Mini vacation to Albany, NY

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dodgy55
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Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by dodgy55 »

Wife & I are getting bored with daily routine and are looking at going on a no stress mini vacation. Thought of seeing how far a one day drive would take us and Albany, NY came up. I also have a warm & fuzzy feeling about visiting state capitals due to their history and governmental institutions.

If there are Bogleheads that know Albany well can you share places and eateries to visit. We would only be staying two or three days. Lodging recommendations would also be appreciated providing they are on the frugal (not cheap) side. Thank you for any thoughts you are willing to share.
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Beachey
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by Beachey »

I have never actually been to the State Capital in Albany even though I live nearby

Close by is Saratoga Battlefield and my favorite, "The Boot Monument". Saratoga Springs now that track season is over has a lot of good restaurants and bars.

As for hotels, I don't have much knowledge other than a lot of chains near the Airport which is about equidistant from downtown and Saratoga Springs.
Lock
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by Lock »

The capital building is a cool adventure. The Indian ladder trail is nice this time of year. Speakeasy 518 is a great gem that often has jazz music. Cardonas is an Italian market that has great food. Have fun!
CPA without a cause
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by CPA without a cause »

the government buildings downtown are amazing; some look like they belong in DC, others look like a futuristic tecno-planet.

there is a small art museum downtown that has a lot of works from the hudson river valley painters...Thomas Cole is my favorite.

if you go in the next few weeks you can drive around leef peeping too.
alfaspider
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by alfaspider »

CPA without a cause wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:27 am the government buildings downtown are amazing; some look like they belong in DC, others look like a futuristic tecno-planet.

there is a small art museum downtown that has a lot of works from the hudson river valley painters...Thomas Cole is my favorite.

if you go in the next few weeks you can drive around leef peeping too.
I always thought it was more like someone gave a Soviet architect a blank check.
nhs76
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by nhs76 »

If you're not staying immediately downtown, just don't stay in the very cheapest motel options on Central Ave. (Rte 5) or Wolf Road, or by the airport on Albany Shaker Road. They're pretty regrettable. Speaking of the Shakers, if you like history, do a little reading on that colonial-era settlement. There are some historical sites and markers by the airport.

I can't tell you much about the state government, but the Capitol is unlike others you may have seen, and the Empire State Plaza is unique. See if there's a performance you want to see at the Egg, a theater building of modern design. There's also a NY State History Museum, I think that's what it's called, and a state library building. Don't know the admissions details for tourists.

If you're roving around, you might enjoy the Stockade District in Schenectady. Again, colonial-era history and architecture. By all means, I would second the recommendation of Saratoga, especially in the next few weeks with the fall colors. See if there's a performance you're interested in at SPAC, and dine at the Hall of Springs. There's a beautiful state park and an old cars museum. Also the revolutionary-era Saratoga National Battlefield. Go through Burnt Hills and get some apples at Fo'Castle Farms or Knights on the way (Macouns are our favorites). You'll be needing your car as you bop around, as many of these places are a few miles apart.

If you're sports fans, a day trip over to Cooperstown is a must, or depending on your originating location, you may stop there going or coming. In addition to the Baseball Hall of Fame, there's also the Farmer's Museum, which features a village-like set-up, and other museums.
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22twain
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by 22twain »

If you're into engineering landmarks...

The Erie Canal leaves the Hudson River at Waterford, a short distance north of Albany. A series of locks (the "Waterford Flight") takes it up to the Mohawk River in a short distance. Standing at the uppermost lock and looking downhill, you get a nice view of the "staircase".

If you drive up the river to the Saratoga battlefield, this would make an interesting stop along the way.
It's "IRMAA" (Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount), not "IIRMA" or "IRRMA" or "IRMMA".
MJS
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by MJS »

Atlas Obscura's Albany page includes the Shakers and Nipper, plus nearby sites.
https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to- ... y-new-york
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eddot98
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by eddot98 »

Two very good restaurants in the Capital District are Angelo’s 677 Prime in downtown Albany and Salt and Char in downtown Saratoga. Unfortunately, they are both pricey, but worth it. We just went to Josie’s Table in Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany and were pleasantly surprised by very good food at fairly reasonable prices. It’s kind of new in that location. Novona on New Scotland Avenue in Albany has been recommended to us, but we have yet to try it. Black and Blue Steak on Western Avenue in Albany hasn’t been that great lately. The Brazilian Restaurant, Texas de Brazil, in Crossgates Mall has an interesting approach, but I feel that it is too expensive for what it is and I don’t like all you can eat restaurants any more.
There are probably several small good family run restaurants in the area, but I am not aware of them. Maybe some local Bogleheads can enlighten us.
Lots of the usual chain restaurants in the area, but we avoid them.
Cecelio
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by Cecelio »

alfaspider wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:34 am
CPA without a cause wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:27 am the government buildings downtown are amazing; some look like they belong in DC, others look like a futuristic tecno-planet.

there is a small art museum downtown that has a lot of works from the hudson river valley painters...Thomas Cole is my favorite.

if you go in the next few weeks you can drive around leef peeping too.
I always thought it was more like someone gave a Soviet architect a blank check.
Being designed by Rockafeller, the plaza area downtown is pretty close to a blank check job. Some parts are bland. It was built in 1970 or there about. I have a lot of fond memories skipping school and hanging out on the marble.

I recommend the State Museum and maybe a show at the Egg. If you're into indoor activities.

They had a recent exhibit at the museum explaining how Rockafeller kept going way over budget and how pissed people still are about it.

The congress building is interesting, too.
hicabob
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by hicabob »

Beachey wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:01 am I have never actually been to the State Capital in Albany even though I live nearby
Capitol buildings are always interesting architecturally and are worth a visit. I did a few jobs in state and country capitols and found they tend to be quite magnificent in the hallways and chambers, but back in the offices where folk actually work very plain and "governmenty". Most capitol buildings like visitors and let you self guide so it's an interesting and easy day-trip if you find yourself in a capital city. Watching the proceedings from the gallery is educational and occasionally super-interesting. Question-time in a parliamentary system takes the cake.
blackburnian
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by blackburnian »

If you haven’t already done so, you could take along some books by William Kennedy, which are based in Albany. https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/web ... ssay.html#
NHRATA01
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by NHRATA01 »

There's some interesting things in the Capitol, although in my humble opinion I think 3 days is probably pushing it, 1-2 days is likely more than enough. Empire Plaza is a nice walk. You can go in the Corning tower, which is the tallest building in the state outside of NYC, and hit the observation deck for some beautiful views. The Museum of NYS is a good way to spend 2-3 hours, a lot of interesting items there, also a nice 9/11 section. If you go on a workday and it's good weather, you may get food trucks lined up in the area of the reflecting pool. The mall below is impressive from an architecture standpoint, but really nothing much down there beyond the food court and gift shop (it is really all government offices after all). The Capitol building itself is very impressive and a great tour - IF they still offer them, call ahead and ask. If in session, you used to be able to sit in and observe. My kids elementary school takes a trip every year in 4th grade. My youngest did his back in June but we were reportedly told no Capitol building tour due to lingering Covid. When I went for the other two pre-covid, it was a great tour, with a lot of history touched upon.
Last edited by NHRATA01 on Fri Sep 23, 2022 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
JordanIB
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by JordanIB »

Dino BBQ in Troy.

Second the recs on Saratoga Springs and that area - downtown, as well as the NPS sites in the area.
kmurp
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Re: Mini vacation to Albany, NY

Post by kmurp »

There is also a State museum very close to the Capitol Building. The capital building tour is quite good.
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