Staving Off the Winter Blues

   Frigid temperatures have gripped most of the country, including the Twin Tiers, leaving folks with a sense of cabin fever.
   Instead of driving each other crazy, here are some ways that you can keep the winter blues at bay.

Get Out:
– I just found out that Joycrest, an Elmira roller skating rink, is still open. I used to hang out there when I was a kid (around the time that “Tootie“ on the “Facts of Life“ TV show was skatin‘ her cute little brown butt around a school for girls). Plus, it was the late 1970s, early 80s, so roller skating was popular.
   Anyway, going to Joycrest was a fun way to spend an evening with friends. Turns out it‘s also healthy. It works the core and it also gives the heart a great workout. So an hour on skates at Joycrest almost cancels out an order of Elbow Room wings.
   The rink, located at 1570 Lake Road in Elmira, is open from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call (607) 732-0494 for more information.

– Rollers aren’t the only way to skate in the Twin Tiers. The First Arena in downtown Elmira, and Nasser Civic Center Ice Rink in Corning, both offer open skates throughout the week. Call Nasser Center at (607) 936-3764 or  First Arena Recreation Rink at (607) 271-2213, for more information.

Go sledding. Personally, I don’t think we’ve had a good enough snow yet to sled. But it’ll come. And when it does, you should grab your sled and get out to a big hill for tons of fun, and a great workout you won‘t even feel (until tomorrow). Follow-up with tasty hot cocoa or warm cider.

Take a hike. Get some fresh air, see what wildlife braves the New York winters, and enjoy your exercise. Tromp the trails at Tanglewood Nature Center and Museum in Big Flats, Spencer Crest Nature Center in Corning, or at several other nature trails throughout the region. Just be sure to dress appropriately, use common sense and stay on the trails!

Bowling is a great way to get out of the house for a few hours of fun. There are several bowling lanes throughout the Twin Tiers, including Dixie Bowling Lanes in Elmira, Paramount Bowling Lanes in Elmira Heights, and Crystal Lanes in Corning that have open bowls throughout the week. Great deal: Rossi Lanes, at 410 W. Washington Ave. in Elmira, has special $1-games and rentals from 1 to 7 p.m. Sundays.

– Celebrate 20 years of “The Simpsons” at an Anniversary Party from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14 at the Clemens Center in Elmira. Enjoy delish eats, a cash bar, music and (I’m assuming) clips from the popular animated TV show being honored, while helping your performing arts center continue its impressive offering of quality arts to our community. Tickets are $20. Visit the Web site for more great Clemens Center events.

The Arts Scene: The Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning features an impressive selection of western art, and a wonderful children’s program. The museum also offers free admission on Sundays through April 25.
   A great way to spend a Sunday: Hit The Rockwell, have lunch on Market Street, then check out the Corning Museum of Glass.
   Of course, Elmira also has a premiere museum in the Arnot Art Museum, which is now featuring a couple of automobile exhibits.
   The Gmeiner Arts and Cultural Center in Wellsboro, Pa. is another great place to see some amazing local artists’ work.
– Get your motor running watching motorbikes race on ice at X-treme Ice Racing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15 and Saturday, Jan. 16 at First Arena on North Main Street, in Elmira.
   And don’t forget the Ninth annual Wine on Ice Weekend, with two sessions on Friday, Jan. 22 and one session Saturday, Jan. 23, also at the First Arena. Taste some of the area’s best vintages, enjoy entertainment and more at this festive winter event.

Stay In:
Game night: Whether it’s board games, cards or video games, inviting friends and family to get together for a little laidback competition, is a great way to pass a few cold winter nights. Make some munchy, crunchy snacks (remember to offer something healthy for those of us who overindulged over the holidays); crack open a bottle (or two) of wine, and let the trash talk begin.

Movie night: Instead of spending a ton of cash at the movie theater, pick up a good flick and snuggle down for a night of cinema. Or start a movie club, and invite friends over with a different person bringing the movie and various snacks each time you get together.

Theme night: Find something you’d like to be good at: Cooking, Crafts, Poker, etc.; then get a group of likeminded peeps together for a relaxed evening of fun tutorial with friends.
   I’ve been trying to eat healthier and move closer to a vegetarian menu, but I have a hard time with directions. I’d love to get a group of folks together, find someone who knows how to cook vegetarian and have him/her teach us how to make a meal.
   Another idea: I once took a self-defense class from a friend. I remember it was really informative and helpful, but that’s about all I can remember about it. I’d love to get together with a bunch of girlfriends and have a defense class.

   These are just a few of my suggestions on ways to survive the winter blahs. Let me know what yours are.