The Danish call it hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), Merriam-Webster defines it: “A cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable,” and we could all use a big dose of it during our cold and gray Ohio winters. Fortunately, Westerville is full of places to find your hygge or, in plain English, get your cozy on!
- Cozy up to Culture
Escape the cold while you defrost your senses and stimulate your mind with an afternoon at an art gallery or museum, or an evening at the theater.David Myers Art Studio & Gallery features the artist’s colorful, vibrant work including his popular Westerville-themed lithographs. Private art classes, art therapy, commissioned work and custom framing are also available.
Antiques and a variety of art styles and mediums are on display at Inspired-Gallery of Fine Arts where the work of local artists, as well as that of owners Mark and Linda Wilford, is showcased.Daylight Artist Collective is a joint venture among six female artists who display their work (and the work of other local and national artists) and share their techniques in an open and airy gallery space. Some of the art genres represented include encaustic painting, fiber and photography. An Artist Social is held the second Wednesday of each month (Feb. 8th is the next one) – a casual meet-up for creatives to share ideas. (Registration required, check here for more info.)
Otterbein University is home to The Frank Museum of Art and the Miller & Fisher Galleries. Frequently changing exhibitions and a collection of uniquely three-dimensional art from Asia and Africa are the hallmarks of both venues.
History buffs should head to the Westerville Public Library for a tour through the Westerville History Museum. Diverse and ever-changing exhibits, from the temperance movement to the culture of food around the world, are presented through an educational and local lens.
Visit the quaint town of Grover’s Corners from your toasty theater seat as Otterbein University presents Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Our Town” Feb. 9-18. Visit the website for tickets and the schedule of upcoming presentations.
- Hibernate with a Book
The fireplace is ready to light and the cat is poised for your lap, but first – you need to find the perfect book for your snow day hibernation.Check out one of Westerville’s newer merchants, Birdie Books, an independent bookstore full of charm and an eclectic collection of titles for all ages.
Or keep it old school and visit the Westerville Public Library, still a great source for reading material of all kinds, cozy seating spaces for on-site reading sessions and a dedicated kids’ area where activities like story times, sing-alongs and Lego-building engage the littles.
- Sip Away a Snowy Day
A hot cup of coffee or a melty mug of cocoa are perfect companions on a snowy winter day. Stop by Java Central for a wide array of coffee drinks including lattes, cubanos and cortados. Or try a steaming spiced cider, a hot chocolate or chai, and snuggle into one of Java Central’s intimate back rooms for some solo quiet time or a meet-up with friends.There’s something satisfying about a robust red wine on a brisk, chilly day. Good Vibes Winery’s rustic-comfy Uptown storefront features over 20 house-made wines and encourages patrons to bring in their own food to pair with the perfect merlot or cabernet. Entertainment and activities from live music to pop-up shops are always on the roster – check the website for upcoming events.Great Britain comes to Westerville from noon-4pm, Wed.-Sun., at Asterisk Supper Club where a piping hot pot of afternoon tea is served with fancy finger sandwiches and scones. The charmingly mismatched vintage china adds to the ambiance in a setting reminiscent of an English country cottage library. Pinkies up!At Espresso Air Coffee Terminal, housed in a historic building with great views of Uptown, you’ll find expertly crafted coffees, espressos and even a white chocolate mocha, but don’t miss the freshly baked Turkish pastries like borek and baklava – one of the few locations in the Columbus area where these Turkish delights are sold.Get a taste of the resort life at The Renaissance Hotel’s Two-One Restaurant and Bar and indulge in craft cocktails, live music every weekend and some serious food. This sophisticated spot features lake views from walls of windows, perfect for watching the snow fall while enjoying an elegant cocktail like the Fireside Sipper – a blend of mezcal and tequila with notes of chocolate, orange, vanilla and smoked oak wood.Cigar enthusiasts will find plenty to puff about at Governor’s Cigar Lounge. A clubby, masculine vibe permeates the shop which welcomes patrons to settle into leather armchairs and enjoy a smoke. A walk-in humidor holds an array of cigars from around the world and an ample pipe and tobacco selection awaits.
- Fire Up Your Creative Side
If your winter calendar looks a little sparse, fill it with an opportunity to learn something new.Sharpen your fancy footwork and get a workout while you’re at it with a class at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio where you can learn a variety of dance styles – from the mambo to the waltz. And no worries if you’re a dance newbie - all ages and experience levels are welcome.Need a new mug for your tea or a bowl for your chowder? Uptown Art & Clay’s Create and Sip classes have you covered (students may bring their beverage and snack of choice). Lidded jars, heart-shaped trinket boxes (hello Valentine’s Day!) and even garden gnomes are just a few of the other pottery classes ready for sipping students.Technology meets creativity at The Westerville Library’s Innovation Lab. Produce a podcast or lay down some music tracks at the recording studio; design and print posters, artwork or a custom resumé; or create a video game or app. Instruction is not included so best to do some research before tackling your project.Bring some spring into your winter with a visit to Uptown’s Westerville Florist which features an in-store BYOB (Build Your Own Bouquet) flower bar where you can create your own beautiful seasonal floral bouquet. (And here’s another plug for Valentine’s Day: Flowers... just sayin’!)
Interested in learning how to etch glass or use a 3D printer? Consider scheduling instruction at the Maker Space at The Point at Otterbein University (membership required, check their website for details) where skilled instructors guide participants through “experiential learning” to achieve personalized goals.
- Embrace Winter and Get Outside
Look past the gray skies and cold temps and winter has a beauty all its own. Experience nature’s winter wonders with a hike on one of the 50+ miles of trails throughout the Westerville park system (there’s a reason they call it “a city within a park”!). Access a digital trail map here.Hiking with little ones can be a challenge but the Storybook Trail at Johnston-McVay Park (in conjunction with the Westerville Public Library) has the solution. Eighteen storyboards tell a tale from a children’s book in a bid to spark imagination and encourage reading (the stories change bi-monthly).Looking for more action? The sledding hills at Alum Creek Park North and South are popular spots for all ages to celebrate snow from a downhill view.To learn more about these and all the other Westerville parks, visit our Visit Westerville Parks & Recreation page.Uptown’s shops are fun to visit any time of year but this winter there’s an even sweeter reason to check them out. Hit the Uptown Cocoa Trail Saturday, Feb. 4 from noon–5pm, to enjoy chocolate-themed refreshments and treats at various businesses courtesy of the Uptown Westerville Merchants Association. And on Saturday, March 4 from noon-4pm, indulge in the Uptown Cookie Walk. Hosted by Uptown Westerville, Inc., and sponsored by Amish Originals Furniture Co., shops and stores will be handing out Cheryl’s Gourmet Cookies. While you’re hanging out in Uptown, don’t forget to take advantage of the DORA (designated outdoor refreshment area); purchase a beverage at one of the participating bars or restaurants and enjoy it as you stroll the streets of Uptown Westerville.
By: Cynthia Earhart