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Old 02-02-2011, 08:33 PM
 
2 posts, read 10,467 times
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I've read hundreds and hundreds of these Albany area posts and responses and can't begin to tell you how appreciative I am of this resource! I am getting ready to move my family of five (kids 11, 9, and 6) for the first time ever to the Albany area because of my husband's job. He'll be commuting to Cobleskill so we're trying to keep the drive reasonable by staying to the West or Southwest of Albany in one of the great school districts the area has to offer. I've narrowed it down to the ones listed in this post's title based on school rankings and commute. But now.... how to decide?!

I'm looking for land if possible. I am an artist and work out of my home. I'd love a 2 or 3 acre lot with neighbors close enough for safety but far enough for creative space. I love contemporary architecture and am so sad to see nothing but colonial-style homes for sale in this area. My huband and I are are big "daters" and love to go out to eat, so we can't be so rural that promiximity to great restaurants is a stretch. I need at least 3,500 square feet and have a budget of $400 - $550K to spend on a house. I'm going to need 5 bedrooms because family is coming to stay...and soon.

What I would love to know from so many of you who have such a solid understanding of the area -- how would you differentiate between Guilderland, Voorheesville, Altamont, and Niskayuna in terms of culture, kid-friendly activities, friendliness, proximity to restaurants/shopping, gorgeous views and large lots, arts community, up and coming area, general "feel"... Am I forgetting an area that has what I need for 10 extra minutes commute (Colonie? Clifton Park?) I've looked at all the houses for months now, but now it's the intangibles that will sway me and I don't know what they are. Thank you so so much for anything you know that could help me and my family make this huge decision. Our house is listed as we speak and we'll soon be homeless! What an adventure...

Thank you thank you thank you.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
335 posts, read 760,661 times
Reputation: 686
My first thought is Niskayuna or the western part of Guilderland because those are going to be a much easier commute to your husband's job (although still far). However, it may be very difficult to find a house as large as you want with a large lot, views, etc. in Niskayuna. It is one of the pricier towns around and one of the more established, so lots tend to be smaller.

Guilderland is also expensive, but the western end is probably more affordable because it is farther from Albany. The western end is also more rural, will be easier to found houses with bigger lots, and you can find places with some very pretty views of the Helderbergs. Most of the big houses in Guilderland will be newer, but McMansion types, not really contemporary.

Altamont is a village within Guilderland, so you will pay village taxes as well. It is very cute, and it has some amenities for a small village - a library, a couple of restaurants, a park, bank, etc. However, both Altamont and Voorheesville proper will require your husband to drive on windy county roads for a while before even getting to the highway for his 45 minute commute to Cobleskill. I don't know what your commute is like now, but I would get tired of that quickly. The good news is that there is very little traffic in the direction he would be going.

Have you considered living west of Schenectady? I think it will be hard to find a big house on a big plot at your price point in the towns you are looking at. I have a friend who lives in Duanesburg, and she has gorgeous views, neighbors near, but not too near, an interesting mix of neighbors with a wide variety of professions and backgrounds, and property is much cheaper there than the towns you are looking at. It's too rural for me - I live in Albany - but it sounds like it might be a good fit for you. (I lived in Guilderland for 2 years and hated it because it was too suburban, and I had to drive everywhere, but it sounds like you don't mind driving.) I know the schools there don't have the same reputation as the schools in the towns you are looking at, but if your kids don't have special needs, this may not matter as much as you think it does. Duanesburg is also easy on/easy off from I-90, so a much easier commute for your husband.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:04 AM
 
65,491 posts, read 91,302,416 times
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I'm wondering if Rotterdam in the Schalmont SD would work as well? Schalmont Central School District - Rotterdam, NY

Test Scores for Schalmont Central School District | GreatSchools

RealtyUSA | New York Real Estate |=

Maybe even some parts of the Mohanasen SD in Rotterdam as well: Test Scores for Rotterdam-Mohonasen Central School District | GreatSchools

RealtyUSA | New York Real Estate |=

Mohonasen Central School District - Rotterdam, NY
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:06 PM
 
267 posts, read 890,673 times
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I was going to suggest Rotterdam too. But from the places listed, Guilderland jumped out at me. It's near the highway, near Albany, good schools. Cobleskill is going to be a trek. I would focus on areas that you can easily acess I-88, I-90, like w/in minutes, having to take a bunch of side streets or back roads to Cobleskill will really tack on time to the commute.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:45 AM
 
2 posts, read 10,467 times
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This is so helpful! Sarchivist98, I'll definitely look at Duanesburg. I'd love rural as long as I'm within fifteen minutes of restaurants and within 5 minutes of a grocery store. I'll have to go see just how rural it is! In addition to the towns I've listed, I'll look into Rotterdam and Scotia as well. After learning about the ramifications of the huge funding changes for the bigger schools over the next few years (cuts across the board that might result in some schools closing/merging), I'm going to continue to look seriously at Voorheesville. Commute, lot size, rural feel, but close to groceries and shopping, might be a good fit. If anyone has an opinion for or against that village, I'd love to hear it!
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:39 AM
 
267 posts, read 890,673 times
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Duansburg is definetly closer but I'm not sure how close it is to shops and restaurants. When we looked at a house there, it had a small town/rural feel but I don't remember there being much close by. So I guess it'll depend on what's more important in the end shopping or short commute. About some schools closing, I don't know how much it's happening around here. I did here of 2 elementary schools that were closing, but they honestly were so small, I'm surprised they stayed open this long. I think one had less than 100 students. My kids school has 500, and it doesn't seem to big, or over croweded and class size is good. So I'm not sure you need to be terribly worried about it. Let us know how the scouting trip goes.
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
335 posts, read 760,661 times
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Duanesburg doesn't have much in terms of restaurants, but it does have a brand-new big Hannaford grocery store Also, I like the Landis Aboreteum out there. They have lots of nature programs for both families and adults.

Voorheeseville is a nice town, but I don't know that you'll find the house you're looking for in your price range. There may be parts of Voorheesville that are more affordable that I'm not aware of. One thing you may have figured out around here is that boundaries are a little fluid. It is still hard for me to get used to, and I've lived in the Capital District for over a decade. For instance, Slingerlands is normally part of the Bethlehem School District, but you can have a Slingerlands address and actually live in Guilderland. Voorheesville does have several locally-owned businesses, a great playground, some parks, and a decent library for a town of its size. It has a real All-American small-town feel.

If schools are very important to you, ask around a bit before moving there, though. What I am about to say is total hearsay - I have no inside knowledge of this, so take it with a grain of salt, but still worth digging a little deeper. Several acquaintances of mine who are in the education field have been wondering what is going on in the Voorheesville School District. More than the usual number of long-term faculty and administrators have left over the past few years for lower-paying jobs or for jobs in school districts with a reputation for more difficult students. Could be nothing but sheer coincidence, or could be something internal that has absolutely no effect on the students, but I know this fact has led some people to be wary about applying for jobs in the district.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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Did you find the place yet? Niskayuna has the school
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