Despite growing up in the Boston area, where we have no shortage of ice and an abiding adoration of the Boston Bruins, I am an utter dork on ice skates. (Actually, I am an utter dork in many areas, but for the sake of this post, we will just focus on my dorky skating skills.) I made numerous attempts to master skating as a child, but just never got the hang of it.
As an adult, even though my actions betrayed my better judgment, co-workers once somehow talked me into lacing up a pair of skates at a corporate event and stood on the sidelines laughing uncontrollably as I attempted to maneuver around the ice in my inimitable dorky fashion. I don't know what I was thinking (although I will confess that my thinking may have been slightly impaired by the drinks I had consumed at the corporate event's open bar).
I hate to dash any hopes that I might be the source of your uncontrollable laughter, but I am not planning a return to the ice anytime soon. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't have some great suggestions about where you should head around Boston to enjoy some skating. While there are some fine indoor rinks, I am going to stick with outdoor ice skating spots.
- One of the city's most beloved places to get your Hans Brinker on is The Boston Common Frog Pond. The bucolic urban oasis, located in the nation's oldest park, offers a wonderful repose from a day of touring, shopping, or heaven forbid, working. Skate rentals are available, and a café serves hot chocolate and other goodies. During the season, the Frog Pond is open daily (weather permitting) at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday, 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
- The rink at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge's Harvard Square is another place to spin to your heart's content on well-groomed ice. It is open seasonally to hotel guests as well as to the general public starting in December and offers skate rentals and lessons. Stop into the hotel's Noir bar for an après-skate hot toddy.
- The newest place to enjoy al fresco skating is the the Rotunda Rink at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Debuting December 14, 2013, the rink will be open to the public through February 28, 2014, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Rental skates and lockers will be available as will a warming room. The rink is part of what the hotel is dubbing "Winter on the Wharf," which will also include Skate with Santa (December 21), a New Year's Eve celebration, the Boston Wine Festival (January 10), and get this, hot stone massages at its spa.
- Brookline's Larz Anderson Park is a wonderful spot to visit in the warmer months. The Jack Kirrane Ice Skating Rink makes it a great destination in the winter as well. Starting late November, public skating is available on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., on Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Skate rentals are available.
I hope to see you at the rinks. I'll be the one sipping hot chocolate on the sidelines. Just don't slip anything potent into my cup, or I may, regrettably, end up joining you on the ice.
Photo: The Skating Club of Boston.