2015 Winter Activities Guide

On days when temperatures drop, Southwest Austinites can find an array of activities whether they want to stay in or venture out into the cold. Area businesses offer several ways to spend wintry days, whether alone with a good book, with family and friends, or with hot chocolate from a local cafe.

2015 Winter Activities Guide The Art Garage[/caption]

Cold-weather crafts

Winter-themed events scheduled at The Art Garage include Family Canvas on Saturdays, during which individuals can paint canvases featuring penguin designs for $16.

Other activities include Arctic Animals Art Camp on Dec. 28-30 for ages 6-12, which costs $135 for three days, $95 for two and $50 for one day, owner Kelly Emmert said. At a free fun day Jan. 3, attendees can take photos with Elsa from “Frozen,” make snowflake crafts and get their faces painted.

“I love to see parents and families who have made [crafting] part of their tradition,” Emmert said.

11190 Circle Drive

Winter reads

Staying inside with a book is one option during cold-weather days. The Austin Public Library offers a variety of fiction and nonfiction reads at its locations, including the Hampton branch on Convict Hill Road in Oak Hill.

Jeffrey Melkerson, assistant manager at the Oak Hill location, said he enjoys mysteries, nonfiction and human interest fiction.

For winter reads, Melkerson recommends titles including:

  • the Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton;

  • “Swann Dives In” by Charles Salzburg;

  • “Stakeout” by Parnell Hall;

  • Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling);

  • “Middle Men” by Jim Gavin; and

  • “This House Is Not For Sale” by  E.C. Osondu.

Information about these books and details on availability at local branches is available online at http://library.austintexas.gov/.

5125 Convict Hill Road

2015 Winter Activities Guide Stouthaus Coffee Pub[/caption]

Sweet treats

Seasonal drinks, such as hot chocolate and cider, are available at some Southwest Austin cafes.

Crema Bakery & Cafe on Brodie Lane is offering cider and some artisanal hot chocolates in December, according to owner Jessica Forkner.

Stouthaus Coffee Pub is selling options such as hot caramel cider, peppermint lattes, peppermint mochas and Glühwein, also known as mulled wine, until the end of January, co-owner James Hughes said.

Crema Bakery & Cafe
9001 Brodie Lane, Ste. B3

Stouthaus Coffee Pub
4715 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 102

The need to knit

The Sated Sheep in Dripping Springs stocks yarn for knitting or crocheting with a wide price range, owner Allison Wilcox said.

The store also sells knitting supplies and kits, locally made yarn bowls and gift bags. Customers can stay in the store and knit while drinking coffee, tea, wine or beer for sale.

Teachers are usually on-site to teach knitting for people of various skill levels, Wilcox said.

100 Commons Road, Ste. 5, Dripping Springs

2015 Winter Activities Guide Kinser Ranch LLC[/caption]

Fireplace fuel

Family-owned and -operated landscape supply store Kinser Ranch LLC sells varying amounts of firewood for stoves, fire pits and fireplaces.

Owner Al Kinser said the store does not add chemicals to its firewood, and all the wood comes from land-clearing jobs that would have otherwise been dumped in a landfill, he added.

Firewood prices range from $10 for a mesquite wood bag to $240 for a full cord of oak or pecan wood.

10701 Kinser Lane

Worth the trip: Ice Skating on the Plaza

Nov. 29 through Jan. 9

At the 10th annual Ice Skating on the Plaza event, Whole Foods Market at 525 N. Lamar Blvd. converts its rooftop plaza into a winter wonderland throughout the holiday season, spokesperson Rachel Malish said.

“It’s the only outdoor ice skating rink in Austin during the holidays,” Malish said. “It’s right in the middle of downtown, and it’s really fun.”

The plaza is open for skating daily from
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Admission is $10 and covers the cost of renting ice skates.

525 N. Lamar Blvd.