Six Ways to Love Winter

It’s winter in southeast Michigan, and we’re all hunkered down inside in our shrink-wrapped homes with our accoutrements of choice: crocheted comforters, TV remotes, fuzzy slippers, cups of hot tea. Our furnaces are cranked up, and we’re settling into semi-hibernation, right? 


Time to stop feeling depressed about three more months of winter and start embracing the season. To make it easier, Mode Shift has six ideas for you. So, pull those long johns out of the package, folks. Find your warmest gloves, grab your scarf, zip up your parka, and check out these energizing options.

1.   A walk in the woods

Take to the trees to replenish your soul. Island Lake State Park and Maybury State Park have miles of trails. Light hills make for pristine views and possible junco, cardinal, and blue jay sightings. Nearer to the hub of Detroit, more opportunities for winter treks can be found in Birmingham, on the trail that runs between Booth Park and Linden Park beside the Rouge River, and in Detroit through Palmer Park nature trails.

2.   Nordic locomotion

After a heavy snow, you can work your heart, and breathe non-furnace-filtered air just gliding around your neighborhood on cross-country skis. For a change of scenery, try Palmer Park or Belle Isle Park, both in Detroit. For groomed trails, the Metroparks are dandy. You can rent skis at Willow Metropark in New Boston, Kensington Metropark in Milford, and Independence Oaks County Park in Clarkston.

3.   Hockey and skating

Outdoor ice skating rinks are cool enough to make anyone love winter. Clark Park in southwest Detroit is a good pick, with times for drop-in hockey and open skating. Clark Park’s rink has a cooling system, but is weather dependent. Independence Oaks County Park also has skating if the ice is at least eight inches thick.

If skating under the lights is your preference, the rink at Campus Martius Park on Woodward Ave. in Detroit is open seven nights a week.

4.   Freighter watching

After grabbing a tub of hot gumbo from Louisiana Creole Gumbo Restaurant on Gratiot Ave. in Detroit’s Eastern Market district, cruise down to Belle Isle Park to watch the freighters piloting down the Detroit River. Watch for U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers in action, attempting to keep the shipping channel between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie clear.

5.   Two-wheeled fun

For the intrepid and cold-weather tolerant, hop on your bike, and ride the Dequindre Cut or Riverwalk in Detroit. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy plows and salts the paths to keep ice at bay. Earmuffs are a plus for withstanding what can be brutal winds off the Detroit River. Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop at Rivard Plaza rents bikes Friday through Monday all winter long.

6.   Celebrating wintertime

From beyond the northern edge of Oakland County to the heart of southwest Detroit, folks are finding ways to mask the brutal blows of winter with outdoor merrymaking and play. Winterfest will be celebrated Jan. 31 at Seven Ponds Nature Center in Dryden with snowshoe walks, ice cutting, ice skating, animal tracking, and a bonfire.

Clark Park in southwest Detroit will host a free Winter Carnival on Feb. 28 with outdoor activities like marshmallow roasting, ice skating, carriage rides, and outdoor games.

Hopefully, reading this list has enticed you to embrace the region’s gloriously frigid season. We’ll see you out there – rosy cheeks, snow-covered boots and all – feeling a bit giddy that you’ve escaped what might have become a bad case of cabin fever. 

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