A top-notch hike is walking at World's End in Hingham
Eva Borsody das of Hull leads a walk at World's End in Hingham.
Sue Scheible, The Patriot Ledger
With COVID cases surging locally, statewide, and across the country, and the uncertainties of the new omicron variant, navigating the pandemic remains as tricky and ever-changing as it has since the beginning.
In addition to getting vaccinated, and wearing a well-fitting mask when around other people, there are still ways to get out of the house in ways that are mostly safe, if youre feeling cooped up during another pandemic winter.
Or, if youre more comfortable staying home, there are ways to feel like you got out and socialized for a while.
Whether youre looking to get out and enjoy the fresh air, looking to connect with others and make new friends, or even learn a new skill, here are some activities so you can enjoy yourself while avoiding big crowds:
The best way to stop feeling so cooped up is to get outside and get a little bit of fresh air if you can.
Luckily, Taunton has a number of places where you can go and enjoy a walk, hike, or bike ride, whatever suits your fancy.
Its a great way to spend some family time, or meet up with friends if its safe to do so, and see some natural beauty together.
The new year often sees a bombardment of advice about how to get more exercise, or stick to weight loss resolutions, but as that is subtle body shaming, were not going down that road. Lets just say that walking is good for your overall health, including your mental well-being, which is just a bonus to getting outside and having some fun.
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Be sure to stay hydrated, pack a snack, and have a mask handy if you need it too.
Here are a few places around Greater Taunton to get outside and avoid those crowds:
Where: 1298 Cohannet St.
Hours: Open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; also sometimes referred to locally as the bird sanctuary.
Where: 1361 Middleboro Ave., East Taunton
Hours: Open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Where: 132 N. Walker St.
Hours: Open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: 1387 Somerset Ave., Dighton
Hours: Open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Third Ave., Berkley
Hours: Open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although closing times vary seasonally. Call the park for updates at 508-822-7537.
Where: End of Rogers Street, off N. Main Street, Raynham
Hours: N/A; features a freshwater pond and trail
Where: 110 Slab Ridge Rd., Assonet
Hours: Open seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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If you want to get out but not necessarily go out, virtual events are a great way to socialize.
You can hop on a video chat, get a little human interaction, and, heres the best part, stay in your comfy pajamas the whole time.
Check with local organizations to see what they have on offer; most will post events on their Facebook page, making it extra easy to RSVP to an event. Eventbrite is also a handy tool to see whats coming up.
This is just a small list, but places like the Taunton Public Library, Old Colony History Museum, Downtown Taunton Foundation, and Taunton Art Association (or any organization or group like these) are good places to start looking.
For example, every month the Old Colony History Museum hosts a virtual event called A Taste of Old Colony History, where they bake a historical recipe that often has ties to our region. One of the earliest ones was how to bake classic Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies.
This month theyve actually got a double-header: brown bread and baked beans. On Thursday, Jan. 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., OCHM will upload a video of the recipes being made, and then there will be a Conversation From the Kitchen to talk about the history, cooking process, and the nostalgia associated with the recipe of the month.
A Taste of Old Colony History: Bake historical recipes with Old Colony History Museum
These events are always free. You can register to get the recipe at the museums Eventbrite page: http://oldcolonyhistorymuseum.eventbrite.com. For any questions, call 506-822-1622.
Another way to keep up with local events, including virtual ones, is to check out the Taunton Daily Gazettes weekly in our community listings. Theres an update every Sunday.
If you have an event coming up that youd like to share with the Gazette, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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From the beginning of this pandemic, many of us have used the time we have at home if we are among those who are privileged to be able to stay at home to learn some new skills. Whether it was because we wanted to learn something new and useful, or we just needed an outlet, stories abounded of people learning how to knit, or make bread, or play an instrument, or tackle house projects on their own. A lot of people discovered skills they never knew they had.
With this winter shaping up to be a time many people will be spending mostly at home, theres plenty of time to start learning something new, or get a hobby started.
The internet is full of DIY tutorials, but you can also sign up for classes and events through craft stores like Michaelsor JOANN Fabrics.
Many colleges also offer the occasional free lecture, if theres a topic youre interested in. Bristol Community College, Bridgewater State University, UMass Dartmouth and Stonehill College are all good places to start looking.
Joining a club is also a good way to get out or to spend time with others.
You could join an in-person group, like a hiking club, where distancing is possible and everyone is outdoors.
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Then of course there are online groups.
Why not start one yourself, like a book club? Its a good way to make new friends, or keep in touch with old ones, and youll all have a common purpose.
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Plus, there are local bookshops like Readmore Books in Taunton, Annies Book Stop in Raynham, and Rivendell Books & Games in Rehoboth,where you can get everything you need to get started. Rivendell is also especially helpful if you want to get started with a group that does roleplaying games, which are easily played together online these days.
It might be a long winter, full of uncertainties, but even in a pandemic we can find ways to stay engaged, look after our mental and emotional well-being, and safely get out of the house now and again.
Taunton Daily Gazette/Herald Newscopy editor and digital producer Kristina Fontes can be reached at email@example.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette today.