What Californians love about winter


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

For many of us, it seems like the absence of a dreary, cold season of earmuffs and long underwear is a point of pride, a time to be especially smug about California’s temperate climate.

Take this 1905 postcard that appeared in The Los Angeles Times this week.

It shows “Winter in California” with palm trees and blue skies. And in one corner a glimpse of “back East” – a man crouching and standing in knee-deep snow.

Still, winter here is more than just the lack of something unpleasant. There is the beautiful low angle of the sunlight, the sound of rain pattering on the roof, the beaches without tourists and the abundance of citrus crops.

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

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

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

A student who got wet from the rain: ‘Ma’am, can I go home and change?’

When I ask them to take off their sweatshirt hoods: ‘But ma’am, it’s COLD!’

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

Nevertheless, because they are so used to warm weather, most of my students have identified winter as their favorite season.” — Hanna Hixson, Los Angeles

“California winter is when we get our rain. The rain brings us natural water and we are always grateful for every drop that comes.

But for me, the best part of a rain shower is the day after. The next day is cool but not cold and there is usually a breeze. The clouds float by in a sky that is bluer than blue. The air is magical – it is cool and humid and smells of trees, loam and grass. The rain has washed away the dust and dirt, so that everything glitters.

When I come home for some tea or cocoa, I realize that I really do live in heaven.” — Evelyn Harris, Mendocino

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

The green hills, blue skies and sunshine of our winter almost cure my winter blues.” — Julie McPherson, Pleasant Hill

“The best thing about winter in California is the ability to get to the beach in the same day, bundle up and drive 45 minutes to the local snow. If you’re really ambitious, you can start or end the day with a meal across the border in Mexico.” — Shannon Williams-Morris, San Diego

“I like to be in the hinterland when it snows. I wander around taking countless photos of monochrome landscapes, prints in the snow revealing every step I take. I hear the wind whispering in trees far away as it sweeps through the chasm, blowing white magic between land and sky, bringing to me hints of my children’s laughter. Another one of the countless gifts of winter.

The fire crackles and hisses as we enter and shed our winter clothes. We are welcomed by the smell of the wood burning stove mingling with bread being baked in the oven. The silence of falling snow resonates as night falls, and we eat hot meals, play games, and fall asleep knowing we’re waking up and doing it all over again.” — Lindsey Nieman, Truckee

For more:

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

Towering redwoods give a cathedral feel to the music of water flowing gently over rocks along flat trails. Hikers can climb steeper trails to the surrounding mountain.

I now live several states away and haven’t been to Muir Woods in decades, but it will remain vibrant and forever my favorite place.”

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

Fancy thin mints? Maybe some Samoas?

This year, you can order Girl Scout cookies delivered right to your door, KTLA5 reports. The new option comes when the Girl Scouts debut two new cookie flavors.


Thank you for reading. We are free on Monday for Martin Luther King’s birthday. See you on Tuesday. — Soumya

PS Here is today’s mini crossword, and a prompt: “Hush, you!” (5 characters).

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

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