I may be in the minority, but I enjoy winter. The tranquility of fresh fallen snow, the wonder of exploring my favorite trails in their winter form and the coziness of coming in from the cold make it an enjoyable season for me. However, once February arrives, I do begin to get antsy for the day when the snow will melt and the crocuses will peek up through the ground again. Despite being the shortest month, February always seems to drag on. While the winter endures, I find that it helps when I fill my days focusing on events to look forward to, food that warms my soul and trying new things.
1. Eat ice cream in the winter. National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is on February 5 and creameries across the county are ready to celebrate. Hinkle’s Restaurant, Miesse Candies & Ice Cream, Splits & Giggles, Fox Meadows Creamery, Oregon Dairy, Lickity Split, Lancaster Sweet Shoppe and Good Life Ice Cream & Treats will all be celebrating the occasion.
2. Get some fresh air. Lancaster County is home to endless opportunities for exploring the outdoors, from the many nature preserves and parks to the interesting programs hosted by the Parks & Recreation Department. Upcoming programs include full moon walks (February 16 and March 18), a Cabin Fever Hike (February 5), a Snowflake Science program (February 7), a Native American Winters program (February 17) and Maple Sugaring (February 26-27 and March 6). For an Indiana Jones-style experience, Uncharted Lancaster’s Adam Zurn curates adventures where “National Treasure meets local history.” Choose your own self-guided adventure from his website or you can join Adam for a group hike at Shenks Ferry on March 12 & 13 or at the Tunnels of Enola on March 26 & 27.
3. Attend the Lititz Fire & Ice Festival. This year, the festival will span from February 18-27 and will feature ice sculptures, downtown restaurants and food trucks, shopping, a photography exhibit and a themed pub crawl. Also new this year, the festival will feature a kid-focused day on February 21 and a special maker’s market on February 24.
4. Art + Coffee Crawl. Explore Downtown Lancaster’s art galleries on February 12 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to experience a wide range of art, coffee and sweets unique to the city.
5. Support the Black community. February is Black History Month. Crispus Attucks Community Center will host a variety of events throughout the month, including Soulful Thursdays, Taste of Africa Cooking Workshops and a Black Fashion Show on February 26. The community center will also showcase Keisha Finnie’s Say Their Names collage in the front of the building. During February, The Arts @ MU will host an exhibit at The Ware Center, titled The Road to Freedom Takes Many Paths, which combines photographs, illustrations and maps depicting the Underground Railroad in Southeastern Pennsylvania. On February 26, The Ware Center will also host Speak to My Soul: A Montage of Voices, which uses spoken word, song and dance to voice the stories of the collective Black experience in America. You can also show your support by shopping or dining at Black-owned businesses and donating to organizations that are Black-led or directly serve the Black community.
6. Taste the flavors of the season. Grab a warm drink from one of Lancaster’s many coffee shops; some of which feature unique winter specials. You can try a salted honeycomb steamer or a peppermint chai at Copper Cup. Square One Coffee is offering a Rosemary Espresso Tonic and Milanese Hot Chocolate. Café One Eight also has a selection of winter drink specials, including a Blackberry Thyme Latte and Rose White Mocha Latte.
7. Refresh your New Year’s resolutions. Research shows 80% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by February. As the inspiration of the New Year fades, try to revisit your resolutions to see which may be unreasonable or unimportant. Maybe pick one to focus on, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
8. Enjoy a hearty bowl of soup. Nothing is quite as cozy as a bowl of homemade soup on a cold winter day. Don’t feel like cooking? Hand-in-Hand Fire Company’s legendary Chicken Pot Pie Dinner will be held on February 26. Sit down and eat or get take-out through their drive through.
9. Take care of your health. While trying to evade Covid, many of us have neglected certain areas of our health by avoiding doctor’s offices. Take care of yourself and schedule those important appointments you have been putting off, especially since many offices have wait lists that can push appointments out for months.
10. Spread the love. Whether you want to celebrate Galentine’s, Palentine’s or Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of ways to show your love to the special people in your life. You could send out old-school valentine cards, have a dinner party or go out to a local studio for a painting or crafting activity. Many local restaurants are offering special Valentine’s Day menus. Don’t forget to show yourself some love with a bouquet of flowers or your favorite sweet treat!
11. Enjoy wine and music at Nissley Vineyards. Every Saturday during the month of February, visitors can enjoy Fire & Spice at Nissley, featuring live music, wine tastings, a seasonal cocktail and snacks from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Heated outdoor and indoor seating is available.
12. Explore the beauty of winter at Longwood Gardens. The garden’s Winter Wonder exhibit will be open until March 27. Stroll through 400 acres of winter’s beauty featuring blooming witch hazel and winter grasses. Indoors, find hundreds of orchids in bloom, vibrant floating baskets and colorful beds of flowers.
13. Fasnacht Day is March 1! Lancaster County has no shortage of options for finding the delicious Pennsylvania Dutch treat. After a hiatus in 2021, Holy Trinity Catholic Church’s famous fasnachts are back! They will be accepting orders for February 28-March 2. You can also find fasnachts at just about every grocery store in the area, as well as Oregon Dairy, Central Market, Root’s Country Market and bakeries such as Achenbach’s Pastries, Byers Butterflake Bakery, The Bake Shoppe at Country Table and Bird-in-Hand Bakery.
14. Groundhog Day. Will we see an early spring or six more weeks of winter? We’ll find out on February 2 when Punxsutawney Phil makes his prognostication from Gobbler’s Knob. Some other notable groundhogs will make their own predictions in the Lancaster area. Mount Joy Minnie will make her prediction at the Rotary Clock at 7 a.m. on Groundhog Day. Poppy the Groundhog from Acorn Acres Wildlife Rehabilitation will make her prediction at 11 a.m. and will host a scavenger hunt from February 2-6, in downtown locations including Ville & Rue, Lancaster Rec, Blossom Med Spa, Miesse Candies & Ice Cream and Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse.
15. Dance. Mulberry Art Studios hosts a blues dance on the third Monday of each month (February 21 and March 21). The dance begins at 7:30 p.m. after a brief dance lesson at 7. You can also join groups on Facebook that hold monthly dance sessions, such as Swing Station which hosts dances every second and fourth Saturdays.
16. Birdwatch. Each year around late winter, tens of thousands of waterfowl, including snow geese, tundra swans and Canada geese, migrate north and make a stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. Bird numbers usually peak in February or March, depending on when the lake unfreezes.
17. Super Bowl festivities. The Cincinnati Bengals will face the Los Angeles Rams in this year’s Super Bowl on February 13. The halftime show will feature Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. Even if you don’t enjoy watching football or the famous commercials, the delicious Super Bowl snacks make it all worthwhile.
18. Indulge in chocolate. Mount Joy’s Chocolate Walk and Wine Tasting will take place from February 25-26. When you buy a ticket, you receive an empty box and a list of downtown locations where you can get free chocolate goodies.
19. Pamper your pet. That Fish Place – That Pet Place will host a Love Your Pet event on February 12. Bring your furry friends to the store for grooming services, a photo booth, free treats, vendor samples and giveaways.
20. Be a backyard tourist. There’s always something new to explore in Lancaster County, from train rides through the countryside to historical tours and museums to the countless restaurants that make up our dining scene. Pick somewhere you’ve never been and explore!