30 Tips for Richmond Winters
How some well-known locals make the most of the season
…with apologies to Paul Simon!
Let It Snow!
Cheryl Miller, WTVR-CBS 6 news anchor
“Growing up in upstate New York, winter always meant having to shovel snow, and I’ve shoveled a lot of it over the years! Fortunately, Richmond winters mean I only have to do it every once in a while! And, I still have to get to work to tell CBS 6 viewers to stay home and enjoy their snow day!”
David Robbins, author and Boomer columnist
“Advice for snow: Find the funnest people you can and get snowed in with them.”
Andrew Freiden, NBC12 meteorologist and creator of the “Freiden Rip-n-Zip Method!”
“Managing [Richmond winters] is all about being prepared. Get a tarp and keep it handy. When snow is in the forecast, tarp your car. After it stops, you can pull the tarp off, and your car is clean as a whistle. You can even tarp a section of your yard so your dog has a snow-free spot to do its business!”
Bill Bevins and Shelly Perkins, Richmond radio personalities, now on Star 100.9
Bill says, “For years we had a wood stove in our basement, so every afternoon when I got home, I would split and stack firewood. Great exercise, and as the saying goes, if you chop your own wood, you get heat twice.”
Shelly adds, “Yes, that’s exactly why I send the kids out to chop the wood, while I sit back and enjoy the fire! #Mommyoftheyear!”
Daphne Maxwell Reid, actress, photographic artist and designer
“Let it snow! I love sitting in my sewing studio window as the flakes pile up and twinkle in the sunset.”
BOOMER staff recommends:
Keep food in your pantry so you can laugh when the rest of the city flocks to the grocery store at the first hint of snow.
Stash the supplies that can help you weather a power outage, including a generator, candles, flashlight, extra batteries and phone charger, plus a cabin-fever-relief stash of books, games and red wine (no need to open the fridge) so your surprise extended time at home becomes enjoyable and memorable.
If you have elderly parents, know their neighbors’ contact information.
Be Wise and Warm
Robert M. Blue, Dominion Energy Virginia president and CEO
“When temperatures drop, it’s second nature to throw on an extra sweater or blanket for your bed. But my advice would be to wrap up and protect your home from wintertime chills. By sealing up gaps around vents, doors, windows and attics, you can keep warm air in and cold drafts out. Wrapping your hot water tank in a blanket of insulation is another way to slow heat loss and save energy dollars. Inexpensive caulking and insulation kits are available at most hardware stores. And don’t forget to always call us to report an outage, 1-866-366-4357.
In the event of snow during these Richmond winters, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) suggests leaving for your destination early and driving slowly and attentively. Check your car to make sure it’s winter-ready, with up-to-date tires, brakes, headlights and so forth. If your car does get stuck in the snow, make yourself visible to rescue crews and other drivers with hazard lights and a colored cloth on your antenna or door. Also, keep an emergency driving kit with you, stocked with supplies such as blankets, bottled water, ice scrapers and flashlights. But above all, when it snows, VDOT advises drivers to simply stay off the road until it’s clear!
Let Us Entertain You
BOOMER staff recommends:
Use the latest issue of BOOMER magazine to help you find events to attend and restaurants to enjoy.
Rejena Carreras, owner of Carreras Jewelers, who also enjoys using wintertime to show “ice” (diamonds) to her clients
“I feed my arts soul at a ‘getaway’ weekend at the American Shakespeare Theater in Staunton. Because they rotate productions, I can enjoy three plays in one weekend. What a way to warm the heart!”
Randy Fitzgerald, author and Boomer columnist
“Two outings that brighten Barb’s and my winters each year: A tour of the Dooley Mansion in Maymont Park where you can see an old-fashioned Christmas as celebrated in the late 1800s; and a visit to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for the GardenFest of Lights with its half-a-million dazzling Christmas lights. We also like sitting in the beautiful Jefferson lobby and enjoying a hot drink on a cold night.”
Alex Nyerges, VMFA director
“VMFA is the perfect place to escape the cold weather! We’re thrilled to premiere ‘Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China’ this November, which is open all winter long. I encourage Richmonders to round out their experience with a warm cup of green tea in Best Café after a visit to the exhibition.”
Parney, Richmond Flying Squirrels VP & COO
“It’s dark when I get to the ballpark in the morning and dark when I leave, but I am not a hibernating Squirrel. I can be found all winter long at live music venues, hanging with Eddie Mac at VCU games and enjoying the awesome food and beverage scene in RVA. Or maybe, just watching football all weekend at Parney’s Pub.”
Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond
“Even when there isn’t snow, the City of Richmond is a winter wonderland! I am looking forward to participating in my first Dominion Energy Christmas Parade on Dec. 2 to get the whole city in the holiday spirit. I also enjoy a brisk morning run over the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge to Brown’s Island. And when the cold temperatures really set in, my thoughts turn to all the great college basketball we have in our town, from the VCU Rams to the University of Richmond Spiders and Virginia Union University Panthers. There’s also nothing like a Richmond brewed craft beer to take the chill out of a winter’s day.”
Plan a Getaway
Robin Starr, Richmond SPCA CEO
“I am not a cold weather fan so I take breaks to Sarasota, Florida, where my family has a home, whenever possible. When in Richmond, I snuggle with my three dogs in front of the fire since they are not cold weather fans either. Our two perfectly pampered indoor cats are blissfully ignorant of the discomforts of cold weather.”
Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher, University of Richmond president
“The University of Richmond has constituents across the nation and around the globe. As president, one of my responsibilities is to regularly interact with our alumni and donors, both those nearby and those far away. With clusters of active and engaged constituents living in places like California, Florida and Arizona, the months of January and February are great times for out-of-state meetings and visits. A few short trips to warmer climates during this frigid time of year in Richmond makes the cold winter months go by much more quickly!”
Gary McDowell and Gary Roberts, Cirrus Vodka co-owners
“We’ll probably try to open the state of Florida [for distribution of Cirrus Vodka] during the winter. We’ll do New York in the spring.”
Velma Johnson, the talent behind Mama J’s soul food kitchen
“I love to go to the beach during winter months. Next to the holidays, it is my favorite thing to do. Winter blues and winter whites turn to winter waves and water. The sun and the sand are pale in comparison to the rise and fall of the evening tide at sunset. Falling snow enhances the extraordinary euphoric experience. For a relaxing and meditative retreat, I recommend a visit to the beach during the winter months.”
Find Your Happy Place
Steve Clark, production manager and that rich, recognizable voice at WCVE public radio
“Take yourself to the tropics without leaving home. It’s easy when you’re strumming your ukulele with some friends.”
Jonathan Austin, more commonly known as Jonathan the Juggler, local entertainer
“In terms of life’s ebbs and flows, the winter can be a bit of an ebb. For me it is time to catch my breath and survive by thinking of the spring that is to come. A time for rejuvenation and thinking of what lies ahead. For every high there is a low and that thought has always brought me comfort in winter. It is a time to work on other hobbies that are a bit more conducive to being inside. Not all of winter is a low, but sometimes you just need to go with the flow.”
Bill Martin, Valentine Museum director
“The only way that I survive the winter is a routine Sunday dinner gathering with friends. I get a fire going in the fireplace and put a pot of chicken on the stove. Just add wine and good folks and you have an antidote for a cold night.”
Bill Cavender, Black Heath Meadery owner and mead maker
“Winters are time for quiet contemplation, taking a moment to reflect on the year passing by, relaxing for a brief moment in the middle of a busy season for mead making. Winter is a time of much celebration, and we love bringing new and exciting meads to our customers to share with friends and family. While we are all busy, we need to remember to slow down and enjoy our time together.”
Go to BoomerMagazine.com/lifestyle/giving-back/ and search the articles for a nonprofit that needs your volunteer time. After all, there’s no better way to feel warm inside than giving back! Staff
Add a Layer of Appreciation
Beverly Binns, Thrifty Sisters executive director
“I will check out second-hand shops and thrift stores and pick up a ‘new to me’ coat or scarf that is in a different color from the one I had last year for a winter pick-me-up!”
Bill Oglesby, BOOMER columnist, professor and broadcaster
“Keep your spring wardrobe nearby. These are Richmond winters! If you get tired of the cold, just give it a few minutes.”
Susan Greenbaum, longtime Richmond singer-songwriter
“Having moved to RVA from Boston, I arrived with a very big wool sweater collection. I change my sweaters several times a day on those rare bitter cold days here, to maximize my winter sweater use! Thank goodness for Richmond winters and their relative shortness!”
Engage in Fresh-Air Therapy
Ro Gammon, Sports Backers Half Marathon Training Team head coach
“As a runner, I do the same activities in the Richmond winters as I do in the summer except I wear more clothes while doing it! What can I say? I must be stuck in a rut!”
BOOMER staff recommends:
Have walking or running clothes that can help you brave all sorts of weather these Richmond winters. Then get out!