I really love Chautauqua County. We have Chautauqua Institution (which is so filled with cultural activities!), Lily Dale (spiritualist community which is so pretty and you meet wonderfully interesting people who thank you for wearing your baby in a sling and are intensely interested in AP practices), coffee shops where you can read poetry and stories, free concerts in the wood park downtown, trees everywhere, sculptures popping out throughout town... it really is inspiring at times! You can start a small business downtown rather cheaply. A storefront in the busy section will cost about $250 a month to rent.
Some people bring others down. They see the area as being depressed. The people are depressed. Drug addiction and alcohol abuse is a big thing, as is domestic disputes. The big drugs in the area are pot and Cocaine. Chautauqua County is one of the "stops" along the drug runs. People don't realize how much culture is available if they just stop and notice, ykwim? It has way more culture than is available in even some larger cities.
I can tell you one thing, though... I can walk anywhere in town, at any time of the day or night, and not worry about getting jumped. I feel completely safe walking down the tree lined brick streets.
I love NY state, too, btw. If anybody is interested in bettering your life, come to NY state. After living in NY state, what is it 6 months or a year (?), you can go to college pretty much for free if you're low income!!! All your books are paid for and then some! See, there are opportunities people don't take advantage of. If you're poor, but have hope and want to make things better, I'm telling you, this is the place to be!
It's VERY kid friendly here. There are home schooling groups (that meet at the local roller skating rink for "social interaction" once a week), breastfeeding support groups (though I wouldn't suggest one in particular!), and tons of Early Intervention programs where they'll come to your house for free if you have a child with special needs! Medical care is free for kids in this state. I see a WONDERFUL doctor who respects my decision not to vaccinate. Although there aren't a whole lot of AP'ers I've come across, when you meet them, they are definately passionate! I've heard from a friend of mine that there's a doctor in a nearby town who encourages parents to delay vaccinations, and I know there's another doctor in a nearby town who pretty much refuses to circumcise babies routinely.
There's yoga classes, drumming circles, music festivals, and environmental groups.
This town is rich with subcultures of all kinds.
If anybody's looking for a place to move to, feel free to check out Chautauqua County, NY, and private message me!
BTW, I didn't grow up in this area. I grew up in a large city, and the positive culture here is sooooo much more abundant than where I grew up. I chose this area as my home, and I've dedicated myself to making it an even better place. I hope more people choose to do the same, here and elsewhere.