Warning: This article offers suggestions to get out this winter season. There's no reason to hibernate: Harness the energy from holiday cheer and impending New Year's celebrations to propel yourself into a change of scenery. Get out and explore Pennsylvania.
With fall already in the rear view mirror, enjoying a little dose of green is sure to keep you warm. With every step you take into the stunning greenhouses at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, you'll shed one more layer of, well, your layers. Peel away the scarf, tuck away those gloves and warm up in the Tropical Forest Observatory with Headwaters of the Amazon. The Stove Room, too, is hot and tropical and linger in the Fruit and Spice room, where star fruit and cinnamon are practically sauteing on the vine. For a holiday treat, enjoy the Winter Flower Show with "Polar Bear" poinsettias, "Merry Christmas" amaryllis and "Glacier" ivy deck the halls of the Conservatory's Palm Court.
Dutch Country Roads:
Start at the village of Boiling Springs, five miles from Carlisle, and come back with family photos you'll swear rival the lives of Currier and Ives. A snowball fight in the glen? Hot cocoa under a snow-crusted weeping willow? It'll be everything you can do not to stroll hand-in-hand around the spring-fed (and bubbling!) Children's Lake and catch snowflakes on your tongue. No snow yet? Don't worry. The picturesque 19th-century houses and old stone mill complete the storyboook picture. Tuck into a booth at the town tavern (open since 1832), wander through a fly-fishing shop or try a legendary Murder Mystery weekend at the Allenberry Resort Inn and Playhouse to keep things cooking all winter long.
USA Today once dubbed Bethlehem one of the 10 best places to reflect on Christmas. Follow the Moravian star here for a holiday weekend, and you might just find the Christmas peace that's been missing from your life. From windows lining the steep streets, thousands of white lights warm a cold night. This is Christmas City, a no-excess zone. No shopping mall Santas. No Black-Friday fights. Here in America's nativity, tradition regins, a certain infant is not forgotten and visitors to Bethlehem and its historic district can find peace if not on Earth, at least in this one mountainside hamlet.
With all the beauty, the adventure, the fun in Pennsylvania, there'll be no need to combat the winter blues.