Ye olde NorthEast
June 8, 2009 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Mobile Phone coverage in Hanover, New Hampshire? General winter tips? Things to avoid? I need tips for moving to NH.

Who I should use for mobile phone service in Hanover, New Hampshire and surrounding areas? It seems like Tmobile is spotty at best, and At&t or Verizon are better options. I need to have a working phone. I'd love to get an iPhone, so I'm hoping At&t works well there, but a working phone trumps any specific carrier.

Will T mobile let me out of the remaining time on my contract without a fight if their coverage out there is horrid?

I know next to nothing about the area really. I went back during winter and people had their windshield wipers stuck straight up in the air, presumably so they wouldn't freeze to the windshield.

I need more tips like this. Do I need to do anything special with my car battery? Do I need to make sure I clean snow off of my car even if I'm not going anywhere? etc.

The phone issue is major and I'm mostly concerned about surviving 6 months of winter, but really any tips you can give me about living in the Hanover/Lebanon/Concord area of New Hampshire are helpful.
posted by furious to Travel & Transportation around Hanover, NH (15 answers total)
Do I need to make sure I clean snow off of my car even if I'm not going anywhere?

Oh God, yes. Parking inside is a much better idea, but if you have to leave your car outside when it's snowing, clear it off early and often. Otherwise you'll have to deal with breaking chunks of ice off the car when you do want to go somewhere. It's awful.

Also, 6 months of winter is a bit of an exaggeration. More like 4, 2 of which (January and February) will be pretty rough. February is when all of New England comes down with collective Seasonal Affective Disorder, so prepare yourself for that. Luckily, fall is gorgeous around here, so if you're moving before November, definitely budget some time for apple picking, hiking, long drives in the mountains.
posted by oinopaponton at 12:31 PM on June 8, 2009

I don't know about Hanover itself, but as of two years ago, large portions of the rural areas of NH and VT (I.E anywhere not directly on I-89.91, or 93) were only well covered by Unicel.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 12:37 PM on June 8, 2009

Make sure you have good tires -- they'll do more to help you drive in snow than anything else.

Also make sure you have an ice scraper/brush in the car. A portable plastic shovel can be handy too. Also handy: extra wiper fluid. Blankets, flashlight, matches + emergency candle (in case you get stranded).

Oh, a good pair of water-resistant warm boots is nice to have. Once winter comes along you'll spend a lot of time stepping in slush and mud.

Snow's really not that big a deal. Clean off your car, drive slowly when the roads are bad, and enjoy New England's beauty.
posted by bitterpants at 12:45 PM on June 8, 2009

Welcome to the Upper Valley. It's cold here in the winter, but really nice and temperate in the summer. I've lived in this area for about ten years [though over the border in Vermont] and love it. I also have an AT&T phone and have not had any trouble in the main parts of Hanover. Depending where you live this may or may not be an issue, you could be two towns over and have nothing. You will probably emerge victorious with T-mobile but it will be a world class headache [my sister needed to go through this with Sprint, moving somewhere they didn't cover] fyi.

As far as tips, here are a few basic ones

- if you can get a place with covered parking it will make the adjustment period much less painful
- as long as you have a car with front wheel drive and good snow tires [we get ours put on and taken off seasonally here] you'll be fine unless you live in the hills. Have an ermegency kit in the car with a blanket and whatever just in case but you should never need it
- your lease will say what it coveres, typical things are heat, electric whatever, you may also want to check *plowing* because many places pay to get the driveway plowed regularly [like the guy comes whenever it snows a lot and it's $15-40 per time]
- I do the winshield wiper thing, it's mainly so you don't break off a wiper turning them on by accident when your winsheild is a cake of ice
- get a good ice scraper for your car and some good no=freeze winshield fluid. you'll go through a lot of winshield fluid because the highways are covered in salt which gets all over your car and winshield. make sure you have or can locate a shovel because even if the driveway is plowed you may need to dig out your car.
- people with nice cars go to the carwash a lot to get the salt off because it eats your car
- ditto boots, get good boots that you're not in love with so that you can slog around in the winter
- some places have different parking rules if there's a snow emergency and they need to plow the roads, many places have different parking rules for winter and summer, make sure you know your local laws.
- cotton kills - get cold weather clothing that is really for cold weather
- find something you love to do in the winter -- skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, snowmen -- so you can enjoy the season more

You have one of the best public libraries in the state of NH there, the Howe Library, along with all the great resources of the Dartmouth area. It's a great place and as long as you're open to living someplace with a winter, I think you'll enjoy it.
posted by jessamyn at 12:45 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, for what it's worth, when I moved out here (northern Mass) 8 years ago, T-Mobile canceled my contract at no cost due to lack of coverage.
posted by bitterpants at 12:46 PM on June 8, 2009

I'm from this area, but I don't really live there anymore. What I can say is: Unicel has been the king of the rural northeast, but a few years ago they switched the GSM, so you should be able to roam on their network with T-Mobile. More and more people have Verizon these days. However, Hanover's a college town with a pretty "important" university, so I would suspect that, at least within the town limits, you'd be able to at least get some good service from any of the major providers, though I doubt you'll find any type of 3G data service. When I was up there last winter with my iPhone, I had pretty decent service, but your mileage is bound to very.

If you're not going anywhere, you don't have to clean your car off right away. But, the area's (just about all of NH and VT) not that pedestrian-friendly, so good luck not going anywhere. Sure, it'll be harder to clean your car off when you get around to it, but, yeah, nobody's that diligent.

You shouldn't have to worry about your battery. If you have a weak one, maybe once a year you'll need a jump because it'll be so damned cold. Not much you can do to prevent it though (other than getting a new battery). You'll want some winter/snow tires for the winter, which you'll change to summer tires come spring.

Just another general tip it'll only take you forgetting once to learn forever: make sure you switch your screens to storm windows on your house before he first snowfall. Nothing sucks more than changing your windows while you're trudging around in three feet of snow with it 10-20 degrees outside.
posted by General Malaise at 12:50 PM on June 8, 2009

Oh, one more thing: your heat will almost certainly be oil. If you're from an area where you're used to having natural gas pumped in, this will be a significant change of pace. You have to buy it from an oil/gas company, and they bring it to fill up your tank. It'll sound really expensive, because you're getting months worth all at once. The price will invariably fluctuate, and you'll be pissed that you bought 200 gallons at 2.90 and have it go to 2.10 the next week. And you'll want to watch the level in your tank for the first winter you're there, because you won't know how fast it's going (and it really sucks when you run out on the weekend).
posted by General Malaise at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can only speak for Verizon, but it works great in and around Hanover, including Lyme, Etna, Hanover Center, etc etc.

Other advice:

1. Bars: Canoe Club is the swankiest, 5 Olde Nugget is the scuzziest, everything else is somewhere in between. Murphy's is a nice compromise, I've found, though I've heard that the newly expanded Ramunto's is great, and they're about to open a new Salt Hill location there, which is spectacular.

2. Get a nice thick winter coat, a good hat, some boots, and you'll be find. It's cold, for sure, but it's totally manageable.

3. The plows are usually out pretty fast, but the further you venture from downtown, the tougher it gets. Half of Norwich, VT, for instance, is dirt roads, and once they freeze, no amount of plowing will ever really make them "safe" until they thaw out. Get a 4WD/AWD vehicle if possible.

4. Advance Transit is free and reliable.

I'm sure I'll come up with more.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:10 PM on June 8, 2009

IT might be useful to know where you are from. You could get pretty specific advice like... In southern California you may be used to dressing up for dinner and going out at 11pm... in NH it's acceptable to wear hiking books out and we go out at [when ever the kids these days are going out]......
posted by beccaj at 2:51 PM on June 8, 2009

Welcome! I echo jessamyn and Spiffy Rob's insights. Cell service isn't terrible with any of the major providers, but it is less good than any major metropolitan area. Calls do drop, but you're also driving in the mountains, so it's not entirely surprising. (The cell towers are often disguised to look like pine trees; it still tickles me.) Also, if you're living in Hanover, you never have to shovel your own walk, the town does all of them!
posted by B-squared at 3:10 PM on June 8, 2009

Thank you for all the responses! I'm coming from down south.
posted by furious at 8:08 AM on June 9, 2009

Why does cotton kill? What fabric am I supposed to buy?

Also, I have a small crack in my windshield - what should I do to avoid making it worse?
posted by furious at 4:53 PM on June 9, 2009

Cotton kills YOU if you are outside and damp and wet and far from a place where you can get warm. It's a little bit of an overstatement unless you are a real outdoor sportsman type, but you will be warmer if you wear layers and especially stuff that is designed to keep you warm in cold weather. So wool is always great, there is an awesome non-itchy thing called SmartWool that is great for socks and undershirts (I think?) I have some polypropylene undershirts, and silk is AMAZING in cold weather because it fits under everything, looks decent, feels terrific and is very insulating. I'm not saying "don't wear jeans" in the winter [although if you're going outdoors hiking in the snow DON'T WEAR JEANS] but think about the types of fabrics that you wear and how to use them to their best advantage.

I have no idea about your winshield. A new one is less than $200 and they come right to your house and replace it!
posted by jessamyn at 6:56 PM on June 9, 2009

Thank you for replying, Jessamyn! Much appreciated.
posted by furious at 7:39 PM on June 9, 2009

Flannel sheets.
posted by dreamphone at 1:08 AM on June 10, 2009

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