In the beginning of the month I was doing my daily walks indoors but I'm about ready to throw on my goofy woolen hat and head outdoors again, how about you? Check out a few upcoming walks. Maybe you'll find one for you.
Tree-Mendous Winter Tree ID Trek
Sunday, February 18 starting at 2 p.m.
Meet near the Sweet Arrow Lake clubhouse and head on a search for deciduous trees with forester Frank Snyder.
Cabin Fever Hike
Saturday, February 24 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Meet at the Waterfall Road parking lot for a 3 mile hike rated moderate to enjoy winter weeds, birds and scenery with Porcupine Pat McKinney.
Country View Walk
Sunday, February 25 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Meet behind Mt. Pleasant Hose Company in Buck Run on Route 901. This 8.4 mile hike rated moderate will be led by "Hiker Jim" to see a diversion canal, "The Old Jerk" and spectacular views.
Winter hiking not enough of a challenge for you? Why not go crazy with polar plunge! The Mad Hatters Softball Team will be holding their 8th annual polar plunge to benefit Make-a-Wish on March 3 at the Deer Lake Fire Company. Registration starts a 11 a.m. and the plunge is at 1 p.m. The cost is $35 the day of the plunge, $30 for advance registrations and $25 for students (for advanced registration contact Becky at 570-516-4405, Janie at 570-292-6225 or Jackie at 570-527-6759). Grab a few friends and you could qualify for a special group rate (groups of 5 or more). All participants receive a t-shirt.
There will also be an auction, basket of cheer raffle and 50/50 raffles. Food and beverages will be on sale. I hope warm beverages! Coffee, tea, hot chocolate! An after-party will be held at Goodfellas with musical entertainment by Sapphire. Doors open at 6 p.m. with music starting at 7 p.m.
Of course, if both plunging and hiking seem like too much for you (if like me you aren't a fan of cold weather) why not try some indoor exercise? Research has shown that when you exercise with a buddy you're more likely to stick to your exercise routine. Several communities have established indoors walking clubs -- built in exercise buddies! -- that meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Schuylkill Haven's club meets from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Schuylkill Haven Center, 340 Haven Street while Frackville's meets at the Frackville Borough Building gymnasium from 10 to 11 a.m. Not from Schuylkill Haven or Frackville? I bet if you stopped by you could get some ideas about initiating a walking club in your community!
For all those lovebirds out there, I have a perfect way to mark Valentine's Day. The Bridal Fair at The Lodge at Sharp Mountain on Sunday, February 25 from noon to 3 p.m. This free admission event will feature a bridal fashion show, complimentary food samples, door prizes and grand prizes by Murphy Jewelers and The Lodge. There will also be a cash bar available.
Need a little music to life your spirits during this long enduring Winter? Stop by Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 252 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven on Sunday, February 25 for a Gabriel Chamber Ensemble concert beginning at 3 p.m.
Guest musicians will be Xun Pan on piano, Elizabeth Wright on violin and John Laughton on clarinet. The concert will include pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev and Schikele.
There are also two fun performances that could be a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day. First up is "Play It Again, Sam" at the Theatre at Simon Kramer, New Philadelphia. This Woody Allen romantic comedy will be performed on Saturday, February 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, February 18 at 2 p.m. This show has mature themes and isn't suitable for children. Additionally, Saturday's show includes a wine and cheeses reception for those over 21 with ID. Tickets are $15 and can be ordered online here.
On Saturday, February 24 you can enjoy the murder mystery comedy "To Wake the Dead" at the Fountain Springs Country Inn. The $35 ticket includes dinner at 5 p.m., the show at 6:30 p.m. and pre-show Irish music by The Troubles. Doors open at 4 p.m. There will also be a cash bar and raffles. This evening is a benefit for Mary Bennyhoff of Aashland who is battling ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).
Looking for a great idea for your Valentine sweetie? Several local wineries are hosting events that could be a romantic date for couples or just fun for a couple of wine lovers.
Wine & Truffles
Saturday, February 10 (snow date February 24) from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Benigna's Creek
Create your own chocolate wine filled truffles, enjoy refreshments and wine tasting. Also receive a Benigna's Creek wine glass. Reservations are required -- $15.25 per person or $26.50 for a couple. ID required, everyone must be over 21. Call 570-425-3090.
Valentines, Chocolate and Wine
Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Stone Mountain Wine Cellars
Wine, hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, truffles and cannoli for your taste and musicians Dave Evans (on Saturday) and Tommy Dee (on Sunday) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for your ears.
Sweet Wine for Your Sweetheart
Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11 starting at 12:30 p.m. at Galen Glen Winery
Port Wine, decadent chocolate and lessons from a sommelier
Be Mine with Wine and Chocolate Luv-a Cake
Saturday, February 10, Sunday, February 11, Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25 at Galen Glen Winery. Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
Molten chocolate cake paired with your favorite wine.
Wine, Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18 at Galen Glen Winery. Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
winter Mountain Red and a hand decorated chocolate peanut butter torte.
Thanks to Germany's famous Oktoberfest I always think autumn when I think beer fests. But the Our Haven Foundation thinks differently. They'll be holding their third annual Craftbrew Fest on Saturday, February 24 at the Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets are $35 at the door or $30 in advance. Along with the opportunity to learn about and sample craft beers you can win door prizes and enjoy delicious food. You can purchase your tickets online here or at Walk In Art Center, Spotts Insurance or Lewis' General Store. You must be 21+ and show ID. Designated drivers only pay $10 and no alcohol.
A favorite from other Craft Brew Fest -- the pretzel necklaces -- will return!
If you can't wait for Craft Brew Fest to visit the Walk In Art Center there's an earlier excuse for the ladies to stop by -- Ladies Night Out on Thursday, February 8. Admission is free. from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. you can peruse the vendors as well as enjoy demonstrations, samples, refreshments and raffles. And guys...don't be afraid to stop by! You could find a perfect Valentine's Day idea.
Do you know a local high school student interested in our local environment? Time to tell them about the annual Schuylkill Acts & Impacts Watershed Expedition. Twelve students from five counties (Schuylkill, Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia) will participate in a weeklong journey down the Schuylkill River camping, kayaking and doing hands-on studies of the river. This year's journey is from June 16 to 23.
Local students can find the application here. The deadline to apply is March 23.
There's also something interesting for nature lovers this week at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park. Professor Thomas Serfass of Frostburg State University will be speaking about his work in river otter conservation in the past 25 years. This fascinating topic is even more timely since there have been several reports of river otters at Sweet Arrow Lake!
Winter is definitely upon us -- with more snow in store for us on Sunday and next week. Before you groan, let me tell you what winter weather is perfect for...photography. Despite what it feels like, snow is a rare and fleeting event (the actual snowing part, not the dirty snow piles that last until Spring). So in between touchdowns on Sunday get outside and snap some great shots and enter them in an upcoming photography contest.
The Schuylkill Conservation District and Schuylkill County Conservancy are sponsoring "Give Us Your Best Shot". There are two themes this year:
There will be a Grand Champion who will be presented with an enlarged, framed, matted copy of their photo and a Runner-Up who will see their photo gracing the cover of the Conservation District's Annual Report. There will also be three cash winners in each theme ($50, $35, $25). Winners will be notified on April 23, 2018.
So get out there and snap a photo today!
Fly Eagles Fly!