More On Migration, and the Future of Work and School

Last weekend, we took a day trip to a little town, Hudson, along the Hudson River about two hours north of Manhattan (1-1/2 hours away from us). I blogged about the trip and shared some pictures. Last weekend, we went camping on the other side of the Hudson River, also about two hours from Manhattan, 1-1/2 hours from us.

Hudson, NY has many more intellectual, money, city people. There are used book shops and antique stores everywhere. Last weekend’s retreat, the Roscoe, NY area, has fewer cute shops and a lot more hunters. We always liked it because it was undiscovered. Well, that changed in the past year.

Again, more city people everywhere. Real estate prices skyrocketed. The local real estate magazine said that people are buying properties without even looking at them in person. Probably because they are knocking down the old ranch-style homes and building modern country retreats with brown board and batten siding and red window trim. God, I’m such a sucker for that look. They are building those houses in extremely isolated, but beautiful locations. On top of mountains or along small rivers infested with fly fishermen.

Real estate advertisements make a point of mentioning that these properties have high speed internet for remote work. Last week, I wondered what’s going to happen to all those who relocated to these far-off locations. I’m still wondering.

Most schools are not going to offer any remote classes this September. Many CEOs in New York City, especially in fields like law and business, want butts back in the seats. Those businesses never downsized their office footprint. So, will all those families move back?

I can’t imagine that many families are anxious to go back. The city still hasn’t gotten its mojo back. There’s a lot of fun happening out in the country now. The Roscoe area now has three breweries, BBQ pits, and a fancy brick oven pizza restaurant.

All schools are problematic in the city right now. The rich private schools are in-fighting about critical race theory. The elite public schools are under attack for the lack of diversity. The regular public schools have always been mediocre at best, and haven’t really opened in one and a half years. I’m hearing a lot of buzz about the return of parochial schools.

But those schools in those upstate schools are not up to standards of the upper middle class families that have relocated up there. The schools in my town are rated as 9’s or 10’s on the real estate websites; the schools around Roscoe are rated 4’s or 5’s. The mothers may have been homeschooling for a year, but are they prepared to keep going at it?

This whole lifestyle is based on a traditional family dynamic. I’m assuming that the mothers have permanently left the workforce to deal with caretaking responsibilities and that they can afford to live on a single income, because they’ve moved to a cheaper area. I’m assuming that a lot of families like the slower pace of life.

So, if the guys are able to work remotely with weekly visits to the city, then the homeschooling moms have to make some choices — keep homeschooling, invest in local schools and transform them, or set up new charter schools. I have no idea what will happen, but I’m thinking about setting up a website for special education parents to help them with homeschooling or charter schools.

I kinda hope that this outward migration pattern continues. I think it helps spread out money across a broader region; Roscoe schools are going to benefit from all the taxes on those new modern cabin homes. I like that people have more options about lifestyles. I love watching creative people take over neglected towns making them unique; there are a lot more options for our weekend day trips.

On the other hand, I do have friends — empty nesters — who are thinking about snapping up an apartment in the city, because they’re are looking for a bargain and don’t have to worry about schools anymore.

What’s your ideal work/school/life arrangement? Return to the past with no changes? Keep remote work? Move? City or country?