Chill Out: 50+ Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
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
Find one of The Sweet Spot Baking Company’s dessert trucks in your area this winter and discover their legendary hot chocolate float: Ghirardelli hot chocolate with two scoops of Gunther’s ice cream topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. No, you’re crying. 916-447-1106, thesweetspotbakingco.com
Four Sisters Café’s hot chocolate is made with milk (not hot water), ensuring it’s über rich, and topped with homemade whipped cream. Paired alongside an order of their Mancakes (bacon and sausage chopped and cooked inside two buttermilk pancakes) and you’re in for a breakfast of champions. 9050 Fairway Drive, Suite 165, Roseville, 916-797-0770, foursisterscafe.com
Bloom Coffee and Tea’s winter goodness awaits you with their delicious handcrafted dark-chocolaty hot chocolate that tastes as good as it looks. 1485 Eureka Road, Suite 100, Roseville, 916-773-2332, bloomcoffee.com
Alcohol Not Optional
Check out The Monk’s Cellar for a pint of their Captain Red Beard, a chocolate milk stout aged in rum barrels with toasted coconut. 240 Vernon Street, Roseville, 916-786-6665, monkscellar.com
La Provence Restaurant and Terrace will warm you up with their take on the Sazerac, a New Orleans cocktail classic: Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, club soda, a hint of absinthe, and an orange peel. 110 Diamond Creek Place, 916-789-2002, Roseville laprovenceroseville.com
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
Get your winter warmth from Sienna Restaurant’s Saged Bourbon: Old Forester Bourbon, sage-infused honey, and organic lemon juice. Purely medicinal, of course. 1480 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-771-4700, siennarestaurants.com
PRETEND IT’S SUMMER
Beat the (imaginary) heat and indulge in some ice cream therapy at The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs. How about a pretend trip to Paris in the summertime with their Midnight in Paris ice cream puff: a donut filled with coffee ice cream that’s mixed with hazelnut Nutella chocolate swirls. C’est si bon indeed! Now that your face is covered in ice cream and you’re coasting on a major sugar high, a dip in the pool is in order. Swim the winter blues away under the gorgeous glass canopy at the Mike Shellito Indoor Pool. Then, right when you’re just about to crash, make a beeline for The Granite Bay Glow (inside Bellissimo Salon) and get pampered with a professional spray tan. What did you do this “summer”? “Oh nothing, just went to Paris and came back with this amazing tan.” The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs, 1490 Eureka Road, Suite 170, Roseville, 916-781-7833, theparloricecream.com Mike Shellito Indoor Pool, 10210 Fairway Drive, Roseville, 916-774-5957; Bellissimo Salon, 9711 Village Center Drive, Granite Bay, 916-905-7166, thegranitebayglow.com
HAVE A SPA DAY
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 a citrus salt exfoliation. 3984 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 150, Roseville, 916-797-8550, serenityspaonline.com
Don’t get salty this winter: Get salted at Salts in Granite Bay. Book a float room and bliss out in your own private mineral salt bath. (All the benefits of a Dead Sea float without the tourists!) Or, if you want to really warm up, go full Judy Jetson and try the infrared sauna, using technology that warms your body directly instead of using hot air. 6933 Douglas Boulevard, Granite Bay, 916-899-6610, getsalted.com
Tucked away in Sun City but open to the public, The Spa at Kilgara Springs is Lincoln’s best-kept secret. Book yourself in for a delicious Swedish massage this winter to get all your muscles and joints warmed up for the cold weather, or try a rejuvenating hot stone massage. 1187 Sun City Boulevard, Lincoln, 916-408-4290, kilagaspringsspa.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
Little shade and lots of exposure during summer makes Miner’s Ravine Trail in Roseville the perfect place to take a stroll (or go for a bike ride) in winter. It’s a paved, out-and-back trail that’s roughly eight miles, so you can pick your distance. Plus, it’s dog-friendly, family-friendly, and suits whatever pace you’re setting, whether on two feet or two wheels. alltrails.com/trail/us/california/miners-ravine-trail
Have some fresh air fun in your own backyard at Rocklin’s Whitney Oaks Trails. There are a variety of paved and unpaved routes, so it’s best to do a little “reconnaissance” beforehand. One of the longest paved sections is the Clarke Dominguez Trail (roughly one mile), which extends from Park Drive to Crest Drive and provides a lush landscape of old-growth trees and scenic views that will give you a new appreciation for the history of the area. whitneyoaks.net/files/08TrailGuide.pdf
Order some pho at Pho Hang and pick a wealth of delicious options: shredded chicken, deep-fried chicken, rare beef, flank tendon and tripe, beef balls, well-done beef, seafood, tofu, you name it. For some extra heat, don’t forget to add plenty of sriracha and jalapeños. 916 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Suite 150, Roseville, 916-771-2565, www.phohang.net
Nothing warms you better than a piping hot bowl of ramen on a wintry day. Try the signature Naruto Ramen at Naruto Show Me the Sushi—chock-full of perfectly cooked noodles and tons of “goodies” in a rich broth. 963 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Suite 150, Roseville, 916-780-3388, narutoshowmethesushi.com
Try one of the delicious scratch-made soups at Guy’s For Lunch (keep an eye out for the chicken noodle—it’s a fan favorite) or warm up with their delish homemade turkey chili. 1249 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Roseville, 916-740-8424, guysforlunch.com
Get your belly toasty warm this winter with a gluten-free and vegan Prana Bowl at Zest Kitchen in Rocklin—spicy Indian tomato broth, brown rice and crisp veggies (purple cabbage, red bell peppers, mushrooms and kale) topped with cashew-lime sour crème and cilantro. 2620 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1, Rocklin, zestvegankitchen.com
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: Purple Moon Hot Yoga (1251 Baseline Road, Suite 170, Roseville, 916-257-1743, purplemoonhotyoga.com), Body Heat Hot Pilates and Yoga [pictured] (6624 Lonetree Boulevard, Suite 300, Rocklin, 916-782-1020, bodyheatyoga.com) and Zuda Yoga Roseville (1470 Eureka Road, Suite 140, Roseville, 916-781-9642, zudayogaroseville.com).
KNIT-FLIX AND CHILL (WINTER CRAFTS)
Skip the gym and take a relaxed spin class this winter, like yarn spinning, or learn the art of beading, felting, or a variety of textile arts at The Tin Thimble in Loomis. Or just visit the store and make all your textile-purchasing dreams come true. 3750 Taylor Road, Suite 4, Loomis, 916-652-2134, thetinthimble.com
Auburn Needleworks is under new ownership and has an array of yarn and needlepoint supplies, as well as classes in knitting, crotchet and needlepoint, including the ongoing “Bring Your Own Project” needlepoint workshops on the first Tuesday of every month. 13344 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-888-0202, auburnneedleworks.com
Get on the quilting train this winter and visit Whistle Stop Quilt Shop in Auburn. Stop by for all of your quilting needs and find out about classes and special events while you’re there. 13342 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-888-1882, whistlestopquiltandsew.com
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.
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.
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).
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