A reader who moved from New York to the Bay Area emailed me recently, “The best part of winter in California is that there is no winter.”
For many of us, it seems, the absence of a dreary, earmuff-and-long-underwear-filled cold season is a point of pride, a time to feel especially smug about California’s temperate climate.
It depicts “Winter in California” with palm trees and blue skies. And in one corner, a glimpse of “back East” — a man bundled up and standing in knee-deep snow.
Yet winter here is more than just the lack of something unpleasant. There’s the lovely low angle of the sunlight, the sound of rain pattering on the roof, the beaches free of tourists and the abundance of citrus crops.
To celebrate the start of the season, you shared with me your favorite things about winter in the Golden State:
“For those of us living on the Central Coast, the best thing about winter is the sun setting over the water. Whether the sky is cloudy or clear, the sunsets are spectacular. My neighbor and I laugh at ourselves for taking photos night after night — as though we were never going to see another one.” — Lise Peterson, Aptos
“I am a secondary teacher in L.A. Originally being from Ohio, I am always fascinated and entertained by students’ reactions to ‘winter weather.’
A student who got wet from the rain: ‘Ms., can I go home and change clothes?’
When I ask them to take off their sweatshirt hoods: ‘But Ms., it’s COLD!’
Not to mention that they try to run and slide by their shoes on the wet concrete in our quad, apparently without fear of falling.
Nonetheless, being so used to warm weather, most of my students have reported winter as their favorite season.” — Hanna Hixson, Los Angeles
“Winter in California is when we get our rain. The rain brings us water, of course, and we are always grateful for every drop that comes.
But for me, the best part of a rainstorm is the day after. The day after is cool but not cold and there is usually a breeze. The clouds drift by in a sky that is bluer than blue. The air is magical — it is cool and moist and carries a scent of trees, loam and grass. The rain has washed away the dust and grime so everything sparkles.
When I return home for some tea or cocoa, I realize that I truly live in heaven.” — Evelyn Harris, Mendocino
“I spent the first 30 years of my life on the East Coast, where winters meant six months of desolate gray deadness and bone-aching immobilizing cold. Winters for me now in the Bay Area are the lush verdant greenness like that of East Coast springtimes.
Our winter’s green hills, blue skies and sunshine all but cure my winter blues.” — Julie McPherson, Pleasant Hill
“The best part of winter in California is the ability, within the same day, to go to the beach, then bundle up and drive 45 minutes to the local snow. If you’re really ambitious, you can start or end the day with a meal across the border in Mexico.” — Shannon Williams-Morris, San Diego
“I like being in the backcountry when it snows. I wander around and take countless pictures of monochromatic landscapes, imprints in the snow revealing each step I take. I hear the wind whisper in trees far away as it sweeps down the canyon, blowing white magic between land and sky, and carrying hints of my children’s laughter to me. Yet another one of winter’s countless gifts.
The fire crackles and sizzles when we come inside and shed our winter clothes. We’re welcomed by the aroma of the wood stove mingling with bread baking in the oven. The silence of snow falling resonates as night falls, and we eat warm meals, play games and fall asleep knowing we’ll wake up and do it all again.” — Lindsey Nieman, Truckee
Where we’re traveling
Today’s travel tip comes from Carol Marsh, a reader who lives in Missoula, Mont. Carol recommends Muir Woods:
“Towering redwoods give a cathedral ambience to the music of water flowing gently over rocks beside level paths. Hikers can climb steeper paths into the surrounding mountain.
I now live several states away, and I haven’t been to Muir Woods in decades, but it remains vivid and forever my favorite place.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
Craving Thin Mints? Maybe some Samoas?
This year, you can order Girl Scout cookies to be immediately delivered to your door, KTLA5 reports. The new option comes as the Girl Scouts debut two new cookie flavors.
Thanks for reading. We’ll be off Monday because of Martin Luther King’s Birthday. See you Tuesday. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Hush, you!” (5 letters).
Jonah Candelario, Steven Moity and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.