"When you're a New Englander, you kind of hunker down and just do it," said Brenda Stewart, a nurse.
Her husband, who is self-employed but unable to work because he doesn't have an Internet connection, described three days without power as being "somewhere between miserable and OK."
"I think if it goes on too much longer it might slide into miserable," he added.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who visited some of the hardest-hit communities on Monday, including Scituate and Marshfield, said it was too early to assess the overall response by the utilities to the storm.
"If you're without power, it's not going fast enough," he added.
Traveling remained a challenge, as many secondary roads still had a thick coating of snow and high snow banks blocked sight lines at intersections and near highway ramps, making turning and merging hazardous.
With a parking ban still in effect in Boston, garages quickly became full and many downtown streets were choked with traffic. Streets that ordinarily had two lanes were shrunk to one because of snow piled on each side, and the rain created a slushy mess for pedestrians.
"It was definitely a struggle to get here," said Dana Osterling, 24, who lives in Leverett in western Massachusetts and commutes to Boston twice a week to attend Berklee College of Music.
"I live on a dirt road so the plows don't visit us very often," she said at a service plaza in Natick on the Massachusetts Turnpike. She and her six housemates shoveled for about three hours to free their cars Sunday.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which shut down all service at the height of the storm, reported some delays related to weather and signal problems but no major interruptions, on Monday.
"America's oldest subway was fully operational this morning, providing safe and reliable service to tens of thousands of customers," said Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the transit system.
Salsberg reported from Natick, Mass.