“Winter, I’ll miss you?!” and Other Surprising Developments

By |Published On: March 5, 2024|

Hey there! Happy to be back! Over the past couple of months, we’ve been introducing you to the neighbors, hearing from guest writers, sharing cool local history, and launching our new Concierge Service for those thinking about making the move to town! It’s been a while since I’ve shared a story from my corner of State College.

I’m currently sitting here with the screen door cracked – it’s going up to 60 today! – reflecting on this winter and noticing the internal giddiness that’s starting to build. It’s not spring yet. Despite the warmer weather today, we’ve still got a little ways to go before we’re fully settled into the upcoming season. But I can already feel what’s coming.

This part of the year feels like a funny tug of war. I’m both overjoyed at the thought of blooming trees, consistent warmth in the air, toes in the grass, sun on the face, and all of the relief/gorgeousness/rebirth that we get to experience during a Pennsylvania spring. And, I’m also noticing this – kind of surprising, if I’m honest! – little voice inside that’s saying, “We’ll miss this when it’s gone!”

Winter, especially late winter, was always something to be tolerated and survived, so this is a new development. Something that’s come to be only in the past few years and something I’ve only experienced while living here. (I give full credit to our outdoor rec scene for reviving my relationship with the long stretch between New Year’s Day and… April! Getting outside on a regular basis is always a morale boost and system reset.)

“So Laura,” you might ask, “as a recently certified Central Pennsylvania Winter Liker* what are the things you’re going to be sad to say goodbye to until they roll around again next year?”

*Author’s note: “Lover” would be a bit much here. Slushy gray snow on the side of the road still bums me out. Limited daylight can be rough. Germs are living their best life. And I miss porch-sitting and flower pots and fresh herbs from the backyard dearly.

But I’m glad you asked! These are the things I’m appreciating about this season while I’ve still got them.

Musser Gap Greenway Trail at sunset

The color of winter hikes…

And the lack of bugs on said hikes! When you have the right layers, wintertime hikes are awesome. The colors are muted and peaceful, the trees are bare so everything feels more open, and it’s fun to see favorite trails in all seasons.

The 3 Dots Weekly Listening Series curated by Gorinto Productions…

These events are a February/March exclusive, so experience them while you can! Each week Corey Elbin of Gorinto curates a cozy, inviting environment for deep listening. We gather, get comfortable and quiet, listen to an entire album from beginning to end, and then talk about what we’ve listened to. It’s a unique experience and community members of all ages are there. If you see people floating around downtown on Tuesday nights looking extra relaxed and happy, they might have just come from 3 Dots!

Fresh snowfalls…

And being in the woods as soon as possible afterwards! Warm weather is awesome, but have you been in the woods after a big snow when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing snow sparkles through the air? It’s an experience matched only by summertime woods filled with rhododendron and mountain laurel. Fleeting and magical.

And slowness… 

We hiked along Spring Creek the other weekend and the water was so pristine. Slow and quiet. Crystal clear. A few versions of me ago, slowness would have made me antsy. I felt like I needed to be filling my time with tasks or accomplishing something. I didn’t know how to have hobbies, for fun. But I love the less-ness of winter here and its reminder that it’s beneficial to move slowly and quietly sometimes. Post-holidays, the quiet is a welcome break with time to think and rest. (And watch every episode of Modern Family. And make my grandfather’s sauce and meatballs. And walk around the neighborhood after dinner in the dark and have the entire sidewalk to myself.)

All of these things don’t take away the tough things about winter. But they do balance the scales. And after 8 years in State College, I’ve gradually compiled a “We’ll miss this when it’s gone!” list for each season, which means there’s always something to look forward to.

Laura Mustio made her way to State College via Pittsburgh in 2015. Her writing celebrates our area’s hidden gems, treasured locals, and not-to-be-missed experiences.

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