One never knows quite what to expect when moving somewhere new. However, I think it’s safe to assume no one expects to have seven feet of snow dropped onto them immediately after settling into a new place.
But that’s exactly what happened to me. Just a few short weeks after moving to Buffalo in 2014, seven feet of snow fell over a 24-hour period, trapping me and my family in our West Seneca apartment complex.
That was my introduction to Buffalo, and frankly, I was smitten.
While the storm was scary and historical, we were lucky to have what we needed to last the two days before we were dug out. It only took two days! I was seriously impressed, because where I’m from, roads get closed and vehicular accidents abound when just a few inches of snow are in the forecast.
For nearly five years, I was a full-time journalist for a daily newspaper in western Pennsylvania, about halfway between Pittsburgh and Erie. I loved my career, but before our second daughter was born, we realized daycare for two children that young would cost more than I was making each month. Fortuitously, an opportunity arose for my husband to take a promotion at the company’s Buffalo location and I was able to leave my job and be home with our babies. So we made the difficult decision and made the move. Thankfully, we’re only a three-hour drive from our hometown, which means we are able to go “home” and visit and people can visit us without it being too much of a trek. But I was still nervous about moving my family away from the place we had always known. My husband and I were born and raised in that area and that’s where our daughters were born. The majority of our family and friends are there, as well. I miss our hometown, but I’ve been happy to learn that Buffalo is good. It’s good for me, and good for my family. I like it here.
From the chatter I hear when out and about and the numerous articles I read, it seems Buffalo is currently undergoing a resurgence. I can’t speak to what it was like before I moved here, but so far, Buffalo seems to have it all.
Where I’m from, you have to drive at least 30-45 minutes away to get to some shopping or a movie theater. And dining choices are limited even then to mostly chain restaurants. To get to any good shopping, some real dining variety or activities, or to get to the airport, that is at least a 90-minute drive.
But my hometown itself is lovely. Nestled in a valley, we lived right along the Allegheny River and there are blue skies and greenery as far as the eyes can see. It’s quiet and peaceful and just a beautiful little town. I was worried moving to a bigger area would deprive me of those views and small-town feeling.
But as I said, Buffalo has it all.
We live outside of the city, so while it only takes a few minutes to get downtown, we also have that “small town” feeling. We live on a quiet street with plenty of trees and sidewalks. A 10-minute drive gets us to the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, the Walden Galleria (one of the nicest malls in the northeast), the Buffalo Zoo, and endless dining opportunities, movie theaters, and parks to play in.
We have the option to have a small town and city vibe all at once, and truthfully, as someone who likes to have adult fun as well as family fun, this is the perfect place to be. Any given day, evening or weekend, there are a handful of activities going on nearby. Whether indoor or outdoor, the options are seemingly endless, at least for a small-town girl like myself. A few weeks ago, I was able to make the quick drive downtown with a friend to finally see one of my favorite bands perform at their tour stop here, and just a few days ago, I was able to throw my toddlers in the car, drive us downtown and we got to see the world’s largest rubber duck. And we were home in time for lunch. Not to mention if we ever wanted to take in an NHL or NFL game, the Sabres and Bills stadiums are also not far from us.
Apart from the activities available, Buffalo’s nickname, “The City of Good Neighbors,” has also proven to be true. I have met so many kind people, even just in passing while in public. It seems like the majority of people who live here truly care about their neighbors and their communities.
My goal is to be one of those good neighbors myself, and raise my kids to be good neighbors so we can make the most of our time in our new home.
Buffalo thankfully doesn’t get pummeled with seven feet of snow each winter, but even if it did, I would probably still want to live here.