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Meet Stephanie Ferree
Stephanie Ferree is originally from the Bronx, NY. Her father is of Dominican descent and her mother, Puerto Rican. She is one of 9 children and grew up surrounded by love, laughter, music, and food in a small NYC apartment.
She first came to the Finger Lakes to attend SUNY Oswego right on Lake Ontario. This is where she met her husband, Travis, who is from Bath, NY.
After graduating college in 2011, she moved to the Southern Tier while Travis worked on finishing his student teaching. The move was supposed to be a temporary one.
But then opportunity knocked. “I was hired by Corning Incorporated for my Spanish language skills as a Service Desk Analyst to support Spanish speaking customers.” She quipped, “My mom was right all those years ago when she told me that learning to speak Spanish would benefit me!”
Spanish fluency would be a desired skill not so easily found in this area, and the company trained Stephanie for her new role.
After 4 years of providing technical support for Corning Inc., she was hired as a Knowledge Analyst, and in 2020 took was promoted to Application Specialist.
She noted, “I have been at my ‘temporary job’ for 11 years now!”
Stephanie had only visited Bath and Corning a couple of times before moving here after college. She admitted she had concerns at first. “I worried about diversity, not having things to do for entertainment or many career options.”
She remembers that it was not difficult to relocate to the area because of her husband and because of her new job. But recalls how it required her to learn to drive, something she never needed to do living in NYC. “At first, I needed to be driven to work and other places,” she said, “So, I was excited to learn how to drive!”
Over time, her initial concerns also faded. “When I first moved here, I had no idea all the things this place has to offer. Pre-kids my husband and I did a lot more wine tastings, went to free live music events and concerts, visited all the local restaurants, went to all the festivals, hiking, and even visited haunted houses! Now, with kids, we find there is even more to do!”
She also noted that much has changed in the 11 years. “I’ve discovered so many things we can do as a family that doesn’t cost us money. I’ve learned so much about wine. I love this area and all that it has to offer.”
Stephanie finds that one of the greatest advantages of living here is the amount of space and the ease of day-to-day living. She now finds NYC far more hectic and crowded. “I like living in a small town. I can run errands during lunch like to the DMV, which would have taken me half a day in NYC.” She added, “I’ve had opportunities to learn about growing my own food and have friends that own farms. I have learned so much about owning a home. When I moved here as a 22-year-old, I couldn’t believe people my age were buying homes, but this area allows young people to be more independent. Money goes a long way here.”
Stephanie also loves her 8-minute commute to work.
On winter days after work, she and her family stay in and have dinner. In the summer, they like to visit local ice cream shops, walk along the bike path and enjoy all the outdoors has to offer especially on hot summer days.
She continued. “We are part of an amazing church, Hope Church, that has helped us raise our littles. We love to visit local farms and museums like the Corning Museum of Glass, The Rockwell Museum, and The Heritage Village.”
Stephanie and her family delight in the seasonal experiences too, like pumpkin picking and apple picking in the fall, or visiting the local swimming holes in the summer. “My absolute favorite is spending time on Keuka lake. My cousin-in-law has a boat and we take the whole family and spend Saturdays out on the water.”
If you are looking to relocate to the area and are unsure, Stephanie says she can offer so many reasons to convince you to take the leap. “There is something for everyone in your family. The community is small but supportive. There are so many local places to visit. Small businesses thrive here.” She continues, “Visiting the lakes is free. Hiking is free. There are so many free things for families to enjoy and when they are not free, they are affordable. NYC is only 4 hours away and Canada is only 2 hours away.”
She added, “There are many farmer’s markets weekly, and not only in the summer. The Corning farmers market has the best Amish donuts.” She’s also grateful for what living in the Southern Tier has meant for her family, “This place has been an amazing place to raise children. They have so much more than I could have offered them in a city,” and for her career, “I work for a great company that is diverse and is constantly bringing in more diversity to the area.”
Stephanie also stated that whether here for a weekend or looking to relocate one should be prepared to fall in love with the views. “The hills are beautiful. We have some of the best waterfalls here, and fall,” she added, “fall foliage is like a screen saver.”
Stephanie and Travis Ferree live in Painted Post NY with their children, Sienna (4), William (3), and a fur baby, Miya.
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your story with us!
Learn more about life, work, and play in the Southern Finger Lakes and the resources available for those looking for something new.