Celebrate winter your way

How cold the winter and cozy our homes, in part, determines our affinity for the season of snow and ice. But other things also shape our views. It is a season for cozy comforters and crackling logs in the fireplace; a delightful time to be outdoors if you dress right and have a fun reason to be out in the elements.

Growing up in Detroit, I always looked forward to winter. I longed for Saturdays at the outdoor public skating rink, adventurous toboggan outings with my dad and brother, downhill ski weekends with family or friends — and building snow forts with buddies until our cheeks burned red.

I relish the memory of bonfires in the snow, soaking in an outdoor hot tub after skiing and the delicious aroma of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, which greeted us upon arrival at a northern Michigan B&B late on frigid Friday nights.

This issue of BLUE celebrates the winter season. Noted author Jerry Dennis, our back-page “Reflections” columnist, expounds beautifully in an essay on page 24 called “Winter Comes to the Keweenaw,” about the power of winter in the Upper Peninsula and stoic nature of the people who live there.

“We were in a beautiful place but a hard one,” he writes. “I thought about hard winds, hard stones, hard winters, water so cold that it was only a degree or two from turning to hard ice, the solid rock foundation of this perilous finger of land where it is hard to keep warm and harder yet to make a living — and wondered if all that hardness rises through the feet of the people who live here and spreads into their hearts.”

In search of winter visions that reflect the simple beauty found on winter’s often monochromatic landscapes, we sought out images that express it from Michigan’s top nature and landscape photographers. A beauty to behold.

Journalist Marla R. Miller captures the buzz of winter fat-tire bicycles in her feature about the growing number who ride in winter, seek out bike trails and the corresponding growth of groomed trails for cyclists all around the state.

Meanwhile, the port of Manistee is celebrating winter and the holidays with a Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend that you can read about. The atmosphere is festive in this Victorian port town where sleigh rides are free and roasted chestnuts are consumed as Belgian draft horses haul the community’s lit Christmas tree down the street and an accompanying trombone band “belts out” Christmas tunes.

Being outdoors, of course, is half the fun, and we bring you stories about winter camping in yurts on state lands; places where adrenaline junkies can enjoy the thrill of a luge run; and, by contrast, where the winter-weary can restore themselves at peaceful, modern spas.

Being cozy at home is important too, and writer Jeanine Matlow shares home décor tips for cozying the abode. And what about comfort food? Mac and cheese, anyone?

Food lovers will appreciate author Kim Schneider’s feature profile about Kathleen Fagan Riegler, founder of the cheese specialty shop “The Cheese Lady.” Her inspired vision and love of cheeses have since been embraced by six others who now refer to themselves as The Cheese Lady Sisterhood. It’s a delightful winter read.

Howard Meyerson,
Managing Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine