Name: Joy Underhill
I Am: Business Writer
Years in Rochester: 56 years
Current Home: Farmington, NY

Dear Rochester,

You have been my home for almost my entire life, which is saying something. I have fended off complaints about weather, smugness, racial divisiveness, isolation, and a dead downtown for decades, and I’m still fighting. Because I know a little secret that many others know – that Rochester is a wonderful place to live, thrive, and raise a family.

Where else can you afford to buy a house with a decent yard, attend dozens of cultural events of the highest quality, enjoy waterfronts in every direction, and still be within a 6-hour drive of major East Coast cities? Right here.

I love to travel, but when I come home, I am filled with warmth for this region. Yes, life is slower, but that’s a good thing. I remember one time when I’d been to Long Island visiting my son, navigating the hazards of the Long Island Expressway and searching for parking at a mall for a half hour (not during Christmas). Pack so many people together and they’re bound to get testy. But on the way home, I stopped nearby for lunch, and it was like a breath of fresh air. The people smiled easily, were kinder, and simply enjoyed life more. 

To be more specific, here’s a short list of why I love Rochester:
  • Historic brick buildings coupled with outstanding architecture, all reflected in water
  • A thriving agricultural community that provides great access to fresh foods
  • Top notch cultural and musical events – with NO traffic
  • Heavy snowfalls that soften and muffle the landscape – and invite warm nights in front of the fire
  • A huge variety of ethnic and specialty foods, prepared by first-generation immigrants
  • Broad educational opportunities at several fine universities
  • Some of the best healthcare anywhere

Of course, like any city, Rochester has its problems. But it’s gotten a bad rap, especially about the weather. Our “terrible weather” keeps us free of droughts, mudslides, wildfires, sandstorms, and tidal flooding – and returns to us maple syrup, lilacs, apples, grapes, and summer days that the snowbirds return for. I choose to measure my years by our glorious seasons, our proud history, and our determination to make Rochester an even better place to live for our children.