General Question

Jeruba's avatar

If you've moved from West Coast to East, how hard was the transition in terms of climate?

Asked by Jeruba (51916points) 1 week ago

I’m thinking specifically of California to Massachusetts.

Now that my husband is gone, I’m seriously considering taking that giant step and wondering if I could still hack it. I lived in Mass. for the first 30 years of my life, but by now I’ve been in Cal. longer than that.

It would be a one-way trip back; once I go, that’s it. So I’d really rather not blow it by making a choice I can never undo.

Do you have any relevant experience to share?

Tags as I wrote them: West Coast, East Coast, California, Massachusetts, climate, relocation, transitions, hothouse flowers, tough cookies

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

Ltryptophan's avatar

I bet you’d better visit a few times to get an idea

Jeruba's avatar

Wise advice, @Ltryptophan. I have in fact been back many times, in all seasons, although not in the past four years. But I haven’t weathered an entire winter or summer there since I left, and I don’t have a sense of how much the climate has changed in recent decades.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Cali is a vast place. I think if you’re leaving Socal, pack.

Norcal, hesitate.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have not made the move but I visit LA so I have some idea of the weather there. When i step out of the airport terminal it seems like a temperature hell hole with solar radiation thrown in to activate any hibernating melanomas. If you stay indoors you are fine but the ridiculously high housing costs limit personal roaming space.
Supposedly the weather here is terrible but it is getting better. Winters are getting milder. There will be days when you can get snowed in. So what? You pay a local contractor or kid $150 to keep the driveway plowed all year. You also have space for supplies and food in the house so you can enjoy it. The sky is cloudier so that can be a disappointment to the astronomers but it is safer walking outdoors.

Just like the most important part of a dinner meal is not the food, it is the person you are with, the most important part of a move is the support network and contacts you have at the new location.

JLeslie's avatar

I have not gone west coast to east coast, but I have moved north to south and back again. The most dramatic thing for me is the days of no sunlight in the winter in the states more north. Grey skies after a few weeks are depressing for me. I looked up Massachusetts and what I read said around 197 days of sun per year and your area of California is 257. I guess for you the humidity would be a change too. I like to live where it feels like I’m on vacation, I know that about myself.

Having family near you can be worth living in a place that isn’t your first choice assuming you will get to see them fairly regularly. Has your family asked you to move back? I wish my aunt had lived here before she died, and I wish my parents lived where I live so I could help them more easily and see them more. That is both selfish and altruistic on my part.

I’ve moved a lot, and one thing always very important to me is the availability of doing my favorite activities so my day still has some consistency and feels normal. This would be very high on my list, along with the ability to make friends, or maybe you have friends you can reunite with in Massachusetts.

Can you live there half the year for a couple of years? That’s what a lot of people do before moving to Florida.

janbb's avatar

I think of this poem lately when I visit California. I think you can see why:

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Personally, the drought and the frequency of wild fires are some of the reasons I would not move to California at this time. And i have considered it in the past. I like the East Coast seasons, particularly Fall and Spring which are magnificent. Winter can be hard but if you are not working you can cozy up. And this summer was definitely a challenge – hot, humid and rainy but I’d still take it over the fear of drought and fire. Even the threat of hurricanes while scary is not as unpredictable as fires and you have time to plan usually.

Considering all the adjustments you’ve faced already in your recent life, I think you might find this freeing, although there would be an adjustment. Winter coats! Boots!

seawulf575's avatar

I grew up in NE Ohio. When I was in the navy I was stationed in Vallejo CA, across the bay from SF, for 4 years. When I got out I moved back to NE Ohio and now live in coastal NC.

The differences between CA and NEO were simple. There were 4 seasons in NEO, there were two in CA. CA had a dry season and a wet season. The temperatures weren’t significantly different between the two…10 or 20 degrees at most…ranging from an average of the 70’s to an average of the 50’s. In NEO, Summer could easily get into a humid 90’s and winter could get into a dry -20’s with lots of snow. Unless you were in the Sierra Nevada’s you don’t have experience with the type of snow I’m talking about.

Now I am in coastal NC. Much warmer, rarely snows. Summers are longer and hotter and humidity is super high.

Another thing I noticed is that in NEO it is often overcast. CA and NC aren’t. Not sure how MASS is. But that overcast can really impact your mental health.

canidmajor's avatar

I did that a few decades ago. I grew up in the NE, moved to the PNW, moved back after about 20 years.
The humidity is awful compared to NoCal. The bugs are pretty awful, if you are delicious.
The people seem unfriendly compared to the easier going attitudes of the West, but they’re not, really. It’s just different.
The winters are different than what you remember, they are more changeable, the warm spells are warmer, the cold spells are gelid. Climate change. Ugh.

All that said, re-adjustment is not terribly difficult. You grew up here, it’s familiar even though it’s been a long time. I hadn’t realized that I missed the moods of the Atlantic until I returned, and oh, the pizza!

Come home, Sweetie, think of the fun we’ll have!!! <3

ETA: I had not been back in autumn the entire time I was away, and I was gobsmacked by the foliage, just in my neighborhood, my first year back. I had simply forgotten just how amazing it is.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Sixty years ago, family moved when I was a teenager. Los Angeles to New England, a big difference in culture and weather.
I have a friend that has lived on Oahu for thirty years that has been planning to move to back to Woods Hole. He can’t wait but COVID-19 got in his way because of his wife’s health they have not been able to travel.

Forever_Free's avatar

What part of California? Coming from Southern California will be quite different than from Northern California.
What part of the By State. P Town weather is different than North Shore is different that Worcester is different that The Berkshires.

jca2's avatar

I’ve lived in metro area NY for my whole life, except for a year outside of SF CA when I was about 9.

For me, what’s harder now that I’m in my 50’s is that the cold really sinks into my bones, it seems, and it can take me a long time to warm back up. It’s ok if I am just going from the house to the car or from the car to the store or the movie theater or someone’s house, but if I’m outside for any length of time and get cold, forget it, I’ll be cold for hours. Also, I tend to hesitate wanting to take risks as far as being afraid to slip and fall on ice. That said, when it snows, you’re only stuck in the house for a day or a day and a half after a bad storm. Then everyone is getting shoveled out and taking the cars out the following day. So it’s a day of prep where everyone is panicking, in the store, buying bread and milk and acting like it’s a holday, and then the day in the house and then the next day, up and out.

Spring and fall can be chilly or they can be warm – hard to predict. Summer here this year wasn’t so bad. Unpredictable now with global warming. I’ve been down to VA in the summer and vowed never again. So hot, so humid, like a steam bath.

We had a few major storms (hurricanes and tornadoes) in the past ten years, in October and November, which we never used to have when I was little. Snow in October, power outages for days – stuff like that. Things are changing.

If I were you, as someone suggested above, do an extended trip here in the winter and see how you like it. Also think about your relationships with the people you know that are here. Are you close? Are you going to spend time with them or is it going to be once or twice a year that you see them? As you know, it’s hard to make friends as you get older (if you want friends) but sometimes, if you join clubs (book groups and things like that), you can broaden your social horizons that way. I belong to a book group which started at a public library in an affluent CT town, and now has become a dinner group/book group which meets at the house of one of the members. I call it a “book group that became a group of friends.” We meet for dinner sometimes at local restaurants, too, which is nice.

jca2's avatar

Is it possible you can stay with one of your friends or relatives for a few weeks in winter, @jeruba?

janbb's avatar

^^ I know she could if she wants to try NJ!

Demosthenes's avatar

Following this question because I may be doing something similar soon. For me, it’s mainly about wanting to experience somewhere new and getting sick of wildfires and droughts in California.

Having lived most of my life in California and Nevada and having traveled to the East Coast numerous times, it’s the humidity and it’s the cold that always shock my system. I’m sure I could get more used to it if I moved there, but I’m wondering how I will weather it (pun not originally intended). My friend who moved from the Bay Area to Boston says he really can’t stand the winters and still isn’t fully used to them even though he’s been there for a few years now (he did tell me he got used to the humidity after a while).

Most of California has a Mediterranean or semi-arid climate where it doesn’t rain at all (or very little) for 6–8 months of the year. Rain all year round is the norm in most of the eastern half of the country. That’s something that could take some getting used to. The West is home to the sunniest places in the country. There will be more cloudy and muggy days in the East.

mazingerz88's avatar

Loved the weather in LA many years ago when I lived there but had to move to NY to be with family. Enjoyed the four seasons immensely as it was my first time experiencing them. Had to go back to LA and stayed a while. I didn’t miss the four seasons much. Moved again, this time to DC / MD and had been here for 17 years so far. I fantasize moving back to LA once in a while. Maybe if there’s a really good job that awaits. Maybe.

SnipSnip's avatar

Not a problem. I moved from the east coast to west coast, and four years later moved back to the east coast.

dabbler's avatar

I moved from Palo Alto to MYC in the late 80’s.
The first winter I was shocked, but I have grown accustomed to actual seasons and I like them.
I believe the weather is less harsh now than it was then, but also more volatile. Expect less bone-chilling cold than there used to be, but wilder storms.

canidmajor's avatar

@dabbler That was something that struck me, too, when I moved back, the volatility of the weather. Some winters I barely shovel, but almost every year now we have “polar vortex” incidents, with extreme cold snaps that are Arctic in intensity.

Jeruba's avatar

I’d be going from the Bay Area to the bay area: from the South Bay coastal area to Cambridge (where I lived before I came here) or the South Shore (coastal suburbs south of Boston), which is where I grew up.

Thanks for all responses, and thanks especially for those that addressed the question of how hard the west-to-east transition was, as opposed to what it’s like on the East Coast, which I do already know.

I haven’t had a problem going back for a winter visit, but one year I went back for one week in June, and the humidity was staggering after some 20 years in arid Northern California. I started to perspire the minute I got off the plane, and I swear I didn’t stop until October.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I vote stay put.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, and all my family is on the East Coast, ranging from Boston to Florida: siblings and a heap of nieces and nephews. My sons are here with me, and they would have the choice to move with me or follow later—or stay in Cal.

Also I have some lovely friends in the area who have offered me kind welcome. We would have fun, all right!

Ltryptophan's avatar

Move all those folks to Norcal ))

Incoherency_'s avatar

A good geographical compromise would be to move to Texas, Oklahoma, or South Dakota. ;p

JLeslie's avatar

I was going to say come to Florida, but thought it would be off topic. Now, that you mention you have relatives here, then maybe you would want to consider it.

If you are worried about humidity I’d guess Florida sounds horrific to you, but the worst of the summer is three months in Florida and the biggest difference is we are hot still at night those three months, but Massachusetts has it’s 90 degree daytime temperatures also, and Florida is air conditioned everywhere. The winter is six months in Massachusetts. You could always spend summers in Massachusetts.

Florida has no income tax and t-shirts are cheaper than sweaters and boots. Plus, we need your blue vote. Every single vote really does count here in my purple state; you would make a difference.

Even if you move to Massachusetts, then visiting your relatives in Florida will be much easier than from California.

Demosthenes's avatar

@Jeruba I’m curious what it’s like to move to another state as an adult. Though I did move to Nevada for a few years, it was to attend a university, so I didn’t move everything with me. Just brought the essentials, like I did moving into the dorms at Stanford. One car trip was enough to bring it all (also Nevada was close enough that I could travel there by car). But if I move to New York, what’s the best way to move all the books and records that I own? My friends who moved to Illinois just drove everything up in their two cars. They didn’t bring any furniture as their new place was furnished.

canidmajor's avatar

@Demosthenes I know you asked @Jeruba, but I have done this in living memory. Some storage places (used to, anyway) let you ship/mail boxes of stuff to specific units, arrangements are made remotely. If you have people in the area, they might be willing to receive such things and hold them for you.

I had pets and a child last time and needed enough stuff to tide me over until I found a house, so the furniture movers had to keep custody of the big stuff for a few months. What didn’t fit into the mini van, I mailed to family (the basics: clothes, some kitchen things, electronics, stuff like that.

I’m not sure how much I would trust the USPS right now, fortunately, there are a lot of options.

RocketGuy's avatar

@Jeruba – we live in the south bay area of N Cal too. My daughter has been going to college in Boston since Fall of last year. She did not find it too hard to adapt – mostly bundle up when it’s cold. She has not been there for summer and has not shoveled snow in the winter, so has not really had the full experience.

jca2's avatar

@Demosthenes: I am not planning to move anywhere any time soon, but always felt that if I did do a long distance move, it would be financially beneficial to get rid of the majority of my furniture, and only take a few pieces (the old, sentimental, well made pieces). Couches, bed, and stuff like that, I feel it would be better to not deal with moving them, and just buy new ones. There would be enough to move (for me), as far as “stuff” stuff – kitchen stuff, paintings, books, etc. that would be enough.

JLeslie's avatar

Professional movers charge you by weight and distance. Books get expensive fast.

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