Snowbird Living: Not a New Concept

Snowbird Living
Not a New Concept
by Jennifer LB Leese

After overhearing a conversation on how warm it is in Florida the other day while shopping, I couldn't help but think about why people choose to become snowbirds.
For those who have never heard the term, snowbirding or snowbird living is spending the colder months in warmer climates. It isn't a new concept. People have been doing it for centuries.
Typically, snowbirds are retirees, and business owners who can afford to be away from home for long periods of time or have a second home in a warmer location. "Some snowbirds carry their homes with them, as campers (mounted on bus or truck frames) or as boats following the east coast Intracoastal waterway. It used to be that snowbirds were the wealthy who maintained several seasonal residences and shifted residence with the seasons to avail themselves of the best time to be at each location." (Wikipedia)
Migrate - to move periodically from one region or climate to another, as (snow)birds or fish. ~ Webster's Dictionary
Not all snowbirds flock to Florida. There are several southern states that stay warm in the winter. Most snowbirds return year after year to the same place, as many have purchased another home or trailer for just this occasion. But what if this is your first year? How do you decide where to migrate to?
Each southern state differs in what they have to offer snowbirds. Many go to where family or close friends currently reside, after all, there's nothing like the company of old friends and relatives. Of course, making new friends is always a pleasure in itself. When we see old friends and catch up on new times these are moments to be cherished. Whatever your reasons, here are a few things to think about before deciding where to go:
* weather/temperature- naturally you'll be going to a place where it is warm, but are sunny beaches, moist tropical breezes, or arid desserts in your favor? Do you want to be near a lake, up in the mountains, or surrounded by woodlands?
* activity likes/dislikes- surely what do you like to do? Are you into fishing or boating? Do you like to hike, bike or take long walks? Would you rather shop till you drop or attend social functions regularly? Do small towns where antiquing is big interest you? What about the community atmosphere - do you prefer a quieter setting, rural communities or do you want to be right in the middle of it all - city living?
* destinations/attractions- I would think that depending on what kind of setting you prefer and what types of activities you are looking for would counter in on these factors - do you want to be near the busy life? What are your interests? Do you like attending movies or plays? Want to be near landmarks and history or old markets or restaurants? Would you feel more relaxed around high-risers or scenic wonders? Do you have a passion for flea marts, concerts, theme parks, or travel shows?
Snowbird - one who travels to warm climes for the winter. ~ Webster's Dictionary
Obviously no matter where you decide to spend your winters, your destination will be a huge decision - as it should be.
Besides not having to clear the snow from your driveway or sidewalks, or deicing your car every morning, let alone setting fashion aside and layering your clothing for braving the outdoors, the health benefits to spending the winter in warmer temperatures is immeasurable. For many warmer weather helps our joints from aching and our minds from freaking out. In general, warmer weather just makes us feel good. The more sun the better. With the cost of fuel these days, warmer weather helps with our wallets as well.
My love for Maryland is strong. I'd like to make it clear that I love this state and understand that some people also love the state but just can't handle the temperatures during the winter. The older generation, in particular, end up being housebound or need to cover every inch of their skin while venturing outside in the frigid temperatures. I look at winter in Maryland much like I'd look at a relationship - you love them wholeheartedly most of the time, but there are times when you love to hate them. This stands true for my love affair with Maryland. I bundle up with little whining. Spend my evenings with a hot cup of coffee and do my best to keep warm.
Snowbird living is more popular than ever! And this writer who's looking forward to spring, says, so, Snowbird, "Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from on that day
...So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go
To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow..." ("Snowbird" by Anne Murray)