Blogs > Millennial Traveler

New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Walkway Over the Hudson's Elevator Opens Thursday

The Walkway Over the Hudson's elevator will officially open to the public tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 14) at 1 p.m.
The walkway, opened in 2009, is in Poughkeepsie and Highland, NY. It is the longest, elevated pedestrian walkway in the world - at 212 feet tall, and more than a mile long.

(photo by: Adam Sanzone)

From the Press Release:

Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park Waterfront Elevator to Open August 14

Connection will advance revitalization of the Poughkeepsie Waterfront

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Walkway Over the Hudson organization today announced that a new 21-story elevator connecting the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park to the Poughkeepsie waterfront will open to the public at 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 14.
“We’re excited to welcome the public to this long-awaited feature of Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “The waterfront elevator is yet another feat in Governor Cuomo’s effort to promote tourism and outdoor recreation in New York State, and it will encourage the Walkway’s many visitors to stay longer and explore more of the region’s plentiful parks, trails and waterfront.”
“Much like the Walkway itself, the Walkway Waterfront Elevator is a tribute to collaboration and perseverance,” said Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Walkway Over the Hudson Executive Director. “We have worked closely with our partners at New York State Parks, the Department of Transportation, Central Hudson, the City of Poughkeepsie, the Dyson Foundation and many others to see this visionary project through to completion. And, much like the Walkway, this elevator will provide exciting new connections and possibilities for the people of the Hudson Valley and New York State.”
The waterfront elevator provides a direct connection from the elevated park to the Hudson River shoreline, including Waryas Park and the new Upper Landing Park; will facilitate tourism by providing more direct access to the Poughkeepsie train station; and will provide easier access for persons with disabilities to the park near the center of the bridge. The $2.8 million construction project is funded primarily by a $2.4 million federal Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) grant and other grants secured by the not-for-profit Walkway Over the Hudson friends group.
The new facility underscores Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving State Parks and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor included a third round of $90 million in New York Works funding for improvements to parks and historic sites in the 2014-15 State Budget. Launched by the Governor in 2012, New York Works is advancing repair and improvement projects at 109 State parks and historic sites across the State.
A former railroad bridge completed in 1889, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened in 2009 and is now visited by over 700,000 people a year. A 2012 study found that spending by Walkway visitors generated nearly $24 million in sales and supported 383 jobs in Dutchess and Ulster counties.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation maintains and operates 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Costa Rica with the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce

A former co-worker is going on a similar trip soon to China with a local chamber of commerce and I just got this in an email.
Nine days, 14 meals, lodging and activities for $2,500. Not bad.
The information session is coming up in early September, and the trip is in March.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New York State Food Festival Information

Due to expected weather tomorrow, Wednesday's NYS Food Festival has been downsized and moved to the Empire State Convention Center

Check out this website for further details.


From an earlier Press Release:


Eddie Money to Headline Day Full of Food, Drink, and Entertainment

New York State Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner RoAnn Destito today announced the lineup for the annual New York State Food Festival, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, August 13 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Due to construction, the stage has been relocated to the north end of the plaza, and seating will not be available on the museum staircase. People are encouraged to bring their own chairs. 
“New York State boasts some of the best craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the nation, and we are proud to be showcasing many of them at our annual food festival,” Commissioner Destito said. “This is one of our most popular summer events, and it is a wonderful opportunity to support local farmers at our afternoon farmers market, sample drinks and foods produced in New York, and enjoy some great music.” 
The festival will begin with the popular plaza farmers market, offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with breads, pastries and many other specialty items. For those looking for a new way to prepare their farmers market finds, this year’s event will also feature farm-to-table cooking demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. by chefs from Mazzone Hospitality restaurants: Angelo’s Prime Bar & Grill and Aperitivo Bristro. 
If cooking is not your thing, there will also be an opportunity for the first 10 people who sign up to participate in Plaza Paint – a Home is Where the Art Is painting class that will be conducted from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
Be sure to catch lunch or dinner at one of the nearly 40 food vendors who will be serving up a wide variety of delicious international and domestic fare, from Indian, German, Greek, South American, Cuban, Lebanese and Jamaican cuisine to sliders, wood-fired pizza, ice cream, and crepes. There will be something to satisfy most everyone’s palate. 
One of the main attractions of the festival is the New York State wine, spirits and specialties tent, which will feature the products of some of the most highly sought-after beverage and specialty food makers from regions throughout the state, including: Adair Vineyards, Albany Sweet Tooth, BlackBird Cider Works, Black Button Distillery, Brotherhood – America’s Oldest – Winery, Elf’s Farm Winery & Cider Mill, Fox Run Vineyards, Gusto Della Vita, Hillrock Spirits, Insane Fudge Company, Jiff-E-Chips, Lakeland Winery, Nine Pin Ciderworks, Oliva Vineyards, Pazdar Winery, Sun Dog Cider, Thousand Islands Winery, Van Brunt Stillhouse, and Yankee Folly Cidery. 
Although alcoholic beverages purchased in the tent are not for consumption on site, there will be a beer garden where adults with proper identification will be able to sample at least a dozen New York State beers, including Brooklyn Lager, Captain Lawrence IPA, Keegan Ales Mother's Milk Stout, Brown's Cream Ale, Olde Saratoga Lager, Adirondack Bear Naked Ale, Lake Placid Ubu Ale, Empire White Aphro, Saranac Pale Ale, Saranac Octoberfest, Saranac Utica Club, and Ithaca Beer Company Cascazilla. 
Those attending the event will be entertained by an exciting lineup of musical acts, headlined by the Brooklyn-born Eddie Money. Money burst onto the music scene with his eponymous debut album in 1977. The album, which went double platinum, featured hits like “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Money followed the success of his debut album with a stream of Top 40 hits such as “Think I’m in Love,” “I Wanna Go Back,” “Shakin,” and the classic, Grammy-nominated duet with Ronnie Spector, “Take Me Home Tonight.” Money continues to delight new and old fans alike at venues throughout the country. As the years have passed, Money’s blue-collar brand of rock n roll has managed to transcend generations and continues to move audiences today. 
The entertainment will begin at noon, with a lunchtime Made in the Shade of the Egg performance by Sensemaya. The band fuses hot Latin dance rhythms with the cool sophistication of jazz improvisation. Their repertoire includes funkified interpretations of classic salsa to originals written in the revolutionary timba style of Cuba. 
Music on the festival’s main stage will start cooking at 5 p.m. with a performance by The Blind Spots. This all original, female-fronted, five-piece moxy rock band from Ithaca features a solid-as-a-rock rhythm section, eclectic library of keyboard sounds, and bold and inventive electric guitar stylings. Electrifying lead vocalist and force of nature Maddy Walsh can hang with the best of them, continuing to reach new heights with her voice at every show and on every recording. 
Next to hit the stage will be Soul Session, a high energy and emotive ensemble that performs multi-genre soul music with entertaining command and spontaneous originality. Soul Session, led by “soulist” Garland Nelson, the former lead vocalist of the New York Players, emotes supernatural passions from material by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Bill Withers, and many others. 
Performance schedule:
Noon - Made in the Shade of the Egg featuring Sensemaya
5:00 - The Blind Spots
6:15 - Soul Session
7:45 - Eddie Money
Free parking will be available after 3 p.m. in the cathedral lot off Madison Avenue and after 5 p.m. in the East Garage on the corners of Madison Avenue, Eagle Street, and Philip Street. Parking is also available for $5 at the visitor lot underneath the plaza after 4 p.m.  
For event updates, follow @plazaevents on Twitter.. For additional information, including ground rules, visit our website at 
Sponsors of the New York State Food Festival include: New York State Lottery, New York State Public Employees Federation, Saranac, County Waste, PYX 106, Times Union, and Holiday Inn Express.

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2014 at Brewery Ommegang

Woodstock. Bonaroo. The Great American Beer Festival. Belgium Comes to Cooperstown.

What? You haven't heard of BCTC? Well, here's the gist - thousands of people come together in the rolling, grassy backyard of a great Belgian beer brewery in upstate New York. During the weekend of camaraderie and camping, there's an exquisite VIP dinner, exclusive tastings, entrancing entertainment, and on top of all of that there is a fair amount of bottle sharing outside of the official tasting tents.

The event, which has been going since 1999, attracts beer nerds and neophytes alike, some driving just down the road while others may have several hours to make it to the festivities. Tickets every year go on sale on April 1 and they usually sell out within minutes. Volunteering is another option to get into BCTC, in which you volunteer for about 3 to 4 hours and have access to the festival.

For those who missed it this past weekend (or maybe you just want to reminisce), here's a bit about the activities from BCTC 2014.

There was a Vegas-theme this year, specifically "What Happens at BCTC, Stays at BCTC" - which was found on the bracelets and lanyards. I missed Friday night (when the VIP dinner happens) but I heard it was delicious, with ever-flowing bottles of beer.

For the past couple of years, Ommegang has especially used BCTC to highlight/premier their newest Game of Thrones beer. This year it was Valar Morghulis, a Belgian Dubbel. If you bought tickets for the  "Game of Thrones Experience", you got a special glass, a bottle of beer (retail:~$8.50), and a photo on the Iron Throne from the fantasy series. The new beer is expected out in stores this fall.

With the Vegas-theme, the organizers of BCTC did a great job of putting fun, creative twists throughout the festival grounds. There was Vegas-style entertainment - with show girls, cirque performers, an Elton John impersonator, and even Elvis skydivers (or flying Elvii, as I like to call them).

The loyal and regular attendees always get into the theme. This year I saw a fair share of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas characters and Elvii.

Oh, I almost forgot.....the beer was good, too. There were about 75 breweries from multiple countries, with a particular focus on Belgian brews. A fairly complete list of beer can be found here. Some of my favorites included: the Allagash James Bean, Stillwater/Westbrook Gose Gone Wild, and Ommegang's bourbon barrel aged Adoration. The girly-drinker in me also enjoyed the Pink Reserve from Woodchuck.

(from the Ommegang site)

When the four-hour tasting period finished up, there were still food vendors, massages, free hand-designed T-shirts (if you didn't mind the line), music, and beer shares back at the tents - which kind of transform the scenic, hop-filled yard into a tent city for a couple of days.

Even the porta potties this year were well-kept and cleaned.

The only real annoyance was the strict security which is understandable given the size of the event. As opposed to past years, this year, the security guards were extremely vigilant about checking bracelets to make sure people had paid for entry. This became an issue for some late-Friday, early-Saturday arrivals since people weren't able to get their tickets or check-in as volunteers. I, personally, was not allowed in when I arrived for my early Saturday shift because I did not yet have a volunteer bracelet to enter. Again, I understand why they're there. It, unfortunately, just left a sour taste for some in the initial hours --- which then, for me anyway, eventually fizzled away.

VIP tickets this year were about $250 and included access to the 500-person dinner and some exclusive access to parts of the festival. I believe the general admission was about $100 and camping was $20. I'm estimating because I haven't paid for a ticket for two years since volunteering is such a great gig.

Feel free to check out my Facebook page for my photo album on the event, and my Twitter and Instagram (@DanielleSanzone and @DanielleMSanzone, respectively) for other thoughts on this year's BCTC experience.

And for those bummed that you missed out with this event: 1) Go next year, and/or 2) Go to another upcoming event like the Festival of Farmhouse Ales in Vermont this weekend or Troy on Tap in NY's Capital District in early September.

Tonight (Tuesday) at the Rensselaer County Historical Society

I'm told this is rain or shine.

I definitely appreciate that the RCHS is actively trying to attract a younger demographic to their events, like this deck party.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Albany Bikeshare Starts Saturday

Following Bike Shares in Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Schenectady, the city of Albany will have one starting this weekend.

I saw the sign up table for the bike share in Troy and it seemed like an easy, straight forward process. You look over some information, sign up, and just follow the instructions of the person at the information table. You can also sign up online.

I really wanted to rent one but I just never got to it. Maybe I'll try to do it in Albany this coming week.

From talking with folks in Troy, it sounds like it's been pretty popular. It'd be great if it became a regular offering, along with this car share in Albany.

At least Mayor Lou got a chance to do it while it was in the Collar City.

From the press release:

 The City of Albany’s Bikeshare Week will begin on Saturday, August 9th and run through Friday, August 15th. There will be 25 bicycles available for use between 10am and 8pm at the following locations:
  • Washington Park (near the intersection of Hudson Ave and Washington Park Rd)
  • Lark Street (between Washington and Madison Avenues)
  • Tricentennial Square in Downtown Albany (on Broadway between Steuben and Columbia Streets)
Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan, who will kick off the City’s Bike Share Week with a bike ride around Washington Park starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning said, “We are excited to participate in the Capital Region Bikeshare Program pilot, and encourage residents of Albany to get out and enjoy a free bikeride with us.  As a bicycling and City of Albany enthusiast, for me it’s about the destination and the ride!  I am looking forward to seeing more people on two wheels in our amazing City.”
Starting Saturday, August 9 at 10:00 a.m. through Tuesday, August 12 at 8 p.m., staff members will be located at the Washington Park location to assist with sign-up for users and give a quick tutorial on how the program and bikes operate.
From Wednesday-Friday, August 13-15, the sign-in table will be located at Tricentennial Square. Users may also preregister online at  Participants who pre-register will still need to visit the check-in table before using a bicycle. Once registered, you will receive an ID number allowing access to the bikes for the rest of the week. Bike helmets will be offered to all participants courtesy of Albany PAL and Albany Bike Rescue.
There is no cost to participate, although a credit card will need to be on file as security for the bikes.  More information, including a map of locations and a self-guided tour of Downtown Albany, are available here.
This week is part of a month-long Capital Region Bikeshare Month pilot program which runs from July 10th to August 15th 2014 sponsored by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC).  The Cities of Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs took part each with a week of free bikeshare.  CDTC selected Buffalo BikeShare to provide the bikes and staff. 
“This bikeshare pilot program is a great opportunity for people to check out what bikeshare is and see how it can improve their ability to get around the Capital City,” said Kate Lawrence, Sustainability Planner for the City of Albany.
"We are excited to demo this bike sharing system in the Capital Region", says Anders
Gunnersen, Director of Buffalo BikeShare. "In Buffalo, BikeShare is quickly becoming an integral part of the livening urban scene, with a strong positive response from university students, city residents, and local businesses."
CDTC is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization carrying out Federal requirements for cooperative transportation planning and programming in the four county Capital District area. CDTC hopes to gauge interest in bikesharing regionally. Participants are asked to complete a short survey, and data on bicycle usage and trip locations will be compiled for each City. CDTC’s Capital Moves program provides information specific to the region to encourage transportation by transit, carpool, vanpool, and of course by bicycle.
Buffalo BikeShare has operated for over 2 years, putting Buffalo on the map as one of the first bikesharing cities to utilize “Social Bicycle” (SOBI) brand bicycles that feature state-of-the-art GPS driven on-board technology.

Global Trivia Fundraiser for International Center of the Capital Region

I love world trivia - and you can, too!

From the Press Release:

Second Annual WorldQuest International Global Trivia Challenge

Colonie - Come test your knowledge of the world at the WorldQuest International Global Trivia Challenge organized by the International Center of the Capital Region. The event is taking place on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 6:00 PM. Teams of up to eight (8) individuals will be competing for trophies and other prizes including bragging rights. The evening will be fun and question categories will include geography, flags and capitals, international food and international music. The event will take place at the Celtic Hall, 430 New Karner Road in Colonie. Tickets are $35/ per person or $250 for a team of eight. All proceeds will go towards the International Center's K-12 educational initiatives. For more information, please call Diane at (518) 708-7608