Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Edge Indoor Rock Climbing in Halfmoon

It had been a good five years or more since I had last traversed an indoor rock wall. My imagination was already making me a bit intimidated and then I saw this...

...and became even more intimidated.

But, after a quick tutorial from Todd at The Edge and some practice climbs with my friends, we slowly got the hang of it. (aHa!)

Before the Edge, I had indoor climbed and caved at the Albany Indoor Rock Climbing facility on Vatrano Road, off Central Avenue. But I hadn't been in years.

The Edge, while it does not offer indoor caving, has a wide variety of climbing routes for all skill levels - including many beginners' climbs. There's a little "canyon" that mainly has easier routes and then there is a larger (and taller) section for more challenging workouts.

I went in thinking that I would not even be able to make it up the wall but found that I could, in fact, do that. And I did, multiple times.

My friends were also intimidated at first but then said they felt accomplished.

The Edge is great for a girls night out (as we did) or just for a workout or maybe an office team building event. There are party packages and weekly specials - including Ladies Night ($8 not including gear), College and Military Night ($8 not including gear) and Learn to Climb Night with half-priced rentals.

It's an adventure and workout all in one. And it's a lot of fun. (aHa! that rhymed)

Overall, it was a great time...and the music (mainly sing-a-long type stuff from my "youth") was awesome! Never thought I'd be singing "Jumper" from Third Eye Blind while climbing a 30-something-foot wall.

So...I think we'll be back.

If you go:
Location - 1544 Route 9, Halfmoon, NY
Prices - range from $10 to $12 for entrance/ there's a $8 package for gear rental including shoes, harness, and belay device. There are also monthly memberships.
Must sign a waiver and get instructions on belaying. All ages are welcome.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Turbine Tuesday in Cohoes

The Lofts at Harmony Mills is offering tours of the old turbines located in the former mill along the Mohawk River.

The walking tours, lasting about 1 1/2 hours, will be every Tuesday for the next month, starting tomorrow (June 24).

Participants will visit all three mills, learning the history of the buildings and the turbines, according to officials with the Lofts.

Those interested should meet at the main office (100 N. Mohawk St.) at 2 p.m. on each of the days that the tour is offered.

The tour dates include: June 24, July 1, July 8, and July 15.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Albany's World of Beer in Crossgates Mall

Beginning Monday (June 23) at lunch, there's a place where you can play/sing a real life version of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" at Crossgates Mall. In fact, you can play "500 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."

World of Beer, located across from the Regal Cinema 18, is a craft beer/spirits bar, a sports bar, a restaurant, a lounge, and a live entertainment venue -- all in one. It's definitely a unique fusion to say the least and I found out at a soft opening celebration.

Let's start with talking about the main focus of the franchise establishment: the beer. It's in the name of the business, it makes up more than half of the menu, and beer itself even is in a lot of the décor, with lit coolers and walls of beer behind the wooden bar.

In total, there are 54 rotating taps and 500 varieties of bottled/canned beers available at a given time. The beers are from the U.S. and more than 20 other counties. The available beverages range from Bud Light and PBR to locally-made Brown's and Nine Pin cider. There's Chimay, Sam Adams, Shipyard, Allagash, and a private label only available at World of Beer sites called C'est la Vie! brewed in Belgium.

There are also "mixed draughts" which combine beers to concoct new flavors including Brown's Black Cherry ($6.50) which is the Troy-based brewery's Oatmeal Stout mixed with their Cherry Raspberry. Others are the Chocolate Blueberry ($7) - Young's Double Chocolate Stout with Sea Dog Blue Paw, and Red Monk ($8) - a Belgian Quad with raspberry favored Lambic.

There are also multiple spirits to choose from.

Food-wise, the menu has a selection of tavern fare and main entrée dishes. Tavern-style choices include an artisan sausage board ($15), a seasonal cheese plate ($17), pickle chips ($7), mac and cheese ($6), tavern taters ($8) and a large German pretzel with a dipping sauce ($9). If you're up for more of a meal, there are larger offerings like crab cakes and steak fries (both of which are below $20).


There are various seating options at the bar near the multitude of flat screen TVs, in leather couches/chairs, in a corner booth, and in high top and low top tables near the stage which will feature musical artists Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

If you could see yourself in such an establishment often, you may be interested in their Loyalty Card that includes a points system and free shirt. Plus, the wait staff rings a bell at the bar in your honor when you join (though, it seemed to ring a lot when the U.S.A. and Portugal were playing in the World Cup so I think the staff will use any excuse to ring it).

There's a lot going on in this space (the former Houlihan's) but, once you've had a few beers off the wall, you warm up to the concept and it just makes sense.

If you go...
Location: Crossgates Mall, 1 Crossgates Road in Albany (at movie theater entrance)
Hours: Sun. - Wed. 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m./Thurs. - Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Price range: $5 to $17
Must be over 21 to consume/purchase alcohol
Cards accepted, Wifi available

And, if you found this blog interesting, you may also like these:
The Malt Room in Troy
The Speakeasy in Albany
Rare Form Brewery Opens in Troy (and Trampoline Park in Albany)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Whiteface Bike Fest June 20 Weekend

A bike festival is slated for this weekend in Wilmington, NY and on Whiteface Mountain.

Whiteface is a fun mountain to ski (for the most part), to hike, to bike, or to drive - the latter two of course using the veterans memorial highway to the top.

Here's a bit more about the upcoming festival...

From the press release:

 It’s a party on two wheels. The fourth annual Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest begins this Friday, June 20, and continues through Sunday, June 22, in Wilmington, N.Y. and Whiteface Mountain.
WHAT: Fourth annual Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest, featuring a mix of uphill and downhill cycling, serious competition and  family fun, is designed to highlight the diverse cycling opportunities in Wilmington and the surrounding communities. The Bike Fest will also include vendor expos, music, food, children’s activities and demo bikes, as well as free group rides and “Poor Man’s Downhill.” 
WHEN: Friday, June 20, through Sunday, June 22. Spectators will enjoy incredible stunts, jumps and tricks, during Friday’s Jump Jam and Trials exhibition at the Wilmington Bike Park, followed by the fourth annual welcome party. Saturday features the 13th annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race, beginning at 8 a.m. The race is part of the BUMPS (Bike Up the Mountain Point) series. The Bike Fest concludes Sunday with the fourth annual Wilmington/Whiteface 100K Race, starting with a 7 a.m. shotgun start. The 100k race is a qualifier for the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race. For more information and the complete schedule, visit
WHERE: Town of Wilmington and Whiteface Mountain
WHO: Road and mountain cyclists from throughout the northeastern United States and Canada, competing in the 13th annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race and fourth annual Wilmington Whiteface 100K.

Media planning on covering and attending the fourth annual Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest should contact Jon Lundin, ORDA public relations, email,, tel: 518-637-6885, for credentials.

Fort Ticonderoga Recreates 1776 Struggle for Liberty

Re-enactments can be a lot of fun. Usually. Until a cannon explosion injures nearby children, which happened this weekend in Utah.

Still, usually it's an interesting way to learn about the past. This coming "living history weekend" at Fort Ticonderoga looks promising.

From the press release:

Discover the hazards and hopes of American soldiers at Ticonderoga in the summer of 1776 during this exciting living history weekend,

Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22 from 9:30 am – 5 pm! Tours, demonstrations, and hands-on family programs will be presented throughout the weekend to immerse guests in a defining moment in America’s story. Admission to this event is included in a Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission ticket. To learn more about the living history event visit or call 518-585-2821.
Highlighted event programs include a lakeside demonstration exploring the use of boats in the summer of 1776 as interpretive staff share the story of the American retreat from Canada and the importance of the Lake Champlain as a supply route on the road to independence at Ticonderoga. Guests will also have the chance to help build camp with soldiers of the Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion as they set their tents and build huts to temporarily encamp below the walls for Fort Ticonderoga.
“Imagine life onboard a boat with merely a knapsack of comforts from home,” said Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation. “During this event guests will explore the workings of the bateau, the workhorse of the Northern Continental Army on the water. Watch as bateaux row around the Ticonderoga peninsula to land below the old French Fort, beginning a long summer of rebuilding the army.”
This is miraculous story of how America overcame incredible odds on the road to independence at Ticonderoga. With a smallpox outbreak raging through the Northern Continental Army and morale sinking in the spring of 1776, soldiers rowed by bateaux up Lake Champlain seeking the safety of distance from the advancing British Army. Sick and wanting food supplies, soldiers of the Continental Army lived out of these bateaux for weeks on end, stopping on shore only to cook their rations, soaking wet from lying in the bottom of their boats. By the end of June the Army began to assemble again at Crown Point, only to have smallpox spread even faster. After a council of General officers, General Horatio Gates ordered this long retreat to continue to Ticonderoga.

Event Schedule:
Saturday & Sunday
9:30 am Fort Opens for Visitation
10:15 am Fort Guided Tour (Beginning at the American Flag)
Trace the footsteps of American soldiers in 1776, who converged on the historic French Fort at Ticonderoga to make their stand against a British invasion. Learn how American soldiers put their ingenuity, endurance, and meddle to the test to defend their new nation. Explore on-going preservation efforts that keep their memory alive.
11 am Musket Demonstration (Fort Demonstration Area): Does Hollywood get it right? Imagine what it was like in 1776 to guard earthen walls, keeping a cool head to load, aim, and fire a musket to hold your ground. Make up your own mind about the movies!
11:30 am Breaking Ground: A Tour of the Historic Gardens (Beginning at the American Flag). From Military garrison gardens to a secluded Colonial Revival spectacle of color and light, explore one of the oldest cultivated landscapes in America and learn about the horticultural history of the Ticonderoga peninsula.
1:15 pm Down to the Water Tour (Beginning at the American Flag). With a soldier as your guide, follow a fatigue party down to the site of two massive docks in 1776. Examine the situation and factors that forced the Continental Army in Canada to retreat back to Ticonderoga in 1776. Hear the stories of this retreat by bateau as the boats arrive.
2 pm Musket Demonstration (Lower Field): Discuss bush fighting tactics. How do disciplined soldiers fight in the woods without accidentally shooting one another? Discover how fighting in the woods was more than ducking behind rocks and trees.

2:30 pm “Encamped Just Under the Walls” (Lower Field). Help build camp with soldiers of the Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion as they set their tents and build huts to temporarily encamp below the walls for Fort Ticonderoga. Lend a hand, step inside a tent and imagine what army life was really like.
3:15 pm Fort Guided Tour (Beginning at the American Flag). Trace the footsteps of American soldiers in 1776, who converged on the historic French Fort at Ticonderoga to make their stand against a British invasion. Learn how American soldiers put their ingenuity, endurance, and meddle to the test to defend their new nation. Explore on-going preservation efforts that keep their memory alive.
4 pm Mount Defiance: Witness to History Tour. Oh the stories this graceful hill could tell overlooking Fort Ticonderoga! Ascend to summit of Mount Defiance to get the birds-eye view of this epic military landscape and learn how this height shaped the Fort’s history.

About Fort Ticonderoga: America’s FortTM
Located on Lake Champlain in the beautiful 6 million acre Adirondack Park, Fort Ticonderoga is an independent not-for-profit educational organization, historic site, and museum that ensures that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices, and victories that shaped the nations of North America and changed world history.
Serving the public since 1909, Fort Ticonderoga engages 70,000 visitors annually and is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Fort Ticonderoga’s history. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, historic interpretation, tours, demonstrations, and exhibits throughout the year and is open for daily visitation May 10 through November 2, 2014.
The 2014 season features the Fort’s newest exhibit Founding Fashion: The Diversity of Regularity in 18th-Century Military Clothing which brings together for the first time the museum's wide variety of important 18th-century clothing, related artwork, and archeological fragments to illustrate the diversity of clothing worn by the armies who served at Fort Ticonderoga during the French & Indian War and Revolution.
Visit for a full list of ongoing programs or call 518-585-2821.

America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.

Hudson Valley Apple Festival

Mark your calendars for a September Apple Festival in Germantown.

The organizers are also looking for vendors for the event...

From the press release:


The Germantown Lions Club will be holding the Hudson Valley Apple Festival on September 20, 2014 at the scenic Palatine Park in Germantown , NY.  The festival will feature apple themed family fun including food and craft vendors, haybale maze, local wine & beer tasting, baking contests, games, kid’s korner, hayrides, live music, apple crate derby race and much more.  Fireworks will top off the day at dusk!  Register now to take advantage of the early bird rate for vendors signing up in June. Vendor applications and details are available at or email  See you there!

Albany Flight Trampoline Park Review (and beer)

As it turns out, I did end up going to the trampoline park in Albany and the new Troy brewery on the same day - as I quasi-predicted/recommended in a previous blog.

And both were pretty rad.

I did the first fitness class offered by the trampoline park this past Saturday. Being a new park and the first class, I honestly thought I'd have to get there an hour early to reserve a spot. Luckily, that was not the case because I've never been an hour early anywhere.

The class was a good size - about 20 people - and there was still trampoline space available.

They recommend getting there early to pay, sign in, and sign a waiver if you haven't already online. There are cubbies where you can keep your things, including sneakers since everything in the park is done barefoot. (the floors feel amazing there, btw)

The park offers a children's corner where there are foam blocks for kids to stack and jump in. There are also small trampoline floors and ramps. The park is well supervised, with someone specifically dedicated to watching the little ones - under 46-inches - in the kid's section.

While the kids got to jump around in their little park (for free), the adults did a class which was about 45-minutes. It was tough but it was a lot of fun, too. You couldn't help but feel like a kid again when jumping up and down. The class incorporated the trampolines along with a "boot camp" like workout with lunges, planks, burpees, jumping jacks, and crunches. Like I said, it was tough but it was a good variety of things, too.

The park is equipped with small platforms and flat areas between the trampolines. Along the "sidelines", there are leather couches and snack/drink machines. As one parent pointed out, it seemed perfect for a play date since kids can get their exercise while parents hung out on the leather couches - occasionally joining in.

If you go:
Flight Trampoline Park is located at 30A Post Road, Colonie, NY
Phone: 518-952-0433
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m./ Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. - 11 p.m./ Sun. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fitness Class: 9 a.m. Saturdays (and the instructor said 6 a.m. certain days during the week)
Pricing: $9 for 30 minutes, $13 for 1 hour, $23 for 2 hours
Pricing for Fit Class: $10 for one class, $15 for two classes, $60 for 10 classes

As for the Rare Form Brewery on Congress Street in Troy, it has a great vibe. I went during River Street Festival on Saturday so it was a beautiful day. It was great for sitting in one of the booths and watching the world go by with a beer in hand - in my case it was a porter and I tried the Royal Coconut Cream Ale. If you go to the brewery in the near future, you might notice that there are a lot of non-Rare Form beers/ciders on tap right now (on Saturday, there were about 10 things on tap and about three were Rare Form). I reached out to the owners to see when they thought they'll have more of their own products again but I haven't heard back yet.

(from the brewery's window)

At their grand opening during the last Troy Night Out at the end of May, everything I had by the brewery was great. I especially loved their (non-alcoholic) ginger beer.

Rare Form is located at 90 Congress Street in Troy. Phone: 326-4303
Taproom Hours: Wed. and Thurs. 4 p.m. - 8 p.m./Fri. and Sat. 1 p.m. - 9 p.m./Sun. 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
All Rare Form pints are $6

Monday, June 16, 2014

Free Fitness Fun in Capital District

Over the weekend, I was one of about 40 people to do a free yoga class at the Riverfront Park in Troy as part of a fitness incentive sponsored by the Downtown Troy BID.

It was relaxing, energizing, meditative, muscle-building, :)

The Free Fitness Series runs through August. The Heartspace Yoga & Healing Arts Studio will offer the yoga classes through July 13, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Riverfront Park - located across from the Uncle Sam garage. Parking is also available in an adjacent parking lot near the park.

There were kids and adults at the class and it seemed to be open to anyone.

In case of rain, the classes will be held at the Heartspace yoga studio at 10 Second St. in Troy.

Then, across the river, the city of Albany started a 1609 Fitness Challenge for city residents in which participants can get points for working out. Then, prizes will be given to people with the most points.

Albany residents can enroll at multiple free fitness locations and then earn one point per day for working out for at least 30 minutes at one of those sites. Residents can also earn a half-point for working out on their own. The most a participant
can earn is 1.5 points per day.

Those interested can enroll at Lincoln Park Fitness Center [Pool House - Eagle St & Morton Ave], Arbor Hill Community Center [50 N. Lark St], City of Albany Department of Recreation Office [7 Hoffman Ave], or Quail Street Boxing Gym [91 Quail St].

This will run from June 16 (today) to Aug. 22, with a finale on Aug. 23 with fitness challenges and prizes.

I thought this sounded cool but I'm not an Albany resident so I don't qualify. Poo.

Whole Foods in Colonie Center Opening June 18

Everyone who has had to deal with the Wegmans-less abyss of the Capital District will soon find solace in the opening of another supermarket.
Sure, we already have Price Chopper, Hannaford, the Albany Honest Weight Co-op, Walmart Super Centers, Shop Rite and Trader Joe's - but we need another food option (read: Wegmans). But since we're not getting a Wegmans, I guess Whole Foods will suffice.
The new market, located in Colonie Center in the corner closest to the intersection of Wolf and Central, will open it's doors officially at 9 a.m. on Wednesday (June 18). The first 200 customers will receive a free canvas tote.
The 32,000 square foot store will also feature local products from places like Bilinski Sausage in Cohoes and Xs to Os Vegan Bakery in Troy.
Its hours will be daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

You can read more here, in Lauren Halligan's story.

(from Whole Foods' FB site)

For more information, go to, and follow Whole Foods Market Albany on Facebook and @WFMAlbany on Twitter.
To reach the store, call 621-5300.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Free Use of Vermont State Parks June 14 and June 15

As part of Vermont Days 2014 this weekend (June 14 and June 15), residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some free incentives. This includes: free fishing, free day use of state parks, free entry to historic sites, and free entry to the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier.

(From Vermont State Parks site)

The Vermont border is not that far away from the Capital District (from Troy, only about 40 minutes or so).

"All By Myself" Airport Video

I *had* to share this video. It's just brilliant. Makes me wish I had had a smart phone on some of my trips which have involved overnights in airports...

The "All By Myself" spoof video - showing Richard Dunn using some creative ways to film the empty Las Vegas airport - has had more than 10 million views as of Thursday afternoon. It's even garnered attention from Celine Dion.

Here's the link:

Adirondack High Peak Renamed After First Woman to Become a 46er

The Adirondacks are a magical place. Sure, they're not as high or dramatic as the Rockies or part of a National Park like the Great Smoky Mountains, but they are nonetheless a natural wonder.

I've had the honor of spending many wonderful days in the ADKs camping, swimming, hiking and especially marveling at how small a 4,000+ foot mountain can make you feel when you're at its trail head and how alive you feel once you've reached the top.

The first woman to experience the thrill of hiking all 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks was a Ticonderoga woman named Grace Hudowalski, a founding member of the 46er organization and its first president.

(Provided photos from the Grace Peak Committee)

According to an online biography, Grace started climbing the High Peaks in 1922 at the age of 15 when she ascended Mt. Marcy. By 1937, she had become the first woman and ninth person to complete all 46 High Peaks.

The effort to have one of these mountains named after Grace has been ongoing since the early 2000s and it was made official this week.

Thus, henceforth, anyone looking to become a 46er or who hikes the former East Dix Mountain will now summit Grace Peak.

I, for one, would like to thank Grace Hudowalski for blazing the trails - literally and figuratively - with mountaineering in the Adirondacks.

Here's a bit more about this from a press release:

The high peak in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State known as East Dix has been renamed “Grace Peak,” the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, Inc. announced today.  The United States Board of Geographic Names (USBGN) officially approved the petition submitted by the Forty-Sixers to rename East Dix “Grace Peak,” in honor of Grace Leach Hudowalski, who promoted the Adirondack region for its recreational opportunities in both her professional career and personal life. The name designation was approved on June 12, 2014, at the monthly meeting of the USBGN.
In response to the approval Douglas Arnold, who has led the naming effort on behalf of the Forty-Sixers for the past twelve years said:  “Everyone has a mentor – a coach, parent or grandparent, friend, or teacher – who influences the outcome of their life. These angels are remembered but rarely honored. Grace Hudowalski was a mentor to thousands of people as she shared her enthusiasm for the Adirondacks with everyone. The naming of Grace Peak is a tribute, not only to the lives she touched, but to all of those angels who make a positive impact on our lives.” Sally Hoy, President of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers added, “How fitting to honor a woman whose love of the Adirondacks has had far-reaching effects not only in eco-tourism but in promoting protection of this amazing resource.”
Grace Leach Hudowalski was born in Ticonderoga, NY, in 1906, and grew up in the surrounding foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.  She was the ninth person and first woman to climb the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks that are over 4,000 feet in elevation, which she accomplished in 1937. She was a founding member and first president of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers hiking club.  For more than 60 years, until she was well into her 90s, she served as the club’s historian, maintaining climbing records for hikers who were attempting to climb the 46 peaks and corresponding with each and every one of them.  The correspondence between Grace and those climbing the 46 peaks is housed in the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections to preserve a unique and significant historical record of the High Peaks region.
Grace’s keen interest in folklore and story-telling led her to her first job with the New York State Commerce Department in 1945 as a publicity writer. She was promoted to Travel Promotion Supervisor for the department in 1948 and served in that position until her retirement in 1961. Representing the state at travel shows throughout the United States and Canada, Grace spoke regularly on radio and television programs across the country promoting New York State, particularly the Adirondack region, as a travel destination.
Grace was active with a number of Adirondack region organizations. She served as executive secretary for the Adirondack North Country Association (now the Adirondack Park Association) for 21 years. She was also a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and a president of the New York Folklore Society. An active member of the Adirondack Mountain Club, Inc. (ADK), she was contributing editor of its publications, High Spots and Adirondac, and editor of the Albany Chapter’s newsletter, The Cloud Splitter.
In 1995 Grace established the Adirondack 46R Conservation Trust, a public charitable endowment with a mission to provide financial support for conservation and educational projects which advance, promote, and encourage the responsible recreational use of the Adirondack High Peaks. The Trust continues Grace’s legacy of “giving something back” to the mountains.
The Adirondack Forty-Sixers, a hiking club whose members have climbed the 46 highest peaks in the Adirondacks, began the campaign for naming a high peak after Grace in the early 2000s.  East Dix was chosen for renaming because it did not have a unique name. Its appellation is a reference to its proximity to Dix Mountain (named for John A. Dix, New York Secretary of State, 1833-1839), the highest peak in the Dix Mountain Wilderness.  Robert Marshall (46er #3) gave East Dix its associative name so it would not be a “nameless mountain.” In his book Peaks and People of the Adirondacks (1927), Russell M. L. Carson noted that the most interesting fact about East Dix (and its neighbor South Dix) is that “their names are not important enough to be retained and that they can be given distinctive titles, when the right occasion comes, without violation of old-established names.”
The naming effort has received widespread support from recreational groups, individuals, local governments, and state agencies. In addition to the Adirondack 46ers (8,000 members), the ADK (35,000 members, Executive Director, Neil Woodworth) officially supported the naming as did a number of ADK regional chapters. The Town of North Hudson (Supervisor, Ronald Moore), the town in which the peak is physically located, as well as the County of Essex Board of Supervisors (Chair, Randall Douglas), both passed resolutions supporting the proposed name change.  Additional government support came from the Department of Environmental Conservation (Commissioner Joe Martens and Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann), NYS Committee on Geographic Names, and Assemblyman Daniel G. Stec (114th district) in whose district Grace Peak is located. For those who did not know Grace Hudowalski personally, the documentary The Mountains Will Wait for You, produced by Fred Schwoebel, brought Grace to life, capturing the essence of her passion for the Adirondacks.
The USBGN is a Federal agency created in 1890 to maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government.  It serves the Federal Government and the public as a central authority to which name problems, name inquiries, name changes, and new name proposals can be directed. 
For a complete biography of Grace Hudowalski and the Grace Peak renaming project see:

Adirondack Forty-Sixer website:

And, it looks like South Dix might soon become Carson Peak - in honor of Russell Carson who wrote the first history and trailguide of the Adirondack Mountains.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Albany's Alive at Five Information

Alive at Five in Albany starts tomorrow (Thursday, June 12). The seasonal and free programs include local and national bands playing along the Hudson River.

A listing of all the shows can be found here. Tomorrow's bands include The Features (at 5pm) and Fitz and the Tantrums (at 6:30pm). The show this week will be at the rain location  of the Corning Preserve Boat Launch due to likely inclement weather.

Another interesting program being done this year for Albany County residents, is a free Alive at Five CDTA bus pass which can be used the day of the show. The Event Day Passes can be obtained at the Albany City Clerk's Office, the TU Center, the Palace Theatre, the Albany Downtown BID, and the Central Avenue BID. There is one pass per person and residents must prove they live in Albany County.

Here's a bit more info from the press release:

New program offers complimentary Event Day Passes to Albany County residents

ALBANY, NY - The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) is proud to once again serve as the preferred transportation partner for Albany’s Alive at Five concert series. CDTAis thrilled to kick off the signature summer event on Thursday June 12 with Nashville band The Features and chart-toppers Fitz & The Tantrums at the Corning Preserve Boat Launch.

For the first time, CDTA and the City of Albany will be providing free Event Day Passes for the dates of each Alive at Five concert to Albany County residents. Riders will be able to pick up passes at the City Clerk’s Office in Albany City Hall, the Times Union Center, the Palace Theatre, the Downtown Albany BID office at 40 North Pearl Street or the Central Avenue BID office at 176 Central Avenue. The passes will be available from 10am-4pm on the Wednesday before each show, while supplies last. One pass per person; resident must present valid ID with an Albany County address to be eligible for an Event Day Pass. Passes for tomorrow’s show are currently available at these locations.

“This partnership with CDTA highlights how accessible the City of Albany is through public transportation and emphasizes our dedication to making Albany the most sustainable, bike- and pedestrian-friendly city it can be,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
 “CDTA is pleased to play a larger role at this year’s Alive at Five concert series,” said CDTA Board Chairman David M. Stackrow. “We have provided transportation for this signature summer event for a number of years now, but this year we wanted to take our support to the next level.”

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "CDTA has been a great partner with Albany County.  What a terrific option for Albany residents to leave the car at home and use a day pass to get to and from one of many City of Albany events.  We're pleased the Times Union Center can serve as a pass pick up location."

This partnership reinforces how public transit helps reduce traffic congestion, while providing a safe and environmentally-sound way to get around. Concert-goers can avoid the hassles of driving as well as connect to just about anywhere, including additional entertainment and dining venues throughout the City after the event.

There are a number of convenient and affordable transit routes available from State Street, Broadway and South Pearl Streets. CDTA is helping to grow the event with nearly a dozen routes within walking distance and close proximity to BusPlus’ limited stop service.

For more information on the event pass program & City of Albany’s Alive at Five concert series, visit

For more information on CDTA please visit or contact CDTA’s Customer Service Center at (518) 482-8822. To stay connected with CDTA’s latest initiatives, like them on Facebook at or follow them on Twitter @CDTA.

Star Walk Opens in Austria

From an article:

Astronomy enthusiasts all over the world just got a new travel destination. Grossmugl, a small town near Austria's capital Vienna, recently opened a brand new astronomical attraction: a permanent star walk installation designated for astronomical observations with the unaided eye. The Grossmugl Star Walk was designed by Project Nightflight and built in close collaboration with the municipality of Grossmugl....


Albany Area Host Families Needed

I am a firm believe in exchanges and hosting those from other cultures, especially since I've benefited from such programs in the past and know what a great benefit it is for everyone involved.

The local International Center of the Capital Region is looking for host families. Here are a few more details, from a press release:

The International Center of the Capital Region (ICCR) is Seeking Local Host Families for FLEX Students

Created in 1992 by the US Department of State, the Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) is a scholarship exchange program for high school students (ages 15-17) from EurasiaThe program’s goal is to provide an opportunity for the students to spend an academic year in the United States, living with a host family and attending an American high school, while engaging in activities to learn about American society and values to experience life in a democratic society. The program places special emphasis on leadership skills and seeks ways for participants to develop these skills during the school year. As former Senator Bill Bradley stated, "the best way to ensure long-lasting peace and understanding between the U.S. and Eurasia is to enable young people to learn about democracy firsthand through experiencing it". The International Center is hoping to place three students within the Capital Region this coming academic year. If you would possibly consider hosting a student for part of or for the full school year, we would like to hear from you. For further information, please call ICCR at (518) 708-7608

Summer Plans: Booked

I had blogged earlier about where I was planning to travel this summer including, but not limited to - Popham Beach in Maine, Acadia National Park, Jones Beach State Park, and Nantucket.
I'm happy to say that, while nothing else is really "planned", Jon and I will at least have places to stay at these destinations.
After some looking around and shifting around the schedule (pronounced in my head as shedule), we decided on these camping grounds and accommodations:

For Popham Beach - Meadowbrook Camping Area, which is located about 8 miles from that beach. I guess the selling point for Jon was that the campgrounds have a lobster bake daily with all the fixings. I, personally, liked the price ($30 for tents) and the short distance to the beach.

(In this area, I also looked at Ocean View Park, which has oceanside camping but unfortunately didn't have availability for the time we were looking at; and Chewonki Campground, which was further from Popham but closer to the main roadways and located on a midcoast ocean inlet)

(Popham Beach)

For Acadia National Park, we got one of the last in-park camping sites for July 4th weekend. After reading some reviews, I read that Seawall Campground in Acadia is slightly nicer than Blackwood in that it is more central to park attractions. But, we'll get to settle for being more secluded since we have a walk-in site in the campground that is apparently more isolated. And I'm OK with that.
Jon and I are excited to visit Acadia, the first National Park located on the Eastern Coast and apparently the location where, at some times of the year, you can see the sunrise before the rest of the continental U.S. This will also be Jon's first experience at a National Park.

For Jones Beach State Park, and our tickets to NIN/Soundgarden, we'll be trying out AirBnB again - this time with a man named David at his place in Uniondale, about 15 minutes from the State Park and concert venue. Our first experience with AirBnB wasn't the best, but I'm hoping it was just a fluke.

(Nantucket Hostel)

And, in Nantucket, we're going the inexpensive route (surprise!) and staying at the Nantucket Hostel which is only a block from the beach. Sure, it's a hostel, but you can't beat that location for $40 per night per person. No, seriously, I looked, you really can't beat it.

Unlike many past summers, this upcoming season isn't nearly as jam-packed with commitments so I'm still hoping there will be a few other trips - mainly along areas of the east coast.

*What are your summer plans? Have you already booked everything or are you waiting til later in the season?*

Monday, June 9, 2014

Empty Flight with Awesome Crew

I can't tell if this is real or not. But, if so, that's freakin' awesome.

I saw this posted a few places today.

Rensselaer County Historical Society Deck Party

An Enjoy Troy Deck Party to benefit a local organization. Sounds fun....

From a press release:

The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) will be having its first-ever "Enjoy Troy Deck Party" on Thursday, June 12th at it's home on Second Street in downtown Troy.  The naming rights to the deck party were auctioned at the RCHS annual gala last October and the winning bidder was Troy resident Linda Passaretti, creator of the iconic “Enjoy Troy” logo, who quickly dubbed it the "Enjoy Troy Deck Party".

"I've been enjoying Troy for 12 years," said Passaretti.  "It's time everyone else did."

One of the seasonal fundraising efforts for the RCHS, the deck parties are a way for people to discover the hidden treasures of the downtown museum and enjoy music and appetizers and refreshments while supporting the museum.

"You enjoy Troy more when you are steeped in its history," said RCHS Executive Director Ilene Frank. "This deck party is a fun way to get people excited about history while enjoying the summer weather and the company of friends." 

The party is open to the public and admission is $20 and includes appetizers and refreshments, rain or shine. Music will be provided by DJ Trumastr.

The first 50 people who RSVP to the party will receive limited-edition "Enjoy Troy Deck Party" t-shirts, and everyone who attends will receive complimentary Enjoy Troy keychains and stickers.  Additionally, attendees will have a chance to bid on an official "Enjoy Troy" coffee table, created by Passeretti's Enjoy Troy business partner Tom Reynolds. 

"The Historical Society is one of Troy's hidden gems,” said Reynolds.  "This deck party is a great opportunity to raise its profile for a good cause."

About RCHS

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. Situated in the downtown Second Street Historic District in Troy, New York, the museum fulfills its mission from two adjacent 19th century townhouses - the historic and architecturally significant Hart-Cluett House, which serves as a house museum, and the Carr Building, which houses exhibits, programs, and a research library.

Friday, June 6, 2014

New York State Camping Discount

I'm feeling very rah-rah New York State and USA today. Probably because of the Red, White and Blue event I just went to at Troy's School 14. Darn those cute kids and their contagious patriotism.

I just gave some thoughts about how the US has some world-class sights that do not even require a passport. Now, let's look a bit closer to my own backyard.

New York State has a deal that goes now through Thurs., June 26 in which you get $5 off per night for regular camping rates at 112 state campgrounds in the state. This offer excludes Hither Hills State Park, mooring buoys, walk-ins, and previous reservations.

When booking here (, just use the promo code: EARLYCAMP 14.

(Cherry Plain State Park, about 45 minutes from Troy)

This is the third year of the discount, which drew 4,000 camping nights during the same period last year, a 40 percent increase over the introductory year, according to a press release put out by the Governor's Office.

Jon and I did some camping last summer at Sampson State Park. I'd never heard of it before I checked out this state park site, but it had a beautiful location right on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes. There were some interesting memories made - including Jon being quasi-attacked by a raccoon. Don't worry - they're both OK.

Locally, if you have a young family and just want to get to a campsite that is a quick drive from home, there's Cherry Plain near Petersburgh, Max V. Shaul in Schoharie County, Moreau Lake State Park in Gansevoort, and Thompsons Lake near Thacher Park. And, starting next spring, there will be camping available in Schodack Island State Park outside of Schodack on the Hudson River.

I'll probably take advantage of the deal - just need to figure out where to go. I hope to hear from folks about where you've gone camping in NYS and where you're hoping to camp this summer.

My Cross-Country Car Turned 100,000 Miles

I had been waiting for the day to come for a long time but was not expecting it while driving to my second Albany Crossfit class. My 2008 Nissan Sentra turned 100k on Thursday evening on Route 787.

(Reached 100,000 miles)

I got my car in 2009 following an accident that left my parked Honda Accord SE T-boned out front of my parent's house in Troy. Immediately after that, I drove a rented Hyundai for a while - which was OK - then I bought a 1999 Honda Accord with 75,000 miles on it with the insurance money from the incident. Unfortunately, that car did not last very long and it taught me an unfortunate/expensive lesson that craigslist cars are not always what they seem.

Tainted by that experience, I asked around for references and found my way to a Clifton Park Enterprise rental business which also sells cars. I had heard both sides of the argument for buying a former rental - Sure, people don't always treat their rental cars well but, on the other hand, the company makes sure they're well maintained so their customers don't have any issues on the road.

(my car, photo taken at the University of Notre Dame)
I remember being a little disappointed they did not have any Hondas, since my 2000 Accord had served me well over the course of nearly 80,000 miles (from 87,000 when I got it at Rensselaer Honda to about 165,000 when it was somehow hit while it was parked on Pawling Avenue). That car - "Schnuckel Sr." - had given me a lot of memories including east coast road trips, and driving in a snow storm up through the Adirondack Mountains to my alma mater with a car load of friends. Above all, it was my first car and, to me, it was perfect.

I was skeptical of a Nissan. But, I have to admit, it's been great over the past 81,000 miles. I got Schnuckle Jr. when he - yes, he - had 19,000 miles. I thought I could go anywhere. And I have, mostly without issue.

My brother and a college friend did a cross country road trip going along I-90 to Montana, then headed south in Colorado and made our way over to California. On the way back, we took a southern route through AZ, NM, TX and eventually wound our way up the east coast. All in this car. There were no flat tires in the Badlands, or overheating in the middle of the Mojave. The worst that happened was a chip in the windshield somewhere between Reno and the coast of California. The car gave us the temperatures in each location - ranging from 32-degrees in Yellowstone to 114-degrees in Nevada.

Without "Schnuckle Jr." - now also named "RT", short for Road Trip - I would never have seen some amazing sights around our country. Giving proof, in my opinion, that there is much to see within our own borders which can supplement the wonders of the rest of the world.

Since I don't have children or pets, I get attached to my cars. Feel free to call me a crazy car lady. I love my car.

Below are some memories of the 2010 Road Trip with RT, my brother Adam and my friend Jess.

There were some beautiful sights...

(Chicago skyline)
 And some odd ones...
(Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota)

(Corn Palace in South Dakota)

 And things that looked out of this world, let alone this country....
(Badlands National Park)

We learned a bit of history...and had fun.
(Mount Rushmore)
 And marked things off the bucket list.
(Devil's Tower, Wyoming)

(Yellowstone National Park bison)

(view of Grand Teton)

I'd like to be able to say, what happens on a road trip stays on a road trip.

But it's so much more fun to share.
(Arches National Park, Utah)

(Bell in Aspen made in our hometown)

 There are so many amazing things to see (ie - this huge Sequoia pine cone)
(Yosemite National Park)

And fun experiences to have, like doing a cross country trip or swimming in the Pacific and the Atlantic within a week of each other.
(Santa Cruz, a week later, on the way back, we were in Delaware and then home)

I have every intention to go on a cross country Canadian trip next, when I eventually get a new car - ya know, in a few years when "RT" finally goes into retirement.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Waterford Museum Exhibit Opens Friday

I'll let the Museum's information speak for itself.....

From a press release:

The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center (WHMCC) announces the opening of its 2014 exhibit, History Underfoot: Archeological explorations of Waterford at the Museum on June 6, 2014 from 6pm to 8pm.  Featuring objects on loan from private individuals, the New York State Museum and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the exhibit will run from June 6 to November 2, 2014. The exhibit opening is free to the public.

WHMCC’s latest exhibit goes underground to explore Waterford’s recent and not-so-recent past. With the help of experts in the field including exhibit consultant Matthew Kirk from Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc. and exhibit designer Paul G. Schneider, Jr., the Museum has created an exciting exhibit which features objects from WHMCC’s collection as well as the collections of private individuals, the New York State Museum, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. History Underfoot offers a unique opportunity to learn about the Capital District’s place in history by examining the archeological record of the region, featuring artifacts found from local archeological digs in and around Waterford. With a compelling narrative, objects from 50 to 5,000 years old on display and a hands-on discovery section perfect for kids, History Underfoot has something to appeal to all ages and interests. Funding for the exhibit was provided in part by The Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund’s “Lend a Hand” grant. The exhibit opening on June 6 is from 6pm to 8pm and is free to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

In addition to the History Underfoot exhibit installation, two smaller exhibits, It Was 1964 and Technology, People and Industry: The Canals of Waterford will also be unveiled to the public on June 6th

June 6th marks the start of the Museum’s 2014 season. The Museum will remain open to the public through November 2, 2014. WHMCC is celebrating its 50th anniversary year. There will be several events throughout the rest of the year to mark this special anniversary.

 For more information about the 2014 season and upcoming events, call the Museum at 518-238-0809, email, visit the museum at or find WHMCC on Facebook.

The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center is located in the 1830 Hugh White Homestead on Museum Lane in the Town of Waterford. The Museum offers various programs and exhibits year round. For more information about the Museum and its programs please contact the Museum at 238-0809 or check our website .

Oakwood Cemetery's Annual Costumed Tour Being Held June 7th

An FYI for this weekend...

From an Oakwood Cemetery Press Release:

Oakwood Cemetery’s annual Costumed Couples Tour on Saturday June 7th from 1:00-3:00 will have some wonderful surprises this year. We have lots of new and fascinating "residents" who will return to life for one day and will be waiting to tell you their stories. You will have a guide to lead you to their grave-sites in a limited area of the cemetery. 

Along with favorites like Hannah and Gardner Earl in the chapel and Emma Willard along the road, you can meet Civil War General George Thomas and learn from Mrs. Thomas why she deliberately missed his funeral train, find out why Uncle Sam’s 2 children aren’t buried with him, hear about a terrifying steamboat ride from drowning victim Louisa Coffin, meet Mr & Mrs Frear of dept. store fame, and Oakwood's 1st President, John Paine and his wife. 

This year we are delighted to welcome Sage President Susan Scrimshaw in the role of Olivia Slocum Sage and Alan Stern as Russell Sage. Other participating local "celebrities" include Jim Gordon and Jim Conroy. Want to know who they are portraying? Come and see!    

Call 1-800-556-6273 to register for this popular tour. $15./pp  Pay on arrival. Children under 12, Free. Tour fees go to the Oakwood Restoration Fund. Bring your camera. You'll want to take lots of pictures of our costumed interpreters at what is literally our Living History Day. Don't miss it!



On Wednesday June 11th Warren Broderick will lead this evening hike to grave sites  of 14 important area artists of the 19th& 20th centuries. We will learn why each artist is significant and receive a brief biographical sketch giving examples of each person’s work. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, bring water and be prepared to hike. Meet at the bell at 6pm. Hike is expected to last approximately 2 hrs. $12/pp payable on arrival. Call to register 1-800-556-6273.  Friends of Oakwood tours are offered to benefit the Oakwood Restoration Fund. New volunteers are always welcome.