by Paula M. Riley
Recent low temperatures, snowfall and icy roads often lead us to feel like we should just stay inside. There’s a lot going on in Chestnut Hill, however, that you’ll miss if you don’t get out of the house, brush the snow of your car or get your winter boots out of the closet and go outside.
With its large blue sign prominently displayed on West Willow Grove Avenue, the Wissahickon Skating Club (wissskating.com) entrance is hard to miss. WSC is a private, nonprofit skating club open to the public for skating and hockey instruction, ice rental and parties. Children as young as 3 are welcome to enroll in skating classes.
Other WSC class offerings include adult lessons, synchronized skating and hockey. Every Friday evening, year-round, the rink is open to the public from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Admission is $9 and skate rental is $3.
Although the rink is indoors, it is an ice rink and the club is chilly, so be sure to bring gloves and other warm clothing.
If you’d rather stay outside, there are numerous winter activities at the Morris Arboretum (www.morrisarboretum.org) in February and March. Arboretum goers can meet at the Visitor Center at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays for “Winter Wellness Walks.” This guided walk covers approximately two miles of the Arboretum’s paved paths at a brisk pace.
If you prefer a different pace with stops along the way to examine beautiful specimens, try the guided tours, available each Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. These tours are designed based upon the interests of the attendees, so every tour is different.
The more adventurous may want to head to the Wissahickon section of Fairmount Park to explore its hundreds of miles of hilly trails. With trailheads at Bells Mill Road, Rex Avenue, Northwestern Avenue and Valley Green Drive, there are many convenient locations to start and end the trail.
The Sustainable Trails Initiative has resulted in extensive trail renovation as well as improved signage that make it easy to find trails even in winter. A complete trail map is available at Friends of Wissahickon Headquarters, 8708 Germantown Ave., or at www.fow.org. The FOW site includes links to Google maps for parking and trailheads. The Valley Green Inn, situated deep in the park along the Wissahickon Creek at Valley Green Road, is a great place to rest with its delicious meals and roaring fireplace.
Little ones may not be able to handle the wind on these snowy days. Take them to an indoor playground at The Little Treehouse Play Cafe (www.treehouseplaycafe.com).
With its climbing space, wooden toys, dress-up clothes and open area, babies, toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy hours of fun. Parents love the safe play space as well as the healthy food options and opportunity for them to connect with other parents, read the paper or just relax with their children. Hours at the Treehouse have changed, but families can still enjoy its many offerings Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. To 6 p.m.
Older children and their parents may want to head north along Germantown Avenue to the Woodmere Art Museum (www.woodmereartmuseum.org) at Bells Mill Road, where art, music and education events will warm the heart of budding artists and anyone who enjoys beauty.
During February, Friday Night Jazz features a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington as well as Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix. Sunday Classical Concerts celebrate Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Bach and many more. A complete schedule and tickets are available on the museum’s website.
Don’t let Glen “Hurricane” Schwartz’s forecast keep you locked inside your house. Enjoy winter in Chestnut Hill. For more information on events and activities, visit www.chestnuthillpa.com