You're New Here: Day trips

YNHW day trips composite

By Julie Madsen

It's You're New Here Week on AOA. All this week we'll have stuff to help get you acquainted with the Capital Region -- whether you recently moved here, or just want to see this place through new eyes.

It's kind of funny that one of the good things about Albany is how close it is to other places! There are a bunch of interesting, fun towns, villages, and areas that are all within day-trip distance. So you can get out of town -- and be back home that evening.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started...

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Indian Ladder Farms Scottish Highland cattle

If you only have a few hours to spend, head out towards the Heldebergs. Brunch and animal petting at Indian Ladder Farms, a hike on the Indian Ladder trail at Thacher State Park, chocolate milk from Our Family's Harvest in Slingerlands and/or a scoop from Toll Gate Ice Cream is the perfect day in my book.


mado chatham

The charming village of Chatham, about 35 minutes from Albany, has a lot to offer on its main strip. There are a lot of quality restaurants to choose from (sandwich from Our Daily Bread and dessert from Mado Patisserie are my favorite pairing), mom-and-pop shops, Chatham Brewing, and the a little movie theater, the Crandell.

Nearby the Ooms Conservation Area is a really idyllic hike.


cooperstown farmers museum
The Farmers' Museum

Cooperstown is about an hour and a half from Albany. You can head out for The Farmers' Museum, Glimmerglass State Park, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Brewery Ommegang (try the famous Belgian combo of moules and frites in their cafe) -- there is something for everyone!

Break up the drive by stopping at Howe Caverns along the way. Don't forget to pack a sweater to the caves, they are quite chilly.


woodstock overlook mountain hotel ruins
Hotel ruins on Overlook Mountain.

The town of Woodstock is about an hour south of Albany. People watching and shopping on Tinker Street in the town center is always a great time. Pop into Shindig for lunch, their sandwiches are superb.

A hike up Overlook Mountain has hotel ruins AND a fire tower to explore. Make sure to check out the nearby Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Tibetan Buddhist Monastery -- take a free tour on the weekend or walk around admiring the architecture and grounds. (The monastery also offers classes and retreats for learning more about Buddhist teachings.)

Western Massachusetts/Berkshires

The Clark Clark Center exterior 2015 January
The Clark opened a new $145 million renovation in recent years.

In western Massachusetts -- about hour from Albany, depending on location -- there are a bunch of arts museums: MASS MoCA, The Clark, Williams College Museum of Art, and the Norman Rockwell Museum. (They're close enough to each other that you can visit multiple museums in the same day)

Afterwards, Great Barrington is a nice sized town to further explore. There are so many eclectic storefronts on the Main Street, I love browsing the candy shop, the toy store, and the Berkshire Co-op. A scoop of ice cream from SoCo Creamery and stroll on the Housatonic River Walk, what could be better?


vermont covered bridge near Bennington

Take Route 7 out to Bennington (about an hour from Albany) and the road becomes quite scenic. If you're going to be there early, try breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner, they have some serious pancakes!

In town, count moose, climb up the Bennington Battle Monument, see a covered bridge (and/or visit a museum about them), and stock up on maple syrup!

Robert Frost is buried in a beautiful old cemetery behind a church, with graves that date back far back as the American Revolution.

Julie has got the travel-bug. Whether it's day trips, weekend getaways, or wandering around the world -- she's always up to something. Read more about her adventures at

More You're New Here:
+ You're New Here: Perspective with distance
+ You're New Here: Food
+ You're New Here: Hiking
+ Drawing: You're New Here Week local food and fun package
+ You're New Here: Kid-friendly destinations

You're New Here Week on AOA is sponsored by Linium, CDPHP, Columbia County Tourism Department, Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District.


Hello, new people.

One note about Ommegang: if you expect to enjoy "the famous Belgian combo of moules and frites in their cafe," you'd better plan on arriving early. It's a relatively small place, and you can expect it to be mobbed, especially this time of year.

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