6 Things No One Warns You About Winter on the East Coast

Growing up in California, winter to me meant school break and spending way too much time sitting in front of the television while my mom was at work. I spent my years in the stereotypical vision everyone has of California, by the beach, where the weather seems to always be in the sixties and seasons are a thing we just see in the movies.

My first time in the snow I almost lost my foot. Why? Because no one thought to warn me that maybe sandals aren't appropriate snow attire. Films always make snow look like this fluffy white stuff you can easily roll into giant balls and throw at one another, when in reality being hit with a snowball hurts, well, almost as much as making a snowball without gloves on hurts.

This December marks my second winter on the East Coast, and this time, I'm ready. Moving from a sunny beach town to the mid-Atlantic city last year left me clueless on how to prepare myself for temperatures I didn't even think were possible. Yes, I knew it got cold places during the winter, but I just assumed due to the hot summers that DC might be immune. Boy, was I wrong.

Now that I'm done unpacking my winter wear and stocking up on hand warmers, I'm ready to share with you the six things no one mentions about winter on the East Coast.

Black ice is dangerous, and it's everywhere.

The number of times I slipped and fell to ground last winter is embarrassing. The cause? Black ice. Coming from California meant I pay no attention to the ground below me. We don't have hundreds of year old brick roads or snow covered pavement beneath our feet. Last winter I continued to walk like an imbecile without paying attention to all the obstacles beneath me, only to leave me in pain and laying on the road cursing at myself. Don't be like me, walk slowly and carefully. And if you do fall, walk it off like nothing happened and save your crying for the bathroom stall.

Stores stop selling winter clothes in January.

Spending a few months working in Target taught me one important thing last year, stock up on winter clothes early. So many stores start making space for things like swimsuits in late December and January, which means they have to push out seasonal items like gloves and coats. Wait a few weeks then swoop in during early January to buy everything on clearance. Why they do this makes no sense since the real winter doesn't start until after the holidays.

Snow emergencies allow taxi cabs to rob you blind.

This one I learned the hard way. One night during a declared snow emergency my boyfriend and I decided it was way too cold to try walking home. We hailed a cab like usual and enjoyed the ride home away from the snow chunks and cold winds. When I sat in the cab I saw the meter read $15 dollars, but I hadn't even yet closed the door so I assumed that was the amount from the last trip. Wrong! In Washington DC taxicabs are allowed to charge $15 on top of the normal fare during a snow emergency. Check your city's  taxi fare policy before you decide you want to cab home the six blocks.

Snow days are awesome, and terrible, must mostly awesome.

Working at a nonprofit in the capital had one amazing perk, we closed just as often as the federal government closed. Which is like all the time in the winter. While not having to go to work feels like tons of fun when you first get up in the morning, you also have to remember that you're not getting paid for going to brunch on a Tuesday. Oh, and don't forget it's fucking freezing outside and cabs cost way more money.

Everyone loves to brag about winters where they come from. 

Why do people find joy in telling you how hot/cold/windy/foggy whatever town they come from is? I am all for one upping each other on cool things like how much money you saved at CVS or episodes of Friends you can watch in one sitting, but weather doesn't not qualify. I get it, it's cold in a lot of places. But can we not downplay how freezing I am just because once upon a time you went somewhere cold? Unfortunately I don't think this weird trend will ever stop, so just nod along and look interested as someone tells you just how cold it gets where they live.

You will never stop being fascinated by how beautiful snow makes everything look. 

How do you spot someone from California? They're always entertained by something as simple as the weather. Coming from a place that has the same climate all year long, it's hard to not jump for joy (literally) when small specks of snow start falling from the sky. A few weeks into it and the allure of it starts to fade, but nothing is more pretty than seeing your town covered in fresh white snow.

Where do you experience winter every year? Are you still fascinated by snow or is it just something that happens every year that makes getting to work a little more difficult?


  1. Give me a snow day! Or a little snow. I am dying with this warm winter so far.

    1. So Im super late to replying but you got your wish! It's rainy and gross outside and of course I've been sick because of it for a week. But if it's gonna be cold, I would at least appreciate a little snow to look at

  2. Black ice is the worst! I wish I got real snow days, but I'm still supposed to "work from home."

    1. Thankfully my company is super paranoid about us sharing information so there is no work from home option!

  3. winter and snow sucks balls. i live in canada (toronto) which is a frozen tundra for like, 6 months of the year!