Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Free Evening Swimming in Lansingburgh

I'm planning to take advantage of this offering next week and I thought I'd share...

From a press release:

 Mayor Lou Rosamilia has announced that the City of Troy will be expanding its swimming hours at the Knickerbacker Pool. In addition to the public swimming from 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., there will now also be free evening swimming hours and lessons for children.

            The Knickerbacker Pool will now hold evening swimming hours from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday will be reserved for adults (18+), Wednesdays will be reserved for parents with children (6 & under) and Fridays will be reserved for families.

            The free swimming lessons for children will begin on July 14 and continue, Monday through Friday, until July 25. The lessons will be held from 10 a.m. until noon.

            For additional information, please contact the City of Troy’s Bureau of Parks & Recreation at (518) 235-7761 or 235-0215.

Hyde Collection in Glens Falls featured on WMHT

From a press release:

 On Wednesday, July 30 at 7:30pm, The Hyde Collection and its summer exhibition Larry Kagan: Lying Shadows will be highlighted on Albany, New York’s PBS /WMHT-TV’s AHA! This half-hour program features stories about artists, makers, and creative institutions in our region and across the country.  Interviews with Kagan in his Troy studio, Hyde director Charles Guerin, and Hyde chief curator Erin Coe at the Museum will be the focus of this segment. 
Larry Kagan: Lying Shadows, now through September 15, 2014, features twenty wall-mounted steel sculptures, illustrating the development of a conceptual idea. An exhibiting artist whose work has been collected and shown by museums and galleries worldwide, Kagan is also a faculty member of the art department of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

For the past twenty years, Kagan has been engaged with the process of creating a hybrid form of sculpture that combines the solid component of a steel wire sculpture and the specific shadow it casts on the wall in a way that challenges expectations.  The form of the shadow suggests the presence of a material object that should be casting it, but in fact does not exist.  The objects in Kagan’s repertoire of shadow images include a chair, book, bald eagle, stiletto, and a portrait of George Washington. The perceptual dualism of the three-dimensional abstract object casting an entirely figurative but dissimilar shadow when illuminated is at the heart of Kagan’s work. By disturbing the relationship between objects and shadows in this exhibition, the artist demonstrates how shadows can be transformed from a secondary supporting role in an artwork to the main creative attraction.

A Ghost Story and Spirits at the Malt Room in Troy This Week

Local historian, public relations pro, and all around cool guy Duncan Crary will be telling a "world-famous" ghost story at the Malt Room in Troy this Thursday, with free samples of single malt scotches.

I'll let the press release speak for itself....


 The Scottish spirits will haunt and flow in Brown's Malt Room this Thursday night.

On July 24, at 6 p.m., Troy storyteller Duncan Crary will spin a candle-lit account of the legend of Major Duncan Campbell of the Black Watch, a Scottish highlander who met his eerie fate during the failed British attack on Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) in upstate New York, July 1758.

According to legend, a ghost foretold of the major's death many years prior at his home in Inverawe, Scotland.

"Robert Louis Stevenson made the story of Major Duncan Campbell world famous in his 1887 poem, 'Ticonderoga,'" said Crary. "But it was already well-known in these parts, and in the west of Scotland, for more than a century before that."

The evening will also feature:

+ Soothing tunes on the Scottish small pipes (what Crary calls "indoor bagpipes"), played by Alex Bartholomew of New Paltz;

+ A free tasting of single malt scotches, by West Highland distiller Jura;

+ Fine Scottish small plates prepared in-house.


Scotch Egg – $8

Roast Cornish Hen with Scottish Black Pudding – $14

Venison Pasties – $10

Traditional Scottish Gladloch Sausage – $12

Smoked Scottish King Salmon – $13

Bread & Cheese: Scratch made bread with a selection of Windsor Red, Cahill Irish Porter, Cypress Grove Midnight Moon cheeses – $13

(Sorry, no haggis).

Admission and Scotch samples are free. The Malt Room opens at 5 p.m. Music will begin at 6 p.m. Crary will tell the story shortly after, when the crowd is ready.

The Malt Room is located at 425 River Street in downtown Troy (in the basement of Revolution Hall). The entrance is in the rear, immediately north of the Brown's Brewing Co. taproom deck.

From the West Highlands to the Adirondacks

Major Duncan Campbell was a real figure in both Scottish and North American history. Laird of the Scottish House of Inverawe, he served as an officer in the 42nd (Highland) Regiment -- a famously fierce military unit in Scotland, known as the dreaded "Black Watch."

In 1756, the Black Watch was dispatched to North America, by the British crown, to fight in the French and Indian War. In the spring of 1758, Major Duncan Campbell and the Black Watch marched north from Albany to attack the French-controlled Fort Carillon (later named Fort Ticonderoga) on Lake Champlain.

There, the battle that ensued on July 8 was the bloodiest and most dramatic of the war, with more than 3,000 total casualties estimated by historians. The Black Watch suffered the heaviest of all military units on either side, but the mounting deaths of their comrades only fueled their fury on the front lines.

About half of the 1,000 Black Watch soldiers in action that day were killed, and many more were wounded -- including Major Duncan Campbell who died 9 days later. He was buried in a relative's plot at Fort Edward. Later, Campbell's remains were moved to Union Cemetery between Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, where they are now located in the Jane McCrea lot.

One year after the battle, the British finally captured Fort Carillon and renamed it "Ticonderoga," an anglicized Iroquois word meaning "it is at the junction of two waterways."

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

"No ghost story is more widely known or better authenticated than that of Duncan Campbell of Inverawe," writes Frederick B. Richards in his circa 1910 publication, "The Black Watch at Ticonderoga and Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe."

The widely circulated legend of Major Duncan Campbell says a desperate man came knocking wildly on the doors of the house of Inverawe one night. He had blood on his hands and kilt, and begged for sanctuary -- a sacred oath of protection granted in the Highlands of Scotland.

Duncan vowed to shelter the man and swore on his dirk, a traditional and ceremonial dagger worn by Highland Scots.

Soon after, a group of men arrived at Inverawe to inform Duncan Campbell that a highwayman had murdered his cousin, Donald Campbell. The men had last seen the murderer heading that way. But Duncan had already given his word that he would shelter the very same bandit, and so he concealed him from the gang.

Twice, the ghost of Donald Campbell visited Duncan Campbell, and twice demanded that his death be avenged by his kin. But Duncan kept his oath, and on the third visit the apparition warned him: "Farewell Inverawe. Farewell till we meet again at TICONDEROGA."

At the time, neither Duncan nor any highland Scots he consulted had ever heard the strange word. From that day forth, it haunted and perplexed him -- "Ticonderoga" -- until many years later on the march north from Albany, New York to the French-controlled Fort Carillon. The British were joined during that campaign by their Iroquois -- or Haudenosaunee -- allies, whose name for that place was tekontaro:ken, which sounded very much like "Ticonderoga."

Sure enough, on the eve of battle, the ghost of Donald Campbell visited the tent of a terrified Major Duncan Campbell to give one last word that Duncan would soon pay for his betrayal.

The following day, as the battle raged in North America and the brave Black Watch soldiers were cut down by the French, it is said in Scotland that the clouds over the House of Inverawe took the form of the soldiers and re-enacted the futile assault ... until the blow was delivered that would end the life of Major Duncan Campbell.

"An old sailor friend of mine in Glasgow, Scotland once told me to 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story,'" Crary said. "I'll give a proper history of the old Major and the Black Watch, but I won't be letting those pesky facts get in the way of this ripping good yarn, either."

** End Spoilers **


The renowned Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson contracted tuberculosis in the late 19th century and headed to the Adirondacks of New York State to take the cure at the famous Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake. It's there he first heard the tale of Major Duncan Campbell from the locals who knew it well. In December of 1887, Stevenson published the tale in Scribner's Magazine as the poem: "Ticonderoga a Legend of the West Highlands." It was an instant and global success.

"Stevenson made a few mistakes in his account -- most notably, he named his character 'Duncan Cameron,'" said Crary. "Sure, there were Camerons on the battle pitch that day, but this ghostly tale belongs to none other than Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, Major of the Black Watch."

This Thursday night, Crary will spin his own version of the tale, building upon Stevenson's poem, historical accounts and his own family's contributions. One element Crary will give more prominence to is the role of the Mohawk allies of the British and their special relationship to the Scots Highlanders they fought alongside.

Crary's full name is Duncan Campbell Crary. And while Duncan Campbell is one of the most common Scottish names, his parents named him after Major Duncan Campbell in particular. The family's Scottish ancestors, both Crary and Campbell, settled upstate New York during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

"What is a Scotsman without his word? Aye, but what is a Highlander without his kin and clan to count on?" Crary asked. "This is the predicament our hero found himself in, with no way out."


To download high-resolution publicity images, including an event poster, a recent photograph of Major Duncan Campbell’s grave and an image from Stevenson’s 1887 poem in Scribner's magazine, visit:


Brown's basement Malt Room bar is a refined space offering 3 cask conditioned ales from its copper top bar as well as nearly 40 single malt scotches, 20 small batch bourbons and a variety of well crafted proper cocktails. A menu of light tapas changes weekly. Located beneath Brown’s Revolution Hall, the Malt Room is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 pm until close.

For information, visit:


Duncan Crary is an author, storyteller, podcaster and events organizer in Troy, New York. He wandered the empty nesses of Scotland, alone, when his worldview was still forming. His website is:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Favorite Part of Acadia

Without a doubt, my favorite part of our trip to Acadia National Park was our stop at Sand Beach.

We got our first glimpse of the beach while walking over - since the one-way road with two lanes had become an actual parking lot in the right lane and the line went on for a good quarter of a mile.

There was a nice path along the side of the road and then a stairwell that led down into the beach area.

There must have been hundreds of people at the beach, but it did not feel like it because the beach was so large. The sand was flanked on either side by pine trees and rocky cliffs. Then, in front there was the bright blue water - almost the color you'd expect in the tropics, though the temperature would argue otherwise - and in the back were views of a mountain and grass fields.

Not many people were in the water since it was so frigid - about 52-degrees. But Jon went in and eventually convinced me to do the same.

We stayed long enough to enjoy the views, the blue sky, and the water. The sand was being swept up into our faces by the wind a bit more than we both liked so we retreated back to rinse off. While there were no showers, we found a less-used spout to wash our feet and I concocted my own shower using my water bottle.

On a nice summer day, Sand Beach was a beautiful spot.

The Economic Ecosystem at Acadia National Park

Along with my Housekeeping Observations of my recent trip to Acadia National Park, I noticed a very interesting ecosystem. Sure, there was the natural/diverse ecosystems found atop Acadia Mountain or along the coast. But I also saw an economic ecosystem that was balanced with partnerships in each of the communities around the park.

You expect such partnerships in any area, whether there are tourists or not. Neighbors need to work together to bring the best out of a community. That's just how it's always been. And that seemed to especially be the case throughout Bar Harbor and the smaller towns of Ellsworth, Hulls Cove, Manset, Salisbury Cove, Town Hill, Tremont, Somesville, and Southwest Harbor - and even on a smaller level with Northeast Harbor as well, where there have been affluent summer residents for decades.

(Bar Harbor)

I think my best example of these working partnerships is when I asked about shower facilities at our campground at Seawall inside the National Park. Within walking distance of our campsite, there were restrooms, a dishwater dumping station, and a water tap but I did not see any showers. When I asked the ranger about it, he directed us to a Seawall Camping Supplies facility which I, initially, thought was also run by the National Park.

(our campsite at Seawall)

When we got there, about a half-mile down the road, it was a locally-owned store with any supplies a camper would need - and there were showers in the back that were $1 (in quarters) for 2 minutes.

I found it interesting that the National Park, instead of building their own shower system, would prefer to partner with a local business owner. I think that's a great idea and helps the local economy that much more for the area, which sees the majority of their tourists in a six week span over the summer.

(at Adelmann's in Bar Harbor - with a blueberry soft serve custard)

Along with the example of the shared showers, the Acadia Weekly newspaper had many advertisements and small descriptions of local businesses. After seeing an ad for a place with blueberry soft serve custard, we had to make the drive to go get it. And it was delicious. The weekly also encouraged visiting the area communities and especially the eateries, which we definitely did. (Blaze, by the way, in Bar Harbor has an excellent selection of craft beer and the food is great)

As I described in my last blog post, the park is so sporadically dispersed that the communities almost become as much a part of the national park as the natural sights. I have to admit, visiting these charming towns and businesses - and taking part in this economic ecosystem - was as much of an adventure or highlight as standing at the top of Cadillac Mountain.

(Jon and I at the top of Cadillac)

Housekeeping Observations at Acadia National Park in Maine

As with any national park or interesting place to visit, I think what I enjoyed most about my experience at Acadia National Park was that it included a lot of diverse things in one place. It was also different than any national park I had been to before.

There were small, rocky granite mountains; pine trees for as far as the eye could see; pebbled coasts and scattered sandy beaches; and even some creature comforts like a tea house on a beautiful lake that serves well-known popover treats with tea.

(Jordan Pond House)

Off the bat, one thing I noticed that was different from other national parks I had been to was the fact that many of the attractions of the park are scattered and not in one place, which meant that you could go into much of the official national park without paying the $20 to get in. The only part that they were a stickler about paying was the entrance to Sand Beach and Thunder Hole.

I'm not sure why they set it up this way but I'm sure it results in losing a lot of revenue. Instead of having multiple entrance fee gates around the park, they have people pay the fee at the Visitor Center (the official start of the Loop Road) and a couple of other spots. We almost stood in line at the Visitor Center, not knowing what the line was for. Luckily, we had already paid the fee since anyone camping in the park has to pay the $20 for the week. I also saw at least two families ask rangers about where they could pay the entrance fee.

True enough, the portions of the park are not all in one place so that makes it hard to have these gates at the park boundaries. Our campsite at Seawall, for example, is about 25 minutes from the rest of the attractions and near that end was Echo Lake and several picnic areas that were all part of the park but there was no nearby area to pay the fee.

(Echo Lake)

Another observation was that the park seemed more commercial than I had noticed at other parks. The Visitor Center, for example, had very little in informational exhibits but had a good variety of books to purchase. The Acadia Weekly publication also encouraged visitors to buy items, both inside and outside the park.

(Seawall picnic area)

This was my first visit so I can't compare with how it might have been set up in the past, but I do wonder if/how they were affected financially by the government shutdown and resulting budgeting.

According to Wikipedia, some 2 million people visit the park annually. That's a number any park should be proud of. Yellowstone also sees at least 2 million tourists annually.

The $20, no matter how you look at it, is an amazing deal. I truly appreciate the opportunity we have to see these natural sights. I just hope the park is designed in a way that the park still gets enough incoming revenue to maintain its personnel and resources.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Empire State Plaza Tours

I just read about this today and thought it sounded interesting. So, the state is offering 30 minute tours to highlight the history and design of the Empire State Plaza through October.

The tours will be done at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. daily Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The tours will begin on the concourse level of the plaza by the Egg Center marquee.

This sounds like it has potential.

(View from the Corning Tower Observation Deck)

Another tour I highly recommend is the tour of the state Capitol. It's been ranked #1 out of 34 Albany sites by Tripadvisor and for good reason. The Capitol tour hours have been extended this summer as well.

It can be hard to get out of work during the day, but if you do, you might as well make a trifecta out of it with a tour of the Empire State Plaza, the Capital and a stop at the observation deck of the Corning Tower.

Here's a bit more about the Empire State Plaza tours and the Capitol tours hours being extended.

Fourth of July at the Empire State Plaza Information and Lineup

There is a lot to do and see this weekend with fireworks and live music galore.

If you're heading to the Empire State Plaza, here's some information from their press release:


Event to Feature Food, Family-Friendly Activities and the Capital District’s Biggest and Best Fireworks Show

New York State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn M. Destito today announced New York State and Price Chopper are teaming up again to present New York State’s 39th annual Independence Day celebration at the Empire State Plaza. With an exciting program filled with amazing performances, great food, activities for children, and the largest pyrotechnics display in the region, this year’s festivities will run from 3 to 10 p.m. on Friday, July 4.
“We are excited to, once again, be partnering with Price Chopper to put on an event that has been an Albany tradition since 1976,” Commissioner Destito said. “Based on past years’ attendance, we know how important this celebration is to the community, and this year’s incredible lineup of entertainment is sure to make it the best one yet.”
“In 1976 we presented the first July 4 event at the plaza to celebrate the bicentennial and started what has become a treasured annual celebration of our nation’s birthday,” said Mona Golub, Price Chopper’s Vice President of Public Relations and Consumer Services. “Thirty-nine years later we continue to take pride in partnering with New York State to provide this gift to our hometown region.”
Helping to cap off the festivities will be a performance by renowned rock and rollers Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals. Cavaliere earned his place in music history as the keyboard player and vocalist for the ’60s pop/rock sensation, The Rascals. From 1965 through 1969, The Rascals were one of the biggest groups in the country, with a string of hits including the Felix-sung “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’,” “A Girl Like You,” “A Beautiful Morning,” and “People Got to Be Free.”
The day’s lineup of musical artists includes something for everyone, including a performance by Gedeon Luke and The People. Hailing from the streets of Memphis, soul music flows through Gedeon Luke’s veins in rainbow colored hues. His band, The People, features Troy’s very own Joe and Jack Daley and will crash through the boundaries of music and society, to bring love, peace and soul to the world.
New For This Year’s Celebration
In addition to bringing back some of the most popular Fourth of July activities, New York State and Price Chipper strive each year to keep this annual event fresh and exciting. New activities and performers this year will include:
  • Watkins Glen International – A new sponsor for the event, Watkins Glen will bring a stock car and give away hats and lanyards.
  • Silent disco with D.J. JoeE – Get on the dance floor or watch as people put on headphones and dance to the music in their heads.
  • Miniature golf by FunPutt – A family favorite.
  • Roaming singers from Capitaland Chorus of Albany - Quartets from this award-winning all women’s barbershop chorus will sing traditional favorites around the Empire State Plaza.
  • Roaming magician – Eric Thee Illusionist, a seasoned magician who specializes in children’s magic will delight and amaze.
  • Elvis tribute artist – Drew Dyal, otherwise known as DD King, pays homage to the King of Rock and Roll. 
At this year’s festivities a big focus will be placed on keeping the plaza a family-friendly environment.  Kids’ play areas will be located on both sides of the concourse to allow for wholesome family fun. The Family Fun Zone will be smoke and alcohol free and will feature pony rides, face painting, a small animal petting zoo, and bounce rides.
As has become tradition in recent years, Price Chopper’s House of BBQ will be “grillin’ tonight” on the plaza, selling several of its signature items, including Certified Angus beef burgers and Ball Park franks. Additionally, Spud Shack and Insane Fudge will be among new food vendors at this year’s event.
Plaza security will enforce its alcohol policy consistent with all other events and will not allow outside alcohol beverages, hard-sided coolers, or glass containers to be brought onto the plaza at any time of day. All bags and backpacks will be subject to search. Alcohol will be served by vendors to adults with proper identification.
This year’s Fourth of July festivities will begin at the Empire State Plaza with live music kicking off on the main stage just after 3:30 p.m. (see program below) and will continue throughout the afternoon and evening with entertainment and other activities. The area’s longest and most elaborate fireworks display will begin around 9:15 p.m.
Free parking is available in the visitor and “P” lots under the Empire State Plaza, the East Garage, and the Grand Street and Elk Street lots. For event updates, follow @plazaevents on Twitter or call (518) 474-0549. For additional information about Summer at the Plaza events, including directions and ground rules, visit
Sponsors include: Price Chopper, New York State Lottery, Saratoga Chips, Watkins Glen International, Oldies 98.3, Saratoga Water, Holiday Inn Express, and
(Grounds open at 2 p.m.; activities begin at 3 p.m.)
Events Schedule
3 p.m. Welcome & Naturalization Ceremony (main stage)
3:35 p.m. Black Rock Zydeco (main stage)
4:15 p.m. The Nellies (north stage)
4:45 p.m. The North and South Dakotas (main stage)
6:00 p.m. Gedeon Luke and the People (main stage)
7:15 p.m. New York State's Fourth of July Celebration Official Program (main stage)
7:45 p.m. Felix Cavaliere's Rascals (main stage)
9:15 p.m. Fireworks! 

Swimming Lessons offered at Grafton Lakes State Park

It's summer. It's hot. Do you really need any other reasons to think about swimming?

How about - I get really sad whenever I meet any adult that says they do not know how to swim?

There are a bunch of local programs for kids to learn to swim. Here's one of them:

Free 2-Week Session Begins July 7; Morning and Evening Schedule Available

Grafton Lakes State Park will hold its first annual Learn-to-Swim program starting July 7 at the beach.  Learn-to-Swim is a statewide program that will teach more than 1000 children across the state to swim for free this summer season. The program, for children age 5 years through 12 years, is made possible through a partnership between the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the American Red Cross, National Swimming Pool Foundation and the Northeast Spa and Pool Association.Grafton Lakes State Park will hold two Learn-to-Swim sessions this summer. The first session will run from July 7th through July 18th while the second session will begin on July 21st and end on August 1st. The free swim classes will help children become comfortable in an open water environment and will provide basic swimming and water safety techniques.    
Who:               Any child between the ages of 5 years to 10 years. Guardian must stay on site.
What:             Free Learn to Swim Class
Where:           Grafton Lakes State Park at the beach
When:             Session 1 – Monday July 7th – Friday July 18th
                        Morning program: 10:00-10:40am
Evening program:  5:00-5:40pm
                        Session 2 – Monday July 21st – Friday August 1st  
                        Morning program:  10:00am-10:40am
Evening program:  5:00-5:40pm
How:               Register by July 4th for Session 1 and by July 18th for Session 2 by calling Melissa Miller or Laura Weir at 518-279-1155.  

Swimming Pools Open in Albany

I may not live in Albany but I love going to the Lincoln Park pool in the summer. It's central to a lot of things in downtown and it's large enough to do laps - albeit circular laps.

The pools, as it happens, are now open for the season.

From a press release:


Albany, NY - The City of Albany Department of Recreation announces its 2014 summer programming schedule.  All the outdoor pools and spray pools will be open from Friday, June 27 - Monday, September 1, 2014 7 days a week. The following is a list of pool locations and hours:
Lower Lincoln Park Pool
Eagle St. and Morton Ave.
Open Swim: 12:00pm to 4:15pm
Family Swim: 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Mater Christi Pool
New Scotland Ave.
Open Swim: 11:00am to 4:15pm
Family Swim 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Westland Hills Spray Pad
Colvin Ave.
General Public: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Swinburne Park Spray Pad
Clinton Ave. & Manning Blvd.
General Public: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Sheridan & Dove Spray Pad
Sheridan Ave. & Dove St.
General Public: 10:00am to 6:00pm
North Albany Spray Pad
North First St.
General Public: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Krank Park Spray Pad
First Ave.
General Public: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Upper Lincoln Spray Pad
Morton Ave. & Delaware Ave.
General Public: 10:00am to 6:00pm

For more information on the pool schedule please call the Swim Albany Hotline at 518-472-1200 or the Department of Recreation at 518-434-5699. A complete list of the locations and hours of operation for each pool is also available on the City website:
The Department of Recreation has added new programs this summer, including Yoga in the Park, Zumba in the Park and the 1609 Fitness Challenge.  Information on times and locations for yoga and zumba can be found on the City of Albany’s website at:
From June 16- August 22, 2014, City of Albany residents are encouraged to participate in the 1609 Fitness Challenge. Residents of all ages are invited to participate and compete to win medals and prizes at the Allympics on August 23, 2014. The City will provide several activities that are worth points. Participants are also welcome to do physical activities on their own for points. Score cards and a complete list of rules and guidelines can be downloaded on the City’s website at:
By offering these new programs the Department of Recreation wants to encourage residents to stay active and use the City parks and all that they have to offer.

Albany Public Library Newsletter

I probably sound like an old lady but there are some really cool things at the library this summer.

Beyond the selection of books, periodicals, movies and museum passes, the library also offers some fun things that challenge both your mind and your body.

A couple months ago, I went to a Geography Bee at the Pine Hills branch where my father (a retired NYS history teacher) won us a round with his outline of the state of New York from memory. I have to admit, it was pretty spot on.

And tonight I'll be going to a Pilates class that will be offered every other week this summer at the Delaware Avenue branch. Then, next week, I'm planning to attend a workshop on sewing because...well, I'm 31 and I should probably know a bit more about it than I do.

There are family activities, summer reading programs, book clubs, writing workshops, jewelry making, and technology sessions.

Long blog short, I highly recommend that you check out the Albany Public Library newsletter, which is where I read about most of the programs I'm planning to do.

My blog's 4 year anniversary

I honestly can't believe it's been four years since I started blogging about life, with a focus on travel.

I started as a "twenty-something" who had traveled to about two dozen countries and now I'm a "thirty-something" who has been to about 30 countries and about that many U.S. states as well. I started with hair down to my butt and now it's just above my shoulders with bangs. (yeah, I gotta change my profile pic here on my blog)

Over the years, some of the more popular blogs have included my posts about the Albany Birthday Freebies and the Albany Speakeasy. People apparently like alcohol - that's definitely something I've learned over the years as I've inadvertently become our unofficial beer/alcohol correspondent.

Some of my favorite posts have been a bit closer to my  heart like my Seuss-ized op-ed about the National Parks being closed last year.

My very first blog was about camping and not much has changed since then. I still love the outdoors and writing about them. As part of some of my summer plans, I'll be visiting Acadia National Park for the first time this holiday weekend with my boyfriend and hope to share some beautiful experiences.

My last post before this one was about rock climbing at a local indoor facility. I've recently been making more of an effort to stay active again, so you'll probably notice more of these kinds of posts in the future about yoga, Zumba, Pilates, etc.

Thank you for joining me on my cross-country road trip, on my friend's Northern Ireland wedding, on another friend's wedding in Colorado, on a cruise, to places like Martha's Vineyard, and interesting local businesses, venues and activities.

I've appreciated being able to write about some pretty amazing places - whether they've been a thousand miles away or a thousand feet away - and I hope you've enjoyed reading and interacting with me here, on Twitter and on Facebook. It's safe to say we're not done yet.