Nestled in a quiet spot between Albany and Delmar lies the Normanskill Farm and Hiking Trail. How do you get there, you ask?
Why, just follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Albany's Yellow Brick Road was originally part of the Delaware Turnpike System and was known as, perhaps not surprisingly, the Delaware Turnpike. The road has existed since the early 1800s as a way for people to travel to the big city (that would be Albany, if the term "big city" confused you).
In the early 1900s, as industry along the Normanskill grew, the road was improved using these golden-hued pavers. No one seems to know why yellow brick was used, although The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was published in 1900, so that could have been the inspiration. (Albany = Emerald City?)
In 1928, with the construction of the Delaware Avenue bridge (the "New Bridge"), the road was mostly forgotten. So... I guess it was officially "goodbye, yellow brick road" (you knew it was coming).
The cool part is that you can still walk around down there and find remnants of the golden bricks along the original "Old Bridge" over the Normanskill and up the hill towards Albany. On the Normansville side of the bridge (the south side), a portion of the brick road has been fixed up to resemble its original golden splendor. While you're there, you should take a walk around the old hamlet of Normansville. It's like something out of Brigadoon down there.
Beside the Yellow Brick Road, the Normanskill Farm is one of the best places to hike/walk around in Albany. The peaceful trails and views make you forget all the traffic and construction on Delaware Avenue above. There are also community garden plots and a dog park so Fido can do his thing. The Albany Police Department's K-9 training academy is located here so you will often see police officers exercising with their pups.
There is always something new to discover down there. The last time I was there I saw a family of deer camouflaged in a field -- only 10 minutes from downtown.
Oh, Albany. There's no place like home.
The Yellow Brick Road
Albany, NY 12209
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