Here is the story of why our family created this website.
This website was started out of frustration after a family holiday weekend. We were trying to find any activity that we could all do as a family and include both sets of grandparents. We spent literally 5 hours searching the web and everything was either way too expensive or not open. So, our goal was to create a web site that would help solve this problem.
The Origin Story
Mr. McClain was born in the State of New Jersey within the grasp of the Tri-State area. His family relocated to the Hudson Valley, NY before his 2nd birthday. The move was purely economic. The price of nice homes in the Hudson Valley were less than half that of the same homes in Northern New Jersey.
He was educated in Monroe-Woodbury school district and graduated in the early 1990s. He later went on to college at the furthest State University from his home (SUNY Fredonia). While there he majored in Chemical Engineering and graduated with a B.S. in that field. Upon graduation he built a business that would eventually sell early and allow him to retire in his late 40s.
Mr. McClain was an avid ice hockey and lacrosse player this is how he began to explore most of the State at a very young age. As a kid he would spend most summers in the Long Island and Syracuse areas of the state playing lacrosse. Winters were dedicated to the Buffalo and Rochester area of the State.
Mrs. McClain was born in the Syracuse area where she would spend most of her time until she graduated from Cicero North Syracuse High School in the early 1990s. Her father was a Vietnam veteran and they set roots in a Military housing complex nearby in the area.
While in high school she had the opportunity to work with children with special needs and decided to devote her left towards working with those children. She decided to attend SUNY Fredonia specifically for this purpose.
While attending college at SUNY Fredonia the two met, fell in love with one another, and decided to start a life together. Which combines all the elements of the State of New York: a Central New Yorker and a Downstate New Yorker meet in Western New York.
The Young Family
Coming out of college, we did not have 2 nickels to rub together. Everything was super expensive, and we did not have enough left over to put anything into savings for the first 18 months, which is pretty common. Almost everything we did for fun relied on nature because it is mostly free. Spending more than $20 on the weekend was quite a hardship, so we learned how to leave lean financially, pretty quickly.
Mrs. McClain’s career of choice was very mobile, but once she set down roots; it became less so. Chemical Engineering jobs, at the time, were mostly localized in the larger cities. Engineering jobs pay very well, but because of the city living, they come at higher cost of living. So, the young family decided to let Mr. McClain’s career direct them where they should start out. We landed in the Capital Region of the State, which was one of the only places in the state that neither of us had any experience with.
The Kids Are Here!
We spent 4 years in Capital Region when Mrs. McClain was offered a substantial promotion to work in a school district in the Hudson Valley region of the State. So, we relocated to the Hudson Valley. We landed about 50 miles from Manhattan. Once we were settled, we began to start forming our family.
You would love conditions to be absolutely perfect when you bring children into the world. We heard my son’s heartbeat for the first time approximately 7 hours after the September 11th attacks. We both remember looking at one another and saying, “What type of world did we bring our son into?” Being so close to New York City, we did lose a family member and 6 friends between the 2 towers. It was absolutely devasting for our family and friends.
We continued on our path and eventually began to heal, as well as our community. One positive takeaway from that time frame is that we cannot remember another time that we, as a community, were so united in helping one another. I remember shaking stranger’s hands and say that I appreciated them. This was a normal thing for that time period, if you were in our area. We were so close to Ground Zero that it was rare to meet someone that was not affected by the attacks, in some way.
When our son was 3 years old, we had our daughter. While our son was super healthy, our daughter would throw up her formula every night and had a distended belly all the time. It took us about 3 years to figure out what was wrong. She had a gluten and milk allergy that we both had zero experience with before. We eventually got her on the right diet, and she began to thrive.
Exploring This State of Ours Together
Our children were both athletes from a young age. They were actually pretty good at their respective sports which required a lot of travelling on the weekends. We would spend 3-4 days a week on a lacrosse field or swimming pool somewhere across the state. We decided to do something together in the area that these meets, or games took place. This is where we first got our taste for exploring.
We tried to do different types of things. One of the best traits about our family is that we will all try something a few times before we form an opinion about it. We would always have something to do with Nature every season except winter. The main benefit is that almost everything related to nature, besides parking, is free or low cost. You might notice that the Nature section of our site is huge do to this.
The children are now in college, both at State Universities of New York. My son attends SUNY Albany where he is set to graduate next year. My daughter attends SUNY Binghamton. They are both studying different flavors of Business majors which they are both passionate about. So, we encourage them to run with it.
Why This Website?
We feel that we could give you unique insight into all the different things that our state has to offer. Possessing the quality of being outgoing people and have been intricately engrained in the fabric of all the areas of the state that we have been around. We hope that we can help local small business thrive a bit more. There are so many beautiful parts of our state that are getting overrun by franchises. I love a Starbucks as much as the next person, but it is nothing like Uncommon Grounds in Saratoga. While the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant is awesome anywhere, we go, Anchor Bar’s (Buffalo, NY) wings are a whole next level, maybe 2 levels. We would also love to hear any comments you may have to enhance these experiences for others.