way roads are now one way. Particularly small streets are so clogged up that even sidewalks cease to exist! If they do, they’re so narrow even the smallest of people have a hard time passing the massive snow banks. With nowhere else to walk, pedestrians than take to the road, resulting in further unsafe road conditions.

Here are a few safety tips on how to drive with massive snowbanks:

1. Drive SLOWER. Although that seems like such obvious advice, it really is so important.   In the winter, tires don’t hold to asphalt as well as they do in the summer. A mistake becomes much harder to correct with snow on the ground. Braking distances become longer, and the ability to dart around quickly in traffic decreases. Even when the roads seem cleared up, it’s still important to drive slowly due to decreased visibility from the snow banks. Many the snow piles tower way above 3 ½ feet- which is eye level for most drivers. The safest way to cross is to slowly come to a stop and then inch out to see if a car is coming. Even if you know that there is a stop sign for the intersected street, they might not able to see it due to the snow banks.

2. Make sure you windows are de-iced so you can properly see cars coming. Not only is driving with iced up windows incredibility unsafe, it is also illegal. You can quickly ice proof your windows by spraying them the night before with three parts vinegar and one part water. The acetic acid in vinegar will lower the melting point of water and preventing it from freezing. If you don’t get to it at night, spray the mixture in the morning to make scrapping much easier.

3. Check the pressure and tread of your tires. Too low pressure or bald tires can be extremely dangerous, especially in snowy weather. Having low pressure can cause heat build up, which can cause the tire to pop at high speeds. Most gas station have air pumps that will let you gauge the pressure and add more air if needed. Bald tires, or low tread means less traction to the road, especially in rain or snow. You can check this by placing a penny (the edge with Lincoln’s head pointing down) in one the grooves of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.

4. Drive with your lights on. With snowbanks blocking drivers view, having your lights on with help make you known to other drivers. Even if the sun is out, if it’s snowing always have your lights on. With visibility so low when it snows, having your lights on will help you see other cars coming, and help drivers see you.

Massachusetts has had a record-breaking month with snow, and it will take some time for it all to melt. Keep these tips in mind so you can safely navigate around the snow covered streets!

Driving with Snowbanks

February 2015 Events in Massachusetts

The start of February brings more snow to our winter wonderland called Massachusetts!  Although it’s tempting to just stay cooped up in our homes, there are some events that are just worth going to!  Here are some of MassDrive’s favorite events happening in February.

Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival
Feb 6th – Feb 15th: Salem, MA

This luscious tasting event features wine and chocolate samplings from premier Salem restaurants, stores and sweet shops. Kick off the event at Colonial Hall at Rockafellas Friday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m with chocolates and wine tasting. Enjoy more than 15 large sculptures around downtown Salem with trolley rides guiding you through the festival route. Also, many of Salem’s downtown businesses will offer discounts on special offerings throughout the festival so be sure to stop by!

The Wiz
Feb 13th – Feb 22nd: Dorchester, MA

Get your tickets while you can for the award winning Broadway musical “The Wiz”! Winner of 7 Tony awards, this modern re-telling of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” sets Dorothy’s adventures to a lively mixture of rock, gospel, and soul. The Fiddlehead Theater Company invites people of all ages to come dance away their winter doldrums on this perfectly magical journey.

3rd Annual Frozen Pilgrim 10K Plymouth
Feb 15th: Plymouth, MA

Grab your sneakers, (and jacket!) to compete in the 3rd Annual Frozen Pilgrim race. Starting and finishing at the Boys & Girl’s Club of Plymouth, this 10K takes you around the Industrial Park. With a double loop up the Armstrong road hill it is sure to push your endurance. Sign up now and be sure to check out their charity Partner the Kurt Giessler Foundation for Youth Achievement.

February School Vacation Week in the Tropics at Franklin Park Zoo
Feb 16th – Feb 20th: Boston, MA

Escape the cold during February vacation week by visiting the Franklin Park Zoo’s tropical Forest, which is a wonderfully warm 72 degrees. Stroll through lush greenery and waterfalls, and visit lowland gorillas and ring-tailed lemurs. During this week there will be zookeeper encounters, crafts and much more. You can even stop by the Hippo Theater to hear Curious George tell stories everyday from 10:30 am to 3 p.m.

Adam DeVine
Feb 17th: Amherst, MA

Best known for his role as co-creater, writer and star of the hot Comedy Central show Workaholics, Adam DeVine is quickly becoming one of the most sought after young comedians and actors in the comedy world. With his popularity growing rapidly, you can also catch him in upcoming feature films and guest starring on hit TV shows. Come check him out February 17th at University of Massachusetts’ Mullins Center in Amherst.

Mardi Gras Madness
Feb 17th: Dracut, MA

The Greater Lowell Chamber of Congress is hosting their one and only fundraiser of the year.  Enjoy music and Karaoke, complimentary appetizers and cupcakes, and much more. Mardi Gras Madness will have a winner-takes-all raffle that includes $1000 cash prize, gift baskets, gift certificates, concert tickets and more! Located at the Four Oaks Country Club, it is sure to be a good time.

February Events in Massachusetts

Swimming Safety Tips

swimming 4

Who doesn’t love taking a swim on a hot summer day?  Whether you’re at the pool, the beach, or a lake, fun is sure to be had, but it can quickly turn into a dangerous situation if parents and children don’t know proper swimming safety.  We’ve listed a few tips below that everyone should keep in mind whether they’re in or around the water.

  • The best thing to do for your family when it comes to water safety is to make sure that everyone knows how to swim and respects the water.  Signing children up for swimming classes at a young age will ensure that they learn proper swimming techniques and learn water safety at a young age.
  • Teach children to always ask for permission before going in the water.  You should always know when they’re swimming so that you can be there to supervise.
  • Make sure swimmers are ALWAYS supervised.  Children should never be left alone in the water for any reason, and whether it’s by you, another adult, or a lifeguard, there should always be someone nearby to jump into action if they’re needed.
  • Even if there is supervision, children should not swim alone.  Make sure they use the “buddy system” and have a friend with them at all times, but do not trust their safety to another child alone, the buddy system should be used in addition to adult supervision.
  •  Children that are still learning to swim should always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in or around water.
  • There should always be an adult in the water with non-swimmers, and children should always be within an arms reach of them.
  • Make sure all pools are completely enclosed by fences that are at least five feet tall.  The gates should be self-closing and self-latching, and there should not be anything nearby for children to climb on that can enable them to climb over the fence, such as outdoor furniture, toys, etc.
  • Always keep rescue equipment nearby, such as a life preserver, rope, or solid pole.  In an emergency you don’t want to be searching for something to use, it’s best to make sure they are always in the same place and immediately put back when not in use.  It’s also a good idea to keep a first kit nearby for minor cuts and bumps.
  • Make sure children understand not to run, push, or horse around near water.  Not only can they endanger themselves, they can also cause harm to others if they were to slip and fall.
  • If you’re swimming in open water, only swim in approved areas.  Check the depth of the water, and make sure there isn’t an undertow, which can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal for even the most experienced swimmers.
  • If you’re swimming at a public place, such as a beach or public pool, use a brightly colored towel or umbrella so that children can easily spot you.
  • If your child goes missing, check the water first.  If they are struggling in the water, seconds can make all the difference in this life or death situation.
  • In case of an emergency, make sure there is always a phone and emergency numbers nearby.
  • It’s a good idea for all parents, but especially those that own a pool to be trained in CPR.
  • Avoid drinks with alcohol in them when you’re swimming yourself or supervising others.
  • Make sure that children take breaks from swimming to rehydrate and reapply sunscreen.

With these tips, you and your family will be having fun in the sun and water all summer long!

Photo By: whgrad

Tips For Taking A Road Trip With The Kids

road trip

Taking a road trip with the kids can really test your patience and planning skills.  Fending off constant questions like “Are we there yet?” and “When’s the next bathroom break?” can get old pretty quick, so you’ll want to make sure your kids have plenty of things to occupy their time while in the car.  To help you out, we’ve listed some tips that will definitely come in handy if you plan on road tripping with the kids this summer.

  • Make sure kids are comfy.  What your kids are wearing on their road trip can make a big difference to how the trip goes.  If kids are uncomfortable you’ll hear about it, probably over and over again.  Put them in something that they like to wear such as pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt, and save the dressy clothes for your arrival, odds are something will end up spilling on them anyways during the trip, so at least you won’t dirty up one of their nicer outfits.
  • Be strategic about your departure time.  It may be easier to travel with kids during certain hours of the day, for example, if your kids can sleep through the night in the car, you might want to wait until after dinner and drive through the night so you reach your destination by morning.  You’ll probably avoid tons of traffic too, which is always a plus.  Working with their schedules, nap times, and meal times will make the trip easier for you and them.
  • Keep them occupied.  This will help you keep your sanity and theirs, make sure you have plenty of coloring books, toys, games, movies, and snacks.  You’ll also want to charge any electronics they may use, such as tablets or portable DVD players before you leave.
  • Be prepared for anything, and we mean ANYTHING.  You want to make sure you have a first aid kit, wet wipes, paper towels, extra clothes, diapers, batteries, car chargers, trash bags, a flashlight, and extra drinks and snacks in case the ones you already packed spill.
  • Take a break.  It’s inevitable that little ones and even older ones will want to stretch their legs and take a break from the car.  Find a local park and have a picnic so you can have something to eat and they can run around and burn off some energy.
  • Get kids involved in the trip.  If your kids are old enough to suggest landmarks they want to see or places they want to visit, let them!  It will make the trip much more enjoyable for them and you may even visit a place that you wouldn’t have chosen on your own, and end up loving it!
  • Make sure your driver’s license, registration, and insurance are all up to date and haven’t expired.  These are all extremely important to have any day, but especially if you’re going to be driving a long distance.  If you don’t have a membership to AAA, you may also want to consider that.

With these tips, your next family road trip should go smoothly and be a blast for everyone!

Photo By: Deb

Protect Your Home While You’re On Vacation

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Going away on vacation?  You probably just want to focus on all of the fun and relaxation you’ll be doing, but it’s important to take certain precautions before you leave, especially when it comes to your home.  If burglars realize that your house is going to be empty for a few days, this can make it a target.  You wouldn’t want to come home from a spectacular vacation only to find your home ransacked and your belongings missing.  Follow these tips to protect your home if you plan on being away for a few days.

  • Do not post on social media that you will be traveling.  This is a very easy way to make your home a target, as you never know who may see this post.  Friends of friends may have access to your posts depending on your privacy settings and it makes it known that your home will be unoccupied for a significant amount of time.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked.  If you leave any openings unlocked, you’re making it easy for burglars to enter your home.  Thieves are more likely to find another target if your doors and windows are locked.
  • Set your lights on a timer so that they go on and off throughout the day and night, making it look like someone is home.  You should also make sure you have outdoor lights on a timer as well so that your yard is well-lit at night.  If your yard is well-lit at night, it makes it more risky to break in because there is a greater chance of being seen, especially if you live on a busy street with a lot of cars driving by.
  • Tell neighbors you will be away.  That way they can keep an eye out for any suspicious activity or strangers going on to the property.
  • Ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail and newspapers so that it looks like someone is coming and going.  If newspapers and mail pile up outside, it makes it obvious that no one has been home for a while, making your home a target.
  • Leave a car parked in the driveway.  If you are not able to do this, ask a friend or neighbor to park their car in your driveway every so often, making it appear as though someone is inside.
  • Make sure all valuables are not in sight.  If a burglar were to peek in your windows and not see anything of value, they will be more likely to move on.
  • If you plan on being away for a long period of time, hire someone to mow your lawn and keep up with your yard.
  • If you do not have an alarm system, consider investing in o y.  At the very least find an alarm company sign to put up outside, even if you don’t have a security system, the sign may be enough of a deterrent to convince burglars to move one.
  • If you have any keys hidden on your property, do not leave them out while you are away.
  • Store jewelry or other small valuables in a safe hiding place while you are gone.  A security deposit box is a great option if possible.
  • Make sure to keep a list of all valuables and other important information such as serial numbers.  This information will be useful in the event that you are the victim of a robbery and will also be useful in the recovery of stolen items.

If you take these precautions before going on vacation, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your time away knowing that your home, and your valuables are protected.

Ask The MassDrive Agent: What’s The Best Scenic Drive In Massachusetts?

scenic drive

Now that it’s officially fall, the leaves are starting to turn and we’re starting to see some beautiful foliage across the Bay State.  During this time of year, the brightly colored leaves and crisp weather don’t last too long, and taking a scenic drive is the perfect way to enjoy a gorgeous fall day!  There are so many different options to choose from, so we’ve asked our agents what some of their favorite drives are across the state to narrow down the list.

Route 2 – This historic drive goes through the back roads of Massachusetts, and is a favorite of our sales agent, Teresa.  It runs from Lexington and Concord all the way to the Berkshires, and is about 3 hours from beginning to end.  Not only does it have beautiful foliage during this time of year, it’s also much less congested than main roads in the area.  There are amazing mountain views that make the drive totally worth it, especially on a warm, clear day.

Chickatawbut Rd – This road is part of the Blue Hills Reservation Parkways and runs through Milton, Quincy, and Braintree.  Our sales agent, Jeff, loves the mix of country and city.  The road runs through the Blue Hills so there are beautiful views of fall foliage, and even a great view of the Boston skyline along the route.  Another great perk?  You’ll get to miss all the traffic on I-93!

Mount Auburn Cemetery – Our sales agent, Christine, loves going for a ride through Mount Auburn Cemetery in the fall.  This 72 acre cemetery is also an experimental garden, and features historical monuments, structures, art, and a wide variety of plants and wildlife.  It is located in Cambridge and Watertown, and has spectacular views of the city but also makes you feel like you’re getting in touch with nature.  It’s a nice spot to drive through, or even stroll through if you have the time.

Memorial Drive – Located on the north bank of the Charles River in Cambridge, this road is a favorite spot of our sales agent, Shawn.  It’s also known as U.S. Route 3 for its entire length, and Massachusetts Route 2 over the portion west of the Boston University Bridge.  He said the view of the Boston skyline is especially amazing on a clear night, and not to be missed if you have the chance to take a ride over there.  If you can find a parking spot, he recommends stopping to take a walk along the river.

Milestone Rd – Our customer service representative, Chrissy, love taking a ride down Milestone Rd in Nantucket.  She says it’s very quaint and secluded, you get to see the fall foliage and the beach on the same drive.  It’s also in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary, so you may see some animals if you’re lucky.   Taking a ride through Nantucket would be the perfect way to enjoy this beautiful weather we’ve been having!

These different roads will bring you by the beach, city, historical monuments, art,  and of course by some beautiful fall foliage.  Pack up the car, grab some friends, put on our road trip playlist, and enjoy!

Photo By: kimberlykv

The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist!

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Road trips are a fun way to spend the day during the warmer weather.  You get to see new places, make new memories with family and friends, and of course crank some tunes. Whether you’ll be in the car for hours, or only for a quick drive, having the right music can make the trip much more enjoyable.  To help you avoid digging through CD’s and scrolling through all of your songs on iTunes, we’ve come up with a play list of classic songs and newer hits that are sure to be popular with all ages.

With a mix of oldies, newer pop songs, and classic rock, this playlist is sure to please everyone in the car during your trip, no matter how long it is!  So roll the windows down, blast the speakers, and enjoy!

Photo By: Aidras

 

 

 

 

Camp Grounds In Massachusetts!

camping

If you want to get in touch with nature and experience the great outdoors, there’s no better way to do it than to go camping!  Here in Massachusetts, we have a lot of different options, whether it’s on the south shore, out in the Berkshires, or on the north shore, there are options across the entire state to check out!

Wompatuck State Park – Located on the south shore, this camp ground is only 35 minutes from Boston but you will be sure to feel like you’re deep in the woods.  There are 262 campsites and 140 of them have electricity, there are also restrooms and showers on site.  During the day, take advantage of the many hiking trails and explore the area, and the  12 mile network of bike paths on the opposite side of Union Street.  Mountain biking is allowed and fishing is also a popular pastime in the area.  This camp ground is also extremely affordable, sites without electricity cost $12 per night per campsite (without electricity) for Massachusetts residents and $14 for non-residents.  For sites with electricity there is an additional charge of $3 per night.  The camp ground closes October 13th so don’t miss your chance to experience a night in the great outdoors before the end of the season!

Historic Valley Camp Ground – Head west this camping season to North Adams and stay at Historic Valley Camp Ground!  There are 100 sites on this camp ground with water, electricity, and some sewer sites.  Located on Lake Windsor, guests can enjoy swimming and lounging on the public beach or travel to nearby downtown North Adams which has a variety of different cultural and performing arts.  There’s also boating, fishing, and a playground for the little ones.  There are lakeside, wilderness, and pull through sites for your RV, camper, or tent.  This camp ground is perfect for the whole family, so pack your bags and enjoy a weekend in nature before the cold rolls in!

Salisbury Beach Camp Ground – If you’re looking for a different take on camping, this is the spot for you.  While it’s not situated in the middle of the woods, you’re only a short walk from Salisbury beach and tons of local attractions including an arcade for the little ones, restaurants, batting cages, and much more.  Here you can fall asleep to the sounds of the sea, and a camp site is much more affordable than a beach house! Sites are only $17 per night for Massachusetts residents and $19 for non-residents, and there is a two night reservation minimum.  The camp ground resembles a small town, with different streets lined up next to each other and there are 484 sites so there is plenty of room if you want to bring friends!

The chill will return to the air before we know it, and spending a night or two in the great outdoors is the perfect way to close out the summer season!  Grab your family, friends, and tent of course and make your reservations for one of these upcoming weekends, if the weather continues to stay as warm as it has been you may feel like you’re still on summer vacation!

Photo By: anjanettew

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