Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Activities for Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Eve in the Albany Area

'Twas the Eve before the eve before Thanksgiving...and I figured tomorrow is a pretty big party night so some folks might like to know what is good in the neighborhood (I'm sorry I typed that phrase, it won't happen again).

So, here's a list of things to do Thanksgiving Eve and on Thanksgiving:

On Wednesday

Uncle Marty's Adirondack Grill in Averill Park (2930 Rt. 43) is hosting a Happy Hour with - free chicken wings, coffee and soda for the DD. There are also $12 growler fills of Brown's Pumpkin Ale, $1 off NY pints of beer, and $7 liter specials.

The Paddock Loung in Saratoga Springs (6 Caroline St.) is hosting a Thanksgiving Eve Party with DJ Triumph. The dance floor is open. And I quote "Will have the dance floor packed and spinning the hottest hits until the sun comes up. It's going to be wild and crazy." Um, sounds fun! This starts at 5pm.

Mio Vino Wine Bar & Bistro in Altamont (186 Main St.) will be hosting a Thanksgiving Eve Bash with: free pizza at the bar, drink features, and free cab rides all night. This starts at 5 p.m.

The Irish Ale Pub in Troy (95 Ferry St.) is hosting a Night Before Thanksgiving event with live band Switch Band. It starts at 7 p.m.

The Cohoes-Waterford Elks in Cohoes (45 N. Mohawk St) is hosting their second annual party with entertainment by Harmony Rock. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Price includes light food. Draft Coors Light is $1. Calls Elks for details: 235-3222.

Legends on Pearl in Albany (84 N. Pearl St.) will have DJ Wolverine and DVDJ Reel. There will be be drink specials and giveaways. There is no cover charge. This starts at 10 p.m. and goes until 4 a.m.

Kelly's Imperial Bowling Center in Amsterdam (249 Wallins Corners Rd.) is hosting band Skeeter Creek at their event. There were about 1,000 people there last year and they're expecting even more this year.

On Thursday

The Troy Turkey Trot is in its 66th year of encouraging folks to run, be silly, and work off some calories before dinner. Your last chance to register is Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Atrium. This year there is a costume contest. The 10K starts at 8:30 a.m., there are walks at 9:30 a.m./9:35 a.m., and the 5K is at 10 a.m.

The 50th annual Cohoes Turkey Trot is also that morning. They have a Thanksgiving Turkey named "Flash" and walks/runs for all ages. Registration is free. Shirts are $10. All races start in front of City Hall.

There are at least a half dozen free dinners and opportunities to volunteer happening around the area. You can read more about those here.

Happy (almost) Turkey Day, folks! :)

While You Were Sleeping

It was a weird morning. And since I have a fun tradition of sharing, I was trying to figure out a way to condense my 3 1/2 hour experience this morning into a succinct Tweet or Facebook post, but it just wasn't happening. So, buckle up folks, I'm going to blog about how going to the gym in the snow almost resulted in my car needing a tow. (hey that rhymed)

First, the reason I was up at 4 a.m. this morning was not originally because I wanted to go to the gym. My bf and I are currently sharing a car while his truck is in the shop. We live in Troy and he works in the land of Guilder.

For anyone who was also up early this morning, you know how crappy the roads were. For those that weren't, I -surprise - took photos (from the passenger seat since Jon was driving).

We picked up one of his co-workers, whose usual main source of transportation is his bike and took Rt 20 for a while. The roads had not been treated yet (it was about 5am) and it was slick. While I love my Nissan Sentra, I will admit it is not the best car in the snow. Jon took it easy for most of the usual 25 minute trip which ended up being about double that time.

I'd say the scariest part was Rt 146 heading toward Altamont since there are no street lights and the roads are a bit more hilly and winding. But we got to his job safely and I started to drive back alone. I was nervous - it was my first time driving in the snow this season - but made it to Rt 20 with no issues and decided that I would wait out the storm at the land of Guilder Y, figuring after a work out that the roads would be salted and plowed.

I turned onto the side road leading to the Y and then lost control of my car as I tried to turn into the parking lot. Despite an already slow speed, I hit a curb hard enough to jostle me in my seat and make the whole car jolt to a stop. But I was able to back up and moved to a parking spot.

Once out of my car, I go to check that side of the car and my front passenger side tire is hissing. A lot. I go inside to ask for a flashlight (since it's still dark out and it's about 5:30am) and came back to a continued loud hissing sound. To me, the tire looked like it was losing air. I figured "Screw it", I'll go inside to work out and then call AAA after I'm done.

(note the foot to show I really was there)

I had a great workout in the pool, though I realized I am extremely out of shape. In the Jacuzzi (which felt amazing), I talked to a nice retired guy named Jim who used to work at the Scotia base flying folks to the North and South Poles (did you know the glaciers in Greenland, by the way, are about two miles tall and that the air in the extremely old ice core samples bursts when put in water). By the end of the conversation, he said he would help me put my spare tire on.

I get out there (it's about 7am now and light out) and the tire actually looked fine. No more hissing. I didn't need to call AAA, nor get a spare put on. Awesome. On top of this, the road are much better.

Going at a slow speed (which actually ended up being the actual speed limits along Western Ave and the Northway), I'm finally feeling comfortable at the wheel again.

Then I had one of the oddest moments of my life so far. I heard my name on the radio. I have a weird habit of listening to all the talk radio stations (I blame my parents for listening to WGY so much growing up) and I was listening to the Paul Vandenburgh show when he was talking about how "bad" The Record newspaper was and he then started to talk about my article in today's paper.

Let me tell you, it is a weird moment to try to negotiate slick roads around fellow surprised drivers who didn't know it was going to snow, and then hear your name on the radio while your place of employment is scrutinized. A very weird moment.

But, I'm home now (about to head off to a press conference in Albany and roads are looking OK). The best feeling of the morning so far was when I finally turned onto my street - my plowed, flat, familiar street. And, possibly my biggest regret of the morning, was deciding to not change out of my pajamas thinking the commute back and forth to Jon's work would be quick/straightforward.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tumbleweed in Troy

My headline for this blog is not meant to be ironic or say that Troy, NY is like a ghost town. No, I actually really did want to share that I saw a tumbleweed - an actual tumbleweed - in Troy on Sunday.

I was driving through South Troy (which, for the purposes of this story will be henceforth known as the Southwest of Troy) on my way to the Hudson Valley Plaza when I saw something going across the street a few blocks away. I asked myself "Self, is that a tumbleweed?"

(from Arches National Park in Utah)

Lo and behold, as I drew closer it was, indeed, a dried up large bush/weed that was blowing in the strong wind of the afternoon. Being me, of course, I tried to get a photo but it was too quick for me. So, I went on my way and hoped that when I came back from the store it might still be in the same area of the sidewalk where it had ended up.

Alas, I came back and it was gone.

I was particularly surprised and excited to see one since in my travels in the U.S.'s west I never had. I saw an antelope play en route from Yellowstone to Aspen. I saw purple mountain majesty in the Rockies, and amber waves of grain complemented by immense energy-generating wind mills in Minnesota and beyond. I even saw buffalo roam. But no tumbleweeds.
(buffalo roaming/causing a traffic jam in Yellowstone, and the sunset over the Rockies outside Aspen after seeing the antelope)

I've looked the past few times driving through that particular section of the city's Southwest (at the base of the hill on 4th Street, a few blocks from the Stewart's). I've continued to search for the tumbleweed, with no luck yet. Troy may not be a ghost town but it now has a resident ghost tumbleweed.

- cue western whistle -

Update: I'm not the only one who saw the tumbleweed! And they got a photo too.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Travel Tidbits: An Underwater hotel room and an overweight man denied entrance on Eurostar

Today in Travel News:

A lone hotel room with the Manta Resort offers travelers the ability to have a hotel room that drifts in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. While there is a sundeck, lounge area, bathroom and area above water, the sleeping quarters are underwater. It looks like this was announced earlier this month on a resort blog. The cost of this experience: $750 per person a night. More information can be found here. And reservations can be made by emailing:

(photo from

A man who was in the U.S. for medical treatments has been trying to get back home to France for two weeks but has been unable to due to his size. At 500-pounds, Frenchman Kevin Chenais,22, has been denied entry on planes, a cruise ship and most recently the Eurostar train which connects the UK with France. But, according to The Star, he'll finally be getting home by ferry.

Winter in the Plaza at Albany's Empire State Plaza

The Winter in the Plaza schedule was announced on Wednesday. In this, the Empire State Plaza's ice rink will open Sat. Dec. 7, weather permitting (this was changed from the original opening date of Nov. 29 due to possible bad weather). Rentals will also be free every Friday during the season and skating clinics will be offered (those dates, along with the complete schedule, are listed below).

(photo of rink from All Over Albany)

Rink Events: 

  • Hannaford Supermarkets Free Skate Rental Fridays – No charge for skates from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., every Friday starting opening day November 29. 
  • Saturday, November 30, 9 - 11 a.m. — Learn-to-Skate Clinic presented by BlueShield of 
  • Northeastern New York. Visit to register. 
  • Sunday, December 8, 3 – 8 p.m. — New York State Holiday Tree Lighting and Fireworks Festival presented by SEFCU. Tree lighting, staged program and fireworks 5:15 – 6 p.m. The rink will be closed during the fireworks and will re-open afterward with live music playing for skaters. All festival events will take place outside this year. 
  • Friday, December 13, 6 – 8 p.m. — Holiday Rock and Skate. 
  • Friday, December 20, 6 – 8 p.m. — Holiday Rock and Skate. 
  • Saturday, December 28, 9 – 11a.m. — Learn-to-Skate Clinic presented by BlueShield of Northeastern New York. Visit to register. 
  • Saturday, January 25, 9 – 11a.m. — Learn-to-Skate Clinic presented by BlueShield of Northeastern New York. Visit to register. 
  • Friday, February 14, 6 – 8 p.m. — Valentine’s Day Rock and Skate. 
  • Saturday, February 22, 9 – 11a.m. — Learn-to-Skate Clinic presented by BlueShield of Northeastern New York. Visit to register. 
  • Saturday, March 8 – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Hannaford Kidz Expo, on the concourse. 

General Rink Information:
Hours: Every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., weather dependent. Closed Christmas Day.
Cost to Skate: Free
Skate Rental: $3 for children under 12 and $4 for adults. Skate rentals will be available
whenever the rink is open.
Amenities: Full-service snack bar open Friday nights, weekends, and school holidays; skate
lounge with lockers for personal items now located at the Plaza level; and music.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Was Randomly Searched at the Airport

I don't think I'll ever figure out why I'm always chosen for "random" searches at the airport. I'm always frisked and my bags are always searched thoroughly.

Is my L.L. Bean backpack that just barely fits into the overhead compartments a little too cliche for a world backpacker? Are my usual pink flip flops I like to wear through airport security seemingly too innocent? Like I said, I'll probably never know. Maybe one of these days I'll finally ask.

My best guess is that it has something to do with the fact that I'm an American that has been to countries like Egypt and Turkey, where the Where's Waldos of terrorists tend to hang out.

One memory that comes to my mind was when I, along with two men, were asked to sit in a waiting area separate from the rest of the dozens of other passengers on a flight from Rekjavik, Iceland to Newark, NJ.

I was walking towards the terminal and showed my ticket. At which point, they informed me that I had been chosen for a random search. They brought me downstairs to a security area where they went through my bag and frisked me. They obviously didn't find anything. (I'm not sure what they were looking for?)

So I was then brought to room with no one else in it, but it had a big TV and nice leather couches. And - on the bright side - there were cookies and juice. I guess in Iceland being randomly chosen for an airport search is kinda like our equivalent of giving blood? Maybe?

After a few minutes of being in the room alone, another guy was brought in and then another. We waited there until it was time to board the plane. I talked with one of them for a bit - he was a friendly Irishman who played the guitar and lives now in the Catskills.

Other things that stood out about that trip home from a friend's wedding in N. Ireland via London (where I missed my first flight) and Iceland: seeing a Ben and Jerry's ice cream machine at Gatwick Airport and seeing the Iron Maiden plane.

Today my brother brought up possibly going on another cruise this winter. Since I was *not* randomly frisked or searched on my last cruise, I'm actually seriously thinking about it.

Your Questions About Flying Answered

Ever wondered why the an airplane shakes during a flight? Or how old an active plane can be?

USA Today has a fun Q/A with John Cox, a retired airline captain with U.S. Airways who runs his own aviation safety consulting company.

Here's the latest piece and at the bottom you can submit your own questions.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cooperstown Beverage Trail

Sure, the warmer months are definitely behind us but that doesn't mean it's time to hibernate just yet. My bf and I did the Cooperstown Beverage Trail a couple of weekends ago and it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

It took a total of about three hours to visit each of the six sites. We started in Oneonta and ended the trail in Garrattsville, but came full circle and went to Brooks BBQ in Oneonta for dinner afterwards - because beer, wine, cider and barbeque just make sense together.

For visiting all of the businesses, at the end of the trail you get either a pint glass or a wine glass that has the logo of each of the establishments. They keep track of which you've gone to by stamping a packet that you can pick up at one of the places.

The trail includes: Bear Pond Winery, Cooperstown Brewery, Brewery Ommegang, Fly Creek Cider Mill, Rustic Ridge Winery, and Butternuts Beer & Ale.

While you don't have to do a sample at each of the places to get the stamp, it seems silly not to. You can try a couple of the beers at Cooperstown and Butternuts for free or pay a few bucks and do a sampling of all their beers. It's a few bucks to do the samples at the wineries. The tour at Ommegang is free but spots fill up quick. Fly Creek was also very popular and they had free samples of ciders and most of their fare - their cider donuts were actually pretty awesome.

Each of the places has its own personality. Bear Pond and Rustic Ridge are your typical winery stops featuring other locally made items for sale and cheese plates (the dog at Bear Pond is really cute), while Cooperstown and Butternuts could probably both be described as hole-in-the-wall type places, a vibe that they both embrace and that their regulars seem to enjoy. Butternuts has a dilapidated old barn that they use and Cooperstown has a big, old warehouse-like building. Meanwhile, Ommegang and Fly Creek were probably the most crowded sites we saw during our visits. Ommegang has a pub and tasting room, and Fly Creek is definitely a family-oriented business (the phrase "tourist trap" also comes to mind) with several rooms of products. I enjoyed each of the unique places.

Maybe it's the time of year, but my favorite beverage from the trip was a warm mulled wine at Bear Pond which has been haunting me ever since. I'm thinking of stopping there when I visit my grandma in Binghamton later this month just to get a bottle of that wine - and visit my friend here in the pink sweater.

                              (Bear Pond cutie patootie)            (exterior of Cooperstown Brewery)

The Butternuts website is kind of hilarious, by the way. I've never seen a site quite like it. There are sound effects, aliens, and pigs slapping their bellies (a reference to one of their beers). And the brewery may look closed, but it's not.

If a place is closed for the day while you're doing the tour - though they all seem to be open daily, year-round - you still get credit for the visit and get the glass.

The Beverage Trail started in 2004 with four participating venues. Along the way, you get other free mementos like a compact corkscrew, cider slush, coasters and a bottle stopper. The Oneonta area is about 1 hour from Albany and it's a nice escape into the countryside while checking out some new wines, beers, ciders, and food. I really do recommend saving room for Brooks, especially if you've never visited their one and only restaurant. It's worth it's own blog post.

And, if you like imbibing, you might want to check out some of my past posts about the Adirondack Brewery, and about doing half of the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail in Columbia County.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bus Options from Albany

My recent blog about a regional bus line made me think about the various buses available from Albany to cities like Boston and NYC.

By Bus

Megabus - Probably the cheapest option with the largest coverage area. They advertise $1 one-way trips that you can purchase using either a promo code or by booking far enough in advance. From the Albany/Rensselaer train station, you can catch a bus down to New York City or Ridgewood, NJ. And from Saratoga Springs, you can go to NYC or Burlington, Vt. Pros - cheap/wifi. Cons - dropped off and picked up in random areas/schedule is sometimes iffy

Chinatown Bus - This bus leaves from 128 Central Ave and 1245 Central Ave daily every couple of hours to New York City, either 34 W 31st St or 133 E Broadway. Trips are $15 each way. The company also offers trips to Atlanta, Savannah, Cincinnati, and many other spots from NYC. Not a lot of bells or whistles here. Pros - reliable/easy access to Chinese stores and restaurants. Cons - Not a lot of variety in offered destinations from Albany

Yankee Trails - This well-known, local company offers pre-determined bus tours. They have day trips to NYC and Boston, and multi-day trips to DC, Florida, and Canada. NYC day trips are around $50 and themes range from going shopping to going to Broadway or the Radio City Music Hall. Pick up points are in Rensselaer (6:45am), Latham (7:15am), and at Crossgates Commons (7:30am). Pros - comfortable/amenities like a TV. Cons - More expensive/already scheduled trips for less flexibility

During the holidays, Yankee Trails offers trips for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, a Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour, a NYC Holiday Lights Tour, and trips to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

And here's a bus that runs from Albany  to Burlington, Vermont.

By Train

Don't forget, you can also take the train. Amtrak offers trains regularly from the Albany-Rensselaer Station to Penn Station. Tickets range from $41 to $65. Pros - Convenience/comfort/wifi. Cons - More expensive

By Car/Train

Or drive part of the way and take the train the rest of the way. For NYC, you can drive to Poughkeepsie then take the Metro-North (about $31 round trip and parking is free on weekends). I've also heard of people driving even closer to the city and parking in subway parking lots in the Bronx. Or, for Boston, you can drive to a suburb like West Natick, then take the T into the city ($2-$11 ticket and parking is about $4).

Bolt Bus in the Northeast

While driving back from Boston this weekend, I noticed a bus line I hadn't seen before: BoltBus.
A quick online search shows that they seem to be similar to Megabus in that they also offer $1 deals and wifi. In the process of trying to check out their prices, for some reason their site wouldn't allow me to try to book a trip but it seems prices vary from about $25 to $1 one way.

Bolt Bus is a subsidiary of Greyhound. One-way fares, according to their spokeswoman who emailed me, start at $1, with the the highest fare adjusted based on demand so the earlier customers purchase their tickets for lower prices.
In the Northeast, BoltBus offers stops in Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Newark, Philadelphia, and DC. They're also located on the West Coast including LA, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Vancouver, San Jose, and even Albany - Oregon, that is.
The service does not seem to be out of Albany/Rensselaer yet but, if they grow at all in the area, I bet they'll service the Capital District eventually.

Recommended Travel Apps

Is there anything Buzzfeed can't do?

They entertain. They make us laugh, cry, procrastinate, and will probably eventually lead to me getting fired since I'm reading their posts instead of working. And boy are they good at what they do - especially with doing lists. Yeah, they do a lot of lists. Maybe I should eventually make a list of my top 10 favorite Buzzfeed lists. (note to self)

Anyway, I found this list entertaining and helpful. It's a traveler app list. I especially like the translator one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tips on Contacting Folks in the Philippines

My freshman year of college (2001) I lived in a dorm room next to two girls from New York City. I remember watching them try to call friends and family frantically on 9/11 and the days after but all the lines were tied up.

Since I know how hard it is for folks trying to check on their family after a disaster, I thought I would share this link which has a few good tips for people trying to contact loved ones in the recently hit Philippines. And here's an update on the latest regarding the storm - the strongest in world history - and recovery effort.

Thoughts on Dave & Busters in Albany

The Dave & Busters in Crossgates Mall has been open since August but I just went inside the 33,000 square foot venue for the first time last week for a friend's 31st birthday.
It was a Wednesday night and I have to admit I was surprised there was such a large crowd there for a "school night". I was told later that it was half-off games on Wednesday.
My initial thought - which seems to be the consensus - is that it's very casino-like. There are games with neon lights and sounds going off everywhere. Nearby the games - ranging from Wheel of Fortune to Connect Four to the Huge Claw -  there is a bar/restaurant and you can get deals to eat and play.

You have to get a Dave & Busters card to use the adult Chuck E Cheese-like machines which, in turn, give you Chuck E Cheese like tickets for prizes. Some might find it better to use all their tickets for a prize that visit and others work their way towards the goal of a big prize down the line.
The Crossgates location is at the same end of the mall as the movie theatre. There's no charge to go in and walk around. It's certainly an interesting ambiance. Along with a group for my friend's bday gathering, I also ran into a sorority sister from undergrad. Small world.
You can find more information here and in my prior blog on the grand opening.

New York City Travel News

Since I've written a few recent blogs about Boston, I figured since I'm giving all this digital ink to Beantown, the Big Apple deserved something too.

Two interesting tidbits I'd seen about NYC recently: Ellis Island being reopened since last year's hurricane Sandy and also the city is now home - once again - to the largest building in North America at 1,776 feet.

Going Out in Boston - The Hong Kong

It would seem one must-go place in Boston's nightlife would be the Hong Kong bar in the Faneuil Hall district.

From the outside, it looks like a really popular Chinese restaurant but inside there is: karaoke, dancing, $1 chicken teriyaki on a stick, $16 scorpion bowls (which are dangerously delicious), extremely helpful waitresses (I timed it at one point and I had a waitress ask if I needed anything once every two minutes), a fun crowd, a Dating Game and even an over-sized coconut monkey head named Mr. Kong and a miniature train set meandering it's way around the ceiling of the first floor area. They also have takeout.

Yes, this is truly a classic watering hole hub in Beantown.
We had a ball and I'd definitely recommend a visit the next time you're in that area of the city.

There's a $5 cover and lines do form later in the night.

Cheap Parking Tip in Boston

It's no secret: I hate driving in Boston. Loathe it. Despise it.
The only thing I hate just as much as driving in Boston is parking in Boston - which is usually just as chaotic and ridiculously expensive.
Jon and I lucked out immensely during our stay this past weekend when we missed our turn for a parking garage near Government Center and Faneuil Hall. That parking garage would have been about $16 for our night in Boston - which, for a larger city, isn't bad.
But we were able to find on street parking meters which were even cheaper. I asked a bouncer in a bar nearby when the meters were active until (since it didn't say). He told us they were active Mon-Sat until 8pm.

We got there around 6pm and the meter, as it turned out, would only allow us to put in two hours worth of quarters which worked out perfectly. We paid $2.50 for what ended up being about four hours of parking. That's even better than Albany, NY prices in downtown during the day.
The trick with this, however, is you need to get there before all the parking meters are taken and it should be by around 6pm since the meters (where we were anyway on India Street) were only good for two hours. You also need a lot of quarters. The price was 25 cents for every 12 minutes.

Some additional thoughts and tips from friends who used to live in/around Boston:

Rhianna said that in many residential areas the parking metered areas are reserved for residents with permits after 8pm: "Back Bay and South End are two places that I seem to remember getting tickets. Around Fenway was brutal...A little known fact is that the alphabet cross streets in the back bay don't require meter feeding on Saturdays and there are always visitor parking spaces in residential neighborhoods where you don't need  permit. But some neighborhoods strictly enforce the 2-hour limit (Porter and Kendall come to mind) so meter feeding will still get you a ticket."

Clementine: "You can find free, non-permitted parking in just about every neighborhood, but there are about 500,000 other people looking for those spaces as well...If you want to find cheap/free spots, drive around and Google garages - some have coupons and specials."

My First Experience with AirBnB

I have mixed thoughts so far on using AirBnB but my first experience this past weekend outside of Boston was probably a bit atypical.
When I posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that I had booked my first AirBnB stay, many of my friends were surprised I hadn't used it yet. And, being 30 years old and a quasi-regular traveler, I was a bit surprised too.

(our AirBnB kitty rommate)

Then many friends said they had great experiences using it. One of my co-workers loved his stay at an AirBnB location in Denver during his vacation earlier this year. Others had similar experiences. Only one of my friends really brought up that AirBnB has negatives to it too since it brings in strangers to normally quiet, residential areas.
As it happened, I had a bit of a less than quiet first AirBnB stay.
My boyfriend and I arrived at the house just before dusk on Saturday night after spending the day touring area breweries and meeting up with a friend for his 30th birthday. We had dinner reservations back in the city so we didn't stay too long at the BnB in Waltham, just long enough to introduce ourselves to the son of the homeowner (who was out of town) and pick up a key so we could get in later that night.
Karl, the young man's name, was nice enough. I was a little weirded out that he had been playing on his laptop on the bed that we were going to be sleeping in that night. But that uneasiness was quelled when we got back and we both examined the bed to find the sheets were clean and the queen size bed was quite comfortable.

As my boyfriend put it as we were about to go to sleep (around midnight): "It's more comfortable than our bed at home."
When we got back that night, no one else was home so we had the place to ourselves - including a nice kitchen, living room, and friendly kitty.
And then, probably around 2:30 a.m., we were both rudely awakened by other people staying at the BnB that night as well. They were rowdy and very likely drunk.
I was going in and out of dreams since I can pretty much sleep through anything but I had a distinct memory of the youths (I think all guys) drunkenly quoting the U.S. Constitution. "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union..." and once they were done with that I recall a bit of the Declaration of Independence in there too.
Since Jon said he heard the same thing, I guess I was not hallucinating.
I pretty much got right back to sleep, waking up every now and again if they were particularly loud, but Jon said he was pretty much up listening to them all night until they went to bed around 5:30am. He said he also heard them asking if "anyone was rolling" so definitely an interesting group there.

Being adults, my bf or I probably should have just poked our heads out of our private room to ask if they'd be a bit more quiet. Instead, I went back to sleep and dealt with a slightly cranky boyfriend the following day.
We left before the guys woke up but I did meet one 7 foot tall man getting water as we were leaving around 10 a.m.
I emailed the owner about what happened and he said he felt horrible. He initially offered us a free stay if we were ever in the area again and then offered us both a free stay and a refund. I asked him if he'd ever had an issue like this before (my theory was that maybe the son had friends over like this often) but he said no one had complained before - and, I admit, most of the online reviews were great which is why we decided to stay there. Well, that, and the $41 price tag as opposed to paying $200 for a Boston hotel.
But I recently found another review which said the same thing about being woken up by his sons friends early Sunday morning and being startled by people who did not introduce themselves. (which happened to me also with the 7 foot guy)
So, after all of that, will I do AirBnB again?
Jon isn't very keen on the idea. His exact words as he was trying to get back to sleep that night were: "Never again." But I have a feeling this might be a fluke. While, yes, AirBnB isn't perfect, what is? I think I'm more interested in trying AirBnB again for a longer stay when we can get to know the owners and get a fun, local feel - which is what the site seems to be all about. Plus, who wouldn't rather pay $50 for a stay in a big city instead of $200?
As it happens, AirBnB is being threatened in New York State. You can read a bit more about that here.