The wide open spaces at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield
make it an ideal place for combatting the winter blues.

The Winter Solstice – also known as the shortest day — has passed. Winter has just begun. Even though there is a lot of cold and probably snowy weather ahead, the days will now start to become longer. For many of us, this comes as a tremendous relief.

Despite the increase of sunlight, this is the time of year when many people begin to suffer from the winter blues. With the excitement of the holidays now behind us, we go into “hibernation” mode – sleeping more, eating more, spending less and less time outdoors.

Sound familiar? The winter blues is something that most of us experience at one time or another. A few simple remedies are suggested below. However, it is important to distinguish “the blues” from a more serious condition, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression identified by such symptoms as loss of energy, anxiety attacks, weight gain, food cravings, and sleep problems. If you think you may be suffering from SAD, please check with your doctor to see what can be done.

To beat the winter blues, experts recommend getting a half-hour of sunlight each day, preferably in the morning or late afternoon. To keep your energy levels from sagging, replace fluorescent lighting and warm white bulbs in your home with broad spectrum lights that mimic natural sunlight. Make sure you get enough, but not too much sleep. And get outside! Fresh air works wonders for the body, mind and spirit.

Winter walks in sunny, open spaces will help renew your energy. Here are ten suggestions of places to go to fulfill your daily sunlight needs.

• Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Winslow Cemetery Road, off Webster Street, Marshfield. There are lots of wide open fields to explore while soaking up the sun. Choose a mild day, or bundle up, because this former farm really feels the wind’s bluster.

• The Powder Point Bridge, Duxbury. Begin or end a winter day with a walk over Duxbury’s Powder Point Bridge. Park in the lot at the inland side of the bridge and enjoy a leisurely stroll to the beach and back.

• Turkey Hill, on Route 3A, on the Cohasset/Hingham line. Climb to the top of the 187’ high Turkey Hill and get as close to the sun as you can. You’ll also get a great view of Cohasset Harbor.

• Bay Farm, Kingston. On the Duxbury/Kingston line (Route 3A to Parks Street) Bay Farm offers 77 acres of trails, a terrific climbing tree, cedar woods, grassy meadows, and lovely views of the Jones River and Kingston Bay.

• Rexhame Dunes at the Rexhame Town Beach, Standish Street, Marshfield. A perennial favorite, the forty-acre Rexhame Beach sand dunes mark the former site of the North River mouth. Several walking trails have been carved out among the beach grasses and cedars, providing a circuitous path from the town beach to Humarock, with views of both the ocean and the South River.

• The 251 acre World’s End Reserve (Martin’s Lane, Hingham) offers numerous trails through woods and fields, plus spectacular views of Boston Harbor.

• Try Willow Brook Farm Preserve (Route 14, Pembroke) for a long walk through forest and fields. With the leaves off the trees, you will be able to see quite a distance from the property’s observation tower.

• From the deck at the boat house at the Norris Reservation (Dover Street, off Route 123, Norwell) you can look out over the North River and get great views both up- and downstream. Check out the walking trails too.

• Visit the Driftway Conservation Area in Scituate (on the Driftway, across from Widow’s Walk Golf Course) for picturesque marsh and water views.

• Haven’t got much time? Walk to the Keville Bridge (take the trail from the CVS parking lot, off Route 139 in Marshfield Center) to view a tranquil South River scene. It’s a short walk, but enough to revive sagging spirits. Continue up the railroad bed (you can hike for miles) if you wish to increase your dose of sunlight.

by Kezia Bacon-Bernstein, Correspondent
December 2003

Kezia Bacon-Bernstein’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to the preservation, restoration, maintenance and conservation of the North and South Rivers and their watershed. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168.