Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winter wonderland

If you live anywhere near Ottawa you've no doubt seen the winter wonderland pictures on facebook, twitter and instagram. Along with the appropriate #hashtags obviously.  #snowday!

Here's what I woke up to this morning.

Personally; I love the snow.  I've been getting excited for Christmas over the last couple weeks, so this is just the cherry on my ice cream whipped cream on my hot chocolate.

I do realize that our weather poses some challenges and can be annoying, not to mention dangerous.  However, I also fully embrace the fact that I live in Ottawa, and this is my reality.  I love the changing seasons, especially the first snowfall.

There is something so magical about being surrounded by white, fluffy snow.  It quiets city sounds, forces us to move a little slower, and also makes for a great playground!

There is also nothing more romantic than being in a cozy restaurant with your lover, while big fluffy snowflakes fall outside the window.

I may be biased, but I don't think this moment would have been as romantic without the snow!

Ok, enough with the sappiness.  Even though you know I love it.  Let's chat about winter, the activities I love, and how the 4+ months of snowy weather can actually be fun and enjoyable.  Not to mention magical and romantic. #Obviously.

One of my favourite aspects of winter is that I get to revisit some of the restaurants I've been ignoring during the warmer months.  I'm all about ambiance and some places are just better certain times of year.  Prime example: the New Edinburgh Pub, our neighborhood watering hole.  Amazing roof top patio with great views for summer time.  But I try to avoid its so/so indoor dining room in the winter.  

A couple of our favourite winter spots include: 
Chez Lucien.  This is the perfect French pub for a rainy afternoon bowl of soup, or any meal during the winter.  It's dark and cozy with lots of wood decor.    
Ahora.  The obnoxiously bright decor in this Mexican restaurant is enough to warm you up.  But the margaritas and delicious food is even better.  

Of course winter time is also the perfect time to eat-in while sharing the perfect bottle of red wine...with your lover.  #Obviously.

As for outdoor activities, the list is never ending, but my all time favourite is skating on the canal.  For one, it's FREE!  And free things are the best things.  Secondly, it's an excellent way to get fresh air and exercise when were spending so much time inside.  

Skating parties are the best birthday parties!

Since Derek and I both have offices downtown, we often go skating right after work which is super convenient.  Stopping for a well-deserved bite to eat and drink at one of the restaurants mentioned above makes for a perfect winter evening in my books!

We are also really close to the Gatineau Park, which is full of trails that are open for snowshoeing, hiking, cross country and downhill skiing in the winter.  I will admit, we've never done anything except enjoy a couple evenings of night skiing at Fortune.  It's less convenient, plus the activities are either more expensive or require equipment we don't own.  

That's not to say I don't have ambitions to get up there every year.  This year I would love to try cross country skiing.  

And if the weather is just a little too harsh, or you've had enough fresh air all summer, inside is fun too!  Beware though - cabin fever does exist and will come out of nowhere.  To avoid this, try changing up your scenery while still keeping toasty and dry.  Here are some options:

  • Visit the library or Chapters in search of a new good read then hit up your favourite coffee shop once you've found it!
  • Take in a museum or art gallery.  
  • Go bowling!  This may sound lame, but Derek and I went bowling together last week and had a blast.  We spent an hour playing a couple games with a pitcher of beer - perfect winter indoor activity.
  • Learn something new.  Check out the small businesses in your neighborhood - they may just offer more than you know.  Wabi Sabi, a fabulous yarn shop in Hintonburg, offers many courses on knitting, sewing, felting and more!
  • Plan a trip.  There's nothing more exciting than planning a trip.  Derek and I spend hours researching and planning many trips, almost all of which aren't realistic.  It's still fun to dream.  But it's even more fun if you're counting down the days!
  • Treat yourself at the nordik spa.  This is something that everyone must do once in their life.  It's amazing and wonderful and I can't say enough good things.  Just go and experience it for yourself.  It's open year round, but the winter is a very unique experience.
  • Plan a party and invite your friends over.  It's better to suffer the cold together, right?  Choose some delicious cocktail recipes and get tipsy.  

So there are a few of my suggestions.  If all else fails, turn up the Bob Marley and dream of summer. Time goes by so fast these days that it's basically right around the corner.

Tell me - how do you spend your winter months?  Hibernating by the fire, or braving the elements?  Let me know!

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