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12 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Upstate NY

New York
by Scott Summers Nov 17, 2016

You view snow accumulation as a game.

In Upstate New York, we snow no fear. (Get it? Get it?) And really, why should we? The major cities in the upstate compete annually for the Golden Snowball Award, which goes to the city receiving the most snow (Syracuse, usually).

Between snow tires, salt by the dump truck load, and a fleet of plows, the roads will be clear in all but the worst blizzards. Private companies even get involved, hitching snow plows to consumer vehicles and charging for additional plowing services.

Up here, snow isn’t a thing to be feared. It’s a business.

More than a few of your fondest memories involve a lake.

There are lakes everywhere in Upstate New York (not to mention a healthy share of waterfalls). Particularly in the summer, lakes are the place to be for family and community events. In addition to Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes (which are huge), many local parks, wildlife management areas, and off-the-beaten-trail public lands carry lakes and offer lakeside activities.

You can’t avoid them up here.

You know that Niagara Falls is worth seeing . . . once.

Seriously, Niagara is pretty great. Unfortunately, the American side kinda sucks. Get a passport, and view it from the Canadian side, where things are more dressed up.

That being said, the Falls is worth a visit at least once if you’re in the upstate. After that, it’s best to explore elsewhere. Check out Buffalo’s nightlife and attractions, or head out to Letchworth State Park or to the Finger Lakes for a wine tour.

Your SUNY is the Best SUNY

SUNY, or the State University of New York, is the public higher education system in New York State. If you’re planning to go to an in-state school, you could well end up at a SUNY college.

Not that it’s bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. Because the SUNY program is so wide-reaching and encompasses so many schools (64 institutions at last count), everyone’s SUNY experience is a little different — and there’s a rivalry hitched to that.

SUNY pride is a force to be reckoned with.

You know summertime is party time.

Winter is a cold and desolate season, and it lasts for six months in Upstate New York. So when it’s time for shorts and sundresses, it’s time to haul out your lawn chairs and fire up the grill. The local township will throw parades and festivals, farmer’s markets, and community get- togethers. All of that will be packed into an all-too-short New York summer.

Why? Because from the first thaw, winter is already on its way back, and we’ve got to get *all* of the celebrations done before then.

Orange Basketball is a way of life.

Big Orange in the ‘Cuse is everybody’s favorite team. Nobody in the upstate may be able to agree on which “official” New York professional team to support, but everybody agrees on the basketball team.

If you’re from Upstate New York, you know that there are a ton of sporty teams around here, but Orange Basketball owns the court. That’s just the way it is.

You’ve made a day of apple picking.

When it’s in season, apple picking is a big deal around the upstate. No matter where you are in the upstate, there’s probably an orchard nearby where you can pick apples to your heart’s content. Most apple orchards have multiple varieties of apples to choose from, so making more than one trip is a must.

The market has also adjusted to the apple picking craze. Some farms have restaurants, gift shops, playgrounds, and petting zoos or have expanded their operation to other picking occasions, like pumpkin picking.

You’re hoping for a white Christmas, and that’s it.

Even in the upstate, you’ll want a white Christmas. Call it wishful thinking, but almost everyone wouldn’t mind seeing fresh powder on the holiday. Often, because the bulk of the snow doesn’t really slam the upstate until January and February, a white Christmas isn’t in the cards.

For those with a little more spite for winter, we can do without it. There will be more than enough snow to go around, and by Christmas, it’s right around the corner in the worst possible way.

Traveling East-West across the State will cost you, but you already got your EZ Pass.

The New York State Thruway is a toll road stretching from Buffalo, NY past Albany and into Massachusetts — and it’s going to cost you to use it.

The fare isn’t tremendous, but if you’re traveling regularly and you want to get anywhere with speed, be ready to pay the toll. It can start to add up.

The NYS E-ZPass is a must for regular travelers (so that you don’t have to talk to the people in the toll booth), and it makes spending money on the toll road even more convenient.

You fell for Fall a long, long time ago.

There are only a few places in the world that match the splendor of an Upstate New York Fall. You don’t even have to be in the Adirondacks to enjoy it (though that’s a top spot, for sure).

Fall in New York is full of deep reds and bright golds, and because of variance in elevation, much of the state changes at different times — meaning that with a little travel savvy, you can elongate the experience.

h2>You know the local eats by heart (and stomach).

Local delicacies are like a secret code up in Upstate New York.

You’ve had your fair share of salt potatoes, garbage plates, Hofmann’s hot dogs, Loganberry juice, chicken riggies, and Utica Greens. Oh, and you topped all that off with some Stewart’s ice cream.

Upstate New York is an experience you can eat through, whether you’re choosing healthy eats or going for red meat and barbecue. If you’re a local, you’ve seen (and eaten) it all.

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