What Californians love about winter

A reader who moved from New York to the Bay Area recently emailed me: “The best part about winter in California is that there is no wint...


A reader who moved from New York to the Bay Area recently emailed me: “The best part about winter in California is that there is no winter.”

For many of us, it seems, the absence of a dreary cold season, filled with earmuffs and long underwear is a point of pride, a time to feel particularly content with the temperate climate from California.

Take this Post card from 1905 published this week in the Los Angeles Times.

It depicts “Winter in California” with palm trees and blue skies. And in one corner, a glimpse of “back East” – a man bundled up and standing in snow up to his knees.

Yet winter here is more than just the lack of something unpleasant. There’s the lovely low angle of sunlight, the sound of rain pattering on the rooftop, tourist-free beaches and the abundance of citrus crops.

To celebrate the start of the season, you shared with me your favorite things about winter in the Golden State:

“For those of us who live on the Central Coast, the best thing about winter is the sun setting over the water. Whether the skies are cloudy or clear, the sunsets are spectacular. My neighbor and I laugh at ourselves for taking pictures night after night – like we’re never going to see another. —Lise Peterson, Aptos

“I’m a high school teacher in Los Angeles. Originally from Ohio, I am always fascinated and entertained by students’ reactions to “winter weather”.

A student who got wet from the rain: ‘Madam, can I go home and change my clothes?’

When I ask them to take off their sweatshirt hoods: “But Madam, it’s COLD!”

Not to mention that they try to run and slide by their shoes on the wet concrete of our quad, seemingly without fear of falling.

However, being so used to warm weather, most of my students said winter was their favorite season. — Hanna Hixson, Los Angeles

“Winter in California is when we get our rain. The rain brings us water, of course, and we’re always grateful for every drop that falls.

But for me, the best part of a downpour is the next day. The next day is cool but not cold and there is usually a breeze. Clouds roll past in a bluer-than-blue sky. The air is magical – it’s cool and humid and carries the scent of trees, silt and grass. The rain washed away the dust and grime so everything sparkled.

When I go home for a tea or a cocoa, I realize that I really live in paradise. — Evelyn Harris, Mendocino

“I spent the first 30 years of my life on the East Coast, where the winters meant six months of gray, desolate death and painful immobilizing cold. The winters for me now in the Bay Area are the lush greenery like that of the east coast spring.

The green hills, blue skies and sunshine of our winter only heal my winter blues. — Julie McPherson, Pleasant Hill

“The best part about winter in California is being able to hit the beach all in the same day, then wrap up and drive 45 minutes to the local snow. If you’re really ambitious, you can start or end the day with a meal on the other side of the Mexican border. Shannon Williams-Morris, San Diego

“I like to be in the back country when it snows. I walk around and take countless pictures of monochromatic landscapes, footprints in the snow revealing every step I take. I hear the whisper of the wind in the trees far away as it sweeps across the canyon, blowing white magic between earth and sky, and passing hints of my children’s laughter to me. Yet another of the countless gifts of winter.

The fire crackles and crackles as we enter and take off our winter clothes. We are greeted by the aroma of the wood stove which mingles with the baking of bread in the oven. The silence of falling snow echoes as night falls, and we eat hot meals, play games, and fall asleep knowing we’ll wake up and start again. —Lindsey Nieman, Truckee

For more:


Today’s travel tip comes from Carol Marsh, a reader who lives in Missoula, Mont. Carol recommends Muirwood:

“Towering redwoods lend a cathedral vibe to the music of water flowing gently over rocks along flat paths. Hikers can climb steeper trails in the surrounding mountain.

I now live multi-state and haven’t been to Muir Woods in decades, but it remains lively and forever my favorite spot.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Send your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


Want fine mints? Maybe Samoa?

This year you can order Girl Scout Cookies which will be immediately delivered to your door, KTLA5 Reports. The new option arrives as the Girl Scouts launch two new cookie flavors.

Enjoy!


Thanks for reading. We will be off on Monday because of Martin Luther King’s birthday. See you on Tuesday. — Soumya

PS Here today’s mini crossword, and a hint: “Hush, you! (5 letters).

Jonah Candelario, Steven Moity and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can join the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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