Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Friday, November 25, 2011

Troy Turkey Trot in a Spiderman Suit - Part Deux

Some 7,000 people flocked to Troy for the Turkey Trot on Thursday, and I was one of them.

*gobble, gobble*

I decided to finally keep my promise in 2009 to do the Turkey Leg portion of the Trot which is when, after about one mile, runners stop at the Ale House to drink and join holiday revelers.

I kept with my tradition of not registering for the event, and ran with my brother who tried to duck out at the last minute - in true Sanzone style - afterall, we are not morning people.

As we approached downtown, we knew it was going to be a popular event - families and runners were everywhere. Luckily, I got one of the last parking spots at The Record's lot (ironic since I actually have a parking pass there and most of the other people who parked there didn't) and we walked over to 4th Street.

The starting area was a bit different than I remembered since the last time I did the run there were sections labeled for certain 5K running times. But this time there was just a mass of people.

The false start was the same as I remembered though, as well as the "fun" of running/breathing in the cold air.

I was actually in shape when I did the run before and this time I hadn't seen the entrance to the gym in weeks. That's why I decided to do the Turkey Leg.

The one thing no one told me about the Turkey Leg, however, and that I didn't really think about, is that you still have to walk/run back from the Ale House once you get there. still end up doing nearly 2/3 of the 5k anyway.

We ran for a bit, then walked, then ran for a bit more as we got closer to the Ale House. The crowd there was awesome with beligerent but friendly folks cheering us on.

But, as luck would have it, I forgot my flask (and my brother is under 21 anyway so it was just as well), so we walked over a block and started walking with the rest of the group that had already turned around and were making their way back downtown.

We approached the hill that I loathe and eventually were within eyesight of the Green Island bridge.

At this point, at least a dozen kids had yelled "Hey Spiderman/woman!" And another dozen adults had yelled "It's Tricky Dick" to my brother. Yes, we were dressed as Spiderman and Richard Nixon.

I actually saw another Spiderman in the crowd - on a side note, he has now become my arch-nemesis.

He ended up running nearly the whole thing and was obviously in front of us - but we did make it back to the finish line.

I'm not sure what you would call the run we did since we did run more than just to the Ale House.

I guess I'll dub it - the Turkey Wing.

Next time....because once again I have a feeling there will be a next time (especially since my brother wants to run the whole thing next year) I think I'll wear a new costume. Spiderman costumes are not meant for people with curves.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Winery, Brewery, and Distillery in Three Hours in Columbia County

It appears the farmland in Columbia County is very fertile, with pecks of apples, grapes, and other things to make alcohol. My boyfriend and I, after visiting the Hudson Chatham Winery, Chatham Brewery, and Harvest Distillery, are pretty sure the folks in the nearby county could make quality beverages even just from the grass.

Find out for yourself by visiting the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail. It's possible to do about half the trail in three hours so this can work as a half-day trip or a full day trip.

I'd actually never heard of a "beverage" trail, only wine trails before this local one came up in a Google search. It was initially my intention to just do a wine tour but I'm glad it also included beer and harder liquor. Along with trying non-nationally distributed drinks, it was fun trying things that I knew I'd enjoy and that my boyfriend would enjoy (he's more of a beer person, I like wine, but then we both enjoy liquor).

We started the trail, which we reduced so we could make the Gazette Holiday Parade in Schenectady, at the Hudson-Chatham Winery where they were having a bread, cheese, and wine festival with several vendors in their site on Route 66 in Ghent.

It was a bit confusing when we walked in since I wasn't sure what to try first, the food or the drink. So, we made our way around the room and eventually did two $5 wine tastings. I was a big fan of their whites and dessert wines and Jon enjoyed their reds. We bought two to take home and enjoyed pairing the tastings with the food samples where the vendor reps were more than willing to talk about their products.

The next stop was the Chatham Brewery where we had been before. It's a small operation, literally down an alley off the main drag in Chatham. Since the bf and I first visited the business several months ago, they've now expanded their sales offerings to multiple merchandise items like glasses and clothes, along with the growlers of quality beer. But the hours are pretty restricted: they used to be just 11am-2pm on Saturdays, but have extended to 11am-5pm with a promise to open if you just call 698-0202.

The final stop was the Golden Harvest Farm with the Harvest Distillery in the back which is leased from the farm operation on Route 9 in Valatie. You walk in and there are large wooden barrels everywhere. Tastings are $1 or free if you buy something. We, like many others before us, fell in love with the Apple Jack whiskey which is based on a centuries old tradition of whiskey. I especially loved it with hot apple cider which ended up being our main beverage at the parade that night.

The entire trail also includes Brookview Station Winery in Castleton-on-Hudson, and Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond, Mass.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Free Canal Calendars Available

The public is invited to pick up a free 2012 Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor calendar starting on Dec. 1 at selected libraries and visitor centers.

The calendar captures the unique beauty, history, people and character of New York's canals and canal communities. Each month features one of 12 winning images from this year's Erie Canalway photo contest.

Ten thousand calendars will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Locations in the area with calendars include the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, Mechanicville District Public Library, Saratoga Springs Visitor Center, Saratoga National Historical Park, Albany Public Library on Washington Avenue, Amsterdam Free Library, Riverspark on Remsen Street in Cohoes, William K. Sanford Town Library, Troy Public Library, the Hudson Mohawk Gateway/Burden Ironworks Museum in Troy, and Waterford Public Library.

For more information, check here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Polar Express Comes to the Capital District

'Tis the season to be thinking it's too early to be 'tis-ing the season. Still...there is something about the holidays which, I think, is why many people rush into them.

It's hard not to get sentimental and nostalgic in November and December. I have fond memories of Breakfasts with Santa, Victorian Strolls, Christmas concerts, and making the trip to grandmother's house - which we still do.

But there is a new activity to add to the list of holiday traditions and it's based on a cherished children's Christmas story, The Polar Express.

I believe it was because of the book that my family hangs jingle bells on our mantle every Christmas.

I actually have yet to see the movie (though I did see part of it when trying out the new D-box seats at Rotterdam mall) but I'm sure Tom Hanks did justice to the conductor role.

Along with reading the book this season, families can ride an actual Polar Express at the Saratoga and North Creek Railway. Children are invited to board the train in the pjs, and all guests will enjoy cookies, cocoa, caroling, and a live interpretation of the classic holiday tale.

The hour-long rides start this Friday, Nov. 18 and prices range from $23 to $58. The round-trip rides depart from Saratoga Springs train station, 26 Station Ln, and go to a custom-built North Pole before returning to the initial station.

This is the inaugural year that the Saratoga & North Creek Railway is in operation and the first time this event will take place in the area.

Dates for this include Nov. 18-20, Nov. 22-23, Nov. 25-27, Dec.2-23, and Dec. 27-28. All dates have departures at 6pm and 8pm.

More information can be found here or call 877-726-RAIL.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

EZ Pass: The Legend Continues

So, I may have spoken too soon when I blogged before about everything being worked out with EZ Pass.
Apparently, it will take more than a written appeal, a 30 minute phone call, 20 minutes on hold, and a second call to finalize my bill of $5.25 - which, did I mention, I have already paid.
After paying a bill (they sent me the wrong violation number so I paid someone else's bill) and trying to straighten everything out, they have still sent me two more bills instead of transferring the money and/or refunding me the money so I could pay them again on the right account. Because there is no way I'm paying twice for this, who knows if they'd ever reimburse me.
So, I called the EZ Pass folks again today and, while I was not on the phone for 30 minutes this time, it wasn't much help either...they told me to call back in 7 days.
This is getting kinda ridicules....
I repeat...all of this for....$5.25.
I may follow my boyfriend's advice when I call back and ask for the supervisor - if there is one.

Travelzoo Deal for $250 Weekend in Lake Placid

If you're like me, you're already looking for fun winter escapes and Lake Placid always comes to my mind.

It's less than 2.5 hours away by car and has beautiful views of the Adirondack High Peaks and Mirror Lake. There's also the 1932 and 1980 Olympic venues, and in the winter there are activities like dog sledding on the frozen lake or snow shoeing on nearby trails. could just stay in your warm hotel room (or suite).

In a local Travelzoo deal, you get two nights in a balcony room with a view at the High Peaks Resort, a three-course meal at a the Dancing Bear, and breakfast for two daily. This is normally worth $583 but, with a Travelzoo voucher that can be purchased here, it's just $249 (or $349 for a fireplace suite which is usually more than $800 for two nights).

Buy the voucher before the end of Nov. 17, then use it through Dec. 23 and in March, April, and May.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Now is the Time to Buy Europe Airfare

All of a sudden this week I've been bombarded with cheap airfare to Europe via Lufthansa, United, and Continental. The only thing I can figure is that this might have to do with the current state of the EU economy (with it being in quasi-limbo).
Also, it's past the summer/fall peak season to go to Europe so now I'm seeing prices ranging from $350-$550 flying from NYC to Dublin, and $650 from Albany. All prices are roundtrip.
After paying about $1,000 roundtrip in September from Boston to Reykjavik to London to Dublin to London to Reykjavik to Newark, I can't help but be slightly annoyed that prices are going down now...but, my trip was still fun so I can't complain too much.

Waterford Library Electronic Assistance

The Waterford Public Library will be offering technology assistance drop in sessions on the following dates: Nov. 7, Nov. 21 and Dec. 12. If you have questions about computers, email, or electronic book readers, the library may be able to help.
All sessions take place on Mondays from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.
For more information, please call the library at 237-0891.