Editor’s Note: A snowy state of mind

We didn’t totally plan this, but this issue turned into quite the celebration of winter.
Warming And Relaxing Near Fireplace With A Cup Of Hot Drink
Getty Images

We didn’t totally plan this, but this December issue turned into quite the celebration of winter.

You might be thinking, “Wait, my local magazine that’s known for hyping up all that makes Madison great wants me to see the good in our coldest, longest season?”

Big surprise, I know.

But I have to say, we make a strong case.

Associate editor Maija Inveiss discovered 26 cabin destinations around the state that allow you to experience winter in Wisconsin whichever way you choose — be it from a warm couch cocoon, on a nearby trail or sitting in a hot tub on the deck. You’ll have a different kind of cabin fever after reading, I’m sure.

If those cozy cabin photos don’t sell you on a winter road trip, the photos of Ice Castles might. The Lake Geneva attraction takes you through a maze of walls, slides, tunnels and thrones — all made of ice. And it’s not the only festivity in town, as Winterfest takes place there in February, hosting the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship, ice sculpting, bonfires and other family friendly events.

Then there’s a quieter appreciation of the season, in associate editor Maggie Ginsberg’s inaugural “History Lesson,” a new monthly feature. Ginsberg — who says she knew she got that history degree for a reason — takes you on a nostalgic journey back in time via a Wisconsin Historical Society photo. This month’s window into the past shows a snowy State Street in 1936.

You’ll find a similarly serene scene, accompanied by a delightfully contemplative guest essay written by Christopher Chambers. This new “Musings” feature is the first of what we hope to be even more Wisconsin-centric reader essays similar to our “Voices” guest columns.

And finally, we spotlight a few things that warm our winter souls (and bellies), including Madison Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” a hearty meal from a classic steakhouse and a list of local cookbooks to find a special holiday recipe.

It’s this kind of stuff — fun attractions, getaway trips and beautiful imagery of freshly fallen snow — that gets me in the right mindset to embrace winter for all of its wonderful qualities. It reminds me why I love living in Wisconsin.

But I’d be remiss to acknowledge the light without the serious. One of Wisconsin’s ongoing challenges is its opioid overdose crisis. In 2020, 1,227 Wisconsinites died from opioid overdose, which is nearly double what that number was in 2014. Ginsberg writes an incredibly insightful story highlighting initiatives that provide glimmers of hope for an issue that often leaves all involved feeling helpless.

This is the first winter without a loved one for many, my family included. My intentions for this season: Be more grateful. More gentle. More appreciative of this short, beautiful, often snow-covered life.

See all December Madison Magazine articles here.

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