Utica and Rome, small towns separated by 16 miles, trace their origins to the Erie Canal. Both towns are hardworking and industrial in nature and are fairly lacking in small town charm. However, nearby areas offer plentiful snow and winter sports, and the Adirondacks are a short distance to the northeast. Cooperstown, one of the most likeable small towns in the northeast and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, is on the shore of Lake Otsego (40 miles southeast).
Crime is low. Cost of living, while moderate on a New York/East Coast scale, is still a bit high for what’s available. The economy, like most of upstate New York, is weak and appears to be getting weaker. There are some modest museums and cultural amenities but there is little to do in the immediate area and winter weather is dreary. Utica has the dubious distinction of being tied with Syracuse for receiving the nation’s highest annual snowfall among metro areas. The right combination of economic incentives and investment may mix well with the area’s location, cost profile and recreational opportunities to bring a brighter future.
Utica and Rome sit in a broad, relatively level Mohawk Valley, opening into Oneida Lake to the west. The landscape is mixed farmland and deciduous forest. The hilly Tug Hill Plateau rises to the north, and the mostly wooded Adirondack foothills rise to the northeast and east. The climate is humid continental with warm, sunny days and cool evenings and an occasional hot, sticky spell. Precipitation comes mainly in the form of afternoon thundershowers. Winters are harsh and snowy, as a rise in the terrain and the position with respect to storm tracks and Lake Ontario bring snow and snow squalls. Very heavy snows, as much as 200 inches per year, occur in some of the hills to the north.