February 12, 2013

Boston Blizzards: 2003 & Nemo 2013

BOSTON BLIZZARDS: 2003 & NEMO 2013P1010368E

In 2003 in Boston, an incredible 27.5″ fell in 24 hours, setting an all time record. **

A blizzard in Boston. In New England. And I was there…

The (2013) storm dropped 31.9 inches of snow on Portland, Maine,…*

I wish I was there, on the coastline, experiencing its full depth of winter.

I’ve wanted to take an extended vacation in New England in mid-winter, at a time when snowflakes accumulate into two-foot high drifts that blanket the white sands of the coastal beaches. My only stipulations are that we are within walking distance of the beaches, and that we don’t have to drive anywhere

My favorite New Hampshire beaches: Hampton Beach in Hampton and Wallis Sands Beach in Rye. In Maine there is Long Beach in York; Old Orchard Beach in Old Orchard; Popham Beach in Phippsburg, and Lamoine Beach in East Lamoine.

This year’s storm, Nemo, was perfect to fulfill my longing, dropping 31.5 inches in Portland and 24.9 inches in Boston. However, this isn’t the year of fulfillment.

By the way, even though there were blizzard warnings in effect for much of the storm as a point of definition we never officially had a blizzard. We had blizzard conditions, but they didn’t last long enough for the storm to qualify as a blizzard. According to the definition, we would have needed to have 35 mile per hour wind, combined with one-quarter mile visibility (or less) and it had to have lasted for 3 hours or longer. That did not occur in this storm…**


I think back to President’s Day, 2003. My elderly aunt, Nyllis Gardner, had died and my husband Monte and I left Connellsville, Pennsylvania, on Sunday afternoon to attend her funeral in Brockton, Massachusetts.

However, our Southwestern Pennsylvania weather was so treacherous that Monte actually cancelled church services. (Did I mention he was pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Connellsville at the time? And that he never cancelled church services?)

We quickly packed and started out.

We barely made it out of Connellsville. The Crawford Avenue hill was so treacherous that our car crept up the hill, slipping and sliding all over the road. We thought we’d have to abandon our car and walk back to the parsonage.

It was the most hazardous part of our travel.

We stopped at a motel in eastern Pennsylvania. At four or five o’clock in the morning Monte woke me up.

“Perhaps we’d better leave,” he said. “The storm is coming fast upon us.”

We made it to Brocton and rented a room in a seedy downtown hotel located half way between the church and the funeral home. While eating we looked out the restaurant window. Snowflakes were drifting down.

We’d beaten the storm by a mere half hour.

Visitation at the funeral home that evening was cancelled. My uncle, George Gardner, was on Cape Cod and couldn’t make it in.

We walked around the city, snowflakes swirling around us. It didn’t seem like such a bad storm. In fact, it was downright enjoyable.

The next morning our car was pretty well buried under snow. We were happy we didn’t need to drive to the funeral home.

At the post-funeral restaurant dinner we were assured the roads were sufficiently clear that Monte and I could head south to Acquidneck Island (Rhode Island) for the night. The next morning we explored the Cornell history there as far as possible—most places were closed due to the storm.

(illustrations: )

After leaving Acquidneck Island we stopped at Rocky Neck State Park in Connecticutt.

H-F-P1010372There we trekked across the snow-covered ground to the shoreline.


P1010371EI removed my boots. I removed my socks.  I now had bare feet to dip in the water.

V-F-P1010320V-F-P1010324V-F-P1010321Brrr, it was cold. My feet turned red within seconds.


But being a hardy New Englander I tested the water more than once.

We weren’t alone on the beach:


Finally it was time to go.


At the exit booth we laughingly told the guard at the gate that I had waded in the water. She didn’t believe me

until I pulled out my camera and showed her the pictures.

Next time I’m in New England in the winter I want to stay a while. I want my feet in the water at each of the

beaches I mentioned, and probably others as well.
The Great Blue Norther: 11-11-1911

A Sense of Place



1 Comment »

  1. Dipping my feet in the water is a tradition with me also …the Seine / The Med / the North Sea / The Atlantic / the Pacific / a few others

    Comment by Joan — February 12, 2013 @ 9:52 am | Reply

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