My husband and I are “empty-nesters” originally from and still living in Syracuse, NY. We grew up in historic and charming villages just outside the city and I lived as a back-packing traveler for many years in my young adulthood. Together hubby and I travel whenever we can afford it, but given the difficulty of getting ahead in this city, we mostly go to where we can drive. Thankfully (and this is a plus for Syracuse: its location), that means we have often visited Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, New York City, Montreal, Boston, and many other smaller and very charming places. We’ve also been to Spain a couple times as well as the spectacular San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. My own father moved there 20 years ago. Two sisters live in Santa Barbara, CA, and another outside of Raleigh. It isn’t like we don’t have family in nice places! But our network of friends is here, and my part-time employment doing what I love, teaching languages, is here, too. So is one son and his family. The other son is in Napa job hunting with two culinary degrees from the CIA under his belt. So where to go?
We’ve stayed in part because the housing is cheap here. We own a two-family and the rental income pays most of the mortgage. But now that the last child is gone, I’m feeling restless. I’m a community activist who has been struggling with the inertia underlying this region to help keep my own first-ring suburb neighborhood (now part of the city proper) slowly developing into a decent place to live. But I keep running into those more traditional types who have been watching this region go downhill for the past 50 years. They haven’t traveled much, they don’t have any vision, and those who do – and they do exist here in Syracuse – have an uphill battle. Every improvement takes so long, city hall is full of people without degrees in the right fields, and the taxes are, indeed, killing us. So we don’t have a ton of money because we chose to stay here for so long. How to move on to a place where there are more people who like new experiences? who have some vision? who solve problems quickly and creatively? where creative types aren’t just tolerated but appreciated? Seems every housing market in the towns we like (and even those we don’t like!) is more expensive than Syracuse. How do we break the Syracuse habit?
Sent by Lonnie from Syracuse, NY