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10 Ways to Tell a Native New Englander

Published on May 23, 2013, by in Sitters.

New England, like every other segment of the United States, has its own personality, colloquialisms and unique way of doing things. Cultural differences and a shared outlook on life sets New Englanders apart from their brethren in other parts of the country; here are some tell-tales signs of a New Englander.

  • Listen for Stories About Many a Nor’easter Storm – Some parts of the country think a thunderstorm is nerve-wracking and not something to be trifled with. A Midwesterner in Tornado Alley might cringe during the stormy season, but a New Englander has to put up with Nor’easters more often than they can count. A little storm doesn’t scare them. It has to be declared a natural disaster for them to start to worry, and sometimes not even then.
  • Look for Shorts and a Parka or Sweatshirt at the Same Time – While this might not be exclusive to New England, they are one of the few groups of people in the U.S. who have been known to wear shorts and a sweatshirt or parka at the same time. Not because it’s fashionable, but because it’s warm enough for shorts, but still too cool to wear just a t-shirt. This is most commonly seen during the fall and spring seasons when the weather is more in between than hot or cold.
  • He’ll Call Chocolate Sprinkles “Jimmies” – For those living in most parts of the United States, those little bits of candied chocolate you find in an ice cream parlor are called “chocolate sprinkles.” The average native New Englander, however, will insist that they are “jimmies.” Whatever you call them, they are delicious on donuts and cupcakes alike. Whether you load your goodies up with sprinkles or jimmies, they taste just the same.
  • She Drinks Soda, Not Pop – The country is pretty well split in half over the correct slang term for carbonated beverages. In New England, if you ask for pop, you will either be met with a weird look or simply be laughed at for your simplemindedness. New Englanders like their soda just fine, but look askance at the term “pop.”
  • They Vacation in NYC and at Cape Cod – Many New Englanders spend their vacations at Cape Cod, or go on a weekend getaway to New York City. There’s no need to go to another area of the country when these two viable options are nearby.
  • He’ll Only Eat Real Maple Syrup – The real stuff comes straight from the trees without all those preservatives in the goop you buy at the grocery store. It has a different taste and consistency. You’ll never catch a native New Englander eating the sticky stuff packed with artificial flavors and chemical additives; there, it’s authentic maple syrup or nothing at all.
  • In Her Opinion, A Roundabout Is Called a Rotary – Those ever popular traffic-controlling roundabouts in the road are called rotaries by New Englanders. It’s just one of those quirks that they have compared to the rest of the country. For some parts of the United States, a rotary is a tool or an archaic method of dialing a telephone, but for New England, it’s part of their road system. No matter what you call it, it’ll slow you down and safely get you through that intersection without having to wait for a light.
  • He Calls a Drinking Fountain a Bubbler – A small portion of the Midwest and a large portion of New England refer to a drinking fountain as a bubbler. This tends to refer to the style of drinking fountain originally introduced, which actually had bubbling action as part of its use. This can be confusing to those not from the area. Still, now that you know, be sure to ask where the bubbler is if all you want is a drink of water from the drinking fountain in New England.
  • An Appreciation for Good Lobster – You can’t live in New England and not appreciate good seafood. It doesn’t have to be lobster, specifically, but any fresh seafood will do. If it’s not right from the ocean, it’s not worth it.
  • Everything is “Wicked” – Words often come and go in fads all over the world, but the term “wicked” has stuck around in New England. Everything and anything can be wicked, which carries both a positive or negative connotation, depending upon the usage.
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