Upstate New York is a place in between: East coast sophisticate and midwestern hick. New England blue states and Ohio red. Lively, exuberant industrial revolution past, decaying rust belt present. Hippie relics that fled New York in the 70's and the mall rat "hippies" that have nothing to flee...Boston and Seattle if you were so stupid as to drive route 90 all the way across the continent. It's a great place in so many ways, and yet horrible, horrible in others. It's like your friend with low self esteem who's attractive, yet thinks they're hideous so they never date, and dwells in the negative. I gave it a try as an adult, then left like so many others - regretting only that my escape hadn't come earlier.
There's not much going on for the past 50 or so years, so there's a calm stillness about the whole region. Yes, it's boring, but there is beauty in the quiet. To my eye, this photo perfectly captures the feeling of the place. It's from a (painfully attainable) real estate listing and it has it all: The pre-modern charm of what hasn't been replaced by decades of new development that never happened there. The bookish nerdiness of a dozen college towns. The frumpy welcome of a too-wide rocking chair...a cat.
The cliche says you can't go home again, and honestly, my family's house has much less forgotten-past charm, so it's not a literal itch. But nostalgia trumps the senses, and a part of me will always want to leave the big city - with all it's progressive safety - and go home.