Please forgive my hiatus, folks! Not only did I become a first-time homeowner in the fall, but I also started a new job in November, and then the holidays came along. Needless to say, things have been busy! But here I am, eager and excited to tell you all about my new neighborhood.
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I formerly lived in the well-loved Park Ave neighborhood of Rochester. Parting with my apartment of three years was tinged with nostalgia, but honestly, no regrets. My new ‘hood is awesome.
After seeing many many houses, we ultimately chose to buy in the North Winton Village. This neighborhood is considered relatively up-and-coming, with the real estate market starting to pick up considerably each spring. House hunting was a stressful but fascinating process- our realtor, Sue Ververs, was a delight to work with and kept our spirits up during our lengthy search!
One of the things I’ve really been enjoying about the North Winton Village is the abundance of small businesses, with more popping up all the time. I’ll highlight a few of my new favorites here.
The Green House Cafe is a wonderful place with a great mission. It’s a coffee shop…in a green house…that provides employment for women recovering from addiction. That’s three great things in one! The food is pretty tasty too- the panini I had there recently was awesome.
Gotta love a public piano!
We also recently discovered Tryon City Tavern. It had been on our list to try, and we’d heard good things, and I’m so glad we made it there! While the ambiance is lacking, the food is pretty incredible (and affordable). We had some seriously outstanding burgers and delicious apps last time we were there.
Another favorite is the Ginger Lion. You may have heard of this joint- they got a fair amount of buzz when they opened in 2016. The ginger-haired owner makes all his own ice cream, and it is damn good. I even indulged in a sundae last time is there and it was worth every yummy calorie. I’m sure we’ll visit more in the summer once it’s a more weather-appropriate treat. For now, I’ll stick with the leftover Christmas cookies.
And of course, the consistently tasty BBQ joint Sticky Lips is right up the road from us. It should be interesting to see what’s added to the micro-mall (though I’m not a fan of the new Burger King on Humboldt, tbh).
ARTISANworks is another local gem. It’s walking distance from our house, and full of tons of eclectic art! Even the ceilings are covered. It’s definitely a sensory overload when you visit, but that can be a good thing- it necessitates future visits to immerse yourself in the art!
Art on the ceilings!
Dream room tbh
Also, the Winton Library is like a 3 minute walk from our house, so it’s been pretty great to become a library patron again! Other perks of the neighborhood? It’s quiet, the neighbors are friendly, and the street parking is less chaotic than in other areas of the city.
The flowers in this neighborhood are lovely
Sometimes you see weird shit
Night sky on Humboldt
Plus, it’s still super close to downtown and walkable to many local establishments- we’ve walked to Maker’s Studio and the Rochester Brainery without any trouble- it barely takes 20 minutes. We absolutely love where we ended up. If you’re thinking about buying a home in #ROC someday, I’d highly recommend the North Winton Village!
For the past three years, I’ve lived in the Park Ave area in Rochester, NY. Park Ave is highly beloved by Rochesterians, and it was just the right place for me to be in my early twenties. At the end of August, I said goodbye to the old and the familiar and left the half house I had rented for so long (hence the lack of blogging!). This post is meant as a final farewell to Westminster Road. I’m going to reminisce a bit, but will also discuss some of the pros and cons of living in the Park Ave area as a young adult.
I moved into my apartment on Westminster Road in September 2013. I was living with a friend from high school who I hadn’t stayed in close touch with throughout our college years. It turned out to be a fantastic decision. I was nervous at first about moving in with someone I didn’t know all that well, but it couldn’t have worked out any better. We read books on the porch together. We drank wine and talked about how our days went. We watched Mad Men. We talked about boys and life and our careers and our goals and the future. In my mind, those were the golden days at Westminster Road.
The golden age: December 2013
Wine bottle lights by Emily & Tim
We had some awesome parties (not ragers) in this apartment. Everything from Halloween to ugly sweater, from New Year’s to the Super Bowl. I remember people sitting on the floor in the kitchen because there weren’t enough chairs and couches to sit on! I remember people showing up who I didn’t even know! I remember eating lots of cookies and dips and laughing a lot. We meant to throw a goodbye party but we ran out of time and were too ambivalent about the apartment by that point to give it a proper sendoff.
Places I’ve walked from Westminster
East Ave (art by Dellarious)
I’ll also always remember walking all over creation from this most excellent location on Westminster Road. We walked to Fringe Festival, Ugly Duck, Fuego Coffee, Makers Studio, Joe Bean, Cobbs Hill, Roam, RMSC, the MAG. Everywhere! We love taking long walks in the evening (yes, like an old married couple), so we had our little route and enjoyed people watching and scoping out all the beautiful old houses (and catching pokemon along the way). I’ll miss walking in the Park Ave area- it’s not the same when you’re not a resident. It’s not “yours” anymore.
There was a windowseat. This was my favorite part of the apartment. When I first came over to see it, that was the main thing that sold me. I sat on the windowseat chatting with old friends I hadn’t seen in years, and I knew I would enjoy many books on that big, comfy windowseat.
Tile in the entryway
Close up of the stained glass
The details. You know, sometimes it’s the little things. My old roommate really loved the old school lights in our apartment. Most of the lights were buttons you pushed instead of switches you flicked. There was a green tiled fireplace (lord knows why; my boyfriend lived on Goodman Street for a few years and his fireplace had identical green tiles) with a lovely mantle and built-in bookshelfs with some really nice molding. Those kinds of things made living in the apartment more bearable when our love for it started to fade.
The chandeliers. What twenty-something can say they’ve lived in an apartment with chandeliers? I don’t think it’s all that common- but it might be if you’re renting in the Park Ave area. We had two really pretty light fixtures, one in the foyer and one in the living room. It looked slightly more 21st-century when you were laying on the floor doing yoga and staring up at the 2016 lightbulbs, though.
Eggs, coffe, & fruit on the porch on a lazy Saturday
Many a drink enjoyed on this fine porch!
The porch. The porch at Westminster was #porchgoals. We lived in a 2-bedroom in the front half of the house, so we were lucky enough to get the whole front porch to ourselves! It was huge! We’d eat dinner out there, drink wine, read books, do grad school work. People watch. All the essentials! I feel lucky to have a porch at my new place, so I’m not too sad about losing the Westminster porch.
Roof access. This wasn’t the biggest thing, by any means, but when I first moved in I thought it was pretty darn cool that I could go sit on the roof anytime I liked. If you opened the decrepit windows wide enough, you could squeeze out onto the roof so you’d be sitting directly above the porch. I read books up there, worked remotely, and even watched Little Miss Sunshine through my neighbors’ windows. The novelty wore off eventually, but it was fun for awhile.
The bathroom. This place had a wee little jack-and-jill bathroom between the two bedrooms. Not a huge problem at all, but it was SO TINY! I can’t count the number of times that I dropped my toothpaste, toothbrush, retainers, or contact lenses in the toilet. Seriously, I don’t think I can count that high.
The kitchen. It was…dated. To say the least. The garbage disposal sparked every time we ran it and usually failed to grind up the food that was in there. The fridge was loud. The oven ran way too hot. The paint colors were a bit garish- yellow with blue trim. The saddest looking cabinets you can imagine. Endearing initially, but definitely old after awhile. Plus, nowhere near enough counter space for two people to cook together. Sad!
Parking. Parking at Westminster was no fun. Anyone who’s lived in the Park Ave area knows that parking can be a pain in the butt- alternating sides is annoying and confusing. We had one driveway spot, and our neighbors had two. Our neighbors constantly tried to fit 3-4 cars back there, and it was NOT FEASIBLE. They tore up the lawn and we were constantly fearing for our cars’ well-being.
The neighbors. At least 4 different sets of people cycled through the back apartment in the 3 years I lived in the front unit. The last set I encountered was by far the worst. While my landlord told me he’d filled it with “some young professionals recently out of college,” he might as well have just said “22 year olds who love beer pong and the Bachelorette.” You run that risk living in Park Ave- it’s become a college area more and more in recent years. These girls, though, took rude and disrespectful to a new level. Tim and I grew to fear the sound of the vacuum cleaner because we knew it meant they were having a 6+ hour party. We woke up to a lot of beer cans on the lawn on a lot of Saturday mornings.
The landlord. Some landlords are good, some landlords are bad. We had one of the not-good ones. I’m sure he’d classify himself as a good guy, but he is one of the laziest humans I’ve ever met. I won’t go into too much detail here, but this dude would not fix ANYTHING and always had an excuse for why it wasn’t necessary or why he didn’t have the time.
So, I’ve moved on! Farewell, Westminster Road. We had a lot of good memories together. I keep wondering if the neighbors across the street and on either side will notice I’m gone. I watched the guy across the street and to the right talking on his phone out on his porch at all hours of the day; I pet his dog in a snowstorm. I liked watching our neighbors directly across from us throw nice parties and let their dog HR Fluffenstuff (not its real name, we made it up) come out to say hello to the guests. I enjoyed sharing a silent nod with the silver fox who lived to our right. Will they miss the presence of the 20-something on the porch of the yellow house with red shutters, book in one hand and glass of wine in the other? I’ll never know.
Roc Girl, Big World is a hybrid Rochester appreciation and travel blog. For a long time, growing up, I heard friends wanting to get out of Rochester or get out of the ‘burbs. In college, everyone was eager to move on to the Next Big Thing. But living in Rochester as an adult, I’ve come to realize that this city has a hell of a lot to offer, and I love it.
Loving my city doesn’t mean I don’t want to (or can’t) travel. I love to travel. This blog will be my opportunity to reflect on it all: the place I am, the places I’ve been, and the places I am going.
Follow along! It’s sure to be an interesting journey.