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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

Our Butler County ‘snowbirds’ are returning home. Of course, I’m always happy to see the return of friends and neighbors, especially since I’m not a snowbird – yet.

The word snowbird is often used to describe those people from the U.S. Northeast and Midwest and from Canada who spend much of the winter in a warmer region such as in Victoria, British Columbia (for Canadians), in the south or southwest United States, in Mexico, or in the Caribbean. Snowbirds are typically retirees or business owners whose business is easily moved.

Many of the snowbird community are recreational vehicle (RV) users. They often go to the same location every year, developing strong friendships with the other RVers who do the same. Some RV parks get the majority of their income from the RV snowbirds. Historically, Florida has been the number one RV snowbird location. But, recently other southern states have experienced an increase of snowbirds enjoying their southern climate “without the hurricane threat” and at a lower cost of living. Also, some snowbirds travel the east coast Intercoastal Waterway (a navigable route without the hazards of open sea travel), living on their boats (Wikipedia).

A friend says his wife refuses to sleep in a hotel or motel bed. He reports that she can’t bear the thought of sleeping where unknown others who might not have high cleanliness standards have slept. She also doesn’t have great faith in the disinfection measures taken by hotel/motel housekeeping staffs. So, when they travel, they pull their bedroom behind them. Since they enjoy traveling, this has been a great solution for this family. But, like any home, this ‘home away from home’ is an expensive and time-consuming investment.

According to, snowbirds enjoy mild weather year round. By moving, they avoid the cold winters of the northern states and the hot summers of the South. They also get to see a bit more of the country – or the world – than many of their peers. But, when would a person go south? I wouldn’t want to miss the holidays with my family, but I don’t love Kentucky weather in January and February either.

Snowbirds winter in a milder climate. As in Anne Murray’s song “Snowbird,” they travel to a “land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow.” Maybe one year – if I get my daughters’ blessings, I’ll be a snowbird, too.

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