Banish Cabin Fever
There’s plenty to do to engage mind & body this winter
By Jillian Amodio
The excitement of the holiday season has come and gone. For many, the joy and enthusiasm of the winter season may have departed with it. For those who are not fans of cold weather and snowy forecasts, this may seem like the longest stretch of the year while we wait for the arrival of spring, but there are still plenty of opportunities for entertainment both indoors and out this January.
Bundle Up For Outdoor Fun
The Great Outdoors offers a year-round playground of endless opportunity. Bundle up and enjoy the crisp cool air, the sights and sounds of nature, and unique ways to spend an afternoon.
While local hiking trails and nature centers are often praised for the blossoms of spring and the vibrancy of fall foliage, the beauty of winter should not be overlooked. If you are looking for unique trails or hikes consider checking out 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Baltimore by Allison Sturm. “Take in the beautiful vistas of Chesapeake Bay. Explore the serpentine barrens of old American Indian hunting grounds and abandoned chrome mines,” Sturm writes.
Historic London Town & Gardens in Edgewater is a year-round treasure trove of sightseeing and historical significance. Deputy Director Lauren Silberman says there is still plenty to do and see at the site in winter. Mark the weekend of Jan. 21-22 for a chance to engage with living history interpreters who bring the colonial port town to life. Silberman also says that the gardens are teeming with life even in the winter months. The gardens are filled with winter blooms, some of which are a scientific wonder and success story. “After several harsh winters ravaged the camellia collections at the National Arboretum in the 1970s, Dr. William Ackerman began experimenting with developing cold-hardy camellia hybrids,” says Silberman. “London Town’s gardens became one of the host sites for these tests. The experiments were a success and now, over 40 years later, you can still enjoy camellias blooming throughout the winter.”
In addition to the 19 miles of trails offered at scenic Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian, there are a variety of winter events on the schedule including guided tours and presentations such as Magnificent Marsh Mammals. Discover what mammals inhabit the marshes at Jug Bay on an evening hike through the woods and along the edge of the marsh. Chuck Hatcher, Jug Bay’s resident expert on otters, leads you on your exploration. (Jan 22, 3-5pm, RSVP: jugbay.org).
Lighthouse tours may seem like another warm-weather activity, but visitors to Calvert Marine Museum can enjoy a variety of activities and exhibits for all ages, and tour the Drum Point Lighthouse, one of four surviving Chesapeake Bay screw-pile lighthouses (calvertmarinemuseum.com).
Experience The Arts Outdoors
Joann Foltz, marketing director for the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Art Center in Solomons is eager to welcomes guests to a weekend of intriguing art activities including a poster printing event during MLK Days. Guests can join visiting artist, Sarah Matthews, and learn how to create stamps to design and print uplifting posters to hang in the community. The Art Center also has a new exhibit by Matthews described as “a combination of artists’ books and prints which document Sarah’s journey through depression, anger, hope, peace, and love. Amid a global pandemic, racial injustices, and social isolation, Sarah was able to find her artistic voice…to express her thoughts and feelings.”
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping
For those who are looking for something a bit more high caliber, consider checking out the area’s paintball and zip-lining opportunities.
Luke Glass is the general manager for Central Avenue Paintball Park in Bowie (centralavenuepaintballpark.com). “Paintball is a year-round sport,” says Glass. “In the wintertime, it’s usually better for players due to them being layered with more clothing.” He says the sport is suitable for any person ages 6 and up. For younger players, he suggests utilizing low-impact paintball options which sting less than a traditional paintball, which is typically recommended for those over the age of 8. “We have couples come in all the time as a date. There are tables in the park so they usually bring a lunch and spend the day at the park having fun playing paintball.”
A 30-minute drive from Annapolis, guests can engage in a treetop adventure at Terrapin Adventures Outdoor Adventure Park in Savage. The park offers activities for individuals ages 5 to 85 years old. They do require that guests book online, ahead of their arrival to ensure availability. In addition to zip-lining, they offer other activities such as archery and rope climbing (terrapinadventures.com).
Traditional Winter Fun
If outdoor winter activities bring to mind skiing and ice skating, Chesapeake Country offers those, too.
Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis has an outdoor skating rink open throughout the winter, weather depending. For up-to-date information on hours, lessons and pricing, visit their Facebook page (@qwicerink). Glen Burnie Town Center also offers outdoor skating, and requires advance registration through their website (glenburnieiceskating.com). Indoor options for skating include Piney Orchard (pineyicerink.com) also requiring online registration, and Bowie Ice Rink (cityofbowie.org), rates and hours can be viewed on their online calendar.
While skiing may not be what we typically call a “local” activity, there are a few ski resorts within a two-hour drive of Annapolis. White Tail (skiwhitetail.com), Liberty (libertymountainresort.com), and Roundtop (skiroundtop.com) are all located in Pennsylvania. Dining, lodging, skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing are available at each. Slopes and lessons are suitable for a variety of ages and experience levels. Depending on how long you want to hit the slopes, you can usually purchase day passes and season passes.
Warm and Cozy Indoor Fun
If the lure of the outdoors in winter just does not appeal to you, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy as well.
Try your hand at axe throwing. The Axe House of Annapolis-Severna Park promises fun and excitement for the entire family (axehouseannapolis.com). While walk-ins are accepted, they do encourage visitors to pre-register online to ensure availability. They offer onsite training prior to each session, and you can choose to throw axes, knives, or throwing stars.
If you desire to engage in artistic expression, consider visiting ArtFarm (artfarmannapolis.com) or Faith’s Palette (faithspaletteartstudio.com) in Annapolis. “We have amazing kid and teen classes coming up in both traditional and digital arts. We are excited about our graphic design and 3D sculpture classes. We have a number of sketch nights and weekend workshops coming up as well,” says Darin Gilliam, co-founder of ArtFarm.
Kimberly Bryson with Faith’s Palette Art Studio encourages people to come check out their unique 3,200-square-foot studio space designed to spark creativity. “We offer painting, pottery, art classes, a weekly Teen Art Group, Wine & Paint Nights, and more,” she says.
For the indoor adventurer, Escape Rooms may be the perfect activity for your family. Jason Cherry is the owner of Mission Escape Rooms in Annapolis (missionescaperooms.com). While many people are still being COVID conscious especially with the spike in omicron cases, Cherry says that safety is their top priority. “All escape rooms are CDC-compliant. We are booking private experiences only, meaning it is just you and the group you booked with.” Rooms are suitable for ages 6 and up and Cherry says they have had the pleasure of seeing three to four generation families enjoy the escape room experience together. “It is a great activity for all, grandchildren and grandparents included.”
“It is like a real-life game of Clue,” Cherry adds. “And if you enjoy solving puzzles with your friends and family then escape rooms are for you.” He says no matter if you have done a room before, the concept never loses excitement as they are constantly building new rooms.
Make winter 2022 the time you try something exciting with your friends and family. Get out, stay safe and have fun!