I have a Cricut Expression AND an original Silhouette. I bought the Silhouette first and then became afraid of it (it is much more user friendly now!) and bought the Cricut. I use my Cricut but not nearly enough. If I were purchasing now I would go with the Silhouette because of the ability to design/cut what I want and the user friendliness of the software.
And not one to enable but this blog may just be worth checking out.... Crap I've Made -
BTW I love Rochester and I haven't even begun to explore the area completely. Hopefully on a future trip!