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One of These Coasts is Not Like the Other

Moving from one coast to the other is not only quite the trek, but also like moving to a completely different country. One might assume that since you’re living on the coast on either side everything would be relatively similar, but it’s definitely not. Since I moved from California to New England, here are 6 things that are different on the East Coast.

The Accent and Diction

I’m from California so I like say a lot of really different things like “like” every 5 seconds. Whereas someone from out here who might think that’s “wicked stupid” or just plain harder to understand. Seriously though, they use the word “wicked,” which took some getting used to. I love it so much more than “hella” (used in northern California) or whatever it is we said in SoCal, but I don’t think it will ever creep into my vocabulary. It’s just not in my blood. New Englanders don’t say freeway, they say highway… and donuts are all called different names. Cinnamon roll? What’s that? You mean a coffee roll.

Also, to some people I’m hard to understand because I fully pronounce words, but to me it’s hard for me to understand someone who says “lobstah and liberry,” or pronounces anything with that thick New England accent. Thankfully I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it, because I’m sick of asking “what?” all the time.

The Roads are Tiny

I forgot that parts of the country were developed long before the invention of the automobile. Out in California and most other places out west, we have wide open freeways (not highways), large lanes and space to park as well as drive by on both sides of the street. Out here in New England, it’s tough to get used to the small streets that look like they would be a one way, but are actually two-way and allow parking on at least one side of the street. I call it the New England car dance, one person waits while the other passes… or the New England car clash, where you just scrape your mirror along some cars parked on the street. After Sir Highlander’s (my car) first experience being hit on the street, I stopped parking there.

Liquor Store Alcohol Purchases Only

I’d never been to a state where you could not get alcohol in the grocery store, other than Utah, until I got to Mississippi this past summer. In fact there were places in Mississippi where alcohol was still prohibited overall. But I figured those were anomalies explained by the conservative qualities of those two states. Then I got to New England, where you can only purchase alcohol at liquor stores between the hours of noon and either 10 or 11 depending on which state you’re in. So, now I make sure I stop by the liquor store on my way to the grocery store, something I never realized was a “thing.” In California you can buy alcohol whenever the store opens until 2am at the grocery store. Buying alcohol at an actual liquor store almost guaranteed it would be more expensive.

Seasonal Tourism

Tourists are year-round where I’m from. Everything is bright and sunny in San Diego year-round… so the tourism never stops, it just gets slightly slower in the winter. In New England, things actually close down from August to April or May. There are places that aren’t even open for half the year simply because they’re largely supported by the influx of tourists every summer.

The Weather

As obvious as it may seem, the weather is different in New England too! Go figure. But this means a few things including the fact that winterizing tools are available pretty much year-round as in the more mild months people prepare for a chilly if not absolutely freezing winter. You never know if it will be a mild snowfall or the blizzard that will leave you with freezer burn.

Evacuation Routes

Out here in New England you always need to be prepared in case of an emergency, that includes knowing your route of escape in a crisis. I’ve seen signs for evacuation routes up and down the East Coast and in the South. Yet, out West it’s just not something that you see, ever. Tsunami zone warnings, maybe, but no evacuation routes.



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I'm a 24 year old writer and full-time wanderer. My dog, Legedu (Leg-a-doo), and I just finished a trip in my 23 year old motorhome wandering through half of the vast USA. Armed with an annual national park pass, a camera and my pen, I'm determined to see everything this country has to offer. Next Spring I will set out once more to travel through the rest of the states.As a Master's Graduate at the School of International Service at American University, I'm fascinated by culture and societal conflict. This is the story of my ultimate global cultural immersion. I'll get to know the culture of my own country intimately and then set out to meet the rest of the world.



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