Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Free Museums from Bank of America and $3 Burritos from Chipotle

It's Sharing Is Caring Wednesday (yeah, I completely just made that up...but reserve the right to use this for future blogs).

Here's a pretty cool deal from my friend Karen: If you have a debit or credit card with Bank of America, you could be eligible for free museum passes. Here's the info on that.

Pssst. But, by the way, you can get free passes for a lot of great local museums at your library. And here's the info for that. (which, going with today's theme, was shared last year by my librarian friend Chinasa)

Another thing I saw today on a fellow blog (Shopportunist): $3 "Booritos" from Chipotle on Halloween from 4pm to close as long as you wear a Halloween costume. Along with burritos, you can also get a bowl, salad, or tacos. The proceeds go to charity.

And random fact of the day: speaking of museums, did you know there is a Science Fiction Museum in Seattle?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Things to do for Halloween in the Albany area

Probably like a lot of people, I may go a bit overboard when it comes to Halloween. It's just such a fun time of year and there are so many things you can do: whether it's scary or just going for a nice fall hike.

But, if your looking for Halloween fun, here's a list of events I've compiled for the Capital District and beyond. And feel free to check out The Record this weekend for even more information. (check below for some updated info)

Family Friendly:
NYS Museum - Halloween Party -

Hollyhock Hollow’een - Selkirk - 2nd annual Family Festival - Oct. 26 from 1-4pm at 46 Rarick Rd, Selkirk (

Haunted tours:
Waggin' Tales and Ghostly Tales - Meet at Olde English Pub at Nov. 2 at 2 p.m., dogs encouraged - $15/person

Capitol Halloween Tour -

Haunted Tours of Albany -

Haunted History Ghostwalk -

Murder at Cherry Hill - Albany -

Halloween Parties:
Blackthorne Resort - Halloween party - /

New World Home Cooking - Halloween Ball - Saugerties - 1411 Rt212 - Friday, Oct. 25 at 10pm

Haunted Hayrides/Cornmazes:
Double M -

Liberty Ridge -

Night Terrors Haunted Farm in Schoharie -

Engelke Farm -

Indian House Farm -

Haunted Houses:

Razzano's Fright for Hunger - 2330 4th Ave., Watervliet, 6:30-9:30pm Tonight (Oct. 30), with proceeds going to charity

Sigma Chi Haunted House - 58 Pinewoods Ave., Troy 6-10pm on Halloween, no charge

Haunted Credit Union - (518) 783-2211

Black Thorne Resort:

Dr. Morbid’s Haunted House -

Little Theatre on the Farm’s Haunted Barn

[After nearly 30 years of haunted houses, the Watervliet Dome is not hosting one this year. RIP 'vliet Dome Haunted House]

Beyond Haunted Houses:
Headless Horseman -

13 Nights at Jiminy Peak -

Pure Terror Scream Park -

Well-known spooky haunts:
Oakwood Cemetery, Troy
Pinewoods Cemetery, Troy
Vale Cemetery, Schenectady


Halloween Parade - Hoosick Falls -  Hoosick Falls Halloween parade, Wednesday, October 30 at 8:00 pm, starting at Wood Park

Out of the area Halloween Road trips:
Salem, Mass.
Naples, NY - Naples Hotel -
Shocktoberfest - Reading, PA
Terror Behind the Walls - Philly
Nightmare: Face your Fear - NYC, NY - NYC - A PA state prison - the Bates Motel in PA

Thursday, October 17, 2013

National Parks Re-opened, But to What End

I started thinking about the issue of government and private business owning/managing natural resources and beautiful sites long before the government shutdown. But the 16-day debacle did not help my opinion that these treasurers should be open to the public, without restrictions.

It might sound a bit like an anarchist's philosophy but I guess that's what I get for watching so many post-apocalyptic movies with my boyfriend.

So, the "good" news: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Badlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Acadia, Valley Forge, the Statue of Liberty, Rocky Mountains, Shenandoah, etc, etc, etc are all once again being funded by the federal government. While some were able to open using state funding, others - like Yosemite and Valley Forge - were not since the states said they did not have the extra resources.

The better new: is that they are all once again open.

These closures, temporary or otherwise, resulted in lost local and state revenue from tourists and some people were even ticketed for trespassing on the property. Now, let's think about that for a second - some people were ticketed for enjoying a natural wonder that they probably traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to see. And, even if they weren't visiting the park as a pre-planned trip, they were ticketed for taking a hike, a walk, a run, or a bike ride in a world renown park.

I started thinking about how absurd it was to have the government or a private/for-profit entity manage natural sites back in September when, after a hike at Poke O Moonshine in the Adirondacks, my friends and I went to Ausable Chasm. All the commercials and ads had finally piqued my interest and we were only 20 minutes from the chasm after the hike.

When we got there, the after-peak season ambiance of the facility reminded me more of a theme park than an Adirondack treasure. Tickets were around $20 to gain entrance onto the trails along the chasms, which were entirely fenced off from the public save for a slight view from a public bridge. And the storied rafting trips and other tours were extra. My friends and I had not planned to spend much time there anyway - and we were already pooped from our steep hike - so we took what photos we could and figured we might come back.

About a week later I found myself at Howe Caverns in Schoharie County. Having gone to the caves before, I knew there would be a fee and I was prepared to actually spend more than the adult ticket price of $25. But, later, I realized that once again I was being charged for something that the people managing the site had almost nothing to do with creating. While the owner did put in the infrastructure to view the caves, the caves and underground river were pretty much always there.

I don't really know what I am proposing. Overall, I have found the national park fees of $20 or so for a week's visit to be reasonable enough and the $80 season pass is more than fair. But then, in turn, when a beautiful resource is managed by the government - it has to succumb to the government's weaknesses, including an apparent inability to come to a balanced solution in a timely and civilized manner. And the parks' funding and access becomes compromised.

Maybe this makes me a Teabagger, maybe it makes me a Libertarian, or anti-American, or a hippie. Really, this just makes me a nature lover. I'm Danielle, I speak for the people who want to see the trees.

Sneak Preview of New Cinema in Saratoga Springs

Let's all go to the movies...

From my time living for a semester in London, I always make sure to differentiate between the "theater/re" (plays) and the "cinema" (movies) - though, in the U.S., the two seem to be interchangeable. I'll admit most movie cinema companies do try to at least use the word "cinema" in their name - then again, the areas where the movies take place are pretty much always called theaters.

But I digress. A lot.

Long story short - there's a new cinema in Saratoga Springs. You should check it out. And next weekend, you can go to the new cinema at Wilton Mall.

Here are just some of the features at the Saratoga Springs facility:
  • BTX - Bow Tie Xtreme Giant Screen Auditorium with 2000 square foot screen
  • All Digital Projection with 3D capability
  • 30,000 watts of Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Custom Leather Rocking Seats
  • 11 Luxurious Auditoriums featuring Custom Leather Rocking Seats & Wall-to-Wall Screens
  • Birthday Party Room for parties & special events
  • Beer & Wine Cafe in Lobby (Liquor License Pending)
  • Concessions featuring: Fresh Popped Hot Popcorn served with Real Butter; Hot Treats including Chicken Tenders, Mozzarella Sticks, French Fries, Personal Pizza; & Fresh Brewed Coffee and Pastries
  • Excellent Mix of First-Run Hollywood and Independent Film
  • "MOVIES & MIMOSAS®" Classic Film Series - every Sunday Morning
  • "INSOMNIA THEATER®" Cult Classics on the Big Screen - every Friday and Saturday night!

(photo by Erica Miller/The Saratogian)

Another fun movie event this weekend: Malta Drive In is showing two screens of Halloween classics including Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, and Young Frankenstein. Two screens of these movies - one with the scary ones and one with the slightly-more-kid-friendly-ones - will show this Friday and Saturday starting at around 7:15pm with the last movie starting around 10:45pm. The price, last I checked, is $9. (the other cinemas, on the other hand, are scarily a lot more)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Make a Day-Trip Out of Exploring Your Hometown

I've been noticing lately that there are actually a lot of really cool things to do in NY's Capital District.

This past weekend, I went hiking at a new place I'd never heard of before reading about it on Local Hikes (Christman Sanctuary in Duanesburg) and I went to the annual Troy Chowderfest. Other recent day trips have included: a hike near Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills, Saratoga Monument in Schuylerville (which is now sadly affected by the shutdown), Golden Harvest Orchard and Harvest Spirits in Columbia County (where you can get a shot glass for bringing in one of their empty bottles and a snifter for two of their bottles), and Crossroads Brewery in Athens,NY.

There are still a ton more hikes around the area I haven't done and want to check out - including Plotter Kill Preserve. And I still want to see at least some of the Petrified Sea Garden in Saratoga Springs.

Not to mention weekend trips on the to-do list: Atlantic City, and Toronto. And NYC is always fun.

I guess my point is that I read about a lot of destinations but it's fun to read about your home as a destination too, since you don't always consider it to be one. I found this 2006 New York Times travel piece on Troy, NY and the city was recently featured in the Daily News.

Sometimes it takes reading about our seemingly-small hometown in a big publication to get a clear perspective on what's right in front of you.

My New Blog Name

I've been contemplating changing the name of my blog for a while, but I never found a name I liked until I was brainstorming on the elliptical at the gym the other week - and Millennial Travel popped in my head.

Sure, it sounds kinda like I'm starting a travel agency, but it has a ring to it and it sounds just a tad more mature than my homage to my childhood fav TMNT and their Cowabunga battle cry. I'm 30 now and I obviously need to act my age. Obviously.

And - who knows - maybe eventually I will set up a travel agency ;)

Free Admission to Albany Institute on Columbus Day

It's Columbus Day. It's a day of reflection. A day many people have off - but someone has to write the paper so I'm not one of those people. Lucky you :)

It's also a day in which the Albany Institute is offering free admission all day today.

Here's more info:

ALBANY, NY- The Albany Institute of History & Art will offer FREE admission to the museum on Monday, October 14, 2013 from 10AM-5PM. Gallery Talks will take place at 11AM and 2PM and there will be Drop-In Art Making in the art studio from 10AM-4:30PM. This Holiday Monday free admission day is sponsored by M&T Bank.

Guests of all ages are invited to spend the day viewing several new exhibitions, GE Presents: The Mystery of the Albany Mummies; Big and Bold: Contemporary Paintings, Collage, and Sculpture from the Albany Institute’s Collection (in the recently renovated Lansing Gallery); and The Hudson River School and the Nineteenth-Century Landscape. Additional exhibitions include, Traders and Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity; Nineteenth-Century American Sculpture: Erastus Dow Palmer and His Protégés Launt Thompson, Charles Calverley, and Richard Park (in the recently renovated Sculpture Court); Robert Hewson Pruyn: An Albanian in Japan, 1862-1865; and A Gather of Glass: Selections from the Museum’s Collection. Gallery Talks, led by museum docents, will start at 11AM and 2PM, and are also free.

Families are encouraged to visit and create Egyptian-inspired artwork in the Institute’s art studio. Anyone interested in making art in the studio should dress for mess! There is also an interactive education gallery offering hands-on activities. These activities are offered for free as part of this special Holiday Monday.

The Albany Institute is open Wednesday-Saturday 10AM-5PM, Thursday until 8PM, and Sunday Noon-5PM. On Tuesdays, the museum is open to registered groups only. The museum is closed on Mondays and some holidays. Admission is FREE for Albany Institute members; $10/adults; $8/seniors and students with ID; $6/children 6-12; FREE/children under 6. For more information, or call (518) 463-4478.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself...

Yes, I have a travel blog and, yes, I'm a reporter. But there is a heck of a lot more to me - or to anyone else - than what's on the surface. So, I figured I would put together a Top 25 things that make me tick. 

Also, who doesn't love a fun list?

#1 I grew up in Troy, NY and actually really enjoy the word Troylette (notice the feminine spelling)

#2 I may be a bit too overly obsessed with: my alma mater SLU (yes, that's a photo of a flag cape), Spider Man, and my hometown.

#3 I tend to drive fast and when I do strands of my hair twirl around and make my head look like a helicopter (ask my bf, it's kinda amusing especially with heavy music playing)

#4 My car is a mess. Always has been. Always will be.

#5 Because my car is a mess - I sometimes get to play "What's in Danielle's Car" on Facebook which is actually a lot of fun.

#6 We may have covered this but I collect art postcards, and postcards in general.

#7 I lasted - somehow - until the spring of this year without a smart phone. I'd like to think I'm not addicted to it now, but I may be lying.

#8 I'm pretty much always late but I'm slowly getting better at that.

#9 I'm a cat person. I like dogs but....just not as much as cats.

#10 I love swimming...

#11..And hiking.

#12 I enjoy charity fundraising and event organizing.

#13 I'm a huge daddy's girl, but my mom's pretty cool too. And the rest of my fam ain't bad either.

#14 I may be starting to outgrow my adrenaline rush-seeking lifestyle. In lieu of skydiving, I'm thinking more along the lines of Zorbing.

#15 That said, I still have a hard time saying no.

#16 I have been in a lot of weddings.

#17        A LOT



#18 I'm kinda nerdy.

#19 I have been jello wrestling. But I'm not posting a photo. :-P

#20 My hair sheds. A ton. But I somehow still have really thick hair.

#21 I enjoy random references (thus the headline)

#22 Bacon. I don't understand the obsession with bacon. I like it but not nearly on the same level as most of the population.

#23 Little known secret: despite joking about the contrary, I actually don't hate babies. Unless they're smelly. Or crying. Or at a midnight premiere of a movie while crying and smelly - but, in those cases, it's more that I hate the parents than the baby.

#24 Most obvious secret ever: I like writing. I like it a lot. I've been at The Record eight years this month, I've had a blog for over three years, and I'm now discovering the worlds of novels and screenplays. It's not easy - especially for a procrastinator like myself - but it's always worth it.

#25 I enjoy people. Not all of the time, but most of the time. This is probably the case for a lot of you, but I especially enjoy the little nuances and quirks of people. And now you know all - or at least most - of my quirks.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Saratoga Sip and Scavenger is Tonight! (Wed. Oct. 2)

There's a fun new twist to the latest Sip event in the Capital District. This time, you'll get to sip various beverages, try food, *and* participate in a scavenger hunt with a $250 prize. Sounds fun, right?

The Saratoga Sip and Scavenger event is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 2) in downtown Saratoga Springs. Tickets are $30 at the door or $20 when purchased on Facebook or through the website. And, as with prior events, a portion of proceeds will go to charity - Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center.

And I believe if you went to the last Sip event in Troy, you get half off your ticket this time around.

If you haven't been to one of the prior Sips, this is how it works: you buy your ticket (either online or at the door), they give you a map at the beginning business, and then you get to wander and explore the various participating businesses while trying food/drinks along the way.

And there is a $250 gift card reward for 1st place for answering the most clues on your scavenger hunt.

This all begins at The Paddock Lounge (6 Caroline St.) - where you can pick up your map/packet and enjoy some appetizers before making your way around town at your leisure.

Participating venues include some really fun places:

The Paddock Bar & Lounge
The Merry Monk
The Saratoga City Tavern
Impressions of Saratoga
Druthers Brewing Co.
Kilwin's Chocolate
Parting Glass Pub
Henry Street Taproom
Izumi Sushi
The Ice House
Eugenio's Cafe/Gelato
Saratoga Salsa & Spice Co.
Saratoga Olive Oil Companny

The weather is looking great. Hope to see you there!