Differences between Denver and Central Massachusetts

Last summer after spending most of my life in Colorado, my family and I made a big transition to living in South Central Massachusetts. Before that I had spent very little time east of the Mississippi and the first time I ever set foot in New England was for the job interview. It’s been an interesting journey to say the least. Here’s what Massachusetts seems like to a life long Coloradan.

  • There is no way anyone could navigate here without a GPS system.
  • Every intersection has an odd number of roads at random angles.
  • Saying “go straight,” “go right, or “go left” often means the same thing.
  • The longest stretch of flat, straight road is 1/8 mile.
  • With all the trees, average visibility is around 50 feet.
  • Road names change every five miles.
  • Every road is named “Providence” at some point.
  • Apparently anyone turning left has the right of way; everyone is so used to people turning left in front of them, they anticipate it, stop and wait.
  • You can buy house anywhere from 1 to 200+ years old in the same part of town.
  • Options for heating a house include coal, wood, pellets, oil, electricity, natural gas, and/or any combination of those.
  • Houses with a garage but without a pool are strangely rare.
  • Mailboxes are only on one side of the street; our mailbox is in our neighbor’s yard.
  • The humidity makes the heat feel hotter and the cold feel colder.
  • Owning a dehumidifier is an absolute must.
  • Everything is really green in the summer, really red in the fall, and after the leaves fall you suddenly find neighbors you didn’t know you had.
  • Drive times are no longer negligible; everything is 30 minutes away.
  • You routinely drive to other states.
  • Electrical outlets look funny.
  • Alternating snow and rain is common.
  • Regular people really do speak with a Boston accent; they save up the ‘r’s from some words to add to the ends of other words.
  • Pop is “soda,” shopping carts are “carriages,” and (my favorite) drinking fountains are “bubblers.”
  • It gets dark at 4:30pm in the winter.
  • Watching “prime time” sports on the east coast means staying up past midnight.
  • Everything is more expensive.
  • People are not trusted pumping gasoline; the pump handles don’t lock in the on position and most gas stations are full service.
  • There isn’t a Starbucks in sight but there is a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner.

Addendum:

  • As far as fashion goes, you can wear any color/pattern with any other color/pattern. Pink shorts on men is normal.
  • Bow-ties are strangely popular, even with the students.
  • Students have much better attendance but don’t seem to care as much about their grades.
  • There’s no fluoride in the water. We have to get prescriptions for fluoride pills.
  • You can’t throw a rock without hitting a cemetery.
  • There are three drive-in movie places within a 20 minute drive, more than there are McDonalds.
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