I’m originally from Greenwood Lake, a small, rural town in New York, located about 45 minutes north of New York City. The town is named after the 9-mile long lake that sits half in New York and half in New Jersey, and is surrounded by densely wooded mountains.
Originally called “Long Pong” by the Native Americans, Greenwood Lake is the “biggest lake in Orange County” (yes, Orange County, New York – not California!). It’s close proximity to the city has made it a popular place for city-folk to escape to since the early 1900s. For a long time, Greenwood Lake was predominantly a vacation/resort town – full of hotels, summer homes and beach bungalows. But now, it’s where many people, including my parents, call “home” year-round.
Laker Fact #1: Yankee great Babe Ruth used to vacation in Greenwood Lake! #1 Laker Rumor: Current New York Yankee Derek Jeter has a house on the lake! Or it’s his Mother’s house… Either way, we saw Derek at church on Christmas Eve – so that was pretty exciting!
Greenwood Lake was a great place to grow up. Summer days were spent in the water, or on a boat. Winter days were spent ice skating, sleigh-riding (YES, that’s what we call it…not sledding) or skiing on 1 of the 2 local mountains. Fall and Spring were spent exploring the woods in the area, or visiting the farms/orchards in neighboring towns. Laker Fact #2: part of the Appalachian Trail meanders through my hometown! I think it’s clear where I get my love for being outside in the fresh air and sunshine!
Without a doubt I am 100% a “country mouse”, but I had always appreciated having such quick access to New York City. Laker Fact #3: you can see the city skyline from various high points in the area.
Growing up in such a small town definitely impacted what colleges I looked at. Considering my graduating class was only 80 students (from 2 towns!), I didn’t want to go to a giant school where I’d get lost in a sea of students. But I DID want to spread my wings a little and move away from my small town…
Enter York College of Pennsylvania: a private college in a semi-rural area in south-central Pennsylvania that was about 4 hours from home – not too far, but enough distance to feel like I was on my own. Little did I know that York is like a magnet! The relatively low cost of living + a decent job market meant that a lot of us who came out here for school, ended up staying. (I had even moved back to New York after graduating, and then came back here 6 years later!)
And now I’m buying a house out here…so that makes York, my new hometown. I mean, I’ll forever be a New Yorker – but I’ve always said that York is a lot like Greenwood Lake, just without the lake :P
While I miss my friends and family (and the Big Apple) – there’s a lot to love about York! First and foremost – my amazing job is out here (more on that in another post). Next, there are the country roads that are fantastic for biking! York also has an amazing Rail Trail that runs all the way down into Maryland! We haven’t made it that far down (yet), but it’s great for an easy bikeride through the woods.
Also, there’s a lot of history here, visible in both the old brick farms along the country roads as well as in the detailed architecture downtown. Oh, downtown… I LOVE downtown, which is where I work. The city is currently undergoing a revitalization of sorts, which is really awesome to witness. In addition to an emphasis on supporting small businesses, there’s also an emerging art scene with new galleries opening up, as well as a public art installation which uses large industrial pieces as planters and garbage can covers.
I’m doing my best to support the revitalization efforts through one of my favorite hobbies: shopping! Shopping downtown is special because it’s personal. You really get to know the vendors, and they get to know you – which is just one of the perks of shopping local. York also has a great First Friday scene. For those of you who don’t know, First Friday occurs monthly (I’ll let you guess when ;)) and it’s when local businesses stay open late (often providing live music or snacks) in order for people to check out their business. I love it! It’s a great way to be a part of and support your community!
So that’s my GWL-pride and my YoCo Pride in a
nutshell blogpost :P As it turns out – there’s more that I love about my “new hometown” than I realized! So, I’m going to have a follow-up post featuring one of my favorite local vendors, as well as a list of some of the shops and restaurants downtown that I love.
Thank you to Nicole for hosting this challenge. This was a perfect time in my life to reflect on both where I’m from and where it’s led me :)