Welcome to February! I just read an article about a couple who went on vacation in December to...the Arctic. Wouldn't be my first choice, but I'm not averse to heading out into the wintry weather to have some fun. I wouldn't go all the way to the Arctic but I would go to Sweet Arrow Lake State Park. And they have a lot of events squeezed into the shortest month of the year.
Of course the month starts off with a bang -- a bang starring a groundhog named Grover. Stop by Sweet Arrow Lake State Park tomorrow for breakfast ($6 for adults and $4 for children) starting at 7:30 a.m. There will also be Grover's seasonal prediction at 9 a.m. as well as songs, stories and a groundhog auction. For additional information call 570-345-8952 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You'll get two chances to lace up your hiking boots and brave the weather for some outdoor hikes, First is the Tree-mendous Winter Tree Trek on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. I want to go just because of that fabulous name! Meet at the large pavilion near the clubhouse and Frank Snyder will lead you in learning to identify deciduous trees using identifiers other than their leaves. You also get a free copy of "Common Trees of Pennsylvania". Dress for the weather! The other hike is on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Cabin Fever Hike with Porcupine Pat will meet at the Waterfall Road parking lot.
If you don't want to head out into the cold, Sweet Arrow Lake is also offering two indoor activities this month. The Break the Ice oldies dance will be on Friday, February 24 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. with music by "The Legends". Advance tickets are $10 and $12 at the door. Call 570-624-3018 for advance tickets. You can also prepare for your warm weather fun by brushing up on your boating skills at the PA Basic Boating Course on Saturday, February 25 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the clubhouse. There will be a 1/2 hour break for lunch -- brown bag it since no lunch will be provided. This course will allow you to apply for your Pennsylvania Boating Safety Education Certificate, which is needed to operate any boat greater than 25 horsepower and personal watercraft (Jet Skis). Pre-registration is required. Contact Drew Kline at 570-527-2505.
The hubby and I snuck out to breakfast on Sunday morning leaving the kids nestled snug in their beds (don't call Child Services -- the 'kids' are teenagers and 20-somethings). It isn't February yet but the restaurant already had the sign up advertising their special Valentine's Day meal. Like a lot of folks, we skip the Valentine's Day dinner out because it's just so darn crowded. If you and your special someone (or even a friend who is as sick of hearing about Valentine's Day as you are) want to do something special NOT on February 14th I have plenty of suggestions for you.
Creative? Have fun tonight at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center making a Valentine's Day Votive. It's a two session class (tonight and February 7) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each night. Cost is $20 per person for this multi-media class. Learn more here.
Ready for a show? Love Letters by A.R. Guerney is the perfect play for this month. It's a simple play -- just two people reading the various letters, cards and other communications they've shared over a lifetime. The play will be performed at 7 p.m. on three different nights (and with three different couples): February 9, 10, 11. Tickets are $10 per person or $25 per person with a catered meal from Capriotti's. Learn more or purchase tickets here.
Oenophilia? Local wineries are celebrating Valentine's Day with gusto. First up is
with their Wine & Truffles class on Feb. 4 or Feb. 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (snow date Feb. 18). Thecost is $15.25 per person or $26.50 per couple (ID required). Tickets must be reserved by contacting the winery here. Ticket includes a wine class, light refreshments, wine tasting, class to create your own truffles and the BC's new hot cocoa and black raspberry specialty drink: Hot and Dreamy.
Next is Stone Mountain Wine Cellars with their Wine, Chocolate and Valentines event on Feb. 11 or Feb. 12 from 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. . There will be wine tastings, potato soup (made with wine), chocolate fondue, hot chocolate with raspberry wine, cannoli, truffles and live music from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Yum.
Last, but not least is Galen Glen Winery with a special event for wine and book lovers. On Feb. 11 and Feb. 12 from noon to 2 p.m. romance author Autumn Jordan will be signing her romantic comedies Perfect and Perfect Hearts and her romantic suspense novels Seized by Darkness and Obsessed by Darkness. Books will be on sale for just $10 each (cash only). There will also be chocolate and wine pairings.
"Lots of people go mad in January...January is your third most common month for madness."
--Karen Joy Fowler
I can understand it. It's a gray, holiday-free month full of cold and wet winter mess. In my opinion, the best way to survive January (or any other blah time) is to look forward to the future. For artists (and art lovers) I have something wonderful to look forward to: Block of Art. This year's Block of Art will be April 28, 29 and 30. Now, for art-lovers like me that's pretty far in the future but for artists it might be just enough time -- time to create something that will be displayed at Block of Art.
Block of Art is sending out a call for artwork. Each artist must be at least 18 years old and can submit two pieces of art. Flat pieces must be wired for hanging. There will be a 20% commission for each piece sold, although the commission with be reduced to 10% if you also donate a piece to the Art Auction.
For more details about becoming a Block of Art artist check out the submission form here.
If you'd like to volunteer at the Block of Art check out the opportunities here
Since I have a job that involves a lot of deadlines the stress ebbs and flows. The closer we get to deadline the more the stress level ramps up. Most lives are like that -- ebbs and flows of stress. So do you have trouble dealing with the stress? If so, you can learn how to deal with it at "Managing Stress the Healthy Way" presented by Diakon's Jenny Wagner. She'll cover physical effects and warning signs of stress, finding solutions to stressors and healthy stress management techniques.
You have two opportunities to attend the presentation both from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. The first will be on Thursday, January 26 at the Mahanoy City Senior Community Center, 138 W. Centre Strett, Mahanoy City. If you miss that one, stop the Schuylkill Haven Senior Community Senter, 340 Haven Street, Schuylkill Haven on Tuesday, January 31. For more information about either date, call 570-624-3017.
If you want to support your local library, stop by between now and February 8 to order a Deppen Pie at $10. Pies will be delivered on February 22. The following libraries are participating: Ashland, Frackville, Orwigsburg, Port Carbon, Pottsville, Ringtown, Shenandoah, Tamaqua, Tower-Porter, Tremont and Tri-Valley.
Just today my husband mentioned that we should have another date night. For my husband that usually equates dinner out (the way to a man's heart really is through his stomach). But, because he loves me, he agrees to also "do something" on date night. So he suggested that I check out what was happening at the Majestic Theatre (his go to spot for shows). And now I am super-excited for April when the Majestic Players will be performing Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" (April 28 through 30). Hooray!
If you're less interested in watching the show and would rather be a performer, auditions for "And Then There Were None" will be February 21 at 7 p.m. and February 25 at 4 p.m. Learn more about auditions by emailing email@example.com.
Not in the mood for a murder mystery? The Tamaqua Art Center, 125 Rialroad Street is having auditions for "Oz!" on January 27 at 8 p.m. and January 28 at noon. Come prepared with a song. The show will be March 31 and April 1. Learn more about auditions here or call 570-668-1192.
So...between rain, ice and a bit of snow we've had a rather damp 2017 so far. But that's a good thing if you intend to enter the Schuylkill Conservation District Photo Contest. There are two themes to choose from: The Waters of Schuylkill County and Why Nature Matters to Me.
Photos can be taken between January 1 and April 6 and must be submitted by April 6. You can submit only ONE entry for each theme and there is no entry fee. Some tips: The Waters of Schuylkill County
should focus on the beauty of creeks, streams, ponds and lakes of the county while Why Nature Matters to Me should focus on the connections people have with Nature. All photos must be taken in Schuylkill County. All photos will be displayed on the Schuylkill Conservation District Facebook page.
There will be three winners for each theme as well as two grand prize winners. Prizes are first place $50, second place $35 and third place $25. One grand prize winner will be enlarged and used as a door prize at the Schuylkill Conservation District annual awards ceremony and the other will be used on the cover of the annual report.
Submissions can be either an 8" x 10" unframed print (copy only, not the original) mailed to Schuylkill Conservation District, 1206 Ag Center Drive, Pottsville, PA 17901 or a jpeg emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org . All submissions should include name, address, phone number, email and camera used.
If the hike I posted about on Monday (see here) sounds like fun to you, then you should sign up to receive the Schuylkill on the Move 2017 calendar of hikes. It's also a fun way to achieve your new year's resolution whether it is to be more active, make new friends or try new things.
I'm not a fan of winter (OK, I do like the hot cocoa and snuggling under blankets part) but even I will admit that overall this winter has treated us pretty well. I did not have to help shovel snow once this winter! I think even my teenage son only had two brief bouts with the snow shovel. So I'm more likely to "celebrate" winter than usual. And what better way to celebrate winter than with the annual Fire and Ice Fest at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park?
The fest (can I just mention what a fun word "fest" is) will be on Sunday, January 22 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. If our present weather cycles of cold followed quickly by warm spells continues I don't think there will be any ice skating or snow ball battles. However there will be some winter eating fun: hot dogs cooked over a bonfire, homemade ice cream demonstrations and a chili cookoff. Call 570-624-3018 if you'd like to be one of the contestants. There will be a demonstration by the Schuylkill Haven Dive Team as well as musical entertainment by Jesse Wade and Splash the Clown for the kids.
Would you rather celebrate winter by communing with Nature? Then it's time for your first Schuylkill on the Move hike of 2017. Happening the same day -- Sunday, January 22 -- the Landingville Launch Hike will feature the beauty of a winter landscape. It is a two mile hike rated easy and will happen from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Hikers should meet in the parking lot on Tunnel Road outside of Landingville.