I was going to write this post in a few weeks, but given the recent, and early, snowfall this year, I decided now was a good time to share my thoughts on experiencing the snow here. Recently I received an email from a couple in Florida. They had visited the Franklin Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in July a few years ago and were interested in coming back for a “snow experience.” They asked when would be a good time to come to Appleton to have a good snow experience. They seemed mostly interested in walking and/or sightseeing in the snow, but were concerned about driving in it. The following is a revised and expanded version of the information I shared with them.
Defining Snow Season
Keith defined “good snow chances” for our Florida inquirers as four winter periods. This is based solely on his memories from childhood in Wisconsin, along with our few years in the Fox Cities since purchasing the Inn.
- November through Christmas or New Year’s – we may get one good snow experience. We always hope for a beautiful white Christmas with new fallen snow and temps in the 20’s (F). Although this Christmas snow happens occasionally, sometimes it’s as early as Halloween (like this year).
- We are more likely to have a good snow experience in January or February. Snow is more plentiful and covers the ground longer due to colder temps. Of course that means being prepared to experience colder temps, sometimes in the negative degrees.
- Mid-to-late January there is often a thaw. The snow melts in the 30-40 degree days and re-freezes at night when temps go back down in the teens. This can cause some slick travel in the mornings, but generally nicer days to enjoy any snow that is around.
- By March, snow becomes much more unpredictable, much like November and December. However, we see warming trends rather than cooling trends. Of course the last two years we have had some significant snowfalls in early April as well.
Snow Predictability and Cold Weather Safety
Trying to predict the weather is of course impossible, Even the professional weather forecasters around here are constantly updating their models and changing their forecasts. It is common for folks to bundle up and be prepared. Checking the weather forecast regularly, particularly temperature and wind chill is important in the winter.
Cold temperatures are a major concern for health and safety in the winter. If staying at the Inn, Lori and Keith are happy to keep you informed of the weather and instruct you on proper attire if needed. Just as Floridians stay prepared with sunscreen, wide brim hats, and lip balm, we stay prepared with heavy clothing, scarfs, and knit hats. Dressing in layers is the best way to be prepared for temperature swings if out and about for the day.
Stay where you’ll be comfortable
We like to think guests would be very comfortable staying with us during the “snow season.” As we said before, the snow and cold temperatures are common from November through March. Still, there are always plenty of things to do in Appleton and the Fox Cities during the winter months…life goes on in the frozen north. For events in and around the Fox Cities, see events at www.foxcities.org . For events specific to Downtown Appleton visit: https://appletondowntown.org/upcoming-events/.
Of course, relaxing at the Inn can be just as rewarding in the winter. Reading a good book, binge watching your favorite shows on the wifi television in your room, or enjoying the jet tub in one of our suites are all worthwhile winter activities. Some guests borrow cards, cribbage boards, or other games from the Inn, and still others bring their own games.
Stay where you can get around easily
One winter experience we are excited to share since moving to Appleton, snow removal from the streets around here is excellent! In most cases, streets are plowed, treated and easy to drive relatively quickly after the snow ends. A few inches will be cleared within several hours. A 21 ” blizzard will shut everything down for about 1 day – then schools and businesses will resume as normal. In short, driving is relatively safe here in winter. But if you are ever not comfortable driving due to a snow situation, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts are all available to do the driving for you. There is also a decent bus system. The bus terminal is just a few blocks from the Franklin Street inn. Restaurants and things to do within walking distance of the Inn are plentiful, so driving is not a necessity (just good boots).
Best time for a Snow Experience?
The original question centered on “the best time to visit for a snow experience.” If you really want a “snow experience” it needs to be cold enough to sustain the snow, and hopefully not get too cold to enjoy. This of course is not a frequent occurrence, but is absolutely beautiful to experience. It happens several times each winter, and those of us who live here get to enjoy these times each winter. But when these times will occur is totally unpredictable, especially with the more volatile weather swings of recent years.
Ultimately, my answer is… plan a few days, perhaps a long weekend, between Jan 15 – Feb 29. Get tickets to a Broadway on Tour show at the Performing Arts Center. Or come for the “Death by Chocolate” weekend sponsored by downtown shops and restaurants. Or maybe just come for a romantic get-away retreat. Watch this blog or call us for more information on these upcoming events.
While here, hope for a great snow experience that allows for a beautiful winter walk or hike. Perhaps some cross-count, skiing or snowshoeing at a local park is your style. Or enjoy a wagon or sleigh ride through snow covered fields or streets. Regardless, expect a relaxing and enjoyable stay with a comfortable bed, an elegant breakfast, and a warm fire in our parlor fireplace. We hope to see you this winter, come relax with us!