The Beauty of Cold

Boston sunsetReally, the winter isn’t as bad as you think it’s going to be. As a Californian, the main thing people asked me when they found out I was going to BUSL was “Aren’t you going to freeze?” At first, even I wasn’t sure what the answer was. But after one year of winter here, I realized that the legends of the tundra chill in Boston are quite (pardon the pun) overblown.

The main thing to remember is that Boston is an coastal city. Any cold weather that comes blowing down from Canada and across the Great Lakes is going to be tempered by the relatively warmer ocean air. So, temperatures in Boston can be easily twenty degrees warmer than cities twenty miles inland. My informal observations suggest that the average winter high hovers around 25-30 degrees – technically freezing, yes, but nothing that is in surmountable. Here are three easy tips for anyone looking to beat the Boston winter blues:

1) Layers, layers, layers. The worst part of winter in Boston is the wind. It rushes in from the north and west, and it will make you feel like Death himself is showering you with freon. Wearing layers helps cut down the wind’s access to your skin and body heat, preserving your warmth and comforth.

2) Don’t be ashamed to wear long underwear. I unabashedly love the stuff, and wear it as soon as I see the temperature go below 30. Buy some light-weight silk underwear, tops and bottoms (jeans don’t really cut it by themselves and snow pants are going to be a bit over the top). Get a few pairs and wear them when needed. No one will know, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and when you’re standing on an outdoor train platform at night, you won’t feel the need to jump around to stay warm.

3) Accessorize appropriately. The most annoying parts of winter weather are your extremities: fingers, toes, and ears. Address these all in your own way, but make sure you address them. Ears can be taken care of with wool hats, earmuffs, 180s, or scarfs. Your feet need thicker socks and a pair of sturdy all-weather boots for trudging through snow, ice, and sludge alike. And gloves don’t need to be heavy duty – just a pair of light gloves to help keep the wind off your hands.

Stay warm, future Bostonians, and remember that this city can be best appreciated once you walk through Faneuil Hall in a snow storm, or you watch some guy walk across a frozen Charles River only to be 51-50′ed on the other side (NOT RECOMMENDED AS A PERSONAL PROJECT). This really is a city of four seasons, and you’re shorting yourself if you feel the need to hide inside during the entirety of one.

(Image provided through Creative Commons by bettlebrox.)