LEWISTON — Dr. Rosemarie Sheline starts getting cold in the fall. By October, she spends her days bundled in multiple layers, even at work in her dental office.

“I’m dreading every wintertime,” she said. “It’s the hardest season for me.”

Winter’s wind and freezing temperatures get to Brian Wilson too. The husband and father would rather just stay home. Or maybe at friend’s house. Either way, inside.

“It’s not my favorite season. I endure it like everybody else,” he said.

Drew Desjardins, the “Mr. Drew” half of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too, hates winter. Hates. It’s too cold for him, too snowy, too depressing.

“It sucks,” he said succinctly.

We are, astronomically speaking, almost exactly halfway through winter in Maine, seven weeks into the 13 weeks between Dec. 31 and March 20. The lowest of the low point for Maine’s coldest, snowiest season.

The winter doldrums.

So how do Mainers stay sane this time of year, when it can feel constantly dark and forever icy?

We asked. They answered.

Spoiler: Heavy drinking was not involved.


Originally from the Philippines, Sheline grew up in a tropical climate. Temperatures average about 80 degrees there, even in the dead of winter. It’s always humid.

Maine is . . . the exact opposite.

So when Sheline arrived in Maine in 2010, she very quickly realized her winters here were not going to be like the winters of her youth.

“I’m like a little fish being shocked in cold water,” said Sheline, owner of Maple Way Dental Care in Lewiston.

She bundled up for her first snowfall — “Like that kid in ‘A Christmas Story.’ I couldn’t put my arm down.” — and took to wearing multiple layers, even inside.

Nine years later, she’s still not comfortable with Maine winters and the months of freezing temperatures. But she’s found ways to cope.

The first: Work out. Like, a lot.

“I exercise in the morning before I go out. I exercise at the end of the day,” she said. “It warms my body up really fast.”

The second: Embrace it.

“I’m hoping, planning, to enjoy the winter more by playing some winter sports,” said Sheline, who recently tried skiing for the first time. “And running, because I run marathons. I started running while it was snowing. It’s actually really cool because then you don’t get hot quickly. I mean, you will feel hot, but then it feels good to have that breeze of cool air to your face. That’s the positive part of winter here in Maine.”


At 33 years old, Wilson has gone through 33 Maine winters. The snow never bothered him, but the wind and cold? He’d be happy to do without those.

Sometimes the Lewiston man just accepts it and goes sledding with his 7-year-old son. Other times, he stays inside with a book or one of his seven video game consoles.

And once every week or two, Wilson, an electrician, and his wife, a CNA, get together with friends for dinner and game night. The gathering is, importantly, held inside. The focus is almost always on a board game.

“There’s some that you would think a bunch of 30-year-olds are not meant to play,” Wilson said. “It ranges from Settlers of Catan to Cards Against Humanity. One of our friends absolutely hates Monopoly, so she won’t allow Monopoly in her house. Pretty much everything else is fair game.”

That includes a restored version of Fireball Island, a 1980s kids’ game that uses marbles, cards and treasure tokens. And, sometimes, there’s Dungeons & Dragons.

Two of Wilson’s D&D campaigns have been going on for a year.

“It’s fun. It’s getting together with your friends. It’s very casual,” Wilson said of his game nights. “It passes the time very easily.”


For those Mainers who want to embrace winter, there are a lot of options. Skiing. Snowshoeing. Ice skating. We’re familiar with those.

And curling.

At least for those 15 to 20 members of the Rangeley Lakes Curling Club.

“It gets people out. It’s fun,” said club secretary Jim Ferrara, a retired air traffic controller who was looking for something to do when he spotted people curling on ice in the middle of town. He decided to give it a try.

A local man started the club about four years ago. For the first three years, players used homemade stones — stainless steel bowls stuck together, filled with cement and plugged with a bent pipe to use as a handle.

“They were good, but they were kind of coming apart a little bit,” Ferrara said.

This season, the club bought a set of 16 real stones. The $5,000 purchase price was steep, but worth it.

“Just the feel and the sound of them hitting each other is really cool,” he said.

The club plays exclusively outside on the town pond, which is great because it’s cheap, but also not-great because outdoor ice time is naturally limited.

“As soon as the sun starts to get a little bit high, it starts to melt the ice a little bit and makes it trickier to play,” Ferrara said. “As crazy as it sounds, we’re already kind of bumming that it’s ending soon.”

While Feb. 10 may represent a cold, dark, mid-winter for many Mainers, it’s just two weeks from the final tournament for Rangeley Lakes curlers.

As winter pastimes go, players say it’s hard to beat.

“You know, you’ve got to stay busy,” said Ferrara, 63. “When you retire, if you’re lucky enough to retire, we have to look for those things or otherwise you will go crazy.”


Desjardins starts anticipating winter each fall. And not in a yay-snow kind of way.

He’s more of a summer guy. For him, fall in Maine is too short and winter too long.

“We have two weeks of beautiful weather and colors. After that, it’s cold and miserable,” he said.

It didn’t help that he used to work in landscaping and got laid off every winter.

“Seasonal depression just hit me,” he said. “I upped the vitamin D, whatever. Take Prozac, whatever. It’s to the point where (winter) is almost painful.”

This year, things have changed.

Desjardins’ father-in-law got a new riding snowblower and has been clearing off the family’s driveway, freeing Desjardins from working outside after each storm.

And Desjardins, an exotic pet rescuer and rehabilitator, opened his new Lewiston educational center — where the reptiles require full-spectrum lights and temps in the 70s and 80s.

That happens to be perfect for a summer-loving human, too.

“I’ve been hanging out and just enjoying them,” he said. “People, of course, come in with their winter coats. I stop them right here and I’m like, ‘Take your coats off. It’s a balmy 78 degrees back there and you’re going to get very hot very quick.’”

It comes at a price. Desjardins’ electric bills have been running $1,300 to $1,400 for the center.

But his snakes, lizards and tortoises are integral to the center, and they need the heat to survive. If the side effect is that he gets a bit of summer year-round? Well, he’s OK with that.

“It’s been nice. I haven’t noticed much cold,” he said. “Just kicking back and drinking ice water. It’s been great.”

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Dr. Rosemarie Sheline, originally from the Philippines, practices side stepping up the hill during her first-ever experience on skis at Lost Valley ski area in Auburn on Sunday. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

“Every winter, I have serious seasonal depression,” said Drew Desjardins, while in his new 83-degree, full-spectrum-lit reptile room in Lewiston. “This year winter did not faze me in the least.” (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

For a few years, Rangeley Lakes Curling Club members got through winter playing with these homemade stones — stainless steel bowls stuck together, filled with cement and topped with a bent pipe for a handle.  (Photo courtesy Rangeley Lakes Curling Club)

Members of the Rangeley Lakes Curling Club play during a recent winter day. (Photo courtesy Rangeley Lakes Curling Club)