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Pondicherry Park, Bridgeton & Riverside Golf Course, Portland

Updated: Feb 17

Since it is school vacation week, I have a couple of extra ideas for you. The first, comedy. Making a pandemic laden February break feel like a "break" is a tall order. We can laugh or we can cry. I engage in both, but prefer the former. Comedy is a great way to remind us that there is humor in everything, even the toughest of times. Here are some of my favorites places to go when I need a good laugh:

1. Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend - the only podcast that consistently has me laughing out loud. A couple of favorite guests that come to mind are Kristin Chenoweth and Rashida Jones. There are really no bad interviews since the most entertaining aspect of this podcast is Conan talking with his co-hosts, Sona Movsesian and Matt Gourley.

2. Comedians Driving in Cars Getting Coffee - you can't go wrong with Jerry Seinfeld or anything involving coffee. Find this one on Netflix. The episodes are short, which is another bonus. Watch 1 or 20, depending on your time frame. Some of my favorite episodes include: Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart and Sarah Jessica Parker.

3. AFV (if you didn't grow up in the 80's like me, this stands for America's Funniest Videos) - this one is for the kids. Mine are currently watching this old school program, which is basically the television version of Fail Army on YouTube.

Now that we've got our mental health covered, let's move on to the weekly trail...

Riverside Golf Course is chock-full of fun things to do in the winter. My friend Becca recently took her kids to do some night sledding here with headlamps, which is a brilliant idea. Feel free to use it.

Riverside is owned and operated by the City of Portland. This popular public golf facility first opened in 1932 and offers rolling hills, tree-lined fairways and trails along the Presumpscot River. Winter activities at Riverside include: cross-country skiing, two large outdoor ice skating rinks, snowshoeing, fat tire biking and many hills for sledding.

There are two groomed ski trails side by side: one for cross country skiing only (no skiing with dogs), and the second for all other activities including skiing with dogs. Clear signs have been posted at the trail entrances and throughout the trails for instructions on which trail to use.

The two large ice rinks are great for family skating or pickup games of hockey. They make ice as needed throughout the winter and it is generally in great condition. The ice rinks are located on the North Course using the access road by the maintenance building at the end of the parking lot.

Snowshoeing and sledding are open to the public 7 days a week, 24 hours per day. All of this is FREE.

I do not have a recent picture of the skating rink and sledding hills, so you'll just have to visit and see them in person.

For trail #2...If you are up for a fun trail that's a bit farther away, check out Pondicherry Park in Bridgeton. I recently visited this park while my son was snowboarding at Shawnee Peak. I knew these trails included a woodland obstacle course for kids, which I've been researching in hopes of building one for KMP Camp. The course was covered in snow, but I can imagine it's pretty great in the warmer months. I did take a bunch of pictures - use your imagination!

This 66 acre park is located in the center of downtown Bridgeton. It offers 2.3 miles of beautiful trails that follow the Stevens and Willet Brooks, through forests and pastures. There are two bridges to see, one an impressive 60 foot covered bridge, located on the Willet Brook Trail.

I parked at the small lot near the Maine Lakes Science Center, off of Willett Road. The obstacle course is located to the left of the main gate, via the Pinehaven Trail.

Dogs are allowed on a designated loop named the "Pet Loop". It's the white trail in the map above. I never actually found this trail, but maybe you will. My navigational skills are not the best. I'm pretty positive that yours are better.

In closing, do what you can to try and enjoy this different kind of February "break". If all you can do is watch some comedy in your pj's, I wouldn't blame you one bit. Still, adding any outdoor adventure to you day will surely make it a better one. I will leave you with the saying my husband and I have used over and over lately, "low expectation = high success rate". Maybe it's not the best approach, but at least we get a good laugh whenever we say it.


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