Most people can’t even name all six states that make up New England. “Is New York one of them?” they’ll ask. “What about Pennsylvania?”
If you’re planning a move to New England, the correct way to address their confusion is by rolling your eyes and taking a long sip of your Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee as you smugly remind yourself that you know exactly which states make up New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.
If you’d like to continue to feel self-congratulatory as you talk to people who aren’t from the East Coast, here are 16 other things you should know if you’re moving to New England.
1. Leaf peeping is practically a sport
People in Colorado will ooh and ahh over the yellow leaves of their aspen trees, and folks in California will rave about the non-existent fall foliage that happens in wine country every autumn. If you’re a New Englander, you know that it’s definitely okay to laugh in their faces and then immediately drive to the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest for dazzling red, orange and golden leaves. Yes, the traffic will be insane, but the maple trees will be on point.
2. It’s usually sweater weather
Love rocking your cable-knit fisherman’s sweater from L.L. Bean? Good, because it’s going to be winter for like...most of the year. It starts with long johns under Halloween costumes and ends with a blizzard in April.
3. New England runs on Dunkin’
Every true New Englander knows that the whole “America runs on Dunkin” ad campaign was a little misguided. The rest of the country might not subsist on a constant diet of Dunkaccinos and Boston kremes but New England sure does.
4. Everyone has a story about an encounter with a New England celebrity
Your buddy Pete’s dad totally remembers going to high school with Adam Sandler. Your co-worker drove by Stephen King’s house and got wicked scared. Your ex-girlfriend went on a date with Rob Gronkowski. Whether it’s Seth Meyers, Sarah Silverman or Matt Damon and Ben Affleck hanging out with Tom Brady, everyone has a (somewhat dubious) story.
5. You will learn the correct usage of the word “wicked”
Quick grammar lesson that every New Englander knows by the age of three: The word “wicked” always modifies an adjective. For example: Johnny got us wicked good seats at Fenway Park. You must never use it any other way.
6. You will scoff at the sight of fake maple syrup
Mrs. Butterworth’s? Please. You’ve got a friend that taps the maple trees in his backyard who would be happy to hook you up with a whole pint of the good stuff.
7. It’s a safe space for Patriots fans
In other parts of the country, you might feel nervous when you whisper the words, “I’m a Patriots fan,” at a sports bar. In New England, you can shout them from the rooftop. Rock a Tom Brady jersey if you want. Cover your car in the team logo. Get a tattoo of Bill Belichick's scowl. This is New England. You’re among friends.
8. Moose aren’t scary
Watching a bull moose cross your front yard or run through the city is pretty cool—and kinda frightening—the first time it happens. After a while, it’s no big deal. Everyone has seen one on a hike, almost hit one on a highway or encountered that weird guy who shows up with a pick-up truck and offered to clear the remains of the moose off of said highway “for the meat.”
9. People treat Boston like a metropolis
This article from The Onion sums it up about right. Kids growing up in small New England towns often dream about moving to the big city, and by “big city” they mean Boston. Spoiler alert: Boston is actually pretty small.
10. Ski the East is a rallying cry
Sure, the west is famous for deep powder, but every New Englander knows that the true test of a skier's skills is the ability to make it down a slope that’s covered in a few inches of ice. For the ultimate New England #skigoals, Tuckerman Ravine is a must-do.
11. Everyone in New Hampshire is still sad about the Old Man of the Mountain
That guy with the “I miss my Old Man” bumper sticker isn’t wistfully thinking about his father (no offense, dad). The Old Man of the Mountain was a rock face that collapsed in 2003, but it’s still perfectly acceptable to shed a tear when you drive by the spot where it used to be.
12. You are not invited to Taylor Swift’s house in Rhode Island
Every Rhode Islander remembers the blissful summer when Taylor Swift dated a Kennedy. During that time, she also bought a compound in Rhode Island where she still throws her annual 4th of July “Taymerica” party. Unfortunately, you can’t tearfully watch it from a nearby beach. You’ll have to hear about it from the internet, like the rest of us plebs.
13. Ben and Jerry’s is road-trip worthy
New Englanders look at Vermont as a land of rolling green hills, Bernie Sanders and of course, Ben and Jerry’s. For ice cream lovers, a trip to the Ben and Jerry's factory is like a pilgrimage to the holy land. You’re definitely going to want to take a tour and save room for the Vermonster sundae, a 20-scoop mountain of ice cream covered in every topping imaginable.
14. You can see the first place that the sun touches
Want to lay claim to some pretty specific bragging rights? Drive or hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. The summit is the first place in the country that the sun touches.
15. It’s unclear who exactly you’ll be meeting at Foxwoods
Every kid who grew up in New England remembers that one super classy Foxwoods commercial that ends with a whispered “Meet me at Foxwoods.” On TV, Connecticut casinos like Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are presented as the ultimate luxury destination. In person they are...just okay.
16. Northern hospitality isn’t a thing
Non-New Englanders who visit the area often remark on the distinct lack of friendliness. Just like a December day during a polar vortex, New Englanders can be a bit frosty. Don’t expect every single person to greet you on the street. A simple hello is a thing you earn in New England, not a thing you’re entitled to.