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A hearty bunch 

Winter Guide 2018

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Many people's knee-jerk reaction when the temperatures dip into the below-freezing territory is to run inside and hibernate. And we're not crazy; sometimes you should listen to your instincts — like during the closing days of 2017 when the cold threatened frostbite to exposed skin in less than 30 minutes. But that instant reaction to huddle indoors during the winter can mean we miss out on some real Western New York natural beauty and outdoor fun.

In this year's Winter Guide, we wanted to highlight things that would make you want to dig out that snow suit and take advantage of the region during the cold season. Just remember to dress in layers, drive a little more carefully, and practice your penguin walk for the icy sidewalks.

Everyone loves sledding. Admit it, you do. But for some reason, adults tend to think they've outgrown it, or it never comes to mind as a way to spend a Saturday. Writer Amanda Fintak in her "grown-up's guide to sledding," says "set your ego aside," grab a Rubbermaid lid, and recapture some of that childhood winter nostalgia.

A lot has already been said about the Finger Lakes region's wine industry. But there's an interesting detail that isn't often discussed: The Finger Lakes region is one of only a few places in the world where ice wine can be produced organically. The region's soil can grow hearty grapes, and Upstate winters get cold enough to freeze those grapes on the vine. Nicole VanDenBergh writes more about that process and about Casa Larga's annual ice wine festival.

Maybe you're itching to get out of the house, but not sure where to go. Hassan Zaman highlights seven area parks to explore and lists what activities — like cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing — can be done there.

Then Rebecca Rafferty talks with Jeff Bleier, an award-winning regional ice sculptor, about his art and running the annual Caledonia Ice Festival, which takes place in February. And if you're looking for more events to check out this season, we end this year's Winter Guide with a round-up of 18 events for the first quarter of 2018.

While we're all addicted to Netflix and nice blankets, there's a lot of fun to be had out there this winter. What makes you get out of the house during the Rochester winter? Let us know in the comments below.

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