Living in the North: What to Expect
You’re planning on living up north. How do you get ready? What should you expect? What do you need to know? ApartmentGuide shares everything you need, to prepare for your new northern adventure!
When it comes to living in the north, the first thing that comes to mind is likely snow. Winters – and sometimes harsh winters or stretches of weather – are part of northern life. The snow begins to fall in autumn and is still on the ground during spring. However, living in the north means at least six months of very nice weather. Embrace the seasons and find what you like about winter, whether it’s snowmobiling, fashion opportunities or cuddling in front of a fire.
Most complexes hire snow removal companies to handle snow. This helps keep things less icy, but not ice-free. Be careful in the early morning going out to your car. All that melted snow (from either salt or sun) is ice now and it can be hard to see. Stay alert for black ice on the sidewalks and roads (a thin coating of clear ice which gets it name from being transparent, allowing a black road to be seen through it)
How to Winterize
It never hurts to prepare your home for the winter. Even if you do just a few small things, it will still save you money on your energy bill. Things like window insulation film, heavier drapes and draft guards are quick and inexpensive to install.
What to wear
Of course in the dead of winter, you want to make sure you have your gloves, hat, and a giant parka. But, there are other ways to keep comfortable too. Wearing several thinner layers under the parka will help seal out the cold air. This will also help you remain comfortable if the weather is windy. Be sure to invest in a good pair of weather proofed snow boots too. This way your work shoes will stay looking great.
If you drive a convertible, you may rethink that when winter hits. It will depend on the age and style of your roof, and the power of your heater. (You’d be the envy of everyone come summer, though).
Just thinking about driving in the snow can put people on edge. However, it’s a part of life living up north. If you hit a skid, don’t slam on the breaks. Slowly go with the skid until you are no longer on the ice. There’s no need to drive fast during a white out, or even mild to moderate snow. Just because the guy behind you is passing you, don’t feel obligated to speed home. If you drive too fast while it is snowing, you may end up driving into a ditch. Keep an ice scraper and some gloves in your glovebox, and a blanket in the trunk, in case of a breakdown. Make sure you have a phone charger in the car.
Many cities in the north use salt to de-ice the roads during the winter. The salt works great to get rid of the ice, but it can cause the undercarriage of your car to rust. That can mean some costly repairs. One solution to this problem is to take your car through the car wash when it’s not too cold. Make sure you choose the option that cleans undernearh your car, too. Do not procrastinate on this. Expect car washes to close for the day if it’s too cold outside.
Many apartments in the north offer garage rentals. Renting a garage, at least during the winter, can be a huge time-saver. Defrosting and scraping snow or ice off your car can be a long, tiring process. Even if frost forms on the windows, you have no choice: you have to scrape. If the weather dips too far into the negative digits, your car may not even start. A garage can solve that problem for you during the winter.
You have four distinct seasons in the North. You’ll get to see the leaves change color in the fall, and the flowers bloom in the spring. It gets somewhat hot in the summer (although it’s pretty mild), and of course, it gets cold and snowy in the winter. Be sure to check out local parks during the autumn and spring. They’ll make you remember why you live up north. Anticipate much longer days in summer – yea! – and shorter days in winter.
Northern states, especially the Midwest, are known for their fertile soil. If you have a green thumb or love the farmers market, you’ll love the north. Since the spring and summer months don’t usually get unbearably hot, working in a garden is very pleasant. You can also just enjoy the beautiful gardens you’ll find all across your new city.
Football, baseball and basketball are still big in the north. But if you’ve been living in the South, you may get to experience ice hockey for the first time, as a spectator or participant. It’s an exciting, fast-moving sport and any northern fan will probably be happy to talk you through the basic rules. Watch parties are also a great place to meet people; your common areas or the neighborhood bar are both good bets.
Fireplaces and fire pits
There’s no better reason to live up north. The sheer relaxation of sitting in front of a fire is a primal pleasure, one that makes many people anticipate winter with gusto. Many apartment complexes have common areas with fire pits, a great place to meet your neighbors on a chilly evening (take a thermos of hot cocoa and cups with you to assure this!). If you have a fireplace in your apartment, ask the manager to show you the ins and outs of using it, then enjoy!
A new culture
Prepare to trade in your margarita habit for a different kind of libation (except perhaps in summer). You certainly won’t hear “y’all” bandied about, and depending on where you are, you’ll have to train your ears to hear a new accent. Your neighbors will support different sports teams, and their favorite foods might include anything from cheese curds to lobster rolls, depending on where you move. Have fun exploring new events, new foods, and various cultural pockets of your new city.
Living in the North
Living in the north takes a little know how when it comes to the weather. However, northerners have systems in place to handle inclement weather. Make yourself a cup of cocoa, put a fire in the fireplace, and enjoy the perks of living up north.