Moving to Massachusetts may be one of the best decisions you make in your life, but life here doesn’t come without its quirks and surprises. Here are some of the things you can expect to learn when you settle down in the Bay State.
1. Winter is coming.
Winter isn’t just one of four seasons here…it’s THE season. No matter what the calendar says, it can be chilly for seven or eight months around here. Be prepared.
2. Sometimes Rs are optional. Sometimes.
Parts of the state (we’re looking at you, Boston) are known for dropping their Rs occasionally. You’ll get used to it soon enough, but it can be a bit jarring at first.
3. We may be the Bay State, but there’s more water where that came from.
Massachusetts is actually filled with places to swim, dive, paddle and splash. From the lakes and rivers of Western Mass. to the glittering North and South Shores.
4. You’ll finally realize what it means to have a perfect bowl of clam chowder.
Rich, creamy and tomato-free. In fact, an old law is still on the books that prohibits the making of true Massachusetts clam chowder with tomatoes.
5. You can actually get amazing lobster without traveling north.
Maine may get all the lobster press, but Massachusetts lobster is a close contender for the lobster crown of New England. You can get it cheap, delicious and fresh without looking too hard.
6. Western Massachusetts feels wildly different from Eastern Mass.
The rolling hills, wide-open spaces and beautiful natural environment of the Berkshires couldn’t be more different from the urban bustle of Boston or the sandy seascape of the Cape.
7. There really are witches in Salem.
But trust us, they’re pretty cool. Salem is a hot-bed of spooky sites, historical fun and practicing pagans. During the month of October, Salem transforms from a sleepy coastal town to a magical and mischievous place.
8. We do the holidays like nowhere else.
As soon as the weather turns cool, Massachusetts brings its A-game to the holidays. From insane light displays to cozy, small town charm, you haven’t lived until you’ve spent the Christmas season around here.
9. We really do take our sports teams seriously.
Everyone knows about the old Yankee-Red Sox rivalry, but you may not realize that we’re just as passionate about the rest of our amazing athletic teams. Patriots fandom is basically a religion for many Massachusetts natives.
10. You need to keep an ice scraper in your car year-round.
While we may not get many snow storms in July, any time from September to April is fair game. Honestly, some years you may be hauling out the scraper and shovel more than the beach chairs.
11. The drivers really are as…unique…as they say.
Massachusetts drivers are all about getting the job done, whether that means crossing five lanes of traffic in five seconds or parallel parking with inches to spare. And turn signals? Not a given.
12. You should just give in to Dunkin’ Donuts already.
Sure, we have hundreds of superb independent coffee shops all across the state, and it’s so important to patronize small businesses. But still, the presence of Dunks is unavoidable. Just get yourself a rewards card and enjoy the cheap, acceptably tasty coffee.
13. The entire state is basically a museum.
You can’t throw a stone without hitting a historic landmark or centuries-old home. Boston isn’t called the Cradle of Liberty for nothing.
14. Local is always tastier.
Unless you’re looking for avocados or starfruit, your best bet is to go with locally-grown or produced grub. The Connecticut River Valley has some of the most fertile ground in the Northeast, and we reap the benefits in the form of delicious fruits, veggies and homegrown treats.
15. You're not gonna want to leave.
You might realize this a few hours after arriving, or it may take you up to a week in extreme cases. Either way, you'll want to stay in this great state forever.
If you’re looking to move to Massachusetts and settled down somewhere peaceful, check out
these 12 towns that will let you get away from it all.