Ask AOA: Fun stuff to do with mom

marge simpsonChristina emails:

I'm a (semi) recent transplant to Albany from Buffalo, and am expecting a visit from my mom this upcoming Sunday-Tuesday. I've already booked her a room at the State House, and have tickets for an Aqua Duck Tour, but other than that I'm drawing a blank!
Do you, or any of the AOA readers, have any suggestions for mom friendly/appropriate activities?

A few quick suggestions:

+ A swing through Saratoga and Ballston Spa could be fun. If you hit up Ballston Spa, you might try the Whistling Kettle.

+ Hudson has a bunch of interesting shops/antiques stores/restaurants. (Sunday through Tuesday might complicate things a bit there.)

+ If you're looking for a dinner place, try New World Bistro Bar . You could also walk just down the street to catch a movie at The Spectrum.

We're guessing you probably have a lot of ideas for Christina and her mom.


Go visit Martin Van Buren's place. And get cider donuts on the way.

Pick apples in Columbia County.

Visit the State Museum. Pretend to be Dutch royalty :)

I would recommend visiting the state museum and Empire State Plaza (especially if the weather is nice). There are also a lot of historical houses in Albany that you could tour.

You could also go to the Cohoes Music Hall to see Dreamgirls which is playing now through the 27th.

I'm a big fan of the Center Square walking tour, with brunch at Justin's, the Dove & Hudson Book Shop, The Cottage Herb Shop, dollar gelatos at Crisan, and all the other little shops and stores on Lark Street.

I concur with a movie at the Spectrum, and a drive out to Indian Ladder Farms and/or Thatcher Park would be nice too.

I was just home in August and went to the top of the Corning Tower on the Plaza. Hadn't been in over 25+ years. It's free and they have great maps that mark 'what is where' and provide history/trivia. The Plaza is a great place for pics (scuplture, Capital building, State Museum, the Egg, etc.) In addition to AquaDucks, there is a downtown walking tour as well which I will definitely do next time.

Home decorators/shoppers/moms like the Christmas Tree store at Colonie Center, though its not as great as it used to be.

I second Cider Donuts and miss Indian Ladder Farm!

Let's see if I recall where I brought my mom... Indian Ladder Farms of course, they have great donuts right now. The museum, as noted above, the 9/11 installation is powerful. A few fancy hotels, say the Adelphi in Saratoga, or the Sagamore in Lake George: we tried the boat tour 2 weeks ago, it was delicious. The Olana estate is a nice ride south as well, so is Art Omi if she likes to walk (mine do). The Oakwood Cemetery in Troy is beautiful in the fall, but it might be a tad too early, and I'm not sure bringing your mother to a cemetery conveys the right message. Crisan on Lark Street in Alb, or Miss London on Broadway in Saratoga for tea (that's what you drink with your mom, right?). Cafe Madison or Miss Albany Dinner for breakfast.

Whatever you do, don't go to far on Delaware Avenue, because that's where B lives. And you don't want your mom to be taken care of that way.

I second all these ideas esp. Indian Ladder Farms. While you up that way, the overlook at Thacher Park is great for visitors.

I would also suggest a walk along the Hudson on the Corning Preserve. That boat restaurant might still be open too.

I was also going to suggest apples. That's my tentative plan for the weekend!

Maybe take her to see "Shear Madness" at Capital Rep on S. Pearl St. Not sure if that production would be your "thing", but the review from the Times Union makes it sound like it might be fun. Dinner before or after at Yono's, or dp, or the Brown Derby, Dale Miller, Le Canard Enchainé Brasserie at Quackenbush Square or the Pump Station might work well.

You can't go wrong with a movie at the Spectrum (with dinner at My Linh's, the New World Bistro Bar, Nicole's Italian restaurant, or Avenue A before or after the movie), and catching a film at the Hi Way Drive-In movie theatre in Coxsackie (about 30 minutes south of Albany) might be fun.

A walk around the shops of downtown Saratoga Springs, Congress Park, Yaddo Gardens and/or the lovely neighborhoods along Union Ave near the track and the neighborhood north of Union Ave and east of Congress park might fit the bill, followed by dinner at Hattie's, One Caroline St. Bistro, Sushi Thai Garden, the Mouzon House, Max London's, Chianti, Harvest & Hearth or wherever . . . be sure to pick up some pastries from Mrs. London's before heading home . . .

A visit to the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Mass (about an hour east of Albany), followed by dinner somewhere in the general area (like Allium in Great Barrington, MA; Viva in Glendale, MA; Cafe Lucia in Lenox, MA; Frankie's Ristorante Italiano in Lenox, MA; etc.) might make for a good day, too.

I would steer clear of New World Bistro Bar. I had a terrible experience there the other night... long wait, bad food, too loud. To give you a frame of (Buffalo) reference, it's similar in style and feel to Zuzon Bar & Grill in Williamsville, except that I recall the food at Zuzon being excellent, and I cannot say the same for New World.

I always recommend the Hidden Cafe in Delmar. Always an excellent meal, excellent service, but make a reservation!

If you have time, a trip to Howe Caverns and the Iroquois museum would be nice.

Thanks for all your suggestions! Seriously, very helpful. We'll definitely check out Indian Ladder Farms, and the Martin Van Buren house seems like it would be up her alley as well. This is her second visit, and the first time she was here, she was surprised how nice and pleasant albany was, so I'd like her to leave this time thinking its even better than she initially thought!

Thanks again!

dont forget COHOES FALLS!!

I would say the Dove & Hudson bookstore is a must, but they are on vacation. Try the Warehouse in downtown Albany & show her Nipper the RCA dog. Albany Rural cemetery is a great walking tour. Miss Albany or Jack's dinner for old school fun. The Wine Bar on Lark or DeJohn's for a great dinner. Get a Gin and tonic at De John's with Hendrick's Gin and cucumber slice. For sweets check out Crisan's or Cheesecake Machismo, the best Cheese cake served at DeJohns and Lark Wine Bar and probably many other places. Italian Deli Cardona's on Deleware. Small and manageable and beautiful is the Albany Institute of History and Art and of course Washington Park. Madison Cafe on Madison for brunch--raspberry oatmeal pancakes and peach bellinis

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