by Gunnar Ward

With winter’s howl whipping through the trees, try these ways to warm up and beat the winter freeze.

Relax under a blanket with a scent of lavender. When snow blankets the roads, schools are closed, and you’re stuck indoors, use the opportunity to relax under a cozy blanket and light some lavender aromatherapy candles from Silver Linings Lavender, available for purchase online or in-store. “Lavender is scientifically proven to calm people,” said Dawn Pritchard of Sykesville, owner of Silver Linings Lavender. So wrap yourself up in a favorite blanket, breathe in the scent of lavender, and relax while you watch the snow pile up outside your window.

The key to keeping warm in wintertime is to protect yourself from the chilly wind. And a great way to do that is with a C.C. hat and a scarf from Cultivated in downtown Westminster. The C.C line of products has been extremely popular, said Tiombe Paige, a Westminster resident and the owner of Cultivated. “We had a shelf full of hats that sold completely out.” C.C offers both women’s and unisex winter hats in a variety of colors. Black and cranberry are the most popular colors, according to Paige. And they’re priced under $20.

Lace up and get active. When the winter cold pinches, one of the best sources of heat is you. Runners from beginner to marathoner can trot into Run Moore in downtown Westminster to pick up all equipment necessary to toast the cold. Run Moore employee (and Stevenson University assistant track coach) Mike Stetson said no shoe is bad for indoor training. He can help you make the choice that’s right for you, but he cautions that those who wish to brave the elements need to prepare properly, and that includes preparing your muscles. “The body is like a car,” he said. “You have to warm up your muscles before heading out.”

Sip hot tea and enjoy baked goodies. Stop in at Sweet Simplici-tea in Sykesville to wash away the winter blues with hot tea and fresh baked goods. From classic selections to seasonal blends, Sweet Simplici-tea offers a variety of brews to warm you up as you enjoy the shop’s Victorian setting. “Even though people have their favorites, they go for seasonal [blends],” said owner Robyn Zumbrun. Pumpkin spice has been a particularly popular choice, she said. And you can pair your tea with fresh-baked goods, including scones and cupcakes, all of which are made in-shop.