8 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever in South Jersey

Temperatures lately have ranged from “Yes, you need a jacket” to “Only open that door if we have to evacuate.”

And with the omicron variant keeping us at home more than usual, the Eagles knocked out and the vacation in our rear view, many of us can get a good fit of cabin fever.

Of course, you can stay home, nap the dog on your feet to warm up, and finally move in to watch the eight hours of that. Beatles‘doc ‘Get out’, where you can venture out into the tundra and have some family fun.

From a family day out roller-skating or ice-skating to a trip to the wizarding world, here are some ideas for making the most of your winter downtime:

Fire & Ice – and lots of chilli

The Mount Holly Fire & Ice Festival is back for another year of chile carving and tasting.

If you haven’t been to Mount Holly lately, you are missing a lot. This historic downtown has new restaurants and a booming craft drink scene.

A good time to make the trip is Saturday, January 29, when Mount Holly hosts its annual Fire & Ice Festival.

The free event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will warm you up with chili tastings while seeing giant ice sculptures sculpted by professional ice artists working on 300-pound blocks of ice.

Live music from Suze & Watson will set the tone for a day of fun.

If you go, share your photos on social media with the hashtag #FandINJ. Visit fireandicefestival.com

The Mount Holly Jail Museum is temporarily closed due to COVID, but be sure to check out Mount Holly’s quaint shops or visit one of its craft breweries, wine tasting rooms or the Train Wreck Distillery .

The Wonders of Winterfest

There's still time to hit the ice at the WinterFest Rink in Pennsauken.

Nothing shakes the cobwebs like lacing up skates and practicing your figure eight.

This ephemeral winter wonderland in Cooper River Park offers a chance to get away from it all without wandering far from home.

Winterfest, located at the corner of North Park Drive and Cuthbert Boulevard, is open until February 17.

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The main attraction is the 60-by-120-foot skating rink in front of Crown Plaza, and Winterfest also features twinkling lights and food vendors located inside a pavilion.

The hours are Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m. On the last day, Monday February 17, the park will be open from noon to 9 p.m. pm

Admission is $7.50 for adults; $5.50 for children 5-12, seniors and veterans, free for children 4 and under. Children aged 5 to 17 who present their vaccination card will benefit from free entry. Unlimited skating, not including skate rentals, is available for $125. Skate rental is $6; skate sharpening costs $6.50.

Visit CamdenCounty.com/WinterFest for more information on parties, skating lessons and more.

All skateboarders or couples only?

A horse and carriage drives past one of Cape May's elegant Victorian homes.

If ice skating sounds appealing as Polar Bear Plunge right now, consider lacing up a different kind of skates.

The roller skating sessions continue this month at the Cape May Convention Hall.

The January schedule is 4 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays; and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. All sessions are “family skating”. The schedule is subject to change.

Admission is $5 for skaters and non-skaters. Skate rental is $5 and blade rental is $7. Children 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. No more than four minors per adult.

The room is at 714 Beach Ave., in Cape May. For schedule and information, visit capemaycity.com/roller-skating.

While you’re in town, you can also shop at the boutiques of the Washington Mall, enjoy the best restaurants in town, hike the nature trails at Cape May Point, or climb its iconic lighthouse on a hot day.

Cozy up with Birria tacos

Birria Tacos and Consommé at Parrilla La Nueva Fogata

Why settle for regular tacos when you can have a more delicious version, complete with homemade broth?

And don’t wait until Taco Tuesday to dive in. Birria tacos take your family favorite dish up a notch.

Here’s our guide to where to find them in South Jersey, from Burlington City to Vineland.

Most places offer many other varieties, as well as burritos, for those who don’t see the merits of wet tacos.

Check restaurant websites and social media for availability and updated hours.

Gather around a (different) hearth

Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City has stage fire pits and garden fire pits available.  The outdoor dining areas are also equipped with heaters.

Unless you’re snowboarding or skiing in fresh powder, few things are more appealing outside of this time of year than a warm fireplace.

While fire pits are popular… well, ever since humans discovered fire… they’ve enjoyed even greater appeal as a safe way to gather outdoors and have fun during the pandemic.

Breweries, wineries, restaurants and bars in our area have added fire pits and fire pits to provide a comfortable alternative to dining and drinking indoors.

They have become a staple; we anticipate that they will not use their call when the threat of COVID-19 finally recedes.

To verify our guide where to find them here and look for updates soon.

Make like a wizard and Apparate

Before the launch of

Why stay in New Jersey in February when you can spend it at Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Godric’s Hollow and Diagon Alley?

“Harry Potter: The Exhibit” arrives at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on February 18.

The exhibit, created by Imagine Exhibitions in partnership with Warner Bros., comes as the first “Harry Potter” film celebrates its 20th anniversary.

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Tickets are on sale now for the show, which bills itself as “the most comprehensive traveling exhibition about the wizarding world ever”.

“Harry Potter” will take wizards and muggles behind the scenes, where they can get up close and personal with characters, settings and memorable moments from the books and movies and the larger world created by JK Rowling, including more recent works such as as “Fantastic Beasts” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” according to the Franklin.

Imagine Studios uses “best-in-class immersive designs and technologies to deliver an unforgettable personalized experience,” according to the press materials, which will include original movie props and costumes. It will offer Potterheads of all ages “the opportunity to engage with innovative, awe-inspiring and magical environments and installations in a way never seen before in a traveling exhibition.”

Tickets are timed and dated. Day tickets for timed entry between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily are $43 for adults; $41 for seniors and military; $39 for children 3 to 11 years old. Tickets include admission to the museum and a show at the planetarium.

Evening tickets are for timed entry between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday are $30 for all guests and do not include other areas of the museum, which will close at 5 p.m. The last guests must leave before 8 p.m.

Anytime VIP passes are also available for $59.

For more information, visit www.fi.edu

Book your getaway

Exit 4 Escape Rooms t-shirts are featured at Exit 4 Private Escape Rooms in Collingswood.

Family movie nights, family game nights, and backyard nights can only go so far.

Sometimes you really have to leave the house to enjoy coming home.

If you don’t feel ready to mix in lots of public places, consider booking a private escape room for an afternoon or evening of fun and team building.

South Jersey has several escape rooms, which periodically change their puzzle adventures so you don’t get too bored.

Exit 4 Private Escape Rooms, for example, has locations in Glassboro and Collingswood.

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In Glassboro, for example, you can try to get out of the Jersey Devil’s Cabin, search for evidence for the Trial of the Century, or try your luck escaping from a dark wand shop. What seems to us to be a good hunter of the “Harry Potter” exhibition.

There are also escape rooms in Turnersville, Cherry Hill and elsewhere, so why bother?

Stroll and shop in Haddonfield

Even if you just want to shop, this is the city to do it.

Kings Highway and surrounding streets provide a safe way to follow suit, get some fresh air and be inspired.

The Winterfest sidewalk sale runs Thursday, Jan. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 23, with many downtown businesses offering promotions, specials, and in-store discounts.

While you’re there, you can choose from dozens of local restaurants and cafes, enjoy outdoor carving, and get something for your Valentine.

The snow date is January 27-30. Visit facebook.com/events/897863603696628/?ref=newsfeed

Tammy Paolino is the South Atlantic Region Editor for the USA Today Network. She’s an award-winning journalist and editor who enjoys covering trends, diversity, the arts, food and drink. Join her at [email protected] or 856-486-2477 or on Twitter @CP_TammyPaolino. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription.