Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Helpful Auto Tips for Fuel Efficiency and Safety

You may remember I posted about a local auto maintenance workshop a little while ago. Well, I went to it tonight and it was very informative.
The all-women's session was free and run by the folks at Otto Cadillac and AC Delco.
Some quick tips that I learned:
~for every 5 mph you go over 60mph you spend an extra 29-cents per gallon
~for best fuel efficiency and car care keep the gas tank filled at half a tank
~you use more gas while using the A/C and no extra gas with the heater
~check the tires and oil as often as possible
~change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on how hard you run the car
~ tire rotations every 7,500 miles
~it does matter where you purchase your gas (check for reliable gas stops)
~amber lit lights on your dashboard are important but red ones are urgent, flashing lights=bad

We went over some basic to expert terminology for cars and looked at everything that could be found on the dashboard, or instrument tool board. This included the Check Engine Light, or Service Engine Soon (SES) light. Otto employees also told us about their "pit stop" offer for free inspection of tires and fluid levels, with top offs.

The workshop at Otto Cadillac on Central Avenue lasted from about 6:30pm until around 9pm, with a short break and refreshments from the Century House. The spread was great with grilled veggie dishes, cheese, caviar and crackers, and lots of desserts including chocolate for dipping Rice Krispie treats, pretzels, marshmallows, and strawberries.

On top of this, they also gave out quite a few goodies like windshield scrapers, an umbrella, a small first aid kit, and $25 service gift cards for the site. So, I know where I'll be getting my next oil change.

A similar workshop will be offered in the fall as a follow up. I suggested doing a couple more hands-on things like teaching people to change tires and their oil, but overall it was a good use of time and I learned a lot.

Monday, March 26, 2012

North Carolina Prepares for Hunger Games Tourists

I'll admit upfront: I did not read Hunger Games. I have not watched Hunger Games. I'm not sure I will either. But, for the record,I am hungry while writing this so that has to count for something, right?
Due to the popularity of the movie, tourism bureaus in North Carolina where a large part of the movie was filmed expect an influx of film tourism.
I guess, just judging on the photos I saw of the locations and the dreary nature of the movie, I'm surprised anyone would really care to visit these places.
As you probably know, I love traveling (thus the travel blog) and I use just about any excuse to do so. But seeing some run down shacks in the middle of the east coast South just doesn't sound appealing at all to me.
This probably is because, as I said, I have not seen the movie nor really plan to but I kinda wonder if the tourism bureaus will be just a little disappointed in the turn out at these sites.
Sure, it'll be cool for bragging rights and to even further immerse yourself in the story's not like it's LOTR's New Zealand scenes with fjords and mountains and Hobbit huts (which are also available to visit -
That's my opinion.
But, since I know I'm not always in the majority, here's the link to the site with further info for the North Carolina locations:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eating Haggis in Scotland

A friend of mine is in the UK for work for a couple weeks and he made a visit to Edinburgh this weekend. Seeing all of his pictures of Facebook rekindled memories of my stay there when I was studying abroad. And, to this day, it remains one of my favorite cities.
The school trip up to Edinburgh did not have the best beginning, though. We left the day after St. Patrick's Day and my roommate and I intended to make the most of St. Paddy's in London. I had just turned 21, not that it mattered there, but I was still learning a lot about beer, liquor, and, in general, what the world had to offer for fun and food. London was a great place to explore all of this.
Though, I admit, I may have had a bit too much Guiness that St.Paddy's. But at least I got a free hat and free beard after drinking those four pints, not including the other drinks we had that night.
Needless to say, the trip up north to Edinburgh the next day was not fun. I nearly hurled at Kings Cross' 9 3/4 Platform and the train ride was not much better.
But, once recovered, the Scottish city was absolutely splendid. We visited the palace, toured the shopping streets, saw the cafe where J.K. Rowling did much of her writing and just walking around was an experience with the diverse architecture ranging from castles to palaces to to pillared monuments and gothic edifices in the midst of the bustling metropolis.
One of the experiences that stands out the most, though, was trying haggis. We asked our guides and teachers for a recommendation on where to get the best haggis - which, if you are unfamiliar with odd foods from around the world, is the innards of a sheep (it's heart, liver, lungs) with onions and other extras cooked in an animal's stomach. I, of course, wanted to try it.
We found a place and I ordered the food, much to the amusement of my friends who wanted to watch and maybe try a forkful. I remember it being one of the worst tasting things I've ever tried and it looked even worse.
It was like ground up beef but uglier and worse tasting.
One nearby British kid with his family who was watching me eat it probably put it best, "Mum, it looks like poop."
Since then, I've been told haggis can be tasty and there are even vegetarian types (though I'm not really sure how that would even work since it seems to defeat the purpose). But, I have yet to try it again. Maybe...maybe, when I go back.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lord of the Dance at The Palace

I think I actually remember 16 years ago (I was 12) when Lord of the Dance first came out. I remember those fast-paced dancing commercials and of course a shirtless Michael Flatley.
Well, they're coming to the Capital District on Wednesday, March 28.
I have yet to see them....mainly because Flatley's hairy chest kinda scares me. But, now that he's retired....maybe I will.

(from a release)

Sixteen years ago, Michael Flatley created and launched Lord of the Dance (; today, it is selling out arenas and theatres as the world’s highest grossing Irish dance show. Generations of audiences - more than 60 million people from 68 countries - have seen Lord of the Dance. Presented by MagicSpace Entertainment and Global Entertainment Group, the tour arrives in Albany at the Palace Theatre on March 28. Tickets can be purchased at the Palace Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone 1-800-745-3000 or online at

Speaking about the show’s updates, Flatley says, “We have fresh wardrobes and an exciting new set featuring elements from the successful international tour I performed in last year – we sold out more than 20 dates in the UK. Fans will see technological highlights like video incorporated into an LED wall, as well as a number of changes to the overall lighting and set designs.” Flatley, who retired from dancing in 2011, is Artistic Director of Lord of the Dance and oversees all aspects of the production

(photo by Ken Howard)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Belly Dancing Workshop

I found this interesting (and our newsroom secretary thought that I would find it interesting) and I thought that maybe you would find it interesting too...
The National Museum of Dance
99 South Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Registration: 9:30 am SHARP!
Workshop: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
$55 in advance / $65 at the door Cash or check only.
You will learn how to combine down-tempo techniques together in a waythat gives the dancer the appearance of liquid, seamlessly moving fromone technique to another and layering them together. You will be shownseveral different technique combos to take home and practice or use inyour own dance vocabulary. A great workout in control, and slowingdown your performance style.

Film Festival Tonight and Tomorrow

The third annual Knickerbocker Ledger Film Festival is tonight (Wednesday, March 21) at 6:30 p.m. at the Spectrum and tomorrow (Thursday, March 22) at 6:30 p.m. at the Linda. The festival is $10 at both showings of the eight films(free if you were one of the 30 under 30 and half off if you're a guest of a 30 under 30).
There's also an awards ceremony for the film fest and 30 under 30 reception at DeJohn's at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Here's the most recent press release from Knickerbocker -
ALBANY, N.Y. (Mar. 20, 2012) --- TheKnickerbocker Film Festival is proud to announceThe Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio (339 Central Avenue, Albany), will host the encore festival screening this Thursday, Mar. 22 at 6:30 p.m.
“I cannot express our gratitude for WAMC and they’re coming in as our knight in shining armor; at the last minute, when things seems hopeless, they’ve really saved the day for us and I will be eternally in their debt,” said Kat Broadus, co-chair of the festival’s awards committee.
“When we heard that the festival was in need of a location at the last minute, we were happy to step up,” said Graeme McKenna, general manager of The Linda.
“Film is a big part of our programming not just as an exhibitor but as a staunch supporter of our local film community as well. The Knickerbocker Film Festival is exactly the kind of programming we should all want to see grow and develop,” McKenna continued.
“I applaud WAMC for their dedication to community events, the performing arts, and presenting quality productions. I thank Graeme McKenna and his staff for stepping up to the plate and ensuring filmmakers get their productions screened at a spectacular venue,” said Rich Fazio, co-founder of the Knickerbocker Film Festival.
The festival, which includes eight short films from not only across the world but from here in the Capital Region, is now in its third year. Admission for the screening at the Linda will be $10. Tickets are available online at and at the screening at the Linda’s box office.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A New Way to See Hunger Games

So, you might have heard that this little-known book series called Hunger Games was turned into a movie? And you also might have heard that this movie is opening this weekend. But did you hear that you can watch this movie, what appears to be another Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings epic, in movie seats called D-Box seats that move and vibrate to match the action in the movie?
Well, here' some details from the Rotterdam Square Mall - the only theatre in the area that has these D-Box seats.
From a release:
The countdown continues for the midnight show of Hunger Games this Thursday night!
The Rotterdam Square Cinema is the only theatre in the Albany region offering patrons to view The Hunger Games in D-Box motion activated seats. These special seats pitch, roll and heave in perfect sync with all the onscreen action in Hunger Games,creating an unmatched realistic, immersive experience.
Only a limited number of D-Box seats are available for the midnight show. Tickets can be purchased online or at the theatreboxoffice.
The Hunger Games regular engagement starts Friday March 23rd, and D-Box seats will also be available for these shows.
Also, I got the chance to check out the D-Box seats first-hand not too long ago. See the article here:

Monday, March 19, 2012

U.S. Road Trips

I just found this link today that has several U.S. and international road trip itineraries, descriptions, and some photos.
With my trip to Denver coming up, I was interested in the Rockies and Four Corners trips but the others look breath-taking, including nearby Cape Cod and the Finger Lakes.
Another reason why I really enjoy National Geographic.

Watervliet Chili Cookoff

I really do think food lies at the center of discovering most cultures' details. Like, why do Texans not use beans in their chili? I'm sure if I spent enough time in the state, I'd figure it out. Or maybe I could go to this...
On Saturday, March 24th the City of Watervliet in conjunction with the David Fisher Upper Hudson Heroes of Watervliet will hold a chili cook-off at the Dome (2nd Avenue & 13th Street). The event will run from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Hot dogs, hamburgers, beer and soda will be sold. There will also be music and children activities, with prizes drawn every hour beginning at 5:00 PM. Admission is $10 per person, children under 16 years of age are free. For more information please contact Bob at 337-9115.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Free Auto Basics Workshop

So, this is a travel blog and sometimes in order to travel you need to know the basics of car maintenance. I have very minimal knowledge of this topic but I've always wanted to change that.
When in college, my sorority kept talking about doing a program to teach us girls about oil changes and changing tires and other things that I would love to do myself but normally just call AAA. But we never seemed to have such a program...
Well, Otto Cadillac is hosting such an event on Thursday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m., registration is at 6:15pm. General Motors is also sponsoring it. It's at 1730 Central Ave. in Albany.
It's part of their "Knowledge is Power" initiative and it's free.
"It's a fun forum for car care confidence" stated the press release this week about the ACDelco developed program.
Door prizes will also be given out.
I know I'll be there...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Maple Weekends

Numerous maple syrup sugarhouses are open this weekend and the weekend after as part of a free, self-guided tour called Maple Weekends.
At participating sugarhouses, sugar shacks, and maple farms, folks can visit their nearby maple businesses from 10 a.m. t0 4 p.m. this weekend (March 17 and 18) or next weekend (March 24 and 25).
Some of the nearby participants include: Kent's Sugar House in Berlin (658-2134 /, Grottoli's Maple in Middle Granville (642-2856 /, McComb's Oak Hill Maple Farm in Speculator (548-6105 /, and Nightingale's Maple Farm in Galway (882-9334 /
For more information, go to

State-sponsored Visit of Great ADK Camp

Until a couple months ago, I had never heard of the Santanoni Great Camp but now I'm quite interested in going which is possible this weekend through a DEC snowshoe/XCski trek in Newcomb to the camp.
My first introduction to the name of the camp, Santanoni, came when I started climbing the Adirondack's 46 High Peaks, since there is a Santanoni Mountain.
As it turns out, there is a lot more to the name and story which can be discovered this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
More details, including where exactly and a contact number for other info:
The final Winter Open House Event for 2012 will be held this weekend, March 17 & 18, at historic Camp Santanoni, located in the town of Newcomb in Essex County, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.
The open house allows cross-country skiers and snowshoers access to camp properties to rest and view interpretative displays. The 9.8-mile round trip excursion on Newcomb Lake Road from the Gate House complex to the remote lakeside main lodge complex is a moderate ski and a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
Visitors should expect spring skiing conditions with some snowless patches especially in the first mile between the trailhead and the Farm.
During Winter Weekend events cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to visit both the Gate Lodge and Main Lodge of Camp Santanoni, view displays about the great camp and take interpretive tours with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) staff.
The Artist's Studio, a stone building near the main lodge on the shores of Newcomb Lake, will be open as a warming hut and will have coffee, tea and hot chocolate available.
Also, the Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.The Winter Weekend events are hosted by DEC, AARCH, the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry's (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. In addition to the popular 9.8-mile round trip from the Gate Lodge to the Main Lodge, cross-country skiers and snowshoers are encouraged to take the half mile-trail that connects Camp Santanoni to the nearby Adirondack Interpretive Center's 3.6-mile trail system.
The Center's buildings will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While people may visit Camp Santanoni 365 days a year, the buildings are not typically open to the public during the winter months. Due to the popularity of the previous Winter Weekend Events additional weekends are planned for next winter.
Construction of Camp Santanoni began in 1892 by Robert and Anna Pruyn and eventually consisted of more than four dozen buildings on 12,900 acres including a working farm, the Gate Lodge complex, and a huge rustic Main Lodge and other buildings situated on Newcomb Lake. Camp Santanoni was in private ownership until 1972.
Over the last several decades of state ownership, the camp has gradually been restored through a partnership between DEC, AARCH and the town of Newcomb. Santanoni is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Camp Santanoni is considered by many to be the classic Adirondack Great Camp.
Reservations are not required but for more information, contact AARCH at (518) 834-9328.

For a $100 Fee, Airport Security Can be Bypassed

It's a dream come true for those who hate waiting in the long lines at the airport, usually also stinky lines considering people are removing their shoes. Through certain airlines, like Delta, and airports, like JFK in NYC, you can now bypass those security lines for $100. The Wall Street Journal has the details...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Want to Teach in Turkey?

So this Teach Overseas group tricked me by thinking I could teach for free in another country when you actually have to pay them....which I think is weird (what should I expect from a religious group). But may be good if you are doing a British gap year or you're retired.
If either of those options applied to me, my choice would be to go back to Turkey which is now offered by the group.
I got this email recently. Check it out:
Are you still interested in serving overseas? I’d like to share anexciting new opportunity with you in Turkey!
Consider a journey to the land of Ephesus, Galatia and Philippi. As you explore ancient ruins and colorful bazaars, you will be greeted by people who know very little about Jesus.
You see, today, Turkey is 99% Muslim. With a stable secular government, Turkey has emerged as a strategic leader in the modern Middle East.
God has opened doors in Turkey for such a time as this!
You can let your light shine in Turkey through teaching conversational English.
TeachOverseas provides comprehensive training for summer andyear-long opportunities. No experience necessary. Fundraising is involved.Please reply to this email today if you are interested in Turkey, or other opportunities in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Hungary,Kazakhstan, Russia , Ukraine or Vietnam.
God Bless You,
Christy Jessen
Director of Mobilization
(626) 815-9400

Fort Ticonderoga, Amtrak Offer Deal to See "America's Fort"

From a press release today:
For the first time, Fort Ticonderoga andAmerica’s National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)have partnered to connect people traveling between New York City and Montreal to one of the nation’s oldest and most significant historic sites, Fort Ticonderoga.
Amtrak will offer one free companion rail fare with the purchase of one regular adult rail fare, on the state supported Adirondack line to and from Fort Ticonderoga, New York, beginning April 1, 2012 through October 31, 2012. Customers simply need topurchase tickets a minimum of 3 days in advance andenter discount code V430..
The Northbound Adirondack operates daily between New York City and Montreal, departing New York Penn Station at 8:15 am arriving in Ticonderoga at 1:17 pm. The Southbound Adirondack departs Montreal at 9:30 am, arriving in Ticonderoga at 2:33 pm.
Fort Ticonderoga is one of America’s must-see destinations because of its significant history and natural beauty.
Located in the 6-million acre Adirondack Park and situated on Lake Champlain, the Fort offers sweeping vistas of Vermont’s Green Mountains and New York’s Adirondack Mountains.
“The partnership with Amtrak will enable Fort Ticonderoga to reach a broader destination market from New York City to Montreal,” according to Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga Executive Director. “Fort Ticonderoga is very fortunate to have an Amtrak stop on our property. Our epic story combined with the Fort’s immersive programs and beautiful landscape makes Fort Ticonderoga an exciting destination experience.”
“As the nation’s intercity passenger railway, Amtrak is delighted to support Fort Ticonderoga – America’s Fort,” said Kevin Chittenden, District Superintendent, Empire District, Amtrak. “We are excited to be part of Fort Ticonderoga’s educational mission and to help it serve as a catalyst for economic growth in the beautiful Adirondack region.”
Debra Malaney, Ticonderoga Town Supervisor, said “The Town of Ticonderoga is delighted to see the partnering of Fort Ticonderoga and Amtrak. The Fort has a major impact on both the local and region’s economy and this pairing will provide a wonderful opportunity to broaden our potential tourism market even more. This collaborative effort should have a direct impact on tourism and revenue into our community.”
Fort Ticonderoga opens for the 103rd season on Friday, May 18 and will offer new programs, events, exhibits, gardens and a six-acre corn maze designed in the shape of the Fort!
Visitors will immerse themselves in nearly 2000 acres of exquisite landscape at Fort Ticonderoga and experience the story of how the blood spilled to create an empire in the French and Indian War resulted in the struggle for liberty and America’s independence a generation later. Visitors to the Fort in 2012 will step back in time to the year 1775 as the newly-formed American army begins to repair and refortify Ticonderoga as the critical American stronghold on Lake Champlain.
Fort Ticonderoga is open daily from May 18 through October 18, 2012 from 9:30 am until 5 pm.

21 Jump Street Worth a Movie Ticket, Especially in Albany

Of all the gin joints in all the world, the writers of the revived 21 Jump Street (including co-star Jonah Hill) decided to include three little words in the script said by SNL alum Chris Parnell: "Albany, New York."
About halfway through the hilarious comedy/drama/buddy cop flick, Parnell - who plays a drama teacher - says during the Peter Pan high school production try-outs that he is from New York...Albany to be exact.
I took this as a huge shout out to the Capital District in th Empire State and a nod to the fact that there is more to the New York than NYC. Even though what it probably was was Parnell remembering making fun of the capital during his time on SNL.
But I'll take it.
Aside from the Smalbany mention, this is a damn good movie and it officially opens at midnight tomorrow (Thursday, March 15...well, technically Friday).
I went to see it during a sneak peak at Crossgates on Tuesday. I haven't laughed that hard at a movie since.....probably since Robin Williams stopped playing funny characters and started his crazy/serial character streak.
The film is nostalgic of high school days and pays tribute to the original 21 Jump Street in a way many fans will appreciate at the end of the film. (I didn't watch the show but even I was tempted to applaud along with the rest of the theatre when it happened)
I'll admit, however, there are a few cliche points - why does there always have to be a scene where the two best friends fight and ruin everything? And why do they always have to make up so quickly afterward in an unrealistic way?
But, aside from that, the characters, the plot, the antics are great. The movie is very entertaining. I'd even recommend not waiting for it to hit Netflix because everyone will be talking about it anyway.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cure for Cabin Fever: A Spring Trip to Garrison and Beacon, NY

Anyone who enjoys local history, or haven't been to these communities before, should check out this spring trip.
Release from the Waterford Historical and Cultural Center:
Who: The Waterford Historical Museum and CulturalCenter
What: Spring Day Trip to Boscobel and Mount Gulian Historic Sites in Garrison and Beacon , N.Y.
Where: Waterford Museum, 2 Museum Lane, Waterford NY
When: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Admission: Current members- $80.00 - non-members $85.00.
Details: Are you ready for a day out after a long winter? Then come along on the Waterford Historical Museumand Cultural Center’s Spring Day Trip for guided tours of Boscobel and Mount Gulian Historic Sites,two landmarks in the Hudson River Valley. Save the date and bring your friends.
Boscobel is a federal period house museum in Garrison, N.Y., situated on a bluff overlooking the river across from West Point.The mansion was completed in 1808 for the States Morris Dyckman family,loyalists during the American Revolution. Lunch will be at the Riverview Restaurant, Cold Spring, N.Y. starting with a mixed greens salad followed by entrée choices of either chicken scaloppini with herbs and mashed potatoes or salmon, vegetables risotto and maple glaze, followed by dessert and beverages– coffee or tea.
After lunch we will move on to Mount Gulian HistoricSite in Fishkill-Beacon area. Many people have lived and influenced events at Mount Gulian:Wappingers Indians, the Verplanck family, Society of Cincinnati (the first veterans fraternal organization in the U.S.), James Brown (a runaway slave) and General Friederick von Steuben a hero of the American Revolutionary War. The original house and Dutch Barn were built by a Dutch merchant in the 1730s.Departure will be at 8am and we will return at about 5:30pm.The trip package includes parking, motor coach transportation, admission fees, guided tour and lunch for only $85.00. For more information and to make reservations call Emily Wilson at 518-237-7122 (paid reservations must be in by March 23rd).