I have witnessed many natives of our area break up with central New York as soon as they were able. Syracuse and its surrounding communities served as a devoted high school sweetheart. But eventually the natives get restless, and have eyes for somewhere else. A bigger, really special city. One that would sweep them off their feet and keep their interest for a lifetime.
This is fine with me.
The world is big, and you can’t broaden your horizons by staying put forever.
Syracuse just wasn’t for you, and that’s okay. No hard feelings
We’re ‘small town-small city’. We don’t have the flashiness or fast pace of the ‘N-Y-C’. We don’t have cool accents like Bostonians, and we’ll never compete with L.A. weather. We’re a bit rural. You can’t even get to Syracuse without passing more fields and livestock than buildings and people.
It snows here (sometimes not at all in December, but possibly in May). The taxes are (ridiculously) high. The weather changes every five seconds. Potholes in the streets might actually swallow up your entire car during commute.
We love to complain about all of it. The struggle actually is real for us. Being from here is our badge of honor.
So what’s good about it?
Why do some of us stay here, or enjoy being transplanted here?
Because truthfully (and yes, maybe sometimes secretly), we love it.
Our kids have access to some pretty darn good education here, public or private. (See stellar example of my public education in the previous sentence.) From early childhood learning to award winning public schools, we are a fortunate population with access to teachers and support staff that go above and beyond. Higher learning is abundant. The SUNY System. LeMoyne. Cornell. Even the Vice President went to college here.
Living in central New York does not require travel to see knock-your-socks-off beauty. We’re talking impressionist painting worthy scenery, folks. Stunning waterfalls, mountains to climb, state and local parks that could keep you busy touring them for a good long time. (I think I read somewhere this nature stuff is good for you.)
The fields I mentioned aren’t just pretty to look at, either. They’re home to some impressive cows, which result in great locally sourced food. Some of the farmers I know are moms under 40 that have always lived here, and farming isn’t the only field they’ve pursued and conquered. They’re Jill’s of all trades, if you will – and masters of everything they set their minds to. Here we raise strong, capable women that aren’t afraid to get dirty, but still rock a fancy dress and heels when they feel like it. (Not to mention no farms no food, guys. This is important to us all.)
And oh, the food. The hidden gems we have from Camillus to Cazenovia, from Cicero to Homer. Diners, wineries, bakeries, breweries, waterfront dining… you want to eat dinner hearing the blues while staring at a bunch of motorcycles? Or maybe slow things down in an old school house converted into a restaurant? Yeah, we’ve got that. Whatever you’re craving, you don’t have to leave here to find it. If you’d rather be your own chef, the Farmer’s Market in the city is as impressive as the countless town markets you can patronize on any given night of the week in good weather. We’ve even got tips at SMB about how to grow your own food here in CNY, or pick what’s already growing here.
Although Broadway is a short hop away by plane or car, entertainment is plentiful right here. The Dome, the State Fair (you could put this up there with food as well), the Landmark and the new Amphitheater draw big acts to our backyard, yet there’s no shortage of local entertainment.
If the cold weather is what you’re into, the surrounding suburbs of Syracuse may end up your outdoor church. You can’t go a few miles without running smack into a ski mountain. The summers here are truly stunning, from the nearby St. Lawrence River to the many, many lakes. From Skaneateles to DeRuyter, Oneida to Cayuga, people have camps that have been in families for several generations, and with good reason. You may not have the best internet service there, but may be better for it.
The other upside to Syracuse roots? The good people. The fact that people actually care here.
We share a common thread, all of us coming from one “great big small town”. We don’t care if you grew up in B’Ville, or Tully, or Chittenango, or if you moved to Tipp Hill when you were 20 and just never left. We all share Syracuse.
We may run into each other in Florida (in February- while on vacation- because that’s what we have to do to find sun in February when we live here). My husband is wearing his S.U. basketball shirt, and you have on your navy blue ball cap with the signature orange “S” on it.
We spot one another.
The banter is gonna go down.
“You’re from Syracuse?! We’re from Syracuse!”
We’re home away from home. We’ve got a new friend that knows what salt potatoes are. Knows exactly which Wegman’s we’re talking about. Knows whether we’re going to get the Golden Snowball this year. Just like us, our new friend escaped winter to have a cold beer on a warm beach before going back home to our own version of the good life.
Maybe some of us left and won’t ever come back, but we’re still from here. We’ll be in some far away place someday, wearing a tattered orange shirt and saying yes, new friend.
I‘m from Syracuse.
And proud of it.