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Old 12-02-2013, 12:32 AM
 
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So I've lived my whole life in Florida (I'm in my 20's) and I've never been up north during the winter. I think the coldest it's ever gotten here is like 43. Anyway, I'm going to Boston for Christmas and will be staying there until late January. And I was just wondering if anyone has any advice or tips for first time winters? Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:08 AM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
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My spouse spent 30 years living in Florida before moving north 25 years ago. It doesn't sound like you'll be here long enough for the main issue she encountered - not the cold (you need to learn to bundle up, of course) but the light - or rather the fact that there is more than enough difference in the loss of light over the winter, here, to cause substantial depression in humans. So among the rest of the weather-related advice you get, I'll warn you to pay special attention to getting enough natural light (florescent light does you no good).
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:20 AM
 
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Driving is big issue in snow and ice, and better avoid it if you can.
When dressing, layering is the key. You will have to invest in some kind coat (longer the better IMO), hat and gloves. Boots need to be warm and non-slippery. Have something waterproof and with real rubber sole. Good merino wool socks help a lot.
In case of snow, as fast as streets can be plowed for car traffic, sidewalks are not always cleaned immediately so getting something to keep you warm while trudging through the snow or slush is very important. Make sure you hydrate well, including your skin--cold air outside, with dry air from heating inside will make most people uncomfortable in their skin during the winter.
Hopefully we will not have too much snow or cold this year.
Enjoy Boston.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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I agree with kingeorge. It's all about having the right outwear. Long coat (knee length or so), hat, scarf, GOOD gloves, boots.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunflower86 View Post
So I've lived my whole life in Florida (I'm in my 20's) and I've never been up north during the winter. I think the coldest it's ever gotten here is like 43. Anyway, I'm going to Boston for Christmas and will be staying there until late January. And I was just wondering if anyone has any advice or tips for first time winters? Thanks!
My advice would be to enjoy it. Often times people bemoan winter and don't take advantage of the activities that come with it. Heck there are a good number of people on these forums who make it seem like from November 1 - April 1 if you live north of Maryland you cannot go outside because it's wayyyy too cold.

Massachusetts and New England offer a lot more to do and see in winter than most areas of the country. Try skiing, or snowboarding. Wachusett Mountain about 50 minutes from Boston would be a nice starter hill for you as an example. Build a snowman and make snow angels. Eat some snow (not the yellow stuff), have a snowball fight. Build a snow fort out of a plowed mound of snow. Go sledding.

As far as some practical things, I would recommend getting your wardrobe in order. A winter hat, some waterproof gloves, a waterproof winter jacket and a pair of waterproof boots will go a long way to making the really cold days more pleasant. Not to mention keeping yourself wet for when it snows.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:34 PM
 
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Hmmm, I didn't even consider all that about the light and depression. I will have to look more into that.
I'm going to try avoiding driving as much as possible. Having never driven in snow or in a very busy city, I'm scared to death of it lol...but my boyfriend thinks it might be useful for me to use his car while he is at work, for job searching or just going to the store if need be. I've done some research on the MBTA and all that, so I'm considering maybe getting a bus pass or something?

Is it difficult to get to some places via public transportation?

Would it be best to buy all my winter gear up there, or do you think I could possibly find stuff warm enough down here? Some people seem to think I'm not going to be able to find anything warm enough here in Florida. So I wasn't sure about that.

I actually love cold weather and I hate the heat so much! So I really think I'm going to enjoy the snow and everything it entails. There is a possibility that I'll be staying in Boston for good! Depending on how everything works out, if I can find employment, and all that good stuff.

Any and all tips/advice is much appreciated!!!
Thanks to all who replied so far!
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
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Invest in a monthly Charlie Card (MBTA pass) and use the subway for everything. Don't drive in that mess. It will get you everywhere you wanna go, unless you need to go considerably farther out into suburbs for some reason.

Buy a real coat. Buy one in Boston too. You'll know exactly how warm your coat should be once you walk in freezing off the street. Buy a hat and gloves. A lot of people complain about winter, and what are they wearing? A hoodie, no hat, no gloves, and jeans. Well, yeah, that'll be cold. If you dress well, chances are you won't be too bothered by the cold (unless it's really windy, not gonna lie, the wind chills can be rough- single digits).

Honestly, I like the cold and snow, but it's pretty rough here in the winter because of light. Sunset today, for example, is 4:12 pm. You get out of work and feel like you need to go to sleep immediately because it's pitch black. You get used to it, but coming from Florida, that's gonna be super weird for you. It was weird for me coming from Ohio!

Where are you gonna be living?
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
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As Tam88 says, it's not as brutally cold or snowy as most contend...it really isn't.

It's mid 40s today and cloudy, with early sunset. In a few days it will be well over 50. Surprise! Well, not really, as that's not unusual, either.

The ave. high in Dec., Jan. and Feb. is about 37 degrees not 7 or 17! Hard to believe, I know. Today's 46 is normal for this date, if you believe the local meteorologist today.

Most of the winter, in many years, we have little or no snow on the ground. True, though few admit or realize this. It's hard to get snow for Christmas or even the week before; it has usually melted due to little snow in most years plus warm temps!

Yet we all insist on calling ourselves "hardy New Englanders." Hmmm...

Yes, the wind can bebrutal, as it was cold and windy last week, but so was NYC. That chill was premature for sure.

Yes, 18 degrees at 6 am in February doesn't sound bad, but it can be when the winds are whipping, causing the windchill to be below zero. Even I complain then. But there often is no snow on the ground even in those conditions.

We rarely go below 10 at night, hardly ever hit zero in the city. NO, we do not hit minus 5 or minus 14 like Denver is getting this week on consecutive nights...

Aversge snowfall is about 42 inches; we almost broke a record with about 103 inches by early March maybe five years ago. -- so yes, sometimes it's 80 plus inches or sometimes 30 inches or much less for the season.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:36 PM
 
Location: New London
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunflower86 View Post
Hmmm, I didn't even consider all that about the light and depression. I will have to look more into that.
I'm surprised by this too. Personally, I like a good, long, clear, cold night; they are nice and peaceful not depressing.

Now granted I've lived in eastern Massachusetts my whole life, so I guess I don't have much perspective on this issue....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunflower86 View Post
Is it difficult to get to some places via public transportation?
Honestly, it could either be very easy or very difficult depending on where you are and where you want to go.

Last edited by iAMtheVVALRUS; 12-02-2013 at 07:20 PM..
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:56 PM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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So, about the daylight thing. Here's the deal - since we're farther north than Florida, we have shorter days in the winter. We have longer days in the summer to balance things out, of course.

But Boston is also situated at the eastern edge of the Eastern time zone, which means that the sun both rises and sets earlier than other places in the eastern US at the same latitude. In other words: Boston is a great city for early risers!

To give you an idea of the difference in daylight hours, here's today's sunrise and sunset times for Boston versus Orlando:

December 2, 2013:

Boston
Sunrise: 6:55am
Sunset: 4:13pm

Orlando
Sunrise: 7:01am
Sunset: 5:28pm

But hey, it could be a lot worse... like in London, which is farther north than Boston...

London
Sunrise: 7:45am
Sunset: 3:54pm

To boot, London is almost perpetually overcast during the winter, meaning that even when the sun is up, the sunlight isn't getting through. Places like northern Europe and the Pacific Northwest are places where you really have to worry about seasonal affective disorder. Believe it or not, Boston actually gets a decent number of sunny days in the winter, so as long as you get up early enough to take advantage of the daylight, the days don't seem that short. And if there's snow on the ground, the added reflected light off the white snow gives you an extra boost of energy. It's true!

Anyway, it's hard to predict exactly how much snow we'll have, but a pair of waterproof boots with good traction is key for walking in the city. Wool is probably the single best material to keep you warm and dry in the winter - consider it for your hat, socks, sweater, scarf, mittens, etc. If not mittens, then a very warm and waterproof pair of gloves is not to be undervalued. Wool, fleece, and down all make great insulators underneath a windproof shell. Layering is helpful. As a winter newbie, you might consider thermal underwear too. If you feel silly wearing snow pants, just try to keep your jeans or other pants as dry as possible - tuck them into your boots!

There are a lot of places in the U.S. that get much colder than Boston in the winter, so be thankful for that! You'll learn quickly that the wind makes a huge difference in how cold it feels, which is why a scarf and hat are so important.

I'll reiterate what others have said about getting out and enjoying winter. Take up ice skating, or snowshoeing, or skiing, or sledding, whatever. Just get out and about during your free time, even if it's just to walk to the nearest coffee shop. Plan a trip up to the White Mountains to enjoy the scenery. Or maybe even Quebec City, if you can.

Avoid driving if you can. Weather notwithstanding, Boston is a pretty tough city to drive in. Get a weekly pass CharlieTicket, or get a CharlieCard and load it with a monthly pass. The subway or bus will get you to most places you need to go in and around the city. However, if you are looking at jobs in the suburbs too, you may need a car.
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