Friday, August 1, 2008

11 Reasons Why New England is Better than California

I'm a New England boy. There is no doubt about that. And, as a result, I usually find it really hard to enjoy anywhere else in the United States. But I try. I really do. I enjoy places outside the US, but as far as other regions in the US, there is scarcely a place that impresses me.

I returned from California yesterday. It was only my second time in the state. And I left quite unimpressed. I don't see what all the fuss is about this place. People just drool over California, as if it was the Promised Land. So as you'll see below, I am going to propose 11 reasons why New England is way better than California. The list is not exhaustive, of course, and there are probably one or two (if that) things that are better about California, but I would live in New England any day over California. And, unless the Lord calls me to California (famous last words), I don't see any reason why I won't do that.

So, without further ado, here is my list (with apologies to my friends and loved ones who love California):

1. Green is good. Research shows that the color green has a positive effect on a person's psychological well-being and their ability to concentrate. Why would one want to live in California then, as opposed to New England? Granted, there are green places in California, but even those are laced with patches of brown.

As I drove throughout the state, from Redding to Sacramento, to the Bay Area, all I could see was brown, brown, brown. And this is not to even mention Southern California, which is even more brown than these other places.

Meanwhile, in New England, all you see is green: green trees, green grass, green tea, the Green Monster, the Green Mountains. To me, this is probably one of the most important aspects of a landscape that I need. There is just something about seeing green that comforts me. And California just doesn't have that.

Of course, it isn't always green in New England (winter anyone?), and it isn't always brown in California. But for the most part, these two colors are present in these respective places.

2. The Rest Areas are better. I went into three Rest Areas in California, and my life literally flashed before my eyes. Not only were there some shady characters hanging out at them, but the bathrooms looked like they hadn't been cleaned since 1974. I guess that's what a "Free Way" buys you.

Sure, you have to pay a toll on some of the New England Highways, but I'll fork over the $1.00 if I know the Rest Area has a relatively clean bathroom and a Burger King.

3. There are not long stretches of flatness. Right down the middle of California is a long stretch of flat land with few trees. New England has never been accused of being the most mountainous region (though we do have some tall ones), but at least we do not have long stretches of flat area.

4. The weather is unpredictable. Some may covet the fact that it is sunny and 85 every day in California. But I like unpredictable weather, thank you very much. In New England, one day it may be sunny and 80, and the next day it could be 55 and raining. That spices things up. Seriously. Predictability is what makes life mundane. And in New England, the weather is unpredictable, thus taking away the mundane.

5. The swimming is better. To begin with, you can swim anywhere in the ocean in New England - from northern Maine, to the southern tip of Connecticut. Granted, it may be on the chillier side in some of those places, but it is still bearable.

Meanwhile, in California, there is about a ten-mile stretch of ocean just north of San Diego where you can swim. What good is hundreds of miles of coastline if you cannot swim in the water?

And, on another note, I just discovered that swimming in a very humid place is a lot better than swimming in a very dry place. Why? Because when you get out of the water in a dry place, even if it is 95 degrees, you are a lot colder than in a humid place. This happened to me twice last week, even though it was in Oregon (I believe my hypothesis would still work for California). I would lie down to get some sun, come to a boiling point, and then jump in the pool. The problem was, the moment I would get in the pool, I would be freezing again because there was no humidity in the air, and even the slightest breeze made me chilly.

Meanwhile, you can go swimming in 75 degree weather in New England, and still not be cold while swimming because there is 90% humidity.

I can't explain it, but just trust me.

6. Your mouth doesn't get try every night while sleeping. It took me a few nights to finally realize why my mouth would taste and feel so dry every morning, but it finally dawned on me. Since the air is so dry in California, it would dry my mouth right out. This is not a good feeling.

7. Gas is cheaper. In San Francisco on Monday afternoon, we paid something like $4.39 a gallon for gas. When we returned to our town in New Hampshire yesterday, it was $3.77 a gallon. Gas in New England is usually at least 30-40 cents cheaper than in California. I think that is a lot.

8. Our fire departments are better. This is tongue-in-cheek, of course, but when a fire starts in New England, it is extinguished pretty quickly. Meanwhile, the whole state of California is ablaze before they can put it out. Case in point: a day before we were supposed to go to Yosemite, a fire started that was 1000 acres large. Twelve hours later, it had spread to 16,000 acres and was 0% contained.

And it seems like there is one fire after another in that unfortunate state. I do not know how a person could live all summer with smoke settled over them. We drove down from Oregon on Sabbath afternoon, and the whole way down, from the Oregon border, to Redding, the sky was filled with smoke. We could not even see Mt. Shasta, which is just off the "Free Way."

9. One word: charm. New England just has charm, like no other region or state in the US. From our white-steepled churches, to the old General Stores, to the enchanting light houses, we've got it architecturally. Meanwhile, California has Alcatraz and Rodeo Drive - quite charming in their own right, I suppose.

10. Autumn. This, of course, is one of New England's greatest assets. Our Fall Foliage - along with that charming architecture to go with it - cannot be beat.

11. We have better trees. Oh, sure, California has redwoods and giant sequoias, but their tree variety is rather lacking. Actually, this is what makes the East Coast better than the West Coast in general. In California, for the most part, all they have is evergreen trees. But in New England, we have plenty of evergreen trees, with lots of deciduous trees, thus making a very healthy and beautiful mix (and contributing to #10).

As I said, this also applies to the West as a whole. In some places, all they have are Ponderosa Pines, or whatever the pine is of your choice. And as much as I like Ponderosa Pines, it makes for a rather boring landscape.

Not New England. In fact, I was just speaking with a young man who is from Washington state, originally, now lives in Portland, Oregon, and is probably moving to New Hampshire, and when I said, "Oh, Oregon is a beautiful place," he specifically sited this issue as a big draw for moving to New England. "All we have is evergreens in Oregon," he said, "Whereas you guys have deciduous trees, too."

So don't just take it from me!

Quick: which place is prettier?


Charles said...


My wife is a big NE fan as she worked a summer up there back in the day. She was laughing so hard, especially about Alcatraz. I have family in Colorado - Rocky Mtn national park is spectacular and they have the golden aspens. White bark, yellow leaves mixed with pines. AWWWW YEAH!

Very very funny post. LOL Unfortunately, my only experience with New England was Hartford. I wasn't impressed. My wife, however, has assured me that I really have not experience NE until I have visited NH, VT and Maine.

Oh well, some day. For now, I will have to be content with SW Michigan and the incredible amounts of green interspersed with orchards overflowing with cherries, peaches, apples, pears and plums and vineyards bursting with blueberries, raspberries and grapes, fruit stands at every corner, and oh, a bunch of mosquitoes and a dilapidated trailer or two to for added scenic affect. ;-)

Corey said...

Naturally, I will agree with you that New England is better but I have to say that I really loved our trip to California three years ago. We had a fantastic time and found plenty of charm in San Francisco, Mendocino, and other places. I'm certain that if you had been with us on our trip, you would think quite differently. But no question, I would never live there when I compare it to the great New England states.

Shawn Brace said...


Don't even get me started about Michigan!!! I could write a list of 200 reasons why New England is better! But, then again, if forced to choose between Southwest Michigan and Southern California, I would probably have to choose the former.

And please don't think that Hartford is representative of New England - or all of Connecticut, for that matter. You do have to get to Northern New England, and Boston, and Cape Cod, etc.

Where is it that your wife worked for a summer? She sounds like a smart lady!!!

Bill Cork said...

Now, the comparison isn't quite fair ... New England is rather small compared to California. To be fair, in terms of size, you'd need to add New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, DC.

And you went to California at the wrong time of year -- it's midsummer. Try going in May or June or January.

But clearly there's one place you didn't go to, which is gorgeous year round, which has beautiful beaches, flowers of all kinds year round, mountains, whales, sea lions, lemon groves, the scent of eucalyptus trees in the air ... I speak of Santa Barbara. Sigh. It almost compares with Vermont.

Shawn Brace said...


You are right. It is a little unfair to speak of California, and compare it to such a small place like New England. But, I can make up my own rules!!!

Thanks for your thoughts on Santa Barbara, though I'm afraid that I wouldn't care for it much, either. I am not a fan of warm, dry, crowded places.

You see, the truth is, Bill, I am very picky when it comes to the places I like. The bar has just been set so high with my beloved New England, that I find it hard to enjoy other places (though Hawaii is awesome).

Rondi said...

I laughed out loud about the Rest Areas! Having recently been on the road in Turkey, I'd trade the California rest areas for any we encountered there (think Russia...).

Still, you are right in all aspects. Even about Michigan!!! I lived there for 5 years and couldn't wait to get back to New England...

Chad said...

To start here is one reason why California is better than NE. There is always one place with more snobbery than California, New England. Just a thought:) I will have more later.


Dingo said...

New England is a beautiful region, but honestly,if God hadn't intended landscapes to be brown, He wouldn't have put so many browns in his color selection.
Viva New England and viva Western Colorado (where I was born) too with all its rich browns and reds to complement its greens.

Anonymous said...

Be careful, Shawn, neither Don nor I wanted to live in California, but guess what, it's where He sent us! I think God has a sense of humor, too, so better be careful about those "never" declarations!

By the way, we are enjoying it up on the "ridge" of Paradise-Magalia. There ARE beautiful places in CA, you just didn't see any of them!! But I will have to agree that NE is beautiful and a good place to live if you can pay the rent...ours was $2,000 a month when we lived there a few years ago!

Johnny said...

Raised in S. Lancaster but living in Southern California for the past decade or so, I can attest- this post is spot on!

Anonymous said...

I am NE boy through and through. BUT I love the low humidity.

Greetings to all in Nova Scotia!!


Shawn Brace said...

Hello all!

Thank you for your thoughts. Wish I could respond to all of them, but I cannot.

But, I will say one thing. Chad: my, my, my!!! Sounds like you have a little bitterness towards New England and its residence!!! I'm anxiously awaiting your further response!

Blessings to all.

Joelle said...

LOL. I completely, totally agree, and I am living in California. And we just returned from a 5-day trip to Maine and MA. And I'm really wishing we lived someplace back east. My uncle (from MA) has a good way of describing CA: "It's like the zoo. Nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."
I've decided that I really, REALLY do not like CA, after two years of living here. Anyway, I'm glad we're only here for another year. And then we're going to move to the Caribbean (to Trinidad) for mission service. Seriously.

Shawn Brace said...

Hi Joelle,

Thanks for weighing in! Glad to hear that the post resonated with you. And I'm glad to know that you are in agreement that New England is better than California!!

You guys will be heading to Trinidad, huh? Wow! That is very exciting and interesting. I know that God will lead.