North lookout at Hawk Mountain in the snowStart 2017 off right at Nolde Forest’s First Day Hike. There’s no need to register to take the hike, just choose the one that suits you: easy, or medium difficulty, for 1 or 3 miles. There’s even be a dog walk group for those who want Fido to partake in the post-holiday walk. Since New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, check out Nolde’s nature journaling, regularly held the first Sunday of each month. Volunteer master naturalists will provide water paints and all the materials you will needed to explore the nature theme. Plus, you can take a self-guided tour of the mansion, once the home of a wealthy Reading manufacturing executive. Start by learning the family story in the video to get the full perspective.

Another great way to start the New Year, attend Winter Get Outdoors Day’s late morning hike at Blue Marsh Lake. Depending on the weather, you can hike in boots, snowshoes, or on cross country skis, to explore the many trails. Remember to dress appropriately!

And just as the holiday glow starts to fade, Reading Fire + Ice Fest, the flagship winter festival of Pennsylvania’s Americana Region, returns to downtown Reading for its third year on January 13 and 14. The fest features a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including a chili cook-off, Snowfall Ball, professional ice-carving competitions, fire performances, an ice wine bar, live music, and food trucks. All outdoor activities are free. The chili cook-off and Snowfall Ball have nominal entry fees. Following their dazzling performances at the 2016 festival, Madeleine Belle, and Burning Hearts Fire & Light Theater are returning to perform at the event. Sculpted Ice Works will create the ice sculpture displays on both days of the festival and coordinate an ice-carving competition on Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

World Championship Ice Racing

New this year, World Championship Ice Racing, Friday, January 13 at 7:30pm at Santander Arena will be part of the Fire and Ice activities. I.C.E., the leader in indoor ice racing, has the toughest, fastest and most extreme flat track motorcycle and A.T.V. racers in the world. I.C.E. is truly the greatest spectacle on ICE! Obviously, there is no need to hibernate this January in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region.