Bring skates to a new park trail. Buy a personal poem written on the spot. And pour a glass of ice wine (which doesn’t mean on the rocks).

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South Bend, Indiana South Bend opened an ice-skating trail this winter. The ribbon-style loop (complete with a bridge and firepits) circles a new playground in the city’s oldest park. Other features: a warming room, lockers, an events center and a restaurant. It’s all part of $50 million in citywide park improvements.

South Dakota You need more @jessebrownnelson in your Instagram feed—especially in the dead of winter. The Black Hills photog immerses himself in the elements, often traversing cliff edges or camping in the snow to capture landscapes, wildlife and adventure. Score trip ideas or just enjoy the scroll candy from the safety of your screen.

Mountain goat behind Mount Rushmore
Jesse Brown Nelson

Chicago Poetry doesn’t get more accessible, personal and mobile. Poems While You Wait is a revolving band of word musicians that brings typewriters to public spaces. You pick a topic, pay $5 and get a page of poetic magic—ink still wet. Quirky or heady, any topic is fair game. “People hug us, cry and take pictures,” says cofounder Kathleen Rooney. early 2020 schedule: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, January 4; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, January 11; Garfield Park Conservatory, February 15; Chicago Artisan Market, March 8.

Poems While You Wait
Courtesy of Poems While You Wait

4 Ice Wine

Everywhere! Yes, grapes still on the vine (in January) can make a fine wine. Several Midwest wineries specialize in the painstaking process of pressing frozen grapes. The method taps into highly concentrated sugar content to create a deliciously complex (and pricey) dessert wine. Ohio’s Debonné Vineyards ships their Vidal Blanc across most of the Midwest. Other options: Chateau Grand Traverse winery in Michigan and Trout Springs Winery in Wisconsin.

Most ice wines come in 375-ml bottles. Pour small and sip like a port.
Blaine Moats

5 Exhibit Watch

First in the Nation, Des Moines Iowa has been the first U.S. state to pick presidential candidates for nearly 50 years. Now 300-plus campaign pins, a film and a 2020 candidate selfies station highlight the evolution of Iowa’s sway in presidential bids. The State Historical Museum of Iowa launched First in the Nation in the fall, just in time for the 2020 caucuses on February 3.

Courtesy of The State Historical Society of Iowa

Native Minnesota, Saint Paul The Minnesota History Center’s new permanent exhibit, Our Home: Native Minnesota, opened in December and honors the Dakota, Ojibwe and other tribes that resided in Minnesota long before European settlers arrived. Exhibit items include basketry, leather and other artifacts dating to the 1700s.