Items tagged with 'travel'

Exploring the Mid-Hudson Valley

Mid-Hudson Valley composite

By Julie Madsen

The boundary of the Hudson Valley begins in our backyard, and the region spans from Albany to Westchester.

Famous for its natural beauty, dotted with farms, influenced by the arts, and layered with history, the Hudson Valley has a lot to explore. And focusing on the middle section is a good way to approach getting to know the region.

Here are a few ideas.

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Weekend Destination: Connecticut

weekend destination connecticut composite

By Julie Madsen

Connecticut is the third smallest state in the country -- but still has plenty of things to see and do during a quick weekend trip.

The northwestern corner of the state is rural and hilly, while the coastal portion is dotted with industrial cities. And though it borders New York, your best bet from Albany is probably to drive through
Massachusetts to get there. Head out on I-90 east, take a right turn at Springfield, and cross the border.

Here are a few ideas for weekend trip...

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A collection of castle day trips

castle day trip composite Julie Madsen

By Julie Madsen

This part of the country is dotted with castle-like structures, full of history, mystery, romance, and fairytale.

Here's a handful of castles that are within day trip from the Capital Region...

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Weekend Destination: Boston

Boston Weekend Destination composite

By Julie Madsen

Boston was settled in 1630, making it one of the oldest cities in America. Today it has a distinct culture and cuisine, a beautiful strand of parks, and it's is a hub of higher education, with accompanying museums.

And it only three hours from Albany.

Hop from one capital city to another for a weekend getaway. Here are a few ideas...

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Day trip: The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss and the Springfield Museums

Springfield Museums Seuss exterior

By Danielle Sanzone

Oh, the places you'll go... Springfield, Massachusetts, for example.

The home of the Basketball Hall of Fame. The home of that new MGM casino. One of the country's many Springfields where The Simpsons might live in their fictional world.

And it's the home of a complex called the Springfield Museums.

It's an easy 1.5 hour drive to Springfield from Albany along I-90 and then I-91. Yet, somehow I had never really heard much about these museums until the relatively new Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum opened as part of the Springfield Museums.

Once you finish exploring the complex, you might find, as Dr. Seuss would say, "you're in pretty good shape for the shape that you are in!"

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From Stewart International to Europe and back for less than $300

Norwegian Air Stewart International Airport service map

A clip from Norwegian's online map showing destinations from Stewart (many of these routes include connections)

Noted: Norwegian Air flies to Europe from Stewart International Airport in the Hudson Valley. And it has a sale right now in which it's offering one-way tickets from SWF to three destinations for as low as $100 during the winter. (Roundtrip total of roughly $250 after taxes and whatnot.) Those destinations: Dublin, Shannon (Ireland), and Edinburgh.

That sale also covers other Norwegian Air airports in the Northeast such as JFK, Newark, and Boston. Those one-way tickets are more in the $150 range (about $350 roundtrip), but they include destinations such as Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Madrid.

Norwegian started flying out of Stewart last summer. It flies to five European destinations direct from SWF, and 15 in total -- among them Barcelona, Copenhagen, Paris, and Prague. Scanning through the roundtrip tickets for the next few months, it looks like a lot of those flights are in the $400-$500 range.

Have you taken Norwegian from Stewart or caught one of its fare sales? We're curious about how it was.

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Weekend Destination: Long Island

Long Island weekend composite Julie Madsen

By Julie Madsen

A lot of people from this area take a beach vacation in Cape Cod or at the Jersey Shore, passing by a prime beach area right in our home state of New York!

Long Island is a special place. It is the longest and largest island in the contiguous 48 states -- 118 miles long and 23 miles from north to south.

You can find Gatsby-level luxury on the north shore, laid back vibes of the south shore, and farmlands out east. Also: all of the bagels you can eat.

There are a bunch of towns and beaches to explore, with so many activities...

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Exploring Washington County

Washington County composite

By Julie Madsen

The rural, rolling hills of Washington County are just about an hour northeast of Albany on a scenic ride along Route 40.

The county is bordered by the eastern shore of Lake George, Saratoga County, and the state of Vermont.

Some may overlook this area with larger attractions close by -- let them, and you can continue to enjoy the peace and quiet and beauty of the region.

Here are a few ideas for things to do while you're there...

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Going underground -- literally

capital region cave trips composite

By Julie Madsen

Caves are dark, damp, and dangerous -- yet they have always been an alluring mystery for people, filled with their otherworldly formations and maze-like passages.

Whether you are a novice to caving or more seasoned spelunker, here are a a few caverns within day trip distance to the Capital Region to discover.

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Weekend Destination: Quebec City

weekend destination quebec city composite

By Julie Madsen

Why: Architecture, food, culture.

How far: Just about six hours.

If you found that you fell in love with the culture of Quebec in Montreal, why not visit the capital of the province...

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Dog-friendly weekend trip and hiking spots?

Otto at Vromans Nose v2

Otto at Vroman's Nose.

J emails:

Any recommendations on local and weekend trip, dog-friendly places to visit? Hiking suggestions are also welcome!

One of the great things about this area is that you can go an hour or two (or not even that far) in just about any direction and there are good day trip and/or hiking spots. (And if you're going to bring your pup to a park or preserve or something similar, it's a good idea to check ahead about the rules for dogs.)

So... got a suggestion for J about particularly dog-friendly destinations? Please share! And sentence or two about you're suggestion a place can be helpful.

Weekend Destination: Toronto

weekend destination Toronto composite

By Julie Madsen

Why: Culture and food in one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities.

How far: Approximately six hours.

Toronto ranks as the fourth most-populous city on the continent -- and it's just at the other end of New York State...

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Weekend Destination: Ottawa

weekend destination Ottawa composite

By Julie Madsen

Why: It's the capital of Canada!

How far: About 5 hours.

Often overshadowed by the two major cities that sandwich it to the east and west, Montreal and Toronto, Ottawa is worthy of a road trip all its own.

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Weekend Destination: Montreal

weekend destination Montreal composite

By Julie Madsen

Why: Museums, culture, food, markets, great neighborhoods. It's Montreal.
How far: About 3.5 hours.

Montreal is a city that makes you feel as if you're on a different continent -- even though you're within half a day's drive from Albany.

So grab your passport or enhanced license and head out for an international weekend that's close by. Here are a few ideas to start with...

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Moynihan Train Hall construction starting

Moynihan Train Hall rendering cross section

A cross section of the planned project.

The Cuomo admin announced Thursday that construction is starting on the Moynihan Train Hall, which serve as the new station for Amtrak trains in New York City. The $1.6 billion project is expected to be finished in 2020.

The train hall will be in the Farley Building -- a post office complex -- across the street from Penn Station. Former New York US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed the trains-at-Farley idea decades ago, and there was a plan dating back as far as 10 years ago for the construction of a "Moynihan Station" on the site. Now a version of the idea is finally happening.

An underground concourse will connect Moynihan to Penn Station. The train hall will also serve the Long Island Rail Road.

This is of interest here, of course, because NYP is by far the most popular destination from Albany-Rensselaer. And Albany-Rensselaer is one of the nation's 9th busiest train station, with more than 825,000 "on offs" each year. Also: Penn Station is depressing.

Here are new renderings, along with an animated promo video....

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Amtrak is now running some trains from Albany-Rensselaer to Grand Central

Grand Central Station concourse CC

The main concourse at Grand Central. / photo: Wikipedia user Ingfbruno (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Amtrak is now running a handful of trains between Albany-Rensselaer and Grand Central in New York City, instead of Penn Station. The modified schedule will be in place through September 1.

The temporary re-routing of the select Empire Service trains is a result of the track repair work at Penn Station. A bunch of different services and lines are affected by the work, so if you're heading to NYC or connecting through it, be sure to check ahead. [NYT]

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Recommendations for summer weekend stuff in the eastern Adirondacks?

campfire at a lakeSean emails:

My friends and I are meeting up for the weekend at a lake-house just east of Keeseville this coming June. Having never stayed in that area, I was wondering if any of your readers might have recommendations for things to do, places to eat, etc. Thanks!

Keeseville is on the Clinton/Essex county line along the Ausable River. It's roughly about as far north as Burlington (but, you know, on the New York side of Lake Champlain.) We're guessing there's a bunch of good summer stuff to do around there.

So, got a suggestion for Sean and his friends? Please share!

photo: Casey Normile

The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

Harriet Tubman home Auburn NY by Flickr user Becker1999 CC

The site in Auburn. / photo: Flickr user Becker1999 (CC BY 2.0)

The newest part of the national park system: The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, New York.

The federal government formally announced the designation this week. From the press release:

The new park commemorates the work of the fearless Underground Railroad conductor during her later years in life, when she was an active proponent of womens' suffrage and other causes. The park is located at the site where Tubman lived and worshiped in Auburn, New York, caring for family members and other formerly enslaved people seeking safe haven in the North. ...
The historic Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church, a modest, two-story, frame structure constructed in 1891 is directly associated with Harriet Tubman, her family, many of her supporters and the African American community of the time. The two-story Rectory is adjacent to the Church and both structures are located across the street from the For Hill Cemetery, the location of Tubman's grave.
The historic church and rectory and other structures within the boundary of Harriet Tubman National Historical Park are largely intact from the time Harriet Tubman lived and worked in Auburn. They provide a strong physical basis for telling the story of Tubman's years following the Civil War when she was active in the women's suffrage movement, in the AME Zion Church and in the establishment of a home for elderly, indigent African Americans.

Auburn is about 40 minutes west of Syracuse on the northern end of the Finger Lakes, and it's about 20 minutes east of Seneca Falls. So you could easily stop at the new Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls during a weekend trip.

And you know the story about how Harriet Tubman led the rescue of a man in Troy, right?

Earlier on AOA: Weekend Destination: Finger Lakes

photo: Flickr user Becker1999 (CC BY 2.0)

Day trip: New Paltz

new paltz composite

By Julie Madsen

An hour in any direction from Albany is bound to bring you somewhere interesting, but heading south down the Thruway to New Paltz has to be my favorite daytrip of all.

I love the funky, alternative vibe and there are so many options no matter what you are looking to do. And the location is almost equidistant between the Capital Region and NYC, so it can be a perfect middle ground meeting spot for friends who live in different cities.

After your first time visiting, you'll surely be planning your second...

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Odd museums and roadside attractions

odd museums and attractions composite

By Julie Madsen

With pleasant foliage all around us, this time of year is perfect for heading out in any direction in search of something unexpected.

And there are all sorts of weird museums and strange roadside attractions across this region, you never know what you may find when you hit the road!

Here are handful of them...

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The plan for a new NYC train station. (For real this time. Probably.)

Earlier this year Andrew Cuomo floated the latest plan for building a new train station in New York City to replace the outdated and much-unloved Penn Station. The broad outline of the project included the long-planned conversion of the huge post office building across the street from Penn Station.

Now there are more specific details: On Tuesday Andrew Cuomo revealed a timeline for the project, showed more renderings, and said the project will build a "world class" train station.

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Places for playing pinball

pinball places julie composite

By Julie Madsen

When I was a child, we practically lived in the arcade, playing pinball. It was the one place my brother and I could agree on -- and get along. But life happens, you grow up, and you find other hobbies (like travel). And more than a decade passed since I had last touched a pinball machine.

Then I found myself in Budapest at the Flipper Museum, an interactive pinball exhibit. I excitedly entered the space. The blinking lights, the clinking sounds, the focus in the players' eyes as they were completey immersed in the moment... the nostalgia. I was in a foreign country and felt completely at home.

Just like that I was hooked again, remembering how fun it is to play.

Now I'm happy to combine my past and present pastimes everywhere I travel, always on the hunt for pinball machines. Here are a bunch of places around the Northeast...

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How to get started hiking the High Peaks

high peak from afar

Mount Colden viewed from Marcy Dam.

By Cristin Steding

Once you start looking, you begin to see them everywhere. On Subarus and Honda SUVs, small and understated, the small, round sticker is easy to miss. The bubbly, hand-drawn font reads simply: 46er.

For the uninitiated, here's the short version: There are 46 "high peaks" in the Adirondacks, giant, looming mountains over 4,000 feet in elevation. Those brave or crazy souls who choose to hike all 46 of them form an exclusive club, called The 46ers.

For many of us, especially those without a lot of experience hiking, becoming a 46er seems completely unattainable. Like only the Bear Grylls type would be able to do it. But in reality, lots of regular people complete the 46.

And here's how to get started...

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Weekend Destination: New Hampshire

weekend new hampshire composite

By Julie Madsen

Why: the shore, shopping, history, seafood
How far: 3.5 hours

The New Hampshire coastline -- all 18 miles of it -- is often overlooked as a summer getaway. You always hear about people traveling to other New England beach hotspot such as Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Newport in Rhode Island, or Ogunquit in Maine.

But perhaps Portsmouth, New Hampshire likes it that way -- and its charm is reserved for just those in the know.

Head east on I-90 and north on I-95 and discover the beauty of New Hampshire in the summertime...

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Black Heritage Tours history tour of Albany, Hudson Valley, and New York

stephen harriet myers residence exterior 2016-JanuaryA company called Black Heritage Tours is starting a new history tour of the Albany area, Hudson Valley, and New York City that's focused on African Americans, Native Americans, and the Dutch.

The company already operates tours in the Netherlands. From a Dutch consulate website description of the new tour here in New York:

Founded in Amsterdam in 2013, Black Heritage Tours - New York State focuses on the transnational history of the region, and demonstrates the influence that the Dutch, Native American and African cultures had on New York. While we often think of New York as a "free state," slavery wasn't abolished in New York until 1827, and its blows were felt long after that.
This three-day, two-night tour of New York's Hudson Valley, which includes hotel accommodations and transportation, will provide a glimpse into our past, answering questions about the history of slavery in New York, and bringing to light the extraordinary experiences of the men and women who helped shape this region. The tour begins in Albany, with stops at Crailo Historic Site, Ten Broeck Mansion, the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and the African Burial Grounds. Tours will proceed along the Hudson River to New York City, with additional stops in Harlem and Brooklyn.
As an adult, [company founder] Jennifer [Tosch] attended University of California, Berkeley where she studied Dutch Colonial history. She traveled abroad to trace her family's own diaspora, and during her studies in the Netherlands, she was surprised to discover large voids in the historical narrative. 'Where were the positive narratives about the presence of Africans?' 'Where were their contributions celebrated?' Similar to her childhood, Tosch recognized gaps between her experiences and the story being told by the predominant culture. She founded Black Heritage Tours to combat that "single story" approach to history and reclaim her heritage.

The first New York tour is this August 5-7. It will repeat October 28-30 and December 9-11. Tickets are $555 and include the tour, transportation from Albany, accommodations, and breakfast and lunches.

Earlier on AOA: Stephen & Harriet Myers, station agents for Albany's portion of the Underground Railroad

(That's the Myers house on Livingston Ave in Albany in the photo.)

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All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

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