first of all, welcome to upstate!! Gorgeous up here, esp this time of year. I grew up here and after checking out the south and even getting my BSN there, I chose to return here. That should speak volumes!
Albany is referred to as "Smallbany". It's tiny and comprised mostly of commuting state workers as it's the capital. The city itself has a quaint skyline and some cultural activities, and the real estate is quite competetive. Upstate NY is one of the few areas in our country surviving the plummeting housing market; it's actually growing here! Jobs in hospitals and nursing homes galore. so you will have your choice of location. IMHO, stay out of the cities and find a place to live in the outlying areas. Urban sprawl has found its way up here in the years I've been gone, and although not still the same territory I remember, it's still a terrific place to be. If you like seasons, outdoor activities, community outreach...etc...
Hope this is a start. Good luck and PM me if you want specifics!