Though freshly fallen snow can make even the coldest of winter days picturesque, there comes a point when I’m desperate for spring to arrive. Warmer weather, longer days, birds chirping, flowers budding, and the feeling of renewal uplift my mood. Spring is truly beautiful in Boston. Though the pandemic has completely altered the way we live our lives, I’m still finding ways to appreciate this time of year and hold on to any sense of normalcy within my reach. As spring inches closer, these are the things I can’t wait to enjoy with my family while still social distancing with my mask on and hand sanitizer in my pocket.

1. Family-friendly walks

We love walks where our daughter can roam around freely or hop in the stroller when her little legs get tired. Walking around in nature definitely improves our mood and brings us closer as a family. Some of our favorite places to walk are Turner’s Pond in Milton, World’s End in Hingham, and Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain. Feeding bread to the ducks or stopping for a snack time picnic is an added bonus to the trip. You can find a list of family-friendly Boston hikes here.

2. Beer gardens

My husband and I love trying new beers. It’s fun to sample all the new beers and old favorites local microbreweries are creating within the Greater Boston area. Sometimes the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday is in the sun with my shades on, a beer flight in front of me on a cute outdoor patio. Breweries are great about having non-alcoholic beverages available as well as snacks and food trucks. Our trick to keeping our daughter entertained is the little coloring packs I snag from the dollar bin at Target — total lifesavers! We’re looking forward to sitting out at Sam Adam’s Brewery in Jamaica Plain, Distraction Brewing in Roslindale, and Dorchester Brewing in Dorchester.

3. Farmer’s markets and CSAs

You can never go wrong with fresh produce — it makes me super excited to whip up dinner for my family or elevate our Sunday bunch at home. Nothing is better than grabbing a coffee and wandering the farmer’s market stands to grab old favorites or discover something new to try. There are a ton of markets spread across the city; you can find one local to you here. We also enjoy a short drive to a local farm to pick up vegetables from our CSA at Pakeen Farm. There are so many great farms in the Boston area with so many options for CSAs and opportunities to pick your own fruit, which my daughter loves! Our family favorite, Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, is a great place to try out the you-pick, and it has a play yard for kids. We usually end the trip with a stop at the smoothie bar.

4. Carousels

If we could ride the carousel all day long, my daughter would be in heaven. Thankfully, COVID hasn’t taken this away from us. With hand sanitizer stations available, contactless payment, and adherence to social distancing guidelines, riding the carousel is an outdoor activity we can’t wait to return to during our weekend days. The Greenway Carousel can be paired with a fun walk through the Rose Kennedy Greenway that has art instillations, water fountains, food trucks, open-air markets, a beer and wine garden, and beautiful plants and landscapes. If you want to take a little drive, we also enjoy the Paragon Carousel in Hull, which is a perfect addition to a beach day at Nantasket Beach or a walk along the boardwalk.

These are the activities I’m keeping in mind as a little treat for surviving another winter in New England. It makes the dark, cold days of winter worth every minute to get to experience the new beginning every spring brings.

Darcel Hunt-Finegold is a wife, mother, and life-long Bostonian. Her life passions are education and fitness. She is a proponent of public education and works as a high school teacher in the Boston Public Schools. Darcel's own personal health journey inspired her to earn a personal training and group fitness certification as well as create her brand, “Living the QuoBreaking Life.” She encourages women to step out of their comfort zone to create life by their design via mindset and fitness. Darcel loves to run, hike, cook brunch, and discover new places in the New England area with her daughter, husband, and Pomeranian, Brady.