Fruitlands Museum, well-known as the site of an historic utopian experiment, also has an ideal wintertime draw—the “OMG!” hill. Its steep pitch is a thrill for kids and adults alike who sled during the museum’s WinterFest Weekends (snow permitting). More manageable for the little ones and those less bent on an adrenaline rush are the bunny slopes and five trail loops for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing through woodlands and open fields. The 210-acre Harvard, Massachusetts, property offers views of full-blown sunsets, the western side of Mount Wachusett, the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, and the Nashua River Valley. The museum’s cluster of historic structures—the farmhouse where Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane led their idiosyncratic community in 1843, The Shaker Museum, and The Native American Museum—are closed for the season (they will reopen April 15), but hot chocolate is served at the visitor center during WinterFest Weekends, and there’s a wood-burning fire pit outside. The adjacent Art Museum will also have on display, through March 26, an exhibit of landscapes in Hidden Hudson: Paintings from the Permanent Collection, in addition to selections from its other holdings on art related to the Transcendentalists, Shakers, and Native Americans. The two buildings and the grounds will be open on weekends regardless of whether there is enough snow for sledding and skiing, but if inclement weather precludes traveling or outside activities, WinterFest Weekends will be canceled. Visitors can check the museum’s website before venturing out.
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