It has been one cold, cold winter, so far. Perhaps not as much snow as we would like ( though that looks like it’s going to change this weekend), but we’ve had been plenty of bone-chilling temperatures. The sort of cold that means when you’re not scurrying from car to door and vice versa, you have likely spent much of your time these past few months cooped up indoors, on the couch, huddled in blankets and binge-watching entire TV series.
That changes now, folks.
Here’s a highly varied list of stuff to do in Greater Bangor to keep you occupied, happy and healthy for the next six weeks — at least until it starts staying light out past 5 p.m.
Get your art on
Some quiet time in a place filled with thought-provoking art can do wonders for a case of cabin fever. Bangor is home to the free-to-visit University of Maine Museum of Art on Harlow Street, which has three new shows opening Jan. 17 and running through May. “Edging Forward,” an exhibit by Brunswick-based abstract artist Richard Keen, is on display, as are paintings from Rockland-based artist Meghan Brady. “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” a collection of quirky, fascinating drawings and paintings by Zach Horn, also opens, as does an exhibit with a number of the museum’s newly acquired paintings. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
All the world’s a stage
Lots of local theater is happening in the Bangor area, from outrageous comedy to classic dramas. True North Theatre Company opened a production on Jan. 10 of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on the UMaine campus. Shows continue Jan. 18-20. Also in Orono, Some Theatre Company presents one weekend of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Night Mother,” with four shows Jan. 18-20 at the Keith Anderson Community House on Bennoch Road. In Bangor, Penobscot Theatre Company opens “Honky Tonky Laundry,” a country music jukebox musical that runs Jan. 31-Feb. 24 at the Bangor Opera House. Ten Bucks Theatre Company opens its brand-new theater space at the Bangor Mall with a production of hilarious “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” over the weekend of Jan. 25-27. And at UMaine, the School of Performing Arts presents Stephen Sondheim’s beloved musical “Into the Woods,” March 1-3 and 7-10 at Hauck Auditorium.
Here, fishy fishy fishy
Ice fishing is practically a religion here in Maine, and there are lots of fun fishing events in the Bangor area this winter, starting with the House in the Woods Ice Fishing Derby, set for 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at Great Pond Outdoor Adventure Center in Great Pond. Then there’s the Hancock County Ice Fishing Derby, Feb. 2 and 3 in all legal Hancock County bodies of water, along with the Pushaw Lake Snowmobile Club Ice Fishing Derby, Feb. 2 and 3 on Pushaw and Little Pushaw lakes. Slim’s Ice Fishing Derby is set for Feb. 16-17 in all legal Hancock County bodies of water. And don’t forget — Penobscot County Conservation Association’s youth ice fishing day is Feb. 17 at its clubhouse at 570 North Main St. in Brewer.
Take the family outside
If you are more into looking at nature, rather than catching it, plenty of winter nature walks and other events are set for January and February. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, there’s the annual Varney Agency Winter Fun Day at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Old Town, with dog sledding, curling and biathlon workshops; snow sculptures; ecology hikes; and art projects. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Field’s Pond Audubon Center in Holden, there’s a winter fun day featuring traditional ice-harvesting demonstrations, hands-on ice-science experiments for kids at the nature center and Belgian draft horse sleigh rides. And at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16, there’s a guided walk of the Penjajawoc Marsh trails with Bangor Land Trust, starting off at the end of Fox Hollow Lane in Bangor.
Dance yourself clean
Moving your body off the couch and into a standing position is good. Going from standing to dancing is even better. Move your feet at one of several fun dance events this winter, including on Jan. 26 at 8 p.m., when the Bangor Arts Exchange on Exchange Street hosts the annual Winter Wigout Dance Party — wear a wacky wig and get your groove on. Then, on Feb. 9, the monthly Bangor Contra Dance is set for the UU Church on Park Street — there’s a beginner’s session at 6 p.m., and a full dance at 7 p.m. On Feb. 16, once again at the Bangor Arts Exchange, Downeast Fantasy Con hosts the annual Fantasy Ball, where you can come in costume and enjoy food, drink and ballroom dancing. And in Brewer, on Jan. 19 and Feb. 16, the Skyliners Big Band hosts its monthly swing dance at the Next Generation Theatre.
Food for your health
Though there are all sort of foods that many people associate with cold weather — casseroles, stews, roasts and so on — we thought we would suggest some winter-appropriate recipes that are perhaps a little less well-worn and a little on the healthier side. Get a big dose of iron-rich goodness with this recipe for hearty roasted greens. BDN columnist Sandy Oliver recently shared this hearty winter salad recipe, too. In Bangor Metro Magazine, Sarah Walker Caron published her fabulous take on loaded potatoes, made with sweet potatoes instead. And, to soothe your tummy and boost your general well-being, try making your own Beet Kvass, with this recipe courtesy of the BDN’s Homestead desk.