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Maybe your idea of a perfect winter activity is curling up with a good book under a cozy blanket, preferably near a roaring fire. Or perhaps you prefer to embrace the season by getting out and exploring the region’s forests and beaches. Or maybe both.

“This sounds crazy, but winter is my favorite season,” says frequent Northshore contributor Natalie Gale. “Bundling up in the cold is so fun, but what’s even better is going inside afterwards.”

Whatever your winter vibe, the North Shore has exactly the thing for you. And who better to help you find your ideal seasonal sweet spot than a team that spends their days exploring, thinking about, and writing about the North Shore?

Here’s what Northshore staffers and contributors had to say about their favorite ways to embrace the season (and please share your own favorites in the comments):

Crane Beach | Photograph by T. Barrieau

The great outdoors

The beach in the winter has a distinct, spare beauty that enchants us – even if we have to layer on the coats and hats to enjoy it. Shelly Kochanski, assistant to the controller, says, “Walking the beach on Plum Island,” is her favorite way to revel in the season, Gale likes to visit the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, and Northshore editor Nancy Berry enjoys a walk along Crane Beach, notable for its rolling dunes and stunning views.

And if you’re looking for more places to stroll in the wintry weather, check out our recommendations.

Strategic media manager Sheila Wulf says, “I am looking forward to ice skating! I’ve got my skates all sharpened – watch out!” If you also want to glide along or practice your salchows, check out The Rink at MarketStreet in Lynnfield, or public rinks in Burlington, Lynn, Gloucester, Peabody, or Reading.

For accounting controller Pam Sedler, the highlight of a North Shore winter is “cross-country skiing, at Appleton Farms when there is snow!” And while you’re there, don’t forget to stop in at the property’s farm store for a snack or some dinner provisions.

Getting cozy

There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself in the warm and welcoming indoors as well. Strategic media manager Erika Hemingway suggests some classic entertainment with bowling at arcade games at King’s in Lynnfield and Gale points out that the Peabody Essex Museum and the Cape Ann Museum are both fantastic places to while away an afternoon. Web editor Sarah Shemkus recommends browsing one of the region’s many independent bookstores for a new book (or five) to read under the aforementioned cozy blanket.

When you start getting hungry, the North Shore is loaded with restaurants where you can have a warming drink and a hot meal in a welcoming spot.

Digital media specialist Christina El Khoury, for example, specifically recommends the brick-walled second floor of Bar 25 in Newburyport, especially after a day spent browsing the offerings at the Northshore Mall in Peabody. Shemkus likes dig in to an order of short ribs and risotto at The Franklin in Gloucester. “I always say I will order something else, but the short ribs just end up being irresistible,” she says.

Lynn C. Kimball, senior strategic media manager, enjoys dining in a waterfront igloo on the deck of Gloucester’s Mile Marker one. Hemingway recommends new Woburn Italian restaurant Sogno for an elegantly cozy dinner, or Berry Tavern in Danvers for a casual atmosphere and live music.

Of course, our picks just scratch the surface: How do you make your North Shore winter a special season?