We all know how hard it can be to stay cheery during the winter months (especially during a period of wet, sloppy snow).
Throughout Michigan — from Jackson and Ann Arbor, to Flint and Grand Rapids — days are short, it’s freezing and wet outside.
As it turns out, Michiganders have these challenges in common with some other folks across the pond: the Danes.
In Denmark, daylight can last from just 8:45am to 3:45pm, leaving most of the waking hours in the dark. Add to that some cold temps, blustery winds, and grey skies, all of which doesn’t exactly leave a lot of options for a true romantic getaway.
In the 1800s, a word appeared in Danish culture that turned the tides on depressing winter attitudes in Denmark: hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”).
What Is Hygge?
Most simply, hygge means coziness or cozy contentment. The Danes define it as, “… a feeling, an experience, a sensation. It means creating a warm atmosphere. It is enjoying the good things in life with good people.”
Other cultures have similar words. For example, in the Netherlands, there’s the idea of gezelligheid, and in Germany, there’s gemütlichkeit.
Since 2016, hygge has caught on around the world in places like Michigan, Canada, and the United Kingdom — where similar climates can be equally gloomy.
How Hygge Could Improve Your Relationship This Winter
Winter in West Michigan can sometimes be disheartening, and finding a romantic getaway in the gloomy can be challenging.
Most couples simply take things as they are and don’t do anything to improve a dismal winter situation — after all, you can’t stop the weather, right?
True, but your partner is your main social tie, no matter the season. Being close and happy with this person can reduce stress, increase longevity, and even strengthen your immune system. You might just need to give things a little boost … and this is where a romantic hygge getaway Up North can come to the rescue!
Plan Your Hygge Romantic Getaway and Embrace a Happier Relationship!
Here are 6 easy steps to scheduling your Up North Hygge Getaway and improving your marriage or relationship in the process.
1. Start by booking your cozy getaway.
Quite literally, Danes first define hygge and coziness in terms of space — particularly, little spaces. After all, you can’t quite feel cozy in a great big room. It’s all about cuddling up and nestling in.
The easiest way to do this is to get away to a cozy little spot up north. At The Weathervane Inn, we think we take care of the cozy aspect of hygge quite well. Our guest rooms were built and designed with luxury in mind. Most all of our rooms come with an in-room fireplace, individual Jacuzzi tub, quaint balcony overlooking White Lake, and your very own kitchen space!
Start by reserving your room here. Booking is quick and easy and can be done completely online. Don’t forget to schedule your room during the week too. Monday through Friday, our coziest rooms are much easier to reserve, and restaurants, shops, and events are much less crowded in town.
2. Partake in comfort food.
Now that you’ve scheduled your getaway, it’s never too soon to start planning your meals, right?
Comfort food is the way to go. May we suggest authentic Italian lasagna at Villa Venafro or a warm bowl of chili from Pekadill’s?
3. Drink warm beverages
Like comfort food, it’s important to also have warm beverages on-hand for optimal hygge. We suggest a short jaunt to The Book Nook & Java Shop, just a 5-minute walk from our lakeside inn. There, they serve delicious hot chocolate, coffee, and other scrumptiously cozy beverages.
Don’t forget to check the Book Nook’s calendar as well. Live music events are always going on in the quaint café. Plus, open-to-all get-togethers like Sketching Club on Wednesdays and Knitting Club every other Saturday are very hygge — and great for couples (guys can knit too, right!?).
… and cold one with new friends.
Beverages, that is.
Consider a frothy beer made right here in Whitehall at Fetch Brewing Company. Along with pints and a warm and cozy atmosphere (the brewery is in a renovated bank that was built in 1912), Fetch is also known for their creative events. Come on the 1st or 3rd Wednesdays of each month for Open Mic Night, for example.
4. Ditch the screens, light a fire, and read a book.
Hygge together time doesn’t have to mean staring into each other’s eyes and having deep conversation. Sometimes, it just means relaxing in front of a cozy crackling fire and watching the snow fall outside. Bring a book, listen to music, or fall asleep. It’s all hygge.
In our rooms at The Weathervane, we make it easy. Just be sure to choose one of our guest rooms with a fireplace and cuddle up to the glow and warmth.
5. Listen to beautiful music.
In the darkest hours of winter, music can certainly speak to you — especially live music. Not only is it enjoyable for the ears and heart, but it’s a great way to socialize with new people and a great conversation starter for you and your partner.
The Block in Muskegon, just a short drive from our lake front hotel, features weekly live musical performances. For example, check out the upcoming performance of West Michigan Symphony Principal Violist Arturo Ziraldo coming up at The Block on January 13th.
6. Get outside when you can.
Finally, hygge isn’t only about staying indoors. Up here in Northern Michigan, the weather can get dismal on certain days — but some days are breathtakingly gorgeous — and it’d surely be a shame to miss them.
In the White Lake area, enjoying the winter weather outdoors is simple. Bring your snowmobiles if you have them for over 175 miles of well-marked and maintained trails. Or, head over to the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, located within the Muskegon State Park. The complex features all of the following activities:
- Ice Skating
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Winter Luge
Trying new things and engaging in physical activities can be great for strengthening romantic relationships. Plus … falling in the snow is pretty funny. (As long as no one gets hurt.) And laughter is always good for romance.