10 Things I’m Going to Miss about Living in Rochester, NY: 1-5


lilaclilacpattern

It’s been an emotional weekend.

Our friends, neighbors, and extended community threw us not one but two good-bye/sendoff parties on Sunday. One was a brunch in the morning and the other a dinner in the evening.

Hubby and I, as we saw friends file in bearing platters of fruit and food,  agreed that we felt the love. But to hubby, who has already moved on, who is already living in Detroit and only coming “home” on weekends, the day was anti-climactic.

I asked, what was he expecting?

He said, finality. Closure.

But to many of us, maybe all of us, good-bye is too hard a word. So instead of hearing good-bye, when friends left the party they gave us a departing hug with the reassurance of  “I know I’ll see you in the neighborhood before you go” or “I’m sure I’ll see you again before you take off.”

Maybe their claims are true and maybe they are not. But it’s easier to say than “when will we ever see each other again?” or “I’m going to  miss you so much!”  That stuff is for high school. For the end of camp. Not for a move in mid-life.

Between the morning good-bye brunch and the evening good-bye dinner, the new owners of our house stopped by for an hour-long visit.

The newly-minted home owners are a sweet couple who cannot be more than 30. The young woman held a 16-month infant boy with cherubic lips in her arms.

They told us how much they loved the old charm of the house and it’s “flow” for entertaining and living. They loved the basket-weave tile (original from 1929) in the bathrooms. She loved the shady backyard and the swing set that my dad and husband built for our kids.

Now I know who will be sleeping in “our” bedrooms when we leave. Now I know there will be a tiny boy sleeping in the room with the sailboat wallpaper, the pattern I picked out for my own little boy 13 years ago.

First night in HIS big boy bed with all HIS animals. This photo just says "mine."

Outside of friends that have come into our life, there is Rochester itself. I’ll say it:

I am going to miss you, Rochester. A lot.

To all those friends from “downstate” New York Metro area (and that means you too, New Jersey girls and boys) who ever told me they would love to come up and visit me in Rochester, New York, your time has run out.

It’s too late babies, it’s too late.

Maybe the reality of moving has given me perspective on just how great a little city like Rochester can be. Maybe the coming move has finally made this Rochester transplant feel like a native.

Even though I will no longer be living here, a trip to Rochester in the summer, the fall, and yes, even the winter is totally worth it. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Wegmans

pasta

My first twinges of separation anxiety about leaving the Rochester happened not in the company of friends, but in the produce, health food, and patisserie departments of the world’s greatest supermarket. Yes, Wegmans has elevated food shopping from a mundane chore to an art form. What other supermarket will employees approach you if you seem puzzled and proactively ask you “are you finding everything okay?” And if you cannot find that box of pre-cut Asian gourmet mushrooms, they will send out an APB throughout the store, and check their latest shipment, to make sure they get it for you. What other grocer has designated employees waiting for you in the parking lot with huge golf umbrellas, eager to help you put your groceries in your car in the rain, or who will help mothers with young children?

Wegmans, you have spoiled me for life.

So, Michigan grocers, I give you my warning. If someone in your check-out line starts to cry or whimper because you didn’t give me a smile and a hello while you asked if I prefer my milk in a bag, or you didn’t bag all my frozen items together (or maybe you don’t bag customer groceries at all!), that will be me. And you’ll have to comfort me and give me a tissue because I am mourning and pining for my WEGMANS!

2 – Small size – On our first area tour of Rochester, our realtor drove us West on Monroe Avenue. In the immediate horizon stood three or four tallish buildings. “There’s our Rochester skyline!” she proudly boasted.

The big city New York City woman in the back seat covered her mouth supress a laugh. That’s a skyline? I’ll show you a skyline, she thought smugly, thinking of the imposing New York City skyline of her childhood.

But now, I so appreciate a city where it’s not a huge production to get into “the city.”

In 10 minutes, I can leave my house, find a parking spot on the street or in a $5 garage and be downtown. To take in a museum, a parade on Memorial Day or  a film at The Little Theatre, meet a friend for lunch or coffee, or a concert at the Eastman Theatre.

In 10 minutes, my family and I can enjoy a night at Frontier Field, a stadium where I can let my kids roam free and on their own, and take in a Rochester Red Wings game.

3. Festivals – Rochesterians relish the weather when the snows melt and the sun finally arrives.Nearly every week from May through October, there is a festival going on somewhere, complete with great food, crafts and music. From the Lilac Festival, to the Xerox International Jazz Festival

The Barrel House Blues Band performed for free at the RG&E Fusion Stage

The Barrel House Blues Band performed for free last year at the RG&E Fusion Stage

(it’s become one of the best in the country, no lie!), to the Park Avenue and Clothesline Festivals, there is something to enjoy every week.

And because of the size of Rochester, you will always run into friend, to hang out with and sample the fried dough or a candied New York apple. lilacfriends

4. Music – Spiraling out from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester has fantastic musical resources. My kids took lessons and had recitals starting in preschool at the Hochstein School of Music. There has never been a shortage of dedicated and talented music teachers to share their love and gift with our children. Time and time again, the Brighton School District, as others in the Rochester area, have been bestowed awards in excellence for music education. My children each play several instruments and have been exposed to so many opportunities to perform. Most recently, my youngest, along with other local young musicians had his budding piano skills tested by the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music. Thank you to the dedication of his piano teacher Sherry McCarthy for bringing this program to Rochester for the first time this year!

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5. Rochester Public Market – When the weather warms, I skip my trip to Wegmans and make my way to the century-old Rochester Public Market. Voted one of the best public spaces in the world (yes, right up there with Seattle’s Pike Market), it has grown from a market where you can get the best local corn New York has to offer after July 15,  to a center for music, plant sales, a newly established Food Truck Rodeo each Wednesday this summer, and yes, another great venue for local festivals.

publicmarket

That’s about all the nostalgia I can handle for one post. Tomorrow, reasons 6-10.

Rochesterians, what would YOU have a hard time leaving behind?

Detroit: what do you have in store for me to explore?

I’m all ears.

Rochester Red Wings

Rochester Red Wings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The facade of the Eastman Theatre, an historic...

The facade of the Eastman Theatre, an historic auditorium in Rochester, New York. Conceived by, and named for, photography pioneer and philanthropist George Eastman, the Theatre opened in 1922. This is the primary performance space for the large ensembles at the Eastman School of Music and for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The streets in the foreground are East Main Street (left) and Gibbs Street (right). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

9 responses to “10 Things I’m Going to Miss about Living in Rochester, NY: 1-5”

  1. Randi says :

    Great blog, Stacy! I missed all of the send offs yesterday, but want you all to know I’M GOING TO MISS YOU! Every one of you!! Good luck and be happy!
    Keep up with us on Facebook!!

    • stacylynngittleman says :

      thanks Randi and you know I will! Looking forward to the end of the end and the beginning of the beginnings! All your work at Keshet has been such an important part of my family for so many years! We’ll miss you too sniff sniff!

  2. Indee Dela-Moss says :

    Just read your article and I totally understand how you feel. My husband and I lived in Rochester for about 6-7 years and we ended up feeling like we were from Rochester. It is such a lovely place. We had to move to New Haven, CT (for job reasons) and were very sad to leave. But it had to be done. It’s been well over 10 months or so, and we still miss Rochester. You will always have fond memories of Rochester. I wish you and your family good luck on your move!

    • stacylynngittleman says :

      thank you for reading and your thoughtful comments! Yes, we also have to leave because of a job move. We moved here for a job, and are moving away for that same job, which is being relocated to Detroit. I guess the one thing I won’t miss about Rochester, is lack of job opportunities. I feel badly for my three kids, who truly are “from” Rochester, as they grew up and made great schoolmates here. But honestly, after they graduate college, I would have doubted that they could return here because of lack of job opportunities. Too bad. Good luck in CT, we have neighbors who are moving your way too, also for a job.

  3. renée a. schuls-jacobson says :

    Aw, Stacey! Such a beautiful post. You are totally going to miss Wegmans, but I’m guessing you are going to find all kinds of new things to love. (You pay $5 to park in Rochester.) LOL! 😉 I’ll still be following you on Twitter!

    • stacylynngittleman says :

      thanks, friend! Just a reminder to appreciate all we have here in Rochester and Western NY. Gotta finish my list tomorrow, what are some of your faves?

      • renée a. schuls-jacobson says :

        1. Lunch on the canal! Or just walking on the canal.
        2. Abbott’s Ice Cream
        3. Huge kosher section of food – people know what matzah is!
        4. Seabreeze!
        5. I would have said Craft & Co, but I saw they are selling the place! 🙂
        6. Artisan Works
        7. Mendon Ponds Park
        8. Apple picking
        9. Corn Hill Festival & Clothesline Art Fest
        10 Parkleigh

  4. Kim says :

    Hey there!
    I found your blog when searching for “things to know before moving to Rochester”. My fiancé and I are relocating to Rochester (for his job) and so appreciate this article. Minus the job opportunities part which is scaring me a bit!
    Thanks for the great article!

    • stacylynngittleman says :

      Hi there Kim!

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. Good luck with the move,it’s a great little town. Be sure to check out the museums, and you’ll be there in time for the lilac and Jazz festivals this summer, and take time to walk on the canal.

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