BY: RACHEL WUMKES
It’s no secret that North Iowa winters are a bit chilly. I’d even venture to label them ‘brutally cold.’
Being on the receiving end of some bitter weather coming down from our friends up in Minnesota, it’s no wonder the winter months have us bundling up in layers. With January right around the corner, it won’t be long before the temperature drops below average. You know, where the temps are SO cold it actually hurts your skin to have it exposed to the air?
While winter can sometimes be a bit of a downer as it’s not our ‘favorite’ time of the year, at least we live in the most amazing community, right? Clear Lake doesn’t stop the fun just because the weather turns cold – we keep it going through right on into the next season!
I have compiled a list of ideas to help us all survive the North Iowa Winter.
A guide, if you will, on how to muddle your way through the cold until the hope of springs is upon us.
- Dress Warm. While my middle school children will disagree, one must cover all exposed parts of their body during these months. The frigid air will turn your skin into something akin to a popsicle in no time. And if you’ve ever seen photos of frost-bitten skin, it is not pretty! Bundle up with a heavy-duty coat from Goodnature’s Work Stop. Or cover those tootsies with a pair of boots from Skip’s Kicks. You can find whatever you need to dress in layers this winter at one of our fine retail establishments.
- Self-Care. This is a must. It’s very common for Midwesterners to experience a bit of the seasonal blues this time of year. The gray skies and cold weather can easily drag a person straight down into the dumps. To combat such feelings, I recommend a bit of pampering. My first choice is to add a little glow on your pasty white winter skin from Glow on the Go. Then pop on over to Hairapy by Laura for a fresh cut and color. Oh, and while you’re there, relax and enjoy a mani/pedi at The Perfect 10 Salon. It might be ugly outside, but you’ll look (and feel) like a million bucks!
- Be active. Maybe it’s that pesky New Year’s Resolution you want to keep for more than a week this year. Or maybe you registered for TRI Clear Lake (like me) so you HAVE to get your butt in gear. Whatever the reason, being active is a surefire way to combat that blah winter feeling. Even if you do have to venture out into the cold to get there, you’ll be glad you did. Stop in and play a game of Pickleball at the Wellness Center. Get your fitness on at NIP & Fitness Center, or sign up for a training session with Jason at Cutting Edge Fitness. Pop into the Boyer pool for a swim. If you close your eyes, you can pretend you’re off the coast of somewhere tropical! Or Shea over at Lake Fit can tailor a program to best suit your needs. With all these great opportunities, you’ll be ready to show off that beach body this summer for sure!
- Treat Yo-Self. There’s nothing wrong with buying yourself things when you feel down. Absolutely nothing. If it’s what gets you through those few months of miserable North Iowa weather – I say charge it and worry about the bill this spring! Okay, that might be compulsive advice. Still… a little treat now and then doesn’t hurt. Check out our directory for ALL the shopping possibilities.
- Eat, Drink & Be Merry! If buying yourself something shiny isn’t your cup of tea, maybe you should stop in to Holistic Harmony and have an ACTUAL cup of tea! I highly suggest the Caramel Apple latte. You can grab some friends and share a small plate at the Surfside, or watch the big game at The Other Place. And start your day off the right way – with sugary goodness from South Shore Donut Company. Of course, 173 Craft Distillery will have a cocktail to surely warm your bones. Live music can be found at various hot spots like Sunset Sharky’s, Tap’d, 173 Craft Distillery, The Legacy Grill, & the VFW throughout the winter months. They are the perfect opportunity to enjoy a cold one and raise a glass to some incredibly talented musicians!
- Enjoy All the Things to Do. Even if you have to bundle up and brave the cold, at least Clear Lake is still hopping with fun activities in the Winter. Each year, we welcome our ‘February Family’ from around the globe to the Surf Ballroom for the Winter Dance Party. You can hit up the super-cool Trivia Night at Laketime Brewery, game night at Sunset Sharky’s, or play a round of Bingo at the Of course, the Chamber will again host the amazing Color the Wind kite festival in February. To ensure you NEVER miss a moment of all the fun happening at the Lake, sign up for our weekly events email.
- Embrace the Cold! Some people don’t even bat an eye at the cold weather. In fact, they LIVE for the cold and snow, because that means all the winter fun shall commence! Snowmobilers take to the powdery fluff throughout the season, but they congregate near State Beach in Clear Lake on February 11th for the Midwest Sled Fest. On any given winter-perfect day, you’ll see blobs of color glide across the frozen lake as kite boarders harness the wind for a day of fun! And, of course, anglers travel from far and wide to spend a day on the ice in a quest to catch ‘the big one.’ They’ll even try their luck at winning the grand prize at the Frozen Feathers Tournament on January 15th or the Panfish Shoot Out on February 19th.
- Indoor Activities. Sometimes you just have to bundle up and head outside… like when you’re ice fishing during one of the amazing winter tournaments. But if I can help it, I try to keep my activities of the INDOOR kind. You know, like spending an evening seeing the newest blockbuster at Lake Theatre. Or checking out the latest art exhibit at the Clear Lake Arts Center. Where the wind cannot reach me. That’s my kinda fun!
There you have it, my friends. Rachel’s guide to surviving another frigid winter in North Iowa. With a little planning and a positive attitude, I think we all have a pretty good chance of making it through to the other side. A side filled with green grass and warm breezes off the water. The side of spectacular sunsets and late-nights on patios with friends.
Hang on, y’all. It will be here before we know it!