Notwithstanding the taxes, Western New York is really a much nicer area than it gets credit for being. You say you’d like to be near water. Although neither is the Pacific, Lakes Erie and Ontario certainly qualify provided your goal isn’t surfing. The people are friendly, and Buffalo is a small enough city that you could easily go from downtown, to the suburbs, to the complete sticks in under an hour -- so you can really pick where you want to set up house. Traffic is a non-factor as compared to the other, bigger cities you might consider. The cost of living is (relatively) low, and the NYS education system is very good (provided you’re in the suburbs and not the city itself). The nightlife isn’t Manhattan, but there are places to go and things to do. The real reason I’m writing is to dispel what you might think about the weather in Buffalo – the national media really creates quite a bad impression, and it’s a false one. Buffalo is on the east side of the great lakes, so the prevailing winds are normalized as they cross Lake Erie. The upshot of this is that the Buffalo Area has MODERATE/MILD summers of 70s and 80s with occasional (low) 90s. The winters are in fact MILD because lake affects the wind temperature making it WARMER and WETTER (hence the snow). This makes Buffalo significantly warmer in winter than cities on the west side of the great lakes (Chicago, Detroit, etc.). It is not Siberia by any stretch. There is the occasional blizzard, but the people know how to deal with them (i.e. we can all drive in the snow, and the towns are good at plowing the roads clear) and they are (at least in my opinion) easier to cope with than Hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, or some of the options in other areas. Western New York has four good seasons. Summers for hanging at the lakeside or for the kids to swim and play outside without debilitating heat. Vibrant fall foliage for apple picking and tailgating. Fluffy white winters for skiing or snowmobiling. Then watching the snow melt and the greenery re-bloom, and doing it all over again. I guess everybody has a loyalty to their hometown, and I’m no different. Don’t sleep on Western New York – it’s a really nice place.