Thriving in Garrett County, Maryland: Winter

Published: March 3, 2021

by M. Kendall Ludwig, president and principal designer
custom illustration by CurlyRed intern Olivia Weeks

Even though winter is technically almost behind us, anyone who lives in this region will tell you that there are still potentially several more weeks of winter left here in Garrett County.

Winter is long and intense here. According to Deep Creek Times, we've gotten almost 100 inches of snowfall so far this season. It's often well below freezing, with windchills making it feel even colder. Place that fact on top of the shorter days and icy roads, and it can be enough to make the winter seem a whole lot less wonderful.

When speaking to folks who have lived here longer than we have, it seems that there are two ways to approach winter in Garrett County: become a “snowbird” (meaning one that flies to a warmer climate for at least part of the winter), or embrace it. I'll admit, I spent the first 3 winters here feeling mostly resentful and hibernating indoors.

But last winter, I decided to take a different approach. We live in an incredibly beautiful place, and I was determined to make the most of it, all year long. Easier said than done, right? Yes, absolutely. But I wanted to share with you some tips I've learned to make the most of these long winter months:

  1. Find a winter-only hobby. If there is one thing I want you to take away from this article, it would be this: Look for something that can only be done in winter. For me, it's downhill skiing. Granted, I'm still learning, and it's not cheap (if you buy a season pass a year in advance there are savings to be had). But skiing is something I look forward to doing all year long, and can only be done when conditions are right. It gets me outside, it's good for me physically and mentally, and it makes me extremely grateful to live here.
  2. Dress in cozy layers. I'm cold, like always. So I make sure I also have knit accessories around me. Fingerless gloves, cardigans and wool hats are my friends. Find ones that you enjoy wearing (I especially love wearing items that friends have made for me!).
  3. Take advantage of your sense of smell. Winter is the perfect time for really paying attention to your nose. Fresh snow falling, fresh pine trees and yummy candles seem particularly delicious this time of year. Slow your breathing, and take a deep breath through your nose. Finding gratitude in these small things makes a big difference.
  4. Get moving (whatever that looks like). It's hard for me to get motivated when the temperature drops (and running/hiking outside is not possible). We decided to take a break from the gym in light of the pandemic, so I needed to find creative ways to exercise. I find that even a 20 minute workout is enough to break a sweat and lift my mood. I've found three (free!) fitness instructors on YouTube that have been game-changing: BodyFit by Amy, Yoga with Adrienne, and MadFit.
  5. But give yourself permission to be less productive. Embracing all four seasons should include extending grace to yourself. For me, the shorter days are the Earth's cue to get a lot of rest, think about things, journal and mentally prepare for busier seasons ahead.
  6. Get lost in a good book (or 20). Is there anything better than curling up under a blanket on a Sunday afternoon and getting swept up in a novel? If you need suggestions on what to read next, I've found so many great books on GoodReads.
  7. Bake (and give some away). I adore baking. Cookies, cakes, bread, brownies—you name it. I also have a major sweet tooth. So I recruit my girls to be my sous chefs, make a mess in the kitchen, and then have them deliver the majority of what we made to our neighbors. It's a kind and easy thing to do, and it also saves me from eating a dozen cookies myself.
  8. Appreciate the beauty that is WINTER. One of a kind snowflakes, happy trees, the stillness. It's so pretty here in Garrett County, we should celebrate it! ❄️❄️❄️

What are your tips for thriving in the winter? (And don't worry, our tips for thriving in Spring will be here before you know it!)


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