Surviving Boston Winter 101

As a born and raised New Englander, I feel like I should share some ways to get through the (mostly brutal) Boston winters without losing too much body heat, fingers to frostbite, or sanity. I’ve compiled a list of things I think are absolutely essential to surviving the “Artic-tundra-then-monsoon-then-fifty-and-sunny-in-one-week” day to day life in New England.

  1. Down Coat

As part of a New England family of 4, I think we collectively have amassed enough jackets in enough sizes to outfit an entire hockey team. Why? Having a good coat is a major key in New England. And, more often than not, just one coat won’t do the trick. But if I had to pick one jacket, I’d pick a down-filled parka (preferably of a longer length). These are mostly water-resistant if not water-proof, which is great for the wet heavy snow, and they’re pretty warm. Also, a longer jacket can really make a big difference in keeping your legs warm. Trendy brands to get one: North Face, Canada Goose, LL Bean, Lands’ End. See also: Costco (This is where mine is from and let me tell you, it’s fantastic). 

2. LL Bean Boots

These have become somewhat trendy in recent years (much to native New Englanders’ chagrin) but the fact of the matter is that you cannot successfully survive winter without a good pair of boots- and LL Bean makes very, very, good boots. These boots come in all sorts of heights, colors, and levels of insulation and are unisex. Regardless of the option you pick, these boots are durable, waterproof, functional, and essential. I’ve got the regular 8” ones with no extra insulation and my feet are always warm and dry, but I can’t say I haven’t been jealous of my sisters’ fleece lined ones. Get them at: LLBean.com. Competitors: Sperry duck boots; Sorel.

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3. Accessories: Scarf, Hat, Gloves

I’m a firm believer that your experience with the outdoors can be made or broken by the correct accessories. Soft scarves are key to keeping the wind chill out, covering your ears can make a world of difference, and your hands will be basically useless without gloves. My personal favorites include cashmere-feel scarves (so soft against your face!) and these mittens-without-fingers-that-my-boyfriend-makes-fun-of. 

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The above pair is from Sterlingwear of Boston, but you can find similar pairs almost anywhere. They keep your hands warm, lock out the cold that snakes up the sleeves of your coat, and are probably the softest things I’ve ever touched. Oh, and you still have fingertips free to use your phone. 

4. Wool Socks

To go with your boots and act as sweaters for your feet. Plus they come in super cool colors and patterns. I’ve got some from LL Bean and other outwear stores, but TJMaxx usually has the best variety of selections and brands. 

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5. Sunglasses

“Wait, I thought this was a winter guide…?” Yes, yes it is. But here’s a little recognized fact until it’s too late: when the strong mid-day sun hits off a massive white snow bank, you will be BLINDED. I find myself wearing sunglasses more frequently in the winter than in the summer, solely because the snow banks maximize the strength of the sun and my sensitive green eyes just cannot take it. Also, the wind can do a number on your eyes, mostly making them water so you look like you’ve cried the whole walk to school. This leads to having to repeat “I’M FINE I PROMISE I’M NOT CRYING” for the first half hour of class. So if you’re like me and have sensitive eyes, a good pair of sunglasses is essential for the winter too. Personal favorite: RayBan Clubmaster.

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