Chill Out: 50+ Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
Dec 29, 2017 12:34PM
Winter’s here! But you’re not happily snuggled up in your pajamas. Your feet are cold, your lips are chapped, your swimsuit’s in storage, and it gets dark at like 3 p.m., so there’s no point in even getting out of bed. All you can see is wall-to-wall gloom. What you need is a wintervention—someone or something to help you turn that frown upside down. Good news! That someone is us, and the something is this guide. Yes, our winter-loving elves heard your muffled sobs and compiled the ultimate survival guide—from where to slurp the best local soups and delicious hot chocolates to winter-friendly indoor crafts that will make your days fly by, along with spa treatments, warm-weather travel destinations, and even immune-boosting tips from local health care professionals. Hold the words of disco prophet Gloria Gaynor close to your heart: You will survive. We’ll make sure of it!
LET THERE BE LIGHT
January is the perfect time to enjoy local art (and abundant natural light) at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. A major exhibition of early works by Wayne Thiebaud, one of Northern California’s best known and most accomplished artists, Wayne Thiebaud: 1958-1968, opens January 16 and entry is free. 254 Old Davis Road, Davis, 530-752-8500, manettishremmuseum.ucdavis.edu
Head to the Weborg gallery on the third floor of the Crocker Art Museum, which is bathed in natural light year-round, to enjoy the climbable “kids” Art Spot installation called Wingding, a giant, wooden, geometric landscape that encourages learning about the basic elements of art through play. Make sure you have a meal or a cup of coffee in the gorgeous sun-drenched dining area while you’re there, too. 216 O Street, Sacramento, 916-808-7000, crockerart.org
Lunch at the High Hand Café is the perfect way to make a winter’s day more beautiful. Surrounded by abundant greenery inside a beautiful glass house that accentuates every bit of available sunlight, it’ll put a smile on your dial—guaranteed. 3750 Taylor Road, Loomis, 916-652-2064 x2, highhandnursery.com /taste-the-cafe
Order up a big fat latte and snag the cozy chair by the front window to bask in the sunlight at Four Score Coffee House in Roseville. 325 Lincoln Street, Roseville, 916-390-0367, fourscorecoffee.com
The sun loves the Folsom Public Library and so do we. Browse the stacks or find a corner to sit and read, and then sneak over for a coffee at Einstein Café. 411 Stafford Street, Folsom, 916-355-7374, library.folsom.ca.us
You’ll find whatever’s left of the winter sunlight at Selland’s Market-Café where you can enjoy delicious fresh food in their airy dining hall. Side of vitamin D with your BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado) sandwich anyone? Locations in Sacramento and El Dorado Hills, sellands.com
Grab a table upstairs by the window at Marly and Moo and enjoy a bit of sun and some delicious tater tots on a winter’s day. 608 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-294-7691, marlyandmoo.com
DRINK IT IN
Snooks Chocolate Factory’s classic hot chocolate is a tried-and-true local favorite and is so good it will keep you coming back every winter…and spring…and summer…and fall. 731 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-985-0620, snookscandies.com
Lean into the cold at Julian’s Pâtisserie and Café with their legendary frozen hot chocolate—a blended concoction full of icy, chocolaty goodness, and topped with lashings of whipped cream. 6610 Folsom-Auburn Road, Suite 7, Folsom, 916-936-4735, jppastryarts.com
Zia’s hot chocolate will locate cockles of your heart with pinpoint accuracy and then warm them like they’ve never been warmed before. Do try their espresso and chocolate specialties like the Borgia: espresso, TCHO dark chocolate, orange syrup, steamed milk, and whipped cream—all topped with chocolate shavings and orange zest. 4364 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 110, El Dorado Hills, 916-939-9427, ziasgelato.com
Alcohol Not Optional
The Irish Mule at Mikuni will give you the kick you need to clear away the cold weather cobwebs: Jameson Irish Whiskey, Fever Tree ginger beer, and lime. 1565 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-797-2112, mikunisushi.com/locations/roseville
Frank’s Manhattan at Fat’s Asia Bistro is a nod to the Fat family patriarch and a cocktail that doubles as a fireplace for your belly: bourbon, amaretto, bitters, and sweet vermouth. Down the hatch, boys (and girls). 1500 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-787-3287, fatsasiabistro.com
Cozy up at Bacchus House Bistro with their Bacchus House Infusion: Maker’s Mark infused with vanilla bean, fresh clementines, and clover honey. 1004 East Bidwell Street, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-984-7500, bacchushousebistro.com
Looking for a unique adult beverage twist to your chocolate indulgence? Try The Chocolate Architect’s Gelato Wine Float: vanilla bean gelato floating in Black Muscat Port and drizzled with their trademark house-made Chocolate Silk. 250 Palladio Parkway, Suite 1335, Folsom, 916-966-9006, chocsilk.com
Get your winter warmth from Sienna Restaurant’s Saged Bourbon: Old Forester Bourbon, sage-infused honey, and organic lemon juice. Purely medicinal, of course. 3909 Park Drive, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9694, siennarestaurants.com
PRETEND IT’S SUMMER
Make like it’s 100 degrees in the shade and indulge in a Red Velvet Ponchik. Nope, not a yoga pose—a red velvet donut filled with ice cream from The Niche Ice Cream. While some suggest bringing a friend to share it with, we’ll take that under advisement. When you’ve awoken from your happy nap, it might be a good time to hit the pool. You know, because it’s “summer” and you still need to cool down. Take some laps or just bliss out and float for a while in the El Dorado Hills Sports Club’s heated pool. And then complete your day by heading over to the Folsom Sun Club for a tanning bed session. Now go out into the world and stride amongst the poor sad winter-dwellers like a radiant Amazonian sun goddess who knows the meaning of the word “ponchik.” The Niche Ice Cream, 25004 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 109, Folsom, 916-398-9800, thenicheicecream.com; El Dorado Hills Sports Club, 530 Post Court, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-4929, eldoradohillssc.com; Folsom Sun Club, 659 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-983-2826, folsomtanning.com
HAVE A SPA DAY
What you need this winter is some rest and relaxation. Asante Spa can help you out. Check out their R & R (Relax and Recharge) package: a hot steam cleansing facial, deep tissue sports massage, customized body scrub and Swiss shower treatment, with complimentary lunch. 530 Post Court, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-8905, asantespaedh.com
Is there anything better on a cold day than a warm shower? Get the full shower treatment with one of the Rain Shower Spa Rituals offered at Serenity Spa|SOUL Yoga. Send your spirit to the Hawaiian tropics with the Rainforest Waterfall Ritual, featuring a warm waterfall and a Hawaiian-inspired Lomi Lomi massage, or succumb to the sensory awakening of the Fire and Ice Citrus Salt, featuring warm rain, and a hot stone and iced stone massage, followed by citrus salt exfoliation. 350 Palladio Parkway, Suite 1975, Folsom, 916-542-7363, serenityspaonline.com
Bliss out this winter at Dream Day Spa with their A Dreamy Day at the Spa deal, which includes access to the herbal steam room, a basalt stone foot soak, Swedish or aromatherapy massage, SOK tub, a rejuvenating facial, delicious spa lunch and more. 501 Natoma Street, Folsom, 916-353-0410, dreamdayspa.net
Find your serenity in the heart of Sutter Street at Alchemy Day Spa and Boutique. Choose from an array of options to unlock the winter angst, from the unique Ayurvedic body therapy Shirodhara to an immunity-boosting oil treatment and massage to fend off the winter nasties; or shed your winter skin with a sugar or salt body glow. There’s plenty to choose from! 715 Sutter Street, Suite D, Folsom, 916-355-8597, alchemyspaandboutique.com
HIT THE SLOPES
If you’re looking for heritage, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has it—after all, they hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Squaw has a reputation for being an extreme-skier mecca, and it’s a huge place (6,000 acres of skiing and riding), but don’t let that shy you away—there’s plenty of room for beginners and moderate skiers here as well. And if you don’t ski, that’s OK: Ride the aerial tram and take in the spectacular view! 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, 800-403-0206, squawalpine.com
Northstar California has a well-earned reputation for being a glitzy family-friendly resort, and it shares a lot in common with Disneyland—kids love it, adults love it, but it’ll definitely clean out your pockets. Extreme-skiers tend to flock elsewhere, so you’ll find the pace here pretty easygoing. Plus, they have great snowmaking facilities, so there’s always powder—no matter what the weather’s doing. 5001 Northstar Drive, Truckee, 800-466-6784, northstarcalifornia.com
A step down from the hugeness of Squaw and Northstar, Sierra-at-Tahoe takes things a little easier than their larger neighbors. There’s no resort here, for one thing—it’s all about the skiing. The overall vibe is family-friendly and it’s less expensive, which helps put a smile on parents’ faces. Sierra-at-Tahoe is also ideal for beginners, and the laid-back atmosphere provides a nice confidence booster for shy skiers who get intimidated by big crowds. 1111 Sierra at Tahoe Road, Twin Bridges, 530-659-7453, sierraattahoe.com
Remember the days when skiing wasn’t glitzy and fancy? That’s Homewood Mountain Resort. Things are down-to-earth here, and they let the spectacular views do all the talking. In other words, you won’t find any scenesters here, just scenery. There are better places to go for beginners, but if you already know your way around the slopes and you hate the vibe of bigger resorts, Homewood might just be the place for you. 5145 West Lake Boulevard, Homewood, 530-525-2992, skihomewood.com
EMBRACE THE OUTDOORS
Lean into the cold and take a hike on Brown’s Ravine South Shore at Folsom Lake, a 12-mile out-and-back trail that’s fairly well paved. Parking’s a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it for the pleasant scenery. alltrails.com/trail/us/california/browns-ravine-south-shore-trail
If you’re looking for a good winter bike ride, the American River Parkway around Lake Natoma is a good bet. The trail is paved—hooray—but be wary of downed trees and branches brought on by storms and strong winds. Cycle safely! arpf.org/pdf_files/ARPmap.pdf
The Johnny Cash Trail—a 1.2-mile segment of Class I bike trail that connects the Lake Natoma Trail and the American River Parkway by way of Robber’s Ravine Bridge—is the perfect way to engage in some fresh air fun. With eight, larger-than-life public art pieces telling the story of Johnny Cash, a trip—via two wheels or two feet—on the brand spanking new trail is a surefire way to beat those winter blues. folsomcasharttrail.com
What goes with winter? Carbs and soup. Chow down on New England clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at Sourdough & Co. any day of the week, or choose from daily offerings like Friday chili or tomato bisque on Tuesdays. 4390 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 140, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9150, edh.sourdoughandco.com
Warm your belly and feed your soul with a big steaming bowl of traditional hot and sour soup at Fat’s Asia Bistro. 2585 Iron Point Road, Folsom, 916-983-1133, fatsasiabistro.com
Clear away the cobwebs with a big bowl of spicy ramen at Hisui Sushi—chock-full of perfectly cooked noodles and tons of “goodies” in a rich broth. 25004 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 107, Folsom, 916-985-7778, hisuisushi.com
Winter is the best time to dive into a delicious bowl of pho at Pho M. Try seafood, rare steak, flank and tendon, chicken, tofu and many more. For some extra heat, don’t forget to add plenty of sriracha and jalapeños. 2690 East Bidwell Street, Suite 300, Folsom, 916-817-1184
Cold weather makes your muscles tighten and contract, and hot yoga (also known as Bikram) is the perfect way to loosen up, warm up, and strengthen your core this winter. Here are three local studios turning up the heat: Leap Yoga (1725 Iron Point Road, Suite 180, Folsom, 916-608-5327, leapyoga.net), Zuda Yoga Folsom (220 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 130, Folsom, 916-985-4428, zudayogafolsom.com) and Radiant Yoga (530 Post Court, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-0300, radiantyogaedh.com)
KNIT-FLIX AND CHILL (WINTER CRAFTS)
Do you dream of cozying up under a beautiful handmade quilt? Stop dreaming, and make your own! Stock up on quilting supplies or take a quilting class at Thistle Dew Quilt Shoppe. 10127 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Fair Oaks, 916- 967-5479, thistledewquiltshoppe.com
Want to learn the art of floral arrangement in a relaxed environment with an experienced professional? Try Sierra and Sky’s pop-up Wine and Design: Winter White Hand-Tied Bouquet Class” at Annabelle’s Chocolate on January 20 from 3-5 p.m.; seating is limited, so sign up early. elope2cali.com/diy-classes
Don’t twiddle your thumbs this winter. Put your digits to good use and learn to sew, knit, quilt, or even decorate a cake at one of Joann Fabric and Craft Store’s in-store classes. 1010 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-983-1884, stores.joann.com/ca/folsom/2203
GO SOMEWHERE SUNNY
Don’t overlook San Diego’s smaller, less expensive, and closer-to-get-to-but-just-as-sunny sister city, Oceanside, as your winter vacation spot. The temperature doesn’t get much below 65, so while it’s not tropical, it’s warm enough to walk around in a T-shirt. Gorgeous wide sandy beaches, a picturesque harbor that’s perfect for sea kayaking, an emerging arts and culture scene, and great craft beer (try Bagby Beer Company and Breakwater Brewing) and food (the burger at 608—featuring dry-aged beef, melty cheddar, pickles, crispy onions, and a chili aioli that’s scratch-made using house-fermented chiles—is seriously to die for) make it an ideal destination for couples and families alike. Book an “ocean-side” room at the surf-inspired SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oceanside for easy access to the above-mentioned activities and a killer continental breakfast.
Make like the sunbirds and fly down to Miami, where the average temps this month range in the 70s, and plenty of nightlife, sightseeing, and food (so much food!) await. Indulge in a café con leche, a Cuban sandwich, and a frita (a spicy hamburger topped with matchstick deep-fried potatoes); fill your belly full of delicious stone crab; chow down on good swamp food like gator bites or frogs legs; or savor Jamaican, West Indian, and Venezuelan food…I could go on (cue Willy Wonka’s “World of Pure Imagination” song).
Roll the dice on Vegas this winter. Since the daytime average high is in the 60s, you can go out of doors during the day and not burst into flames, which means if you’re not a gambler, there’s even more to do and see! Take advantage of that mild January desert weather and book a tour at the Neon Museum. Tip: The museum offers combo ticket packages with the latest Vegas newcomer, The Mob Museum, so you can check out two great Vegas attractions. There’s great sightseeing to be had in the area, too—take a drive and see the Hoover Dam, a breathtaking monument to engineering that’s just 40 minutes away from Vegas by car, or take in a show like Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay.
Lake Havasu City
With its proximity to Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix, Lake Havasu City is an undiscovered destination that promises good (warm) times for the whole family. Featuring more than 300 days of sunshine a year, 400 miles of stunning coastline, and 60 miles of navigable waterways, Western Arizona’s desert playground is not to be missed. Book a stay at Heat Hotel (we recommend the Inferno Suite, featuring an oversized shower and color-changing LED lights), a super cool boutique property on the shores of Lake Havasu with unparalleled views of the water and London Bridge (an aqueduct built in the 1830s that formerly spanned the River Thames in London) plus a lakefront lounge and complimentary continental breakfast. Golfing, hot air balloon adventures, scenic hiking trails, and water sports are all a stone’s throw away.
If you’re more serious about the desert experience this winter, get your bohemian lifestyle on and go full desert in Sedona where high temperatures range in the 60s during January. Rent a yurt (airbnb.com/rooms/15807158) or a geodesic dome (airbnb.com/rooms/578314) or take advantage of the low-priced hotel accommodations in the area. And since Sedona is located roughly 100 miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, it’s a great time of year to see one of our great natural wonders sans crowd.
Located on the Southwest shore of Maui, not far from Wailea, Kihei is a great pick for “under the radar” affordable accommodations; and weather-wise, the temperature averages a balmy 80 degrees. Since it’s located on the leeward (sheltered) side of the island, you’ll also find there’s less rain. Kihei is located close to the stunningly picturesque Road to Hana and Haleakalā volcano, so you can plan some great bike rides or hikes. What’s more, January is prime whale time, so make sure you schedule a whale-watching trip!
Shideh Chinichian, MD, a family medicine physician with Mercy Medical Group in El Dorado Hills, recommends the following tips to boost your immune system during winter months:
• Keep a healthy lifestyle by managing your stress! Sleep, diet, and exercise can all influence your stress levels, so keep a close eye on those factors. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help your immune system stay healthy and high functioning.
• Take supplements with immune-boosting nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, omega 3, and probiotics.
• Incorporate foods that can boost your immune function, like garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, turmeric, and green tea.
• Drink plenty of water and keep well hydrated.
Amandeep Bajwa, MD, a family medicine physician with Mercy Medical Group in Rocklin, says the secrets to boost one’s immunity during the winter months are surprisingly simple. Dr. Bajwa suggests you:
• Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
• Eliminate processed foods as often as possible, and opt for a balanced diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables, and protein.
• Exercise, even when it’s cold outside, as frequent physical activity will help boost your immunity.
• Receive the influenza vaccine (flu shot). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone over the age of six months should get the vaccine once a year ahead of flu season, which lasts from October to May.
By Sharon Penny