Winter Doldrums

Winter has hit like a frozen freight train. Holiday spirits drop from the mind like a bad habit … a cigarette butt chucked from the car’s window. Sleigh bells no longer ring and no one is listening. In the lane, the snow lost its glisten.

We’re encased in the doldrums of winter. We’re Pittsburghers. We should have predicted this and taken preventative measures. It’s not too late, folks. We just need to be creative during this dark and challenging time.

One tradition I created for my family is taking a New Year’s hike. Every year, we dive into the woods to explore and weave around the various creeks, trees and rocks in an attempt to find a natural treasure—maybe a critter braving the fresh frigid winds. Or possibly a rock that resembles a Disney character. Bonus fact: the woods don’t maintain business hours, so you’re not restricted to New Year’s Day. And it’s free!

Though I know nature would do everyone some good, I’ve come to accept that some of you out there would prefer an activity that involves modern-day heating.

What about one of these activities to bust the winter blues?

  • Cooking classes. Two years ago, my husband I took a knife skills class at Crate, located in Green Tree. Also, two years ago, my daughter attended a cupcake making class on the South Side with her friend.
  • Check out what’s going on at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. I never miss the RV show (though outdoors-related, you’re still in a heated space and can dream about traveling the U.S. in a large tour bus. You can marvel at the equipped kitchens with granite-like countertops).
  • Or, also at the convention center, I noticed there’s a beer fest in February! Who knew? There’s also the Custom Car Show in addition to the International Auto Show. Who doesn’t want to sit in a car indoors and make ‘vroom vroom’ noises to embarrass the kids?
  • Hit up the local museums! It’s Pittsburgh! We have the National Aviary, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Zoo, Natural History Museum, Mattress Factory, Andy Warhol Museum, Phipps Conservatory, Heinz History Center …
  • Run to the Beverly shops or Uptown Mt. Lebanon! You can snag a hot chocolate along the way and run into the stores and see what local goodies you can buy to brighten your mood.

I’ve been known to write out a calendar of activities for my family throughout the winter. It’s my attempt at surviving dark days, numbing dog walks, and a cooped-up family. When my daughter starts wearing a circle pattern in my carpets from pacing, I know it’s time to find something to do.

Once my list of options dries up, the Three Rivers Arts Festival will be peeking around the corner. Then we can once again bathe in the long warmer days and start counting down to the holidays once more.