Welcome to Utica, I grew up right outside in New Hartford. Here is a link to a thread about McCauley. I am a huge support of that mountain, it is small but I always have a great time when I come home to ski. The drive is pretty simple, all you need to go is shot up Route 12 to Route 28 into Old Forge, travel time is about an hour or so. The feel of the hill is kind of a townie feel, everyone is super nice.
So Utica, is a pretty fun area, Verick street is a awesome place to bar hop, Thursday's during the summer and the fall the Brewery throws a party and everyone goes out to the bars after. In New Hartford there is this bar called Props which usually is a good time also there is a the Killabrew. If you fly fish or fish there are a ton of places to go. If you have any questions holla at me.