10 ways to celebrate New Year’s Day

Sky brightens in minutes before dawn at West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, Maine.
David Lyon
Sky brightens in minutes before dawn at West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, Maine.

It’s not too late to make plans to shake up your New Year’s Day routine. If you usually plunk down in front of the flat screen for the Rose Parade and a round of football, 2013 might be the year to try something new. Even if you don’t want to take the plunge with South Boston’s L Street Brownies (if you do, registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the K Street Multipurpose Room), there are plenty of activities that might get your blood flowing and your mind racing. Here are just a few. Who knows? This could be the beginning of a beautiful new tradition.

1. See the sun’s first rays

You really can get a jump on the new year by joining the hearty few who gather to see the country’s first sunrise at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine. The red-and-white-striped lighthouse sits on the eastern-most point of the continental United States and if it’s not foggy, the sunrise can be spectacular. Be forewarned that you might have to make the final approach to the lighthouse by walking on unplowed pathways and it will almost certainly be cold. But the effort should be worth a year of bragging rights.

Emily L. Ferguson
Allan Moniz, dressed as magician Propero, paces the 2012 Woods Hole Parade on New Year's Day.

2. Walk this way

New England falls short on New Year’s Day parades, but the good folks of Woods Hole do their best with an annual Woods Hole Parade around Eel Pond. “It’s actually a procession, not a parade,” says Allan Moniz, performer and 2013 organizer. He also assumes the role of the Shakespearean character Prospero (“a magician of the elementals”) to lead the festivities. “Nobody watches — everybody is in it,” he says. “It’s very ragtag.” Moniz advises first-timers to wear colorful clothing and bring noisemakers. (Dogs on leashes and babies in strollers are also fine.) The merry band will include solstice singers, African drummers, and perhaps jugglers and unicyclists, who will break out in mini-performances along the route. Gather on Water Street by the drawbridge. Parade begins at noon. 508-540-8053

Vicki Miller
Running is only half the fun at the Hangover Classic.

3. Run and plunge


In deference to late-night revelers, the affectionately nicknamed “Hangover Classic” in Salisbury begins at the civilized hour of 11:30 a.m. Sponsored by the Winner’s Circle Running Club, the event features 5K and 10K runs and an optional plunge in the ocean. “It’s a great way to start the year,” says Nick Paquette, this year’s chairman. “You get the bracing shock of a polar bear plunge on top of the endorphins of the road race.” Runners, plungers, and spectators are all invited to a post-race party with beer, music, and raffles at Carousel Lounge. Advance registration $25, race day $30. Meet at Carousel Lounge, 20 Ocean Front South. www.runthe

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Martin Pearlman, music director with the Boston Baroque.

4. Tune up for the new year

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Organizers of Boston Baroque’s First Day Concert at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge like to point out that “it’s warm, it’s dry, and you get good music and champagne.” If that’s not enough, there are also buckets of chocolate candy. Musicians perform Baroque and classical works using period instruments. Conductor and music director Martin Pearlman selects light pieces to kick off the year. Proving that some things never change, this year’s program includes a humorous tale of an older man and his young mistress. 3 p.m., tickets $25-$80. Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St. For information, 617-987-8600,

Friends of the Blue Hills
The First Day hike at Blue Hills Reservation.

5. Join a hiking tradition

On New Year’s Day folks will take to the trails at parks throughout the state. The tradition of the New Year’s Day constitutional began at Blue Hills Reservation, where 2013 will mark the 22d year. Hikers gather at noon for hot and hearty chicken noodle soup and can light out on a self-guided walk of less than a mile or choose one of several longer ranger-led hikes. In 2012 about 1,400 people participated. “People come back year after year,” says Tom Bender, district park ranger. “They started as little kids and now they have kids of their own.” Hikes begin at 1 p.m. Free. Meet at Houghton’s Pond main parking lot, 840 Hillside St., Milton. 617-698-1802,

Mark Mello
Gooseberry Neck Beach in Westport.

6. Stroll the beach

A smaller crowd gathers for the 2½-hour walk along Westport’s Gooseberry Neck Beach led by Mark Mello, the research director at Lloyd Center for the Environment. “It’s a really pretty spot,” says Mello. “It’s great for seeing seabirds.” Feel free to just stroll and relax, or listen in as Mello points out marine life that have washed ashore and discusses how wave action shapes the beach. This year is the 22d annual walk. “The coldest we’ve done it was 2 degrees,” recalls Mello. “We had 30 or 35 people. It was a fast walk!” Walk begins at 10 a.m. Free. Meet at Gooseberry Neck parking lot. 508-990-0505, ext. 22,

David Burk
Old-fashioned 19th century wooden sleds.

7. Relive the past

Newer isn’t always better. Old-fashioned wooden sleds made at Old Sturbridge Village are faster than the modern steel-runner models. Let the kids give them a try during a day of old-timey fun at the museum village depicting New England life in 1790-1840. It’s easy on the modern pocketbook with free daytime admission for children. Bring your ice skates for a spin on the pond in front of the Meeting House or bundle up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. When it gets too chilly, head inside to watch demonstrations of blacksmithing, pottery-making, and hearth cooking. Kids with a lot of patience might want to join the candle-dipping workshop. Open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Adults $24, 65 or older $22, 17 or younger accompanied by an adult free through January. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, 800-733-1830,

Art Evans
Viewers ponder Gisele Amantea's "Democracy" in the "Oh, Canada" exhibit at Mass MoCA.

8. Embrace the new


Most museums close on New Year’s Day, but Mass MoCA holds out a beacon for those who want to start the year soaking up a little culture. This could be your chance to get lost in Sol LeWitt’s resplendent wall drawings or to check out the contemporary art being produced by our neighbors to the north in “Oh, Canada.” In the museum’s Kidspace, a number of artists offer their interpretations of dinosaurs, superheroes, cowboys, and other subjects sure to pique the interest of curious young minds. Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults $15, students $10, age 6-16 $5. 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, 413-662-2111,

Mass Audubon
Participants in the Hike Into the New Year at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.

9. Watch for wildlife

More of an extended stroll, the 2½-hour Hike into the New Year at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester is geared for families. The terrain is fairly flat and snowshoes are available if the weather dictates. In fact, snow cover makes it all the easier to look for tracks of such resident creatures as deer, rabbits, fishers, coyotes, squirrels, and turkeys. Afterward, warm up with hot coffee and cocoa at the visitors center. Hike begins 9:30 a.m. Adults $5, children $3. 414 Massasoit Road, 508-753-6087,

Patricia Harris
This statue brightens a corner at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge.

10. Seek enlightenment

Restoration and motivation are both on the schedule for a fulfilling day at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge. Yoga classes will guide you in finding serenity and getting attuned to your body’s energy flow, while the “No More Excuses” workshop might give you the gumption to really keep those New Year’s resolutions. Focusing on ending habitual thinking, this session could launch you on your most productive year ever. But don’t forget to spend some time in the sauna and whirlpool. Day pass $100-$120, meals and workshops included. 57 Interlaken Road, 866-200-5203,

Patricia Harris and David Lyon can be reached at harris.lyon@verizon