A few of our favorite things
Forget kettles and mittens. How about snow under the stars and hot toddies in bars? Try our suggestions for cold-weather fun as this silver-white winter melts into spring.
Some like it hot
It is a popular misconception that drinking alcohol warms the body on chilly winter days. In actuality, it lowers the core temperature of the body. Despite this fact, grabbing a drink with friends long has been a favored means of escaping the gloomy winter weather. Zelda’s Gourmet Pizza offers an unexpected yet cozy setting in which to partake in this beloved winter pastime. Plant yourself on a stool at the vinyl-padded bar, survey the cave-like interior and order yourself a drink from Zelda’s hot-drinks menu. Sample staples such as the hot toddy, hot buttered rum and Irish coffee. For those looking for something more exotic, try a Jewish coffee (a mix of Sabra—a chocolate-orange liqueur—and coffee topped with whipped cream) or the Mexican coffee (a blend of Kahlua, coffee and tequila). Find Zelda’s at 1415 21st Street or call (916) 447-1400 for info.
Get whisked away to Margaritaville
Though the holiday season ought to be chock-full of laughter and love among family and friends, it is often tainted by busy schedules and last-minute shopping. It can be a maddening, anxiety-ridden time—dreaded and feared by many. Mellow Me Out, a local day spa, offers a margarita party to help you survive these trying times. For $45, the tension-relieving party includes a 30-minute massage; a facial or pedicure; an herbal foot soak; and complimentary margaritas, chips and salsa. Reservations are required. Mellow Me Out is located at 1105 Fulton Avenue. Call (916) 482-2772 for more information.
Fit for a governor
In 1967, actor-turned-governor Ronald Reagan opted to reside in East Sacramento rather than continue living in the governor’s mansion on H Street. Prior to Reagan, 12 of California’s governors found the Victorian mansion fit enough to call home. This winter, the once-spurned governor’s mansion will hold Christmas Memories Open House events. Guests are invited to tour the mansion, listen to live music and winter tales and have a photo taken with Santa. Costumed docents will answer questions. The festivities take place December 6, 7, 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12, and free for children under 6. Visit the governor’s mansion at 16th and H streets or call (916) 323-3047 for more information.
Bright lights, jelly beans
When we turn the clocks back an hour for daylight-saving time, the evenings become dark and gloomy. But do not fret! Instead, join Mr. Jelly Belly, Santa, Frosty and Rudolph for some holiday merriment as they illuminate the night sky at a tree-lighting ceremony at the Jelly Belly Candy Co.’s factory. Victorian carolers will lead visitors in a singalong of holiday favorites. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tour of the factory. The free event begins at 4:30 p.m. on November 29. Find the Jelly Belly Visitor Center at 1 Jelly Belly Lane in Fairfield or call (800) 953-5592 for more information.
Destination: Fairytale Town
From Christmas to Kwanzaa to Our Lady of Guadalupe Day, December is jampacked with holiday festivities worldwide. Families with children should take a trip to Fairytale Town for Holidays Around the World, a celebration of diversity. Kids can make crafts from a variety of holiday traditions, including Hanukkah-dreidel message cards and winter-solstice sundials. Visitors will be treated to performances of Santa in Fairyland, an original play by the Elly Award-winning Little Bus Players. The event takes place December 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $3.75 for adults, $3.50 for children 3 to 12, and free for children under 3. Pick up your “passport to winter” at Fairytale Town, at 3901 Land Park Drive. Call (916) 264-5233 for more information.
Chill out with cool jazz
Jazz musician Don Moors has the vibe. The vibraphone, that is. Moors, a master of the beloved percussion instrument, will perform a selection of traditional carols in nontraditional ways. Hear him at a free holiday jazz concert on December 6 at 2 p.m. Follow the vibe to the South Natomas Library, located at 2901 Truxel Road. Call (916) 264-2920 for more information.
Down in old town
Chilly conditions got you hiding indoors? Buck up, grab a coat and head to Old Sacramento, or you’ll miss some wonderful winter events. Snowfest 2003 (December 9 through December 23) confirms that Old Sacramento has struck a deal with Mother Nature to ensure a winter wonderland. Snow will appear nightly between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on select streets. Visitors are invited to stroll the holiday-bedecked boardwalks, marvel at gingerbread creations or take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Call (916) 558-3912 or visit www.oldsacramento.com for daily snow reports and more information. Then, on December 31, the New Year’s Eve Sky Concert boasts two firework shows, live entertainment, a children’s stage and more. Fireworks are scheduled to blast into the sky at 9 p.m. and then again at midnight. Call (916) 264-7777 for information.
Sacred art, fun crafts and free admission!
Theologians and art historians will be thrilled by the newest exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum. Icons or Portraits? Images of Jesus and Mary from the Collection of Michael Hall, considered one of the finest private art collections in America, highlights the importance of Jesus and the Virgin Mary to the history of Western art. The amazing collection, featuring more than 100 pieces spanning from the 12th century through the 20th century, will be on display from November 28 through January 18, 2004. Kids and ornament enthusiasts will enjoy Ornaments Galore, an ornament-making class offered from noon to 3 p.m. on December 20. Fans of freebies will revel in the fact that the Crocker offers free admission every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit the Crocker at 216 O Street. Call (916) 264-5423 for info.
In the raw
Staying healthy in the winter is a challenge, but changing your diet can help stave off a cold or flu. Get plenty of vitamin C, eat your vegetables and, if you want to step your nutrition up a notch, talk to the raw-food enthusiasts at Raw Sacramento. Raw-foodists abstain from cooking what they eat, in order to maximize nutrients and avoid the sometimes-carcinogenic byproducts of overheated food. Not everyone has the discipline or desire to go totally raw, but there’s no doubt that increasing the amount of fresh foods you eat is a healthy idea. Raw Sacramento holds monthly raw potlucks. The next is a holiday dessert buffet on December 7 at 3 p.m. If you’re curious about the raw diet, why not start with dessert? Visit www.rawsacramento.net to R.S.V.P. for the potluck, subscribe to the society’s e-newsletter or learn more about raw foods.
By the time February arrives, most of us have had our fill of chill and rain. Luckily, February always brings Mardi Gras. The spicy food, up-tempo Cajun music, shiny beads, vibrant costumes and festive parades that accompany this pre-Lent party are a welcome break from winter drizzle. Old Sacramento’s eighth annual Mardi Gras, scheduled for February 20 through 22, promises to keep you in good spirits until spring. Visit www.oldsacramento.com for more information in the coming months.
Don’t stop pedaling
It’s tempting to give up walking and biking when the weather gets bad, but consider sticking with it. The environment still appreciates zero-emission transportation, and your body still needs the exercise. An umbrella will shield walkers from inclement weather, but fast-moving bike riders may need special raingear. City Bicycle Works sells waterproof pants and jackets that range in price from $20 to $140. Whether you want top-of-the-line Gore-Tex or simple clear-plastic rainwear, you’ll find it there. It also has vinyl-lined messenger bags and laptop carriers to keep your work materials safe. City Bicycle Works has two locations: 2419 K Street in Midtown and 7885 Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights. Visit www.citybicycleworks.com for more info.
Put yourself on the case
If you fancy yourself a super sleuth, test your detective skills at Get a Clue! Solving Mysteries with Science. Get a Clue! is the Explorit Science Center’s winter exhibit. Visitors can use forensic tools to find clues and solve problems. The exhibit runs from December 13 through March 7, 2004. Explorit hours are Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is $3, except on the fourth Saturday of every month when admission is free for everyone! Explorit is located at 3141 Fifth Street in Davis. Call (530) 756-0191 or visit www.explorit.org for more clues.
Steep in Heavenly peace
Tea is the perfect winter beverage. It’s warming without the expense of espresso, the jittery effects of coffee or the calories of hot cocoa. Tea carries the meditative quality of the Japanese tea ceremony and the celebratory pomp of English high tea. You can easily steep a teabag on the go, or you can delve into the careful ritual of loose-leaf tea brewing. For gourmet tea and tea accessories, visit the Tea Cozy at 1021 R Street. This comfortable little shop has a British feel but carries a diverse selection of teas. The knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you find the blend for you. Call (916) 441-3546 for more info.
Avian truck stop
Sacramento is smack in the middle of the Pacific flyway, one of four migratory paths for wild birds in the United States. The Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge offers birds on the Pacific flyway an 18,200-acre rest stop during their travels. Every second and fourth Saturday, the public is invited to hike the trails of the refuge and see these winged commuters. Self-guided hikers will cross grasslands, riparian forests and wetlands to see such winter travelers as tundra swans, sandhill cranes, white-tailed kites, pelicans and a wide variety of ducks. Wear sturdy shoes and warm clothes. Be sure to bring binoculars and plenty of drinking water. The Stone Lakes entrance is located on Elk Grove Boulevard, west of Interstate 5. Refuge visiting hours vary. Call (916) 775-4420 for current information.