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Alphabet Soup: Local Look Inside

Have you ever considered what attracts a business to a certain community? Or why you chose to live where you do? Is it the proximity to and a variety of restaurants, entertainment opportunities, or places to work? Did you ever wonder what it took to make your neighborhood one that you WANT to live in? Behind every community is a group of businesses and individuals working to create positive change, those dedicated professionals are economic developers. Economic Development is more than meets the eye, which is why we’re pulling back the curtain to expose all of the moving parts behind making our community a great one to be a part of.

A perspective on the North Country from TDC’s 2021 summer intern, Olivia, who’s a Clinton County native. She shares why she loves to live here, and her fresh viewpoint of the Plattsburgh region having been a student, and now intern in our city.  

I have lived in the North Country my entire life. Growing up here means taking field trips to the local dairy farm, walking to apple orchards to pick fresh fruits, playing little league on a rough dirt field, and going to Stewart’s after school for ice cream. I can rely on my neighbors and my community to help me in times of need. This tight-knit community has shaped me into the person I am today.  

Reminiscing on those times always puts a smile on my face, but I am quickly learning that there are so many new things discover and enjoy while living in the North Country as an adult.  

However, I will confess that for a while during my high school career, I wanted to move far away to attend college. The FOMO of living away from here and meeting people that never knew me was something I wanted to experience. I thought by leaving my hometown, I would truly experience independent living.  

But, that simply is not true.  

I decided to attend SUNY Plattsburgh and live in the dorms. And to my pleasant surprise, it was nothing like living at home! I had all the comforts of living in a familiar place, but with all the independence of living far away. It wasn’t until I was exploring the city on my own, that I realized how much the Plattsburgh area can offer to people of all ages.  

I love to hike and explore! By choosing to be a student at SUNY Plattsburgh, I have been able to continue exploring the natural beauty in my hometown. During the fall semester, I like to take the weekends to hike as many different mountains as possible in the Adirondack region. The lush green landscape that slowly turns to a vibrant red, orange, and yellow is amazing to see from an aerial perspective. I have a ritual where I need an apple and cheese stick on top of the mountain (something my mom and dad instilled in me from many childhood hikes). Before heading to the trails, I go to a local orchard and pick out some fresh apples to snack on. These little things are what makes the North Country unbeatable.

When I’m looking for more adventures in an urban setting, I head downtown to Plattsburgh. Being a local, I get to see and experience all the activities and festivals that happen year-round. The summer months are great for checking out local artisans at farmer’s markets. It’s a great way to connect with people in the community and see what types of handcrafted items you can buy. It’s a great place to buy a coffee and wander through all the tents. I have a soft spot for beautifully done potter’s mugs.  

Lake Champlain is great for boating or going to the beach with friends to catch some rays and enjoy the views of the mountains. I like renting kayaks and paddleboards at the Kayak Shack and paddling down the river with the sun on my back.

With Montreal and Vermont close by, there are so many fun things to do! I love visiting the art museums in Canada and then buying authentic French cuisine. The location of Plattsburgh is great for enjoyable experiences, but also great for professional ones. I have been able to expand my hobbies and extracurricular activities to build friendships and gain mentors that will help me in my professional life. As an intern for TDC, I’ve had the opportunity to take in all that our region has to offer firsthand. There are more people and organizations than I ever realized working together trying to make our corner of New York a better place to live.  

When growing up here, it is easy to develop blinders from all the opportunities and experiences that are waiting to be taken advantage of. Once those blinders are gone, a world of options opens up!  

As my eyes have opened to the possibilities the North Country has, I am so glad I decided to stay here. The connections and relationships I have made throughout my college experience in northern New York make me excited to see what the future holds.

“Plattsburgh is the biggest little thing. We have a population around 30,000 residents, but our reach is much greater. It’s an easy drive for people in the Adirondacks, Malone, Canada, and Massena. Companies come to us for those reasons and the quality of life Plattsburgh offers.” — Planning Director Trevor Cole

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