Let Me Count the Ways

Enjoying Winter both in and Out
By Gina Dewink

Winter doesn’t have to mean staying inside. Embrace the cold and enjoy one of these local activities for some seasonal fun. 

Waseca Sleigh & Cutter Festival Located just an hour west of Rochester on
Highway 14 is the quaint community of Waseca. Recently gaining fame as a top-10 finalist for season five of “Small Business Revolution,” Waseca is also home to the Sleigh & Cutter Festival that takes place from January through March. Enjoy nearly 30 different activities ranging from ice sculptures, a dance and fireworks to “Car on Ice,” a contest in whichparticipants guess when a car will fall through the ice on Clear Lake.

Snowshoeing at Quarry Hill Quarry Hill Park offers more than 8 miles of groomed winter trails. Simply rent snowshoes and attach them to your boots to enjoy this easy outdoor activity for fresh air and exercise. A variety of sizes are available for kids and adults. Bringing a group? When securing equipment at the nature center, ask about a group rate. Rental rates begin at $5 for four hours. Skis are also available.

SocialIce SocialIce is coming back to Rochester in February. This free outdoor event includes a variety of vendor booths, cocktails, music and more. The exact location of the 2020 event is yet to be determined. Enjoy opening night on Thursday, February 6 from 5-9 p.m., and come back for more Friday and Saturday, February 7-8, from 4-10 p.m.

Skiing at Oxbow Park Oxbow Park Ski Trail is a 2-mile, groomed cross-country ski trail rated as easy. Enjoy the natural beauty of the park, located just a few minutes from Rochester. Ski equipment and snowshoes are available for rent for all ages, starting at $5, from the nature center. 

Ice Skating at Soldiers Field Park Throughout January and February (weather permitting), make a stop at one of Rochester’s seasonal outdoor skating rinks. Soldiers Field Park turns its running track into a skating path, complete with a warming house and skate rentals available from 12-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

In the past few years, the idea of hygge has gained momentum, particularly in the winter months. A Danish word, hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’) encompasses the appreciation of slowness, coziness and comfort. Incorporate hygge into your own home by changing your frame of mind. Instead of dreading a dark, cold morning, celebrate the moment you are warmed by your soft sweatpants and a hot drink. Candlelight and fireplaces are often included in hygge, along with fluffy blankets and spending quality time baking and cooking quality delights. 

If you like the idea of hygge, but still need to get out of the house, consider local establishments offering a cozy atmosphere. 

Local Coffee Shops Several coffee shops in Rochester have large fireplaces and reading material, on top of a variety of warm beverages. Make a plan to hit a new one each week. Whether it’s chai tea latte at Dunn Brothers, espresso at St. James Coffee or ethically-sourced, locally batch roasted coffee from Fiddlehead, get out and celebrate the simple idea of being cozy.

Gray Duck Theater & Coffeehouse Rochester is home to an independent, locally-owned, independent micro cinema. Regular single movie tickets are $8. Also a home to Fiddlehead Coffee, the movie theater combines the joy of a good film with a warm beverage. What could be more hygge?

Rochester Art Center If you like the idea of staying indoors, but want more than a cozy afternoon, stop by the art center for a variety of exhibitions and events. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, admission starts at $5. With a backdrop of the river and downtown, it might be just the thing to cure your cabin fever.