As lovely as Glen Haven is, and it is lovely, sometimes the winter can outlast the most devoted resident. The shortened days, the bitter cold, the silence of the frozen stream, the loneliness of life indoors -- it can all add up. The idea of driving up the switchbacks on frozen roads just to be in town and enjoy a coffee among others can seem daunting. On those days, the cabin walls can close in making the cabin seem small and uninviting.

What to do when the beauties of the Rockies begin to pale with the extended cold and grey? Take a page out of the hummingbirds’ book and head South! Go where the sun is shining, the food is tasty and there are happy people in shorts and sandals!

History of Snowbirds

The snowbird lifestyle has existed in Europe and North America for many centuries. Europeans during the Victorian Age would escape the cold winters of their Northern homes by traveling to a milder Mediterranean climate in Italy or Southern France. North Americans during the past several centuries have also enjoyed this lifestyle.  Henry Ford and Thomas Edison both maintained winter homes in Fort Myers, Florida and it is said that some of their most influential ideas were conceived while staying at their winter homes. For this article, we will expand the meaning of the term ‘snowbird’ to include residents taking a break of any duration from the cold and grey.

Stevan & Tammy Stein from North Fork Road

Village of Hanalei Bay on North Shore in Kauai
Ladies of Stein Family in Kauai

How long have you lived in Glen Haven?

Six years this June (somewhat fulltime since after the flood). We’ve had the cabin since June of 2013.

Where’d you go to get your warm fix?

We went to the North Shore of Kauai. It was a family trip for spring break. Winter can drag on sometimes, and we’d never been to Hawaii.

What was your favorite thing to do while you were there?

We went to a luau, that was great family fun. We also got out in a helicopter for a tour of the island. The slow mornings together in the house followed by boogie boarding at the beach in the afternoon.

What was your favorite thing to eat while you were there?

Macadamia nuts, acai bowls, shave ice, and fresh pineapple and coconut from the farmers market! Mostly we ate at the house, but we had a good time exploring the foods of Hanalei Bay, too.

Did you prepare any food while you were there?

My sister joined us (the editor of this fine magazine) and she did most of the cooking. She tried to keep it regional, so we had lots of Hawaiian - Asian dishes like musubi (sticky rice with SPAM wrapped in seaweed), stirfry, fried rice, and one disastrous attempt at bean curd noodles (find recipes on page 32-33).

Did you miss anything about Glen Haven while you were in Kauai?

The fireplace. It’s nice to sit in front of a big fire at the cabin and get warm. The whole family missed our dog, Lucy. It was such a beautiful day when we got back, nice and dry with the smell of pine trees baking in the sun. We all really enjoy walking North Fork Road along the stream. We have really great neighbors, so it was nice to be back home in time for spring!

Tony & Sarah Fink from Fox Creek Road

Tony and Sarah Fink on the golf course together in Arizona

How long have you lived in Glen Haven?

We bought the property in 1996 and moved to fulltime in 1999.

Where’d you go to get your warm fix?

We went to Gold Canyon, a suburb on the far eastern side of Phoenix, AZ, next to the Superstition Mountains.

I realize that it’s cold and grey here over the winter, but is there any specific reason you wanted to get away over the winter?

(Tony) We love being outside. I had an office for 15 years without a window -- I had no idea what the weather was outside. We enjoy the mountains and love to get out for some warm time.

This year was one of the most unusual on record in Arizona. The temperatures were in the 50s, rainy and cold all January and February.  

What was your favorite thing to do while you were there?

(Tony) We spend a lot of time on the patio watching the spectacular sunsets. There are tons of stars out, too. We visit with friends in the area.

(Sarah) Our place backed to the golf course. I’m learning to golf. It’s a nice outdoor activity we can enjoy together.

(Tony) We like to get out hiking, too. There are hundreds of trails in the nearby Tonto National Forest. The area is filled with wildlife -- little deer, quail, hummingbirds, bobcats... The coyotes come right out on the golf course, we could hear them at night.

(Sarah) The javelinas are really smelly and look like pigs, but they’re actually part of the rhino family! They are a lot like the bears here in this area. You have to be careful with your trash so you don’t attract them.

What was your favorite thing to eat while you were there?

(Tony) We had an amazing food experience in Frankfurt 20 years ago. The restaurant served each person a raw piece of meat the size of a roast. Each person is also provided a stone that’s extremely hot that had been in the oven for several hours. The idea is that you slice off a piece of meat and cook it to your liking on the rock. It was such a fun experience that Sarah had been searching for stones online so we could do something similar at home. A friend invited us to a restaurant in Mesa, AZ, called ‘Steak and Stone’ -- it was the same experience as we’d had so many years ago in Frankfurt! That was really special for us.

Did you prepare any food while you were there?

(Sarah) I have a salsa that is always a hit! (Find the recipe on page 33).

Was there anything you missed about Glen Haven while you were in Arizona?

We missed the people of Glen Haven! We’re looking forward to frequent potlucks in the new Town Hall this year like those we had in the past, before the flood. We love the quiet and serenity, not to mention all the animals. We woke to several deer out in the yard the other day!

Jo McFadden from Monument Road

Oklahoma City skyline
Jo McFadden in her home on Monument Road

How long have you lived in Glen Haven?

We bought the cabin in ‘91. Back then it had no indoor plumbing. We had an outhouse, a cook stove and we got our water from the stream. We renovated in 2001 and then moved in full-time.

Why did you take the trip this spring?

This cabin feels fine when you can get out for a walk, but it’s really small in winter. Plus it gets dark by 4 pm!  

Where’d you go to get your warm fix this spring?

I’m a former airline stewardess, also known as a ‘kiwi’ (flightless bird). A perk of that career is free flights, when there’s a space available. This spring I traveled to Florida for Thanksgiving with my kids. I met up with Nancy Grobe and Sue England at a b&b in Texas. I went to Palm Springs to visit friends. I spent quite a bit of time in Oklahoma City, OK, housesitting a 10,000sq ft home. Massive! I never experience cabin fever there!

What was your favorite thing to do while you were there?

Family and friends! I’m originally from Oklahoma. This year a friend from Germany came for a visit. My son came to visit from Oregon. The family gathered together for my birthday.

Did you prepare any food while you were there?

The first thing I make when I get to Oklahoma is beans and cornbread. Pinto beans take FOREVER to cook in Glen Haven. My tradition, though, is to make a family dish called ‘Ha-cha-cha & Ooh-la-la’. I make this once the entire family is gathered together (find the recipe on page 33).

Did you miss anything about Glen Haven while you were in Oklahoma?

Glen Haven is a place of healing and rejuvenation for me.