Where are you from?
I grew up in Scotia, NY—a suburb of Schenectady.
Why'd you move to Rochester?
I came to Rochester for college. I attended the State University at Brockport. Before visiting Brockport, I had never been any further west in New York than Syracuse. I had no concept of what Rochester was like. I remember as my family and I drove in on I-490 and we saw the skyline appear on the horizon, we were surprised at how big it was. I feel a little silly about that now—because it’s a really great city and I believe more people should visit and discover it for themselves. It didn’t take long once I started living here to fall in love with Rochester. I loved that I could do so many things one would expect from a bigger city, but for an affordable price—which is important when you are in college. I also fell in love with the people here. Rochestarians are hard-working, smart, forward thinking, and have tremendous heart. When my husband and I finished school and were deciding where to live, the choice was easy. We wanted to stay in Rochester.
What is your favorite part of living in Rochester?
There is just so much to do. Almost every weekend we are out and about doing something with the family—which is a problem for the yard work (sorry neighbors, we will get those hedges trimmed). And now that we are raising two children here, we get to experience how family-friendly this region is. We feel comfortable taking the kids to most events and know they will have fun and learn a lot from the experience.
One of my personal favorite events is the Imagine RIT Festival—We’ve gone 3 years in a row and still haven’t seen it all. The kids learn about science, technology and innovation and come home with a bag full of free stuff.
My son (4) loves the planetarium at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. We’ve seen the toddler show so many times, he has it memorized. One morning we were having breakfast and he said, “Can we go to the planetarium today?” “Um…sure buddy,” we said. He nodded and replied, “Good. We go to planetariums a lot. We’re planetarium people.”
I feel really lucky to live in an area where we can do things like this on a whim. Whether it’s the planetarium, the sculpture garden at the Memorial Art Gallery, the Strong National Museum of Play, a concert in the Eastman Museum gardens, a hike in the park, or a giant balloon installation in the Sibley Building. The hedges can wait.
Do you have any favorite/secret Rochester spots?
Genesee Country Village & Museum is one of my favorite places to bring friends and family when they visit. It’s so large that we easily find something for everyone to get excited about. My Dad loves the old-time baseball games. My sister (a lawyer) got her picture in front the old lawyer’s office. I love the beer. There is a working 19th Century brewery, and you can take home a growler of one of their brews. My husband loves going up in the Intrepid civil war balloon. We all love that the kids can run freely everywhere and then they sleep in the car on the way home.
I also love Highland Park and the Lamberton Conservatory. This is my favorite place to take family photos. We try to go at least once each season. In December, the Lamberton Conservatory has their holiday show, where they fill the conservatory with poinsettias. We went there last year to take our family holiday card photo. A RIT photo student who was there taking pictures for class offered to snap the picture for us, so it came out great!
What is your favorite time of day to hang out in the city?
This is a parenting tip. When you have young children, get out in the morning and do very active things. This can help ensure a good nap in the afternoon.
While I’m not really hitting the bar scene so much these days, I am enjoying the fact that the beer/wine/spirit industry is booming here in upstate NY and especially in our region. I took my sister’s bridal party (who were all from Albany) for a “tasting tour” of Rochester last summer with stops at Genesee Brew House, Black Button, Rohrbach, Casa Larga and others. Just this year we’ve seen a lot of new breweries open. I love to stop by for a tasting and to take some home!
Favorite hungover eating spot?
Ha ha ha...it's been a long time since I’ve had to worry about this.
What’s your personal coping mechanism for cold/gray weather?
I actually enjoy shoveling snow. It’s an awesome workout for my upper body. My muscles feel tired but good. Afterwards, I look back at my cleared driveway with pride and think to myself,"You will not defeat me today winter. I am the master of destiny!” Then I give myself a well-deserved reward (hot cocoa).
My family copes with winter by enjoying hockey season. We are RIT Tiger fans and the whole family gets into the excitement. It’s great because we don’t dread the cold. Instead, we look forward to winter. If you haven’t been to an RIT Tigers game, go! The energy of the fans is infectious and so much fun. We also like following the Rochester Americans, the Buffalo Sabres and even the Utica Comets.
Any recommendations for a night out when you do get a babysitter?
Several of the museums and attractions now offer after-hour parties. If you are going to go out, skip the same old dinner and movie and get tickets to one of these parties instead. Cash bars, food, music and a chance to play in or experience these attractions with no kids in tow. These events include Thursdays at the MAG (Memorial Art Gallery), Zoo Brew (at the Seneca Park Zoo), the Happiest Hour Party (The Strong) and After Dark Parties (Rochester Museum & Science Center).
If Rochester were a drink, what would it be?
I don’t know, but I was once asked by someone to describe Rochester as if it is was a person. I said, “Rochester is someone you want to take home to mother. Someone you can see yourself spending the rest of your live with.”
Calin Lawrence is the Director of New Media at Visit Rochester and the voice behind Visit Rochester’s social media accounts. She is also a mother of two boys, and she loves going to hockey games, drinking New York State made craft beer and nerding out over science. All opinions in this interview are her own.
Personal Twitter: @callijenn
Visit Rochester Twitter: @visitrochester
Visit Rochester Instagram: @VisitRochester