Hey Upstate NY, You’ve Got This

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In this difficult time, I have said that I want The UP to be a place where people can come to be inspired and uplifted. My friend Rachel is a light in my community, someone who’s spirit inspires me. Here’s her short reminder of all the amazing things we can still do in this time!

Rachel Snyder is a non profit professional who resides in Irondequoit NY with her husband Tom and their often ridiculous chunky white cat, Stewart. She loves everything New York State, especially our craft beverage scene. The daughter of a lifelong public servant, and granddaughter of a former Town Supervisor, she doesn’t avoid talking politics at the dinner table, in fact she relishes in it.

Hi UP Readers,

Whether first time or long time readers, it’s good to e-meet you. Like many of you, I grew up in upstate New York, and have chosen to make this wonderful place my home.

There’s so much to explore right around you.

I know life right now is uncertain. If you’re anything like me, you don’t let moss grow under your feet. You’re eager to explore everything our state has to offer, but right now that seems impossible. So what do we do? Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 30 years, it’s that living in Upstate New York, whether in a small town or one of our beautiful mid sized cities, that you’re more than prepared for this; and let me share why.

We are home to some of the most beautiful parks in the country. Check out a park or parklet in your area that you’ve never been to. Make it a scavenger hunt to search for spring flora or fauna. It’s the first day of Spring and already some of our songbirds are returning to our beautiful deciduous forests. Have little ones at home with you, or just enjoy nature? There are apps where you can identify flora and fauna. I’m personally a big fan of my National Audobon Society bird guide.

Own a bike? Try one of our beautiful river or canal trails. Explore one of our State Parks that’s offering free admission. Biking is a great way to explore the diverse mix of urban and rural spaces.

We can still eat, drink, and be merry–from a distance and at home. We are home to restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, wineries, and distilleries galore. If you’re able to practice safe social distancing, continue to support those breweries, wineries, and distilleries that are providing curbside service (like my beloved Beer Tree Brewing in my hometown of Binghamton). Do a tasting at home, and pair it with food from one of your favorite local restaurants that’s also providing take out service at this time. You can continue to buy local and do so safely. Do you have a favorite coffee shop? See if they’re providing take out service, or ask if you can support folks in the service industry in other ways. Maybe they have a community fund, or a virtual tip jar. You can also have virtual happy hours with your friends and still drink local.

Do you enjoy capturing the moments around you? Practice amateur photography! Snap photos of the parks you’ve explored, or neat things you’ve found. Share it with your friends. Lift up businesses who are able to provide curbside services on your social media or with friends.

Our vibrant community spirit in Upstate New York is unparalleled. We check on our neighbors, we spare a square, and we share what we have with others–it’s in our DNA. As one of my favorite New York Chefs, Tom Colicchio said recently, “It’s not I the person, but we the people”, and I know we will get through this, together.

Cheers friends.