Road conditions winter clothing in New England??

I’m in the middle of packing for an interview trip which I’ll be leaving for on Wednesday. I’m going to New Hampshire, Montreal, and Boston. I’m flying in and out of Boston and driving to the other places. I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on what kind of winter clothes I should pack, and also, how the roads are looking after the recent snowstorm.

If possible I’d like to bring just my wool coat that I’ve been wearing to interviews. It’s fine down to about 15 degrees. Or is a big winter parka necessary? I have one, but it’s a pain to carry and won’t work for interviews. Does it get below zero there? And for boots–could I get by with sturdy black walking shoes on my way to things, or will I need serious boots?

Part of the reason I’m concerned is I’ll be driving a lot, late at night in rural areas. I’m not sure how cold of weather or how remote of conditions to be prepared for.

Also I was wondering if anyone knew how well the roads were in those areas. I assume they’ve all been plowed and traffic is moving normally? I’m hoping to get from Hanover New Hampshire to Montreal in about 3 hours, and from Montreal to Boston in about 6 hours. I will have some spare time in there, but not a ton. Does that seem reasonable?

I am counting my lucky stars that the snowstorm hit already, and hopefully there won’t be a repeat this next weekend!

Thanks for any help.

Hey Pushkin,
Welcome to our beautiful part of the world! Okay, if you’re getting into Boston tomorrow… well, we’re supposed to get a bit more snow, just a couple inches, but MA isn’t too good at the cleaning the roads bit… after this blizzard they figured, hey we’ll just declare a state of emergency. Which is great for the kids and state workers who get to stay home, but not so much for the rest of us poor saps who are climbing snowbanks and walking in the streets… I’m sorry, that was my own personal vent Seriously, we’re pretty used to winter weather here and assuming you’re used to it (you’re from a snowy part of the world, right?) you should be fine. The roads are generally pretty clear. Some of the minor roads are probably still a little snowy, but the highways, etc. should all be fine.
It is supposed to be fairly cold (teens during the day, minus single digits at night) over the next few days with lots of wind. If you can pack some layers that’s probably the best idea. Keep in mind that Montreal is going to be even more frigid, but at least they have a few tunnels and stuff. I’d definitely bring some boots if you can fit them in your luggage. There are some huge snowdrifts in areas and if, heaven forbid, your car breaks down somewhere, you should really have some good warm winter shoes. And uh, yeah, the trek up I-89 from Concord to Hanover and from there up to Montreal is pretty remote. So be prepared!
As for your time frames, well, this is someone who just got into town after sitting in 50 miles of bumper-to-bumper (luckily I take a bus!). Hopefully everyone will be sorted out by the time you get here, but your travel time concerning Boston will definitely depend on the time you’re getting in and out. Three hours sounds reasonable to me for Hanover to Montreal, and six should be more than enough to get you back to Boston, but you might want to check SmarTraveler if you’re getting into Boston anywhere around a rush hour.
Let me know if you have any more questions and best of luck with your interviews. I’m still undecided on whether I’ll pursue med school now or not, but McGill and Dartmouth would be my top two choices… got into McGill for undergrad and I’ve always been a little wistful that I decided not to go there.

Thank you so much! That is very helpful. I can’t wait for this trip. I have hardly spent any time in that part of the country so I’m really excited. The students at McGill have arranged to entertain us for the whole weekend so it should be fun–and my first time in Montreal.

Boots–I will try to bring those. I’ll have all day to get to Boston from Montreal so I shouldn’t have to cut it close.

In any event I know how to wing it with snow and cold, even in the dressiest clothes, as long as it’s not extreme subzero. Also I will bring those admissions office phone numbers with me in case of any delays.

Oh and yeah–I’m from a snowy part of the world, Minnesota. But the snow here tneds to freeze over and get crunchy like styrofoam, and most of the winter you can walk right on top of it like it was the ground. Also our plows get out right away after a storm. I haven’t had a big pair of boots since I was a kid!

Glad I could be of some help! Hope you enjoy your time up here.
By the way, the Lebanon/Hanover area didn’t get much if any of our most recent blizzard, so you should be fine the further north you go.
Are you doing any interviews in Boston or was that just the easiest place to fly into?


Are you doing any interviews in Boston or was that just the easiest place to fly into?

Both. I have an interview and it was the easiest place to fly to. Also I have several good friends there, so I’m making a vacation out of it. Yay!

Sounds great! Good luck and enjoy your visit.

Roads up here in NH - no problem & they are very good at clearing them quickly. Now the temps up here will be considerably colder than Boston - we’re rural & a good bit further north. Our highs for this week tend to be singles & singles to teens below…I seem to recall a day or two later in the week with highs circa zero. Just go to & plug 03766 for the zip code. That is Lebanon, NH.
And, if you are driving, esp late night - play it safe & have a winter kit (heavy coat, long underwear, boots, etc). It gets cold enough, esp at night, to be life threatening should something happen to your car. Very unlikely, but would be sad to not be prepared for in the event something does occur.

Having grown up in Maine (where it gets so cold it hurts to breathe and the snow is audibly crunchy when you walk on it), I can tell you that what Dave writes here is very true. Have a flashlight, some granola bars, flexible containers of water and/or juice — even though it will freeze — plus flares or a bright orange warning flag, etc., etc. etc. Small shovel and a bag of cat litter (for added traction if you get stuck). Triple A membership is also a good idea and keep your cell phone charged up and with you. Ditto for living in upstate NY! Stay warm everyone!

Ok, thanks everyone! I packed some good winter gear–thanks for all the advice.

OMG!!!–I have to cancel my dartmouth interview tomorrow. My flight from minneapolis to boston this afternoon was cancelled due to maintenance problems. Then there was bad weather in Boston, and they were threatening to cancel all flights there period. The ticket agent told me all the other flights to New England had already left, but I noticed a flight to Buffalo, NY was about to leave and I asked if he’d put me on that instead–and he said yes. I was about to change my flight when I decided to think it over, and maybe try to find a map of the US just to check where Buffalo actually is. Good thing. I called a friend in New York who said, “Buffalo’s practically in Ohio!” So, it was back to waiting for the next boston plane. Plus I realized my bags were already checked to Boston, with interview suit inside.
I got on a flight four hours later and arrived in Boston at 11pm, with a 3 hour drive to Hanover ahead of me. Then my first rental car had disfunctional windshield wipers. Then the second one had the same problem. At 12:30am I left the lot in my third rental car, which proved a few minutes later to have a non-working speedometer!!! When the car is stopped, the speedometer reads 45mph. Ok, that’s wrong, isn’t it? The roads were awful and it was snowing a lot too. This car has absolutely zero traction–it is like driving a sailboat. I had a spin out. Oh, and I got lost at one point. On top of that the connection between the windshield wiper fluid reservior and the windshield itself is not working. For awhile on the freeway I could see absolutely nothing. I thought the reservoir must be empty so I bought some fluid and tried to fill it only to find it was already full. The #$% thing just doesn’t work.
At 2am I gave up on my attempt to reach Hanover tonight and stopped at a hotel. I’m only wondering now if I can actually make it to Montreal by tomorrow night, where I have another interview on Friday morning. The guy at the hotel says it is an 8 hour drive, and in this weather, much longer. Maybe 12 hours. IS THIS TRUE??? How can it take that long? Yahoo says it is 6.5 hours.
I guess I will just call Dartmouth and apologize. What else can I do? I was very curious about the dartmouth-brown program, so I am feeling very sad.
Ok, is there anything else I should do? Do I need a four-wheel drive car in these parts? Is Alamo rental car just a shady deal? I confess, they were the cheapest outfit I could find (at least that did not have a provision against driving into canada). I left my house at 10 this morning–why have I only gotten as far as Lowell Massachussets??!

Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to hear about all the headaches you’ve been having! I was wondering how the weather would impact your travel. Where I live in NH we only got a few inches, maybe four, but I know they were forecasting up to 8 for Boston… At least you didn’t fly to Buffalo! That’s one heck of a long drive (I just did Chicago to NH in one day a few months back… never again). I don’t know much about car rental places. My mom works as a driver for Enterprise and I think their cars are okay. My parents rented one to drive down to SC and back and it did fine. But I don’t know about how the restrictions on driving in Canada work. Too bad Alamo wasn’t more accomodating. You’d think with three cars that don’t really work they’d give you some sort of free upgrade. Maybe if they have an office near your hotel you can find out about that. Good luck!
Okay, so you’re in Lowell. The good thing is that you’ve at least made it outside Boston. And you’ll be good to travel today. It’s cold, but sunny. Rts. 93, 89, 3/Everett Turnpike should be pretty clear and you’re heading in the right direction (north!). I’ve never heard of it taking 8 hours to get to Montreal from this area. I think the last time I went up there from Boston it was 5 or 6. So even if you have to slow a little for the roads it shouldn’t be too bad. And the farther north you go the less impact they’ve had by the storms.
Have you called Dartmouth yet? I must imagine you’re not the only one having issues getting there this week. Logan was shut down over the weekend and into Monday because of the weather and a power outage… maybe they can somehow accomodate you. Good luck with that one, you must be really bummed.
Keep us posted!

Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I got a good night’s sleep, and will now head to montreal. It’s a bright sunny day out and now I have the whole day to get there so all should be fine. If the rental car is still acting strange I’ll try to change cars in Manchester.
Thanks for participating in my travel saga! If I can update from my next stop I will–hopefully with less dramatic news. :slight_smile: I must say, New England looks very lovely, especially in all this snow!