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Old 03-09-2008, 08:25 PM
 
78 posts, read 419,128 times
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We are a young family that wants to relocate to Ithaca, NY at the end of the year. However, some close friends recommended that we look into Saratoga Springs instead. I must admit that I know very little about the area and even with the internet, I'm not getting a feel for what it would be like to live there. We are seeking an area that has a lot to do for a young family, low crime, good schools, affordable living. We would rent the first couple of years until we learned more about the area, so does anyone know the average cost of rent? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Okay, here's the Forum's top contender for the "I *think* I know this" entry of the year....

NEVER been there--but will be going there this summer with the family. We too have (often) been told to check out Saratoga Springs in terms of where to relocate our young family (our older kids are now off to college). Plus, it sounds like just a really great place to visit.

From what we've heard/found out (very) generally:

Very race-track centered, with a long tradition of horse racing, horse breeding, etc. LOTS of tourists, racers, bettors come up in the summer for the racing season, and lots of residents rent out their apartments, rooms, and whole homes to such visitors. Classy-looking race track. Attracts more a white-wine-and-yelling/posing than a beer-and-throwing/fighting kind of crowd. (No offense to beer & beer drinkers here--I'm one myself.)

Lots of lovely, stately older architecture, but new developments just outside the core part of town, too. Some of these seem to be almost hidden in the thick forests.

Nice town parks, long tradition of spas, mineral baths, etc.

Pricey real estate.

A good deal of wealth.

Quite good schools.

Pretty high property taxes.

Beautiful location, near the Adirondacks, Lake George, lots of other lakes around there, New England, etc. Not too far from Canada, either, and supposedly a pretty drive to get there.

COLD Winters, brief Springs, terrific Summers, vibrant Autumns (lots of maples among the hardwoods, and all the evergreens only make the hardwoods flame more beautifully--this I can attest to first-hand, having spent many Autumns elsewhere in upstate NY). Rarely afflicted by drought. Clean air.

Interesting and lively downtown, esp. during racing season, with range of restaurants, shops, etc.

Biking, hiking, boating all around. Good trail system. Skiing and other winter sports very near town, too.

Good medical facilities.

Politically, Saratoga Springs is much more conservative and traditionally-minded than Ithaca. But that's true of just about every place in Upstate NY, I gather, due to Ithaca's fairly exceptional politics and mood generally. Most of Upstate tends to be on the traditional side of things. And by "traditional" I mean a very decent and humane kind of traditionalism. Just by dint of attracting so many people from throughout the state, and from the country as a whole, Saratoga Springs has got a pretty good diversity of people, I understand. It's quite a well-educated and cosmopolitan area. Its traditionalism lies more in its fondness for its own history and for sustaining its small-town/small-city Americanness, such as its parades and festivals, than in any serious close-mindedness.

I'm sure that others will chime in with much more specific information. But as far as I can gather, from Saratoga Springs visitors as well as residents I've known, it's a very, very attractive place to live, as well as just visit.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:10 AM
 
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I know both communities very well and both are beautiful towns that offer excellent schools, culture and smaller town living.

One question though (none of my business)... when I read posts like this I often wonder? Do you already have a job or are you independently wealthy. Both are pretty encapsulated when it comes to employment and earning a livable wage. I haven't been back to Ithaca since college, however Saratoga has become a little pricey these days for housing. Even with Albany 30 miles away there really aren't many employment opportunities in Saratoga county. Great location if you have a successful business or finances you can depend on.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:57 AM
 
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Thanks Homewardbound. You are full of great information. I've seen various posts from you, including responses to my questions, and have to say you are one of the best on here!
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:59 AM
 
78 posts, read 419,128 times
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Unfortunately we are not any where near being wealthy, and do not have employment worked out. We are a very middle class family. It does look as if Saratoga is much too expensive for us. I appreciate the information though. We would only be able to afford the cheapest of housing. We feel better about Ithaca because of the Universities and colleges. (My husband works for a university at the moment.) Thanks so much for your input.
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:00 PM
 
Location: bumcrack Nebraska
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Saratoga Springs is a wonderful town to visit, but I wouldn't live there unless I was upper middle class. It has a beautiful downtown area with many unique shops. In Saratoga Springs, there are many older houses with tons of charm and character. The schools are fairly decent- not the best in the area, but certainly not the worst. Skidmore College is located there, as is Empire State College. Adirondack Community College has a campus near Saratoga Springs, so there may be opportunity for employment at one of those schools. A Naval base is located just outside town, so there are quite a few Navy families in the area.

As I said, I wouldn't live there. My daughter went to preschool in Saratoga. I found the other mothers to be somewhat snobby and stand-offish. If you don't have money, you don't really fit in. This is just my personal experience.
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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Thanks so much for the info! I have heard that before. I definitely wouldn't fit in. We do well on what we have, but we are by no means well off. Are there any areas that you would recommend?
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:07 PM
 
7,510 posts, read 14,829,323 times
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Default Not all snobs!

There are areas on the outskirts of Saratoga (Queensbury, Schuylerville, Ganesvoort) that are reasonably priced property. Schulerville has excellent schools. We bought a retirement home in the area (terrific builder) and found the people friendly, helpful and down to earth. You might find the "uppercrust" attitude in the town of Saratoga Springs during racing season but we haven't had that experience at all. Overall it is a great area, does not get the lake-effect snow, roads are cleared quickly after a snow fall and neighbors help each other. If you are interested in reasonably priced development, PM me.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:44 PM
 
Location: New York
1,999 posts, read 4,691,029 times
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Default great choice

Great area, perhaps the most beautiful in all of the Northeast states. Culture, beauty and class are the three words to define Saratoga Springs. Anyone who would change Saratoga would stir champagne. The directions to Saratoga are like this from New York City, you drive north for about 175miles, turn left on Union Avenue and go back 100 years ...
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
20 posts, read 70,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukusmom View Post
Unfortunately we are not any where near being wealthy, and do not have employment worked out. We are a very middle class family. It does look as if Saratoga is much too expensive for us. I appreciate the information though. We would only be able to afford the cheapest of housing. We feel better about Ithaca because of the Universities and colleges. (My husband works for a university at the moment.) Thanks so much for your input.

I grew up in the Saratoga Springs area and went to college in central NY. I guess I should include the disclaimer that after that I moved to Northern California and find it difficult to imagine going back. Nonetheless, I think both Saratoga and Ithaca are lovely, livable cities. They are both essentially college towns. Saratoga does have the track and tourists, but it is only during the summer months, and for the typical Saratogan the biggest impact this has is frustration in finding a parking spot or a spot in a restaurant in August.

A concern I would posit about Ithaca, is while it is a nice town, it is very isolated. It's well over an hour to get to Syracuse (which ain't much) and 4 hours to NYC. The greater Saratoga area, on the other hand ,is 30 or so mins away Albany (which ain't much, but has lots of jobs and universities nearby), 3 hours from Boston, 3 hours from Montreal, 2.5 hours from NYC and an hour from Vermont and the Adirondacks. Ballston Spa is a small town with decent schools which is close to Saratoga and affordable. Malta, NY is a small-ish outcrop of subdivisions near Saratoga Lake and is 15 min from Saratoga proper. A perk is that is is right next to the Northway (I 90) for an easy commute to Albany - it is also in the Ballston Spa school district. Round Lake and Burnt Hills are also nice communities in the area south of Saratoga Springs.

Oh - and I should note that my background is firmly rooted in the lower-middle class, and I lived in Malta.

Last edited by goodmau; 03-15-2008 at 04:18 PM.. Reason: update
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