Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Disney Cruises Out of New York City

I've had cruises on my mind a lot. It's probably because it seems everyone but me has been on one. It also might be because we're in a weird weather spwinter - where it's not quite spring or winter and it's depressing. So, it'd be nice to go to a place that's not going to temperature menopause and can make up it's mind about what weather to have. Thinking such a place might exist in warmer climes.
With all that being said, Yankee Trails World Travel recently announced that Disney Cruise packages departing from New York City are being offered for the first time.
From a recent release:
Beginning May 25, 2012, the Disney Magic will sail 20 cruises from New York with three unique and varied itineraries including an eight-night Bahamas cruise, a five-night cruise up the New England coast, and three two-night cruises that are designed for families looking for a quick getaway.
“We are excited that we are now able to provide our customers with a Disney Cruise package out of New York City,” said Stephen Tobin, President of Yankee Trails World Travel. “As part of the Disney Cruise package, we offer our no-hassle shuttle service, Cruise Express. Travelers park at our Rensselaer office and we take care of the driving and parking with a convenient drop off at the port of departure.”
Yankee Trails’ “Cruise Express” program offers Disney cruisers door-to-door shuttle service between Yankee Trails World Travel’s corporate offices and the docked cruise ships in New York City, making it easy and affordable for Capital Region travelers to get to and from the cruise pier.
Previously, Disney cruises were only available from Florida, adding the additional cost of airfare for local families that wanted to participate.
“Yankee Trails World Travel is always prepared to accommodate the needs of our customers and we already have 24 shuttles set aside for this package,” said Jeff Adams, Director of Marketing. “This is going to be a very popular cruise in the area and our package makes it easy and affordable for families to travel in this economy.”
Also available for the first time in 2012, Yankee Trails World Travel will offer the Cruise Express program for cruises departing from Boston. For more information, visit
About Yankee Trails World Travel:
Since 1957, Yankee Trails World Travel has been providing safe, affordable motor coach transportation to patrons in and around Upstate New York. In 1999, the company expanded their services to offer full-service transportation via air and cruise travel packages. The company remains one of the Capital region’s premier family-owned and operated private businesses. The company’s slogan “Let’s Cruise” is very familiar to many Capital Region residents.

Trip to Guatemala to see Fair Trade Business

During this year's Victorian Stroll, I was introduced to a new group called Mayan Hands which sells handcrafted items from South America. They are a small fair trade oganization that works with 150 women in a few Guatemalan communities.
So, I signed up for their emails and have some fun news for folks who might have some extra time (10 days)/money (~$1,900) on your own hands.
The organization offers a trip to Guatemala.
Here's the info they sent me:
Mayan Hands has only 2 spots left open for the trip! We are getting ready for our Mayan Hands tour that starts in exactly 1 month. Come experience a new world! Our talented weavers will receive you with open arms in their villages, and talk with you about their lives and work.
Visit an extraordinary textile museum and talk with the curator, a friend of Mayan Hands. Admirethe colonial architecture and learn about the history of the world renowned city of Antigua. Enjoy the bustle and hustle, the color and sounds of the Chichi market and take a break in the serene beauty of Lake Atitlan.
Guide and Translator - Deborah Chandler, Director of Mayan Hands, Author of Guatemalan Woven Wealth and Learning to Weave
March 14 - 24, 2012
Tour Highlights:
Visit groups of Mayan weavers in their villages, living within the culture they cherish
Meet with women's cooperatives and learn firsthand the difference Fair Trade makes for MayanHands artisans, their families and their communities
Try your hand weaving on a backstrap loom
Visit Oxlajuj B'atz', a Mayan women's center, home to programs including business development, gender awareness, conflict resolution and herbal medicine
Meet with the women of UPAVIM, an inspirational Fair Trade cooperative providing education,health care and employment in marginalized communities in Guatemala City
Shop in the world-famous handicraft market in Chichicastenango
Visit museums, including Museo Ixchel, named for the goddess of weaving and fertility
Explore the Guatemalan Highlands, beautiful Lake Atitlan and the colonial city of Antigua
Trip Cost $1,895
Includes a $500 tax deductible receipt. If you've sold $1,000 of MH products, deduct $100. If you bring a friend, take off $100 each. Price also includes all lodging (double occupancy), meals,local transportation, translation and entrance fees. Airfare and personal expenses not included.
For more information and trip itinerary, visit: []
Mayan Hands is a non-profit Fair Trade organization that has beenworking with Mayan weavers since 1989.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fire Dept. Chili Cookoff at Brown's Saturday

From a press release this week:
Brown’s Brewing Company is hosting the Second Annual Firehouse Chili Cookoff this Saturday, February 18 from 2pm until 5pm in Brown’s Revolution Hall.
The event is open to the public with $10 admission at the door. The admission fee allows guests unlimited chili samples from all participating firehouses. One hundred percent of the door proceeds will be donated to the Fireman’s Home in Hudson.
Last year’s inaugural event attracted over 300 people and raised $2,500 for the Fireman’s Home. The friendly competition was tight, but the people’s choice top prize, The “Golden Eddy” Fire Hydrant went to The Watervliet Fire Department. Troy City Fire Department brought home the Silver Hydrant and Bronze Hydrant honors were awarded to Defreetsville Fire Department.
The Second Annual Firehouse Chili Cookoff boasts a larger field of competitors this year and includes tasty entries from the following firehouses: Defending Champion Watervliet FD, home field advantaged Troy City FD, Colonie Village FD, Defreetsville FD, Eagle Mills FD, East Greenbush FD, Verdoy FD and Wynantskill FD.
The Fireman’s Home is a non-profit nursing care facility for volunteer firefighters who have saved lives and cared for members of the communities in which they lived. For more information, go to

Monday, February 13, 2012

Free Play Reading

I like free things. I bet you do too.
So, I thought I'd pass along this information:
Village Stage and Starzyk Play Production presents a Free Staged Reading of Seasons Change.
This bittersweet tale of four couples over 60 examines how each deal with love, loss, sex, loneliness, and relationships. We are almost at full capacity so call 729-6128 for reservations.
Only 10 seats remain.
Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arts Center of the Capital Region - 265 River St. Troy, NY
"Don't let your friends have all the fun, get a reservation of your own," Joe Starzyk, the playwright said.

Would you like Flowers with that order of Pasta?

I just heard that DeFazio's Pizzeria is doing a special today (Valentine's Day) where you can order a bouquet of flowers for an additional $9.95 with pre-ordered food.
Michelle's Floral Design on 4th Street will be supplying the blooms.
Deliveries will be made from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day, said Rocco DeFazio who also said he felt boxes of chocolates are overrated. While I don't completely agree with that statement, I do think this is a fun idea.
More information can be found at the DeFazio's Facebook page - or by calling them at 271-1111.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Local Hidden History Program

I love the Rensselaer County Historical Society. Not only because of the beautiful buildings which house the organization or the awesome staff or the sweet green show they host every year at the Victorian Stroll. But, mainly and especially, because of their programs.
I've attended a few very interesting walks and one of these days I really hope to use their archives to find out more about the history of my parents' house and my current apartment building, both have to be from the mid to late 19th century.
So, the latest cool programming from the RCHS will involve RPI's EMPAC building and Mt. Ida Cemetery and the Poestenkill Gorge.

From today's press release:

The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) announces their
February and March Hidden History programs. Reservations can be made by
calling 518-272-7232 x12 or email

Hidden History - EMPAC at RPI
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
$15 per person, $12 for RCHS members

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) is
a 220,000-square foot building containing a wide and flexible range of major
performing arts venues. Positioned on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River,
the center makes a bold statement to Troy's skyline. To make a reservation,
call 518-272-7232 x.12

Hidden History - Mt. Ida Cemetery and the Poestenkill Gorge
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
$15 per person, $12 for RCHS members

Join Kathryn Sheehan, Rensselaer County Historian, as we tour Mt. Ida
Cemetery, which features some of the oldest headstones in the city of Troy.
We will then tour the Poestenkill Gorge a favorite destination for
picnickers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts for decades. The waters
of the Poestenkill collect in Dyken Pond, then make a dash for the Hudson
River below. The Mt. Ida falls drop roughly 85' into a gorge of crumbly
black shale, make a right angle turn, dropping a further 75' into a massive
pool. This source of water power fueled several industries along the
Poestenkill's banks in the 19th century.

The Rensselaer County Historical Society and Museum is a dynamic
not-for-profit educational organization established in 1927 to connect local
history and heritage with contemporary life. We strive to enrich the
present and advocate for the future by bringing the region's past to life,
recognizing every face and every story.

RCHS is located at 57 Second Street, Troy NY 12180.

Animal Lovers: Vaccination in Rensselaer County Set Feb. 11

There's more to this post than the really, really, ridiculously cute photo of this dog. (I think it's a dog. If not, the animal breed should be named "Adorable".)

Anyway, according to a recent press release, an animal vaccination clinic is slated for Feb. 11 at the Mink's Firehouse from 10 a.m. t0 noon (959 Broadway).

More deets:

Rensselaer County Legislator Mike Stammel is reminding residents the Rensselaer County Health Department will be conducting a rabies vaccination clinic on Saturday, February 11.

The clinic will be conducted at the Mink’s Firehouse on February 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The Mink’s Firehouse is located at 959 Broadway.

“This clinic will be a great and convenient opportunity for residents to get their pets vaccinated from this serious disease,” said Stammel.

The first hour of the clinic is reserved for cats and ferrets. The second hour of the clinic is reserved for dogs.

There is no fee for the rabies vaccination clinic. However, donations will be accepted to offset costs for the clinic and to help with ongoing animal welfare efforts.

Pet owners are asked to bring any proofs of vaccination to allow for pets to be vaccinated for three years.

Residents can call the county Health Department at 270-2655 for more information.

Legislators have been supportive of animal welfare efforts, including a holiday collection of food, blankets and toys for animals housed at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society animal shelter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

American Airlines Seeks to Cut 16 Percent of Workforce

The New York Times reported today that American Airlines wants to cut 13,000 jobs, cut pension plans, and decrease health benefits. This is part of a restructuring.
More about this plan by American, which filed for bankruptcy in November, can be found with this New York Times link -
I'm sure in one way or another we'll see this also reflected in airfare ticketing.

Cottages on Cape Cod

Fact: Everyone you know has stayed in a cottage in Cape Cod with their family. Everyone.
Ok, maybe not. But it seems like it sometimes, doesn't it?
It took me 27 years to see what all the hype was about with going to Cape Cod and I have to admit it was great.
Both times I've gone after peak season, though, in September. Once with a friend visiting from Germany and another time with my boyfriend for his birthday.
On the first trip, I saw seals playing near Marconi beach. On the second trip, I ate seafood while sitting near Britney Spears. (
Don't tell anyone but I was actually more excited about the seals.
But I still have not stayed in a cottage there. It sounds like a great idea - get some friends together, take a week off, spend the days on the beach and the nights drinking with buddies in the moonlight. Sounds....relaxing.
And, anyone who follows my blogs knows I don't do relaxing on vacations. I do see/experience-as-much-as-I-can trips. But, maybe one day.
And hopefully that day is closer for you than for me....and, if it is, I just got an email from the Red Jacket Resort which is the place my boyfriend and I stayed at. Not only do they have awesome seaside hotels, they also have cottages.
According to the promotion, if you book by March 31 for a trip at least 7 days long at a cottage - you get $100 in groceries, $50 in gas, and daily housekeeping. Sound like a good deal? Here's the link:

Wanna go to Turkey? Here's your chance...

Ya know, I've been doing this blog for more than a year and I just realized I am really surprised I've barely talked about one of my favorite countries I've ever visited - Turkey.
Some designate the country as Middle Eastern and others as European. Being basically the sole occupant of Eurasia, it's technically both. For years, I've been silently advocating for Turkey to join the EU because I feel it might help how people perceive the country and thus help tourism and other aspects of culture and government there. But most European countries seem to be against this for some reason (they kinda have a similar perception to the Turks as we do to Mexicans and other immigrants).
Despite wide perception, it's actually a secular country. Women aren't exactly equal there (I definitely found that out) but they aren't stoned to death either.
On the border of bankrupt EU-member Greece and war-torn Iraq and Iran, Turkey is stuck between two worlds and it is suffering yet quasi-prospering from its past which unfortunately includes its own wars and genocides but also history like being the birthplace of Mary, being the site of two of the seven ancient wonders, the alleged location of Noah's arc is on one of its mountain tops, and it has some of the most amazing natural beauty in its western volcanic region that I've ever seen.
I was lucky enough when I was a junior in college to get a travel grant to the country to study the ancient city of Troy (yeah, it's amazing what they give you free money for). And now you have a chance at some free money of your own - only it's obviously for a better purpose.
I got this release from Diane Conroy-LaCivita this week. If I were a teacher, I would totally take advantage of this...
Teacher Study Tours to Turkey
Colonie - The International Center of the Capital Region (ICCR) in collaboration with the Turkish Cultural Center Albany (TCCA) would like to cordially invite teachers to attend an orientation and overview for a recently funded program entitled Spotlight on Turkey.
The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28th from 6 to 8 pm at the Town of Colonie William K. Standford Library located at 629 Albany Shaker Road in Loudonville and will include an overview of the program and a presentation by local Turkish American community members from TCCA who will give a welcome, description of history and culture, and provide samplings of Turkish cuisine.
The event is free of charge.
The grant through the Turkish Cultural Foundation in Washington DC was awarded to ICCR to educate teachers and the general public about Turkey and promote interaction between the Turkish and American people.
Additionally, of those who attend the workshop and subsequently fill out an application, three Capital region educators will be chosen to have the opportunity to travel to Turkey for approximately two weeks during the summer of 2012.
Please note: to be eligible to participate in the Teacher Study Tours to Turkey the applicant must attend the orientation and be currently teaching K through 12.
From 2007 to 2011, the Turkish Cultural Foundation has organized 13 study tours to Turkey for 348 educators from across the United States.
For additional information or to RSVP please call ICCR at (518) 860-5363.