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Old 07-07-2013, 08:49 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,297 times
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I am considering a job with GE in Schenectady. We have lived in Atlanta, Savannah, and New Hampshire in the last 10 years. We moved away from the south to try new things (my husband is a military brat lived in Germany when he was growing up). We wouldn't mind moving around for another 3-4 years then settling back to Atlanta where we have family. We didn't think we would like New Hampshire but after the weekend visit to Schenectady, we started naming off all of the things we do love about our current location (walking distance to Children's Museum in Dover, 1.5 hour drive to China Town in Boston, close to Conway where our 3 year old could ride old fashion steam trains, close to the beach, different festivals, etc). We didn't see much of the similar things available here. Maybe we missed it?

What do families with little ones (3 year old and 6 month old) do on weekends? Where should we live? My husband travels for work so we can be anywhere as long as he can get to an airport...

I like that the schools are ranked high... Even though we are a few more years away from school - I'm assuming the quality of day care is just as good? Any recommendations for day care?

We are looking for homes in the $275k-$325 range. Would love a nice neighborhood with other young families. We looked at Clifton Park and Scotia... We didn't have a chance to see Colonie and don't know how far we should explore away from Schenectady. We are pretty sure we don't want to live in Schenectady due to the higher taxes. Any tips or suggestions would be great! Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:43 AM
 
253 posts, read 434,406 times
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I think the best places for you would probably be Clifton park, Niskayuna, Scotia and Colonie.

Each of those places have good schools, tons of families, nice houses and easy access to Schenectady.

Scotia and Niskyuna are close to Schenectady than the others so I'd look there first.


What do families with young kids do on the weekends? There's a great science museum in Schenectady that's fun for kids. There's also a great theatre that frequently has broadway productions. There's lots of parks all around to have picnics, etc.

Albany is really great because its almost equal distance between New York City, Boston and Montreal. All three make great weekend or day trips.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:11 AM
 
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We just moved here (live in colonie) with a 2.5 year old and a 2 month old. We looked in the areas you mentioned plus guilderland and Bethlehem. All were nice but ultimately we found what we were looking for in colonie. Husband works in albany so it was closest commute for least taxes. We are in south school district which isn't as good as north but still a huge improvement from where we moved from.

Our price range was similar to you and we were looking for a 4 bed with a garage. There was plenty in that range everywhere except Latham and loudonville. If you're looking for a smaller home there should be more in those locations. Taxes ranged from $5k - $9k and I'd say avg lot size is betw 1/4-1/2 acre.

You might want to check out guilderland and also burnt hills school district.

I'm finding lots of family friendly activities- there are some museums for older kids and a children's one up in Saratoga. All of the libraries have good programs and lots of parks and outdoor areas to visit. Compared with NH this area is way more busy, especially the closer you are to albany or Schenectady. Bethlehem/delmar had more of that quaint New England feel to it but I don't know what the commute would be like.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:23 AM
 
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Don't write off the City of Albany. The kind of money you are thinking on spending will buy a lot of house here, and some of the neighborhoods around Pine Hills and Manning Blvd. are really nice. Schools...a bit dodgier, but we've gotten our 11 year old through them fine so far. Exploring options for High School though.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
334 posts, read 777,632 times
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There is actually tons to do here with kids, and lots of it is inexpensive. The problem is that nothing is centralized - things are in Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga & Albany, so activities can be hard to find out about. Fiver Rivers Environmental Center in Delmar has lots of family programs for all ages. Pine Bush Nature Center is another place with great programs. For arts, there's the Steamer 10 Theater in Albany, Arts Center of the Capital District in Troy (great programs for adults too), family programs at Proctor's and The Palace (can be expensive), and family programs at The Albany Institute of History and Art. There are also programs at the Children's Museum of Science and Technology and Saratoga Children's Museum. The public libraries tend to be excellent here, with especially good kids' programs at Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, Bethlehem Public Library, William K. Sanford Public Library, Colonie (the building needs major work, but the collection and programs are excellent), Guilderland Public Library and Albany Public Library.

I have loads more I could give you with more time. I'll add more if others miss them. I am a native of Boston, and this area does not have the hustle and bustle of that city, which I miss, but I think there are as many good "bang for the buck" activities for kids here as there are in Boston. We don't have anything flashy like the Children's Museum or the New England Aquarium, but there are tons of smaller activities to do.

leopold21558 - My oldest just finished her first year at Albany High, and we have been pleasantly surprised. Not sure now if we would ever transfer to another area school!
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 8,225,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarchivist98 View Post
leopold21558 - My oldest just finished her first year at Albany High, and we have been pleasantly surprised. Not sure now if we would ever transfer to another area school!
I used to live in the South Colonie school district until the late 1990s, and Albany High then seemed about on a par with SCCS. I don't think the two districts have diverged since then. I think what may make the public schools in Albany look less desirable than suburban schools is lower average test scores, but keep in mind that Albany has a much higher percentage of poor children than do Shenendahowa or Shaker, and educational success really does closely correlate with family income.

Albany is an urban high school with a much more diverse student population in terms of race, economic status, life-styles, etc than you're going to find in many of the "better" suburban districts. It's probably no more dangerous than any large high school in the area, and wayward students looking to get into trouble will find it even in expensive and exclusive private schools. In the end, what your child gets out of his/her education is proportional to what he/she puts into it.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Finally of RTP, NC!
49 posts, read 150,827 times
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Niskayuna, which is right next to Schenecatdy, is a great place to raise a family. Both my parents used to work for GE. The Niskayuna School District, and the neighboring South Colonie School District,which includes some parts of southern and eastern Niskayuna, are both ranked among the best in the area.

As for things to do on the weekend, there is plenty. If you are a go-to-the-mall type people, there is plenty of that. If you are outdoorsy, the Adirondacks and Catskill mountains are each about an hours drive away, offering hiking, camping, fishing, boating, hunting, and skiing in the winter. In town, there is the New York State Museum, the Schenectady Planetarium, and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

The Saratoga Race Track is about 30 minutes north-the horse racing season runs from mid-July through Labor Day and is fun for all ages. 30 minutes north of that is Lake George Village, which has a couple of theme parks, a mini-golf course, Fort William Henry, and many other amenities.
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:27 PM
 
112 posts, read 214,358 times
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Saratoga Springs is the best option in the greater Albany area, but would be at the top of your price range even for a modest home. Living in Saratoga would also mean a longer commute to Schenectady. With that understanding up front, I think it has everything that you would expect from an awesome small city. Downtown is walkable, full of cool restaurants and bars. The school system is one of the best in the area. There is a fun kids museum and the city library has lots of excellent programs for kids. The state park has walking and hiking trails, not to mention a top-notch summer concert series. Saratoga Is great for kids and still fun for parents who aren't ready to buy the cookie-cutter home in suburbia. One drive through town and you'll understand what I'm talking about, make sure you visit as a possible choice.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Woburn, MA / W. Hartford, CT
3,582 posts, read 3,262,119 times
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I would recommend Niskayuna, Latham/North Colonie, Guilderland, or even Loudonville. Clifton Park (where we used to live) is VERY boring in my view, plus you will face the dreaded commute over the Rexford bridge bottleneck twice a day to get to GE. Saratoga is great but too far out...from both GE and ALB airport.

Agree with the other posters. There is lots to do in the Capital District for families, but it's all spread out and you may have to hunt for it.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:50 AM
 
13 posts, read 32,531 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
I used to live in the South Colonie school district until the late 1990s, and Albany High then seemed about on a par with SCCS. I don't think the two districts have diverged since then. I think what may make the public schools in Albany look less desirable than suburban schools is lower average test scores, but keep in mind that Albany has a much higher percentage of poor children than do Shenendahowa or Shaker, and educational success really does closely correlate with family income.

Albany is an urban high school with a much more diverse student population in terms of race, economic status, life-styles, etc than you're going to find in many of the "better" suburban districts. It's probably no more dangerous than any large high school in the area, and wayward students looking to get into trouble will find it even in expensive and exclusive private schools. In the end, what your child gets out of his/her education is proportional to what he/she puts into it.
I think even more than income a crucial advantage is the simple fact that more suburban kids will be from intact 2 parent homes, which is an even more accurate predictor than money. I would agree that no school anywhere, urban, suburban, or rural will provide a perfect or perfectly safe environment. You have to equip your kids with the tools to cope with the stuff they will encounter when you aren't around, and raising them in isolation from the World does them no favors. That said, we all consider religious instruction to be important, my daughter included, and will probably opt for one of the Catholic schools in large part because of that, notwithstanding that we aren't Roman Catholic ourselves. Its one area where public schools really can't compete.
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