Northern East Coast USA in winter???
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Aug 27, 2012 1:59 PM Last Post By: ianw6705
Aug 26, 2012 4:22 AM
Northern East Coast USA in winter???I am looking at doing a 3 week trip with my 17 year old son to celebrate his end of high school (Australia) in late November this year. The planned trip is for Washington, New York, Boston & Niagara Falls. If possible we would love a quick trip to Florida for Disney World but I think this might be tricky time wise? I have been to all these places (all in warmer weather apart from one quick trip to NY in winter some years ago - which I recall as bitterly cold but exciting). I want to show these amazing cities off to my son.
My question is based around the weather on the NY/Boston area in winter. We are tropical Aussies & I am not so good in the cold.... (He loves it). I figure I will rug up well & suck it up for a few weeks. I am more concerned re safety issues of travel at that time of year & if some attractions are likely to be closed. Can anyone offer advice on the practicalities of this trip & suggestions for driving/bus/air travel between cities?
Aug 26, 2012 4:46 AM
1November can be a dull time to travel in the northern USA ... all the leaves are dead and the trees are bare, but in general there's not a lot of snow around to make it look more interesting or exciting. The days are shortening and can be dreary and chilly - having been in NYC in November only twice though.
These are not compelling reasons to not do it, but it seems to me, for the expense involved - I would think it much better to go to southern parts (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, etc) - and see some unique American places. NYC is not going anywhere ... you son can see it when he's a bit older, and at a better time of year.
Aug 26, 2012 4:59 AM
2Thanks for that reply Ianw- you have voiced my concern about the weather. I was hoping for some snow to make the cold worthwhile, but I guess it is a bit early. I am keen to see the illumination of Niagara Falls which I understand occurs November through February - but I do want this to be a "trip of a lifetime" for him & not miserable because we are cold & wet.... I am a big believer that dressing appropriately will get you through most bad weather, but I understand there are limits. Thanks for your thoughts.
Aug 26, 2012 5:09 AM
Aug 26, 2012 5:21 AM
4If travelling in late November does that include the Thanksgiving Holiday (Nov 22 & 23)? If so, that's one of the busiest travel times of the year in the U.S., but it is also a great time to observe an iconic American cultural event (Thanksgiving Day parades, football on TV all day long, traditional turkey dinner and family get-togethers). There are a number of restaurants that specialize in serving Thanksgiving dinners for those that don't have granny's house to go to.
Other than that, the northeast will most likely be pretty cold by then, maybe snowy, with the biggest danger being icy roads and sidewalks. Snow can be negotiated and even fun, but ice is just nasty. You can easily ruin your trip by busting your ass slipping on icy sidewalks. Most large sports outlets along with WalMart and such sell strap on "crampons" (shoe soles with short spikes on them) to safely walk on icy pavement. They work well if you need the protection.
Aug 26, 2012 5:29 AM
Aug 26, 2012 5:33 AM
6I am a big believer that dressing appropriately will get you through most bad weather, but I understand there are limits.
It's not that it is (normally) bone-shatteringly cold in November, as I said, but it is far from the best time to go there - neither summer nor winter. For a "trip of a lifetime" experience (although at 17 he should enjoy many repeat journeys) I would reconsider places like Niagara Falls and Boston in November, or reconsider your destinations ... and where would a 17yo most like to go?
I just noticed your arrival on 21 November ...that is getting closer to winter ... we had Thanksgiving with family in Maryland one year and it was pretty chilly at night, while the days were okay (but the landscape was pretty grey).
Aug 26, 2012 5:40 AM
7Yes, it'll likely be cold. No, there likely won't be any snow, or ice.
But many of the attractions in these cities are indoor. With a few exceptions, you'll mainly be outside long enough to get to the next indoor attraction.
Aug 26, 2012 5:46 AM
8yes, agreed it is not the best time, is just probably the last trip he will be happy to do with him mum, this is an opportunistic time for us so we don't have flexibility in the dates & I guess I want to share some of my favorite places with him - although I also enjoyed very much my time in southern states & California too.
His main request has been to visit New York - hence my plan to base the trip around what I think are the key cities/sights around there. He is also keen for the Disney World/Land type trip (for just a few days). He is very interested in modern history & fascinated by guns & warfare so perhaps we could plan our trip around American Civil War sites & pick our locations from the more southern/warmer states? You have me re-thinking the whole trip now! Thanks for the feedback
Aug 26, 2012 5:47 AM
9But many of the attractions in these cities are indoor.
I would like to disagree with that pretty strongly ... the very best things to do in NYC, Washington DC, and Boston (with its historical trails), and of course Niagara Falls - are nearly all outdoors - it is the appreciation of urban landscapes, streetscapes and parks that makes visiting them rewarding. Sure you can go to museums and galleries, but that can get a little tired for the average 17yo.
We have been to a couple of famous Civil War historic battleground sites ... and while they are interesting in an intellectual sense, there actually isn't a whole lot to see - other than monuments to the various regiments, a few statues, and usually a military museum and a cemetery. Not unpleasant - just not particularly fulfilling.
Washington DC has plenty of historical and military places to wander through, of course.
Aug 26, 2012 5:53 AM
10thanks bzookaj, yes, my plan for the north-east coast trip will be largely bases around indoor cultural exhibits - museums, galleries, theaters etc, but certainly some outdoors - mainly at Niagara but was also planning on the walking Boston Freedom trail (possibly with my crampons if we encounter any icy sidewalks...). I did not realize the Falls were illuminated year round - thanks for that info, I got the Nov/Feb dates from a website - must have been a dodgy one! I think the Maids of the Mist tour is not operational though at that time - do you know off the top of your head? Not meaning to be lazy but I have not researched that yet. There was a walk through the caves(?) at the side/back of the falls that I did there some years ago. Would that still be operational?
Aug 26, 2012 6:08 AM
11If you're into the Civil War, check for 150th anniversary events. Fredericksburg VA should have some sort of reenactment December 11-15.
No reason cities can't be a lot of fun in cold weather. Dress in layers including a windblock, don't buy a heavy coat that'll be useless after the trip or worry about crampons.
Aug 26, 2012 6:15 AM
12thanks tiltedflipcurves - yes, a heavy coat would not be used by me back home in the tropics! Thermals & lots of layers was my plan. I might not be able to move once I have layered up sufficiently for me - but I will be warm!
Thanks for the tip on the windblock & the Fredericksburg reenactment. I have not put any thought into a civil war trip but will certainly investigate now - both the north east (which is still my preferred option) & also a more southern trip. It is quite late here in Australia so I am headin to bed - will check in again tomorrow - again, any more thoughts are very welcome - thanks everyone for your input
Aug 26, 2012 6:17 AM
Aug 26, 2012 6:25 AM
14You don't need lots of layers. and you don't need very thick ones - so you wind up looking like Chairman Mao. Just a waterproof / windproof light jacket, a slimline fleece, a skivvy or equivalent, and the thermal underwear. The extremities are more critical (hat, scarf, gloves, fat socks and good walking shoes), if you do strike a genuinely cold spell.
But it isn't great coldness that is the issue for me (we've had -23C in a Colorado winter, but bright blue skies) ... it's the dull days and the dampening of activity as night falls early, and it gets damp-chilly.
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