AOA birthday drawing #5 Albany Food & Drink

crocus in bloom 2013-03-29

Crocuses-- one of the first local signs of spring.

This week, AOA celebrates our 5th birthday -- and you get the presents. Each day this week we'll hold a drawing for another birthday present. You can enter every day to win all kinds of good stuff.

Today's birthday drawing prize is a basket full of food and drink from Albany. It includes:

+A $50 gift certificate for The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark
+A $25 gift certificate for Crisan
+A bottle of sparkling wine and $25 gift certificate for Capital Wine
+A $25 gift certificate to Red Poppies Polish Pantry
+A sweatshirt and bottle of Coal Yard New Make Rye from Albany Distilling Company.

To enter, just answer the question below in the comment section of this post.

We're finally noticing some signs of spring in the Capital Region. What's your favorite local sign of spring?

Maybe it's the warmer weather, or the crocuses or tulips, or the ice cream stands. Tell us what gets you excited about the season.

We'll pick one winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Saturday, April 20, 2013 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Regular commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 2 pm on Saturday and must respond by noon on Tuesday, April 23.


The grass greening up.

I know that's a pretty mundane answer, but to me, it's the first sign that Albany is going from B&W to color again. :)

Outside patios at my favorite bars!

The Tulips coming up in Washington Park

That moment when, all of sudden, the trees have leaves again.

Outside seating at all of my favorite Saratoga restaurants. Also, the AOA birthday party, of course!

My favorite sign of spring is when all of the birds start flocking to my bird feeders! I love waking up in the morning to their chirps.

Tulip Fest!

To me, it's the smell. I love that fresh smell of spring, especially in my parent's garden in Troy's East side. That and the blooming flowers and trees.
There's one particular cherry tree in downtown Troy (between 5th and 6th on Fulton St) that always seems to bloom earlier than the others and it's a gorgeous sign of warm weather to come.

The return of soft-serve!

My favorite sign is the first sight of little green buds on trees, trying to come out for summer.

on a side note- great party last night!

Favorite local sign of spring would be the flower beds in Washington Park starting to bloom... But least favorite would be the pollen raining down from the trees, making my allergies go crazy. It's a love/hate thing with Spring.

Seeing the beautiful tulips in Washington park!

Definitely the spring smell in the air!

Kurver Kreme opening day!


Kurver Kreme opening for the season.

The re-emergence of outdoor dining!!!

Spring Break!

Seeing my long johns in the drawer. Not on me. Freedom!

My favorite sign is when the season ice cream places open up - especially Jericho right near me!

when the coffee shops start putting tables outside.


Patio drinks.

Warm sunshine.

When the Red-winged Blackbirds come back! The first time see them during a run in Washington Park or at chilly early spring hike at Five Rivers, I get excited for the rest of the migrants, the tulips, the tree buds - all that nice stuff that comes with springing! Oh, and of course, the Spring peepers that I can hear outside my office window as I type right now!

The food trucks are back.

The blossoms of the weeping cherry tree in Washington Park along Willett Street!

i personally like the fashion that comes with northeast springs: hoodies with flip flops. best weather ever.

Opening day at Snowman

Ultimate frisbee coming back to Troy! Check it out at

Baseball season begins
(I enjoy watching my son's school baseball games)

Kurver Kreme :-)

Grackles....pooping on my pool cover - the sure sign of spring!

The e-billboards from APD on Lark St. with notices about the noise ordinances, and the cars with windows down blasting music as they roll past them.

Waking up to all the birds first thing in the morning - they get me up at least a half hour earlier and my dog appreciates the extra time for morning walks.

Jumpin Jacks OPENS

The landscaping trucks around the capital, because that means the tulips and greenery are being planted and ready to bloom!

The return of Kurver Kreme (even if it was delayed this year: so was spring!)

Soft serve and spring migration of birds! So excited for both!

Allergies... Or being able to enjoy being outside again.

Got to be the tulips. Not just in the park, but all over town.

When I look down the streets of Center Square and the Pine Hills and realize how big and beautiful the trees are when covered in leaves. It's like a canopy!

Starting to see garlic and onions pushing through my garden!

Seasonal beers on tap at the local brewpubs.

Peepers! You know, those little frogs that "sing" on warm, damp Spring nights. They sound like sleigh bells.

Fresh air and enjoying being outside

When the red-breasted robins start showing up on the lawns in my neighborhood - I finally saw one yesterday!

Oh I miss those patio drinks... and my garden thawing, and the option of camping without freezing!

My favorite sign of spring is when I see great blue herons returning. Spotting them overhead is exciting, with their large wingspans and long legs. I can be having the grumpiest of days, but seeing a heron always makes me smile!

First day without a coat!

Having cocktails outside!

When they fill the reflection pool at ESP.

Riverfront Bar & Grill (the Barge) opens! It's usually freezing for the first month but you go anyway just to enjoy the feeling of having a drink outside :)

The sun hanging low over the horizon well after 7pm.

Eating outside. Whether in my back yard or on a patio at a restaurant.

Daffodils, tulips and Kay's Pizza! :)

Hearing all the birds in the morning! You know warmer weather is right around the corner.

Snowman opening!

When the ice cream stores open!

Tube tops.

My favorite sign of spring is the smell of grills going on those first few mild evenings. Everyone is so eager to enjoy being outdoors and that smell signals they are just about here for good.

I also love the massive bed of tulips at the convergence of Western and Madison. So pretty when that's in full bloom!

the best part of spring in the capital region is when the patios open for happy hour!

Everybody putting away heavy winter coats.

Tulip Fest! (& ice cream)

Outdoor farmers markets :D

Tulip Fest of course!

The smell of warm rain fallin on asphalt.

So much betther than wintery mix falliing on asphalt.

more smiles on people's faces

Seeing my neighbors on their front porch again!

Crocuses pushing up from the snow, and when the Troy Farmers' Market moves outside!

My garlic coming up.

The smell of first warm rain showers

Birds, daffodils, and suddenly seeing the parks and streets fill up with people coming out of hibernation.

Rock and roll with the windows down in the car on the drive home from work.

May seem weird but, yard work.

exploding magnolia blossoms - my favorite tree for sure


On the Farm is now open, woo!

More daylight...

Suddenly I'm not blue when I drive top down.

My favorite sign of spring is the sound of the birds tweeting.

the smell when driving by Jack's drive-in


Being able to dine outside at local establishments.

There are rocks around my building instead of grass (lame). My favorite sign of spring is when flowers push their way up through the rccks as if to say "eff you rocks i win!"

The budding leaves on the trees on Lark St.!

Socializing with friends outside at McGeary's!

The opening of the local restaurant patios!

The tulips blooming!

My favorite local sign of spring is the opening of Hoffman's Playland!

Being able to open the windows to let fresh air inside. And the cats love it too!

The food trucks at the Capitol!

When I I see chrome & leather and hear the choppers hum, I know winter is over and spring has arrived in the Capital District!

I don't know that it's my favorite, but a sure sign that spring is coming for me, is when the yearly congregation of bikers start meeting at the DD on the corner of Lark and Madison

I always love when the first crocus start coming up. As a kid I always used to say "Hocus Crocus!"


Magnolia's blooming.

The carts by the Cap (even if I no longer work over there).

Fresh mulch on the Washington Park tulip beds!

My favorite local sign of spring is my neighbors, my husband and the wee one all being in our communal backyard on lounge chairs with cold drinks, each grilling something for dinner, chatting and soaking up the sun while cooking.

Growing mint for libations!

in this order jumpin' jacks, tulip fest, TV (movie) on the deck.

My favorite sign of spring is all about nature. I absolutely love it when the first buds appear on the trees!

Definitely seeing the soft ice cream stands opening up...that and going to little league games. Play ball!

Leaf buds on the trees in Washington Park.

The crocuses in my yard...

(P.S. Today is MY birthday -- do I get any extra points? :)


Tastee Treat in New Scotland opening up for the season.

People eating/drinking outside - restaurants, bars, parks...even standing in front of the food trucks. Love it.

Spring peepers!

Outdoor dining!

My allergies are acting up....

The sound of birds chirping in the morning!

Food trucks at the Capitol!

My favorite sign of spring is the warmer temperature and the longer days so that I can come home from work and still be able to take a walk, get ice cream, or just relax!

Definitely when Kurver Kream opens for the season!

The return of robins would be my favorite

The drive-in's opening for the weekends!

Short skirts on college girls!

Yummy - I am so looking forward to a Lark Street outing!

All the flowering trees blooming in Lincoln Park.

The bunnies returning to my street, and the bird that sounds like R2D2 that has taken up residence in the tree in front of my house!

The sun's still up when "Wheel of Fortune" comes on.

When the Snowman and Kurver Kreme open and the tulips are blooming in Washington Park!

The tulips, the tulips, the tulips

Patio dining and tulips!

Outdoor patios opening up at local bars!

Afternoon walks in the Pine Bush

definitely all the bulb flowers popping up everywhere!

Patio is open at Hattie's in Saratoga!

Taking my dogs on a nice long walk and all the beautiful flowers!

The robins and cardinals that invade the sand creek corridor behind our house!

The city full of people out and about.

jim's tastee=freeze opening

Tulip Fest!

My favorite sign of spring is seeing the fountains being filled and turned on at the Empire State Plaza!

The magnolias in bloom...

Restaurants finally opening their patios for outdoors dining!

Definitely the opening of Jumpin Jacks and ice cream stands!

When the trees start budding and the tulips bloom. Also, my first trip to Country Drive-in!


Signs of life at local farm stands! Saw a greenhouse going up today

Ice cream trucks!

Patio Time!

I love seeing everyone walking around with their dogs and strollers. Everyone that was in hiding from winter comes out to take in the fresh air and walk around the city. Its a nice change since you don't really see anyone during those long months of winter.

Love the tulips -- my dog stops at each one on our morning walk and drinks the water that collects inside each one. Adorable!

I drive on the Thruway every day, and when I notice the banks of the highway turning green with new grass, I know spring is really coming!

sun dresses

When Kay's Pizza is open you know spring is coming!

People sitting out on the patios downtown!

Being able to play with my dog at the park

The plastic bollards and blinking signs that mark the beginning of construction season!

TulipFest and the lunch trucks returning to the Capitol!

Definitely seeing the food trucks at the Capitol!

The Tulip Festival!

those flowering trees starting to bloom on MLK Blvd in Lincoln Park, between Morton & Park Ave. just pointed them out to my 3-year-old.

and Tastee Freez opening, of course.

Hoffman’s Playland opening!

outdoor farmers markets

All the Summer concert announcements!

Sunshine when I leave work!

Bathrooms reopening at Lions Park.

All the local pale ales and IPAs that are put on tap at the plethora of great beer bars in our fair city: Lionheart, City Beer Hall, Midtown Tap and Tea Room etc.

And of course, no more snow in the ADKs. Time for some hiking!

Definitely the soft serve ice cream stands! :)

Coltsfoot, trou lily and all the lovely spring ephemerals! Bloom on...

The geese returning to the lake across the street from my house after it thaws.

The tulips in Washington Park!

Kids rolling down the sidewalk in cardboard boxes.

kurver kreme and tulip fest!

Hearing the ice cream man/woman for the first time!

The garage door at wolfs biergarden opens up!

Tulipfest and soft serve ice cream stands!

Driving home from work, and seeing all the people out running/walking. It changes my mind from "I don't really want to exercise" to "I've got to get out there and do something!"

It's a toss up- growing up downstate it was always crocuses but now it's tulips! Just saw some outside the visitor center and they made my whole week! Spring is FINALLY here!

I scream spring -- you know, with ice cream. (Bad pun!)

Soft serve ice cream outside!

Lilacs and the farmer's markets moving outdoors!

Hearing that Snowmans in Lansingburgh is open!

Dogs in the Moses fountain

At my house, the garlic bursting up in bits of green and in the city, the food trucks on Washington Avenue

Kay's Pizza and soft serve ice cream stands

opening day of jumpin jacks - used to also be PJs BBQ but now they are open year round.

Kurver Kreme and the bunnies hopping around in my yard

Warm weather and rain...better than ice and snow!

More sunshine and outdoors events!

Patio bars!!!

ice cream stands opening, restaurant patios opening, people outside and smiling!

tulips and daffodils and hyacinths are lovely, but the crocus is the unsung hero that braves the mercurial northeastern spring first. I smiled out loud when I saw their purples and whites 2 weeks ago!

The daffodils and the grackles...both are a welcome sight!

Squall lines, heavy rain, and lightning! Opening up the windows in my apartment without a coat on.

Blooming lilacs are my favorite sign of spring.

Bicycle rides without frozen ears and noses.

Being able to go outside and begin to lose that winter weight. Something about the warmer air and nicer weather makes me want to get on my bike and ride. Maybe it's the impending swim suit season......

Oddly, the smell of magnolia trees blooming. It's just sort of my mental signal that warm, fun outdoor times are a'comin'.

Daffodils have been everywhere this spring, and are a sweet sunny contrast to the greyness. Welcome back colors!!

Hearing the peepers on a country road

soft ice cream

Late afternoon sunshine in our kitchen. I love how the light changes throughout the year.

All of the above :)
Although I grew up Jumping Jacks I'd have to say Bumpy's opening in Schenectady - they open up earlier then most, and I love a longer spring. Other close finishers are the return of tables to cafe's outdoor patios, events in Washington Park, and local road walks for charity or just fun!


I plant them just for this reason.

all the garage and yard sales popping up!

tulip fest! the warmer weather, the start of more sunlight in your days. the ability to open up your sunroof/windows. fresh colors.

I should have said when all the SUNY students go back home! That's so i wouldn't hear them on their bar hopping trips. Can you please tell us the comments, and names of the 5 winners?

Watching the grass turn a rich emerald green in the dog park near my house is great. We get to turn our water garden & waterfall back on after a long nap, and the birds love to come and splash around in it. The flowers and the smells and the warming sunshine. Spring in Albany can be magical.

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For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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