Blogs > Millennial Traveler

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Walkway Over the Hudson's Elevator Opens Thursday

The Walkway Over the Hudson's elevator will officially open to the public tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 14) at 1 p.m.
The walkway, opened in 2009, is in Poughkeepsie and Highland, NY. It is the longest, elevated pedestrian walkway in the world - at 212 feet tall, and more than a mile long.

(photo by: Adam Sanzone)

From the Press Release:

Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park Waterfront Elevator to Open August 14

Connection will advance revitalization of the Poughkeepsie Waterfront

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Walkway Over the Hudson organization today announced that a new 21-story elevator connecting the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park to the Poughkeepsie waterfront will open to the public at 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 14.
“We’re excited to welcome the public to this long-awaited feature of Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “The waterfront elevator is yet another feat in Governor Cuomo’s effort to promote tourism and outdoor recreation in New York State, and it will encourage the Walkway’s many visitors to stay longer and explore more of the region’s plentiful parks, trails and waterfront.”
“Much like the Walkway itself, the Walkway Waterfront Elevator is a tribute to collaboration and perseverance,” said Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Walkway Over the Hudson Executive Director. “We have worked closely with our partners at New York State Parks, the Department of Transportation, Central Hudson, the City of Poughkeepsie, the Dyson Foundation and many others to see this visionary project through to completion. And, much like the Walkway, this elevator will provide exciting new connections and possibilities for the people of the Hudson Valley and New York State.”
The waterfront elevator provides a direct connection from the elevated park to the Hudson River shoreline, including Waryas Park and the new Upper Landing Park; will facilitate tourism by providing more direct access to the Poughkeepsie train station; and will provide easier access for persons with disabilities to the park near the center of the bridge. The $2.8 million construction project is funded primarily by a $2.4 million federal Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) grant and other grants secured by the not-for-profit Walkway Over the Hudson friends group.
The new facility underscores Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving State Parks and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor included a third round of $90 million in New York Works funding for improvements to parks and historic sites in the 2014-15 State Budget. Launched by the Governor in 2012, New York Works is advancing repair and improvement projects at 109 State parks and historic sites across the State.
A former railroad bridge completed in 1889, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened in 2009 and is now visited by over 700,000 people a year. A 2012 study found that spending by Walkway visitors generated nearly $24 million in sales and supported 383 jobs in Dutchess and Ulster counties.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation maintains and operates 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Costa Rica with the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce

A former co-worker is going on a similar trip soon to China with a local chamber of commerce and I just got this in an email.
Nine days, 14 meals, lodging and activities for $2,500. Not bad.
The information session is coming up in early September, and the trip is in March.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New York State Food Festival Information

Due to expected weather tomorrow, Wednesday's NYS Food Festival has been downsized and moved to the Empire State Convention Center

Check out this website for further details.


From an earlier Press Release:


Eddie Money to Headline Day Full of Food, Drink, and Entertainment

New York State Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner RoAnn Destito today announced the lineup for the annual New York State Food Festival, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, August 13 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Due to construction, the stage has been relocated to the north end of the plaza, and seating will not be available on the museum staircase. People are encouraged to bring their own chairs. 
“New York State boasts some of the best craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the nation, and we are proud to be showcasing many of them at our annual food festival,” Commissioner Destito said. “This is one of our most popular summer events, and it is a wonderful opportunity to support local farmers at our afternoon farmers market, sample drinks and foods produced in New York, and enjoy some great music.” 
The festival will begin with the popular plaza farmers market, offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with breads, pastries and many other specialty items. For those looking for a new way to prepare their farmers market finds, this year’s event will also feature farm-to-table cooking demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. by chefs from Mazzone Hospitality restaurants: Angelo’s Prime Bar & Grill and Aperitivo Bristro. 
If cooking is not your thing, there will also be an opportunity for the first 10 people who sign up to participate in Plaza Paint – a Home is Where the Art Is painting class that will be conducted from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
Be sure to catch lunch or dinner at one of the nearly 40 food vendors who will be serving up a wide variety of delicious international and domestic fare, from Indian, German, Greek, South American, Cuban, Lebanese and Jamaican cuisine to sliders, wood-fired pizza, ice cream, and crepes. There will be something to satisfy most everyone’s palate. 
One of the main attractions of the festival is the New York State wine, spirits and specialties tent, which will feature the products of some of the most highly sought-after beverage and specialty food makers from regions throughout the state, including: Adair Vineyards, Albany Sweet Tooth, BlackBird Cider Works, Black Button Distillery, Brotherhood – America’s Oldest – Winery, Elf’s Farm Winery & Cider Mill, Fox Run Vineyards, Gusto Della Vita, Hillrock Spirits, Insane Fudge Company, Jiff-E-Chips, Lakeland Winery, Nine Pin Ciderworks, Oliva Vineyards, Pazdar Winery, Sun Dog Cider, Thousand Islands Winery, Van Brunt Stillhouse, and Yankee Folly Cidery. 
Although alcoholic beverages purchased in the tent are not for consumption on site, there will be a beer garden where adults with proper identification will be able to sample at least a dozen New York State beers, including Brooklyn Lager, Captain Lawrence IPA, Keegan Ales Mother's Milk Stout, Brown's Cream Ale, Olde Saratoga Lager, Adirondack Bear Naked Ale, Lake Placid Ubu Ale, Empire White Aphro, Saranac Pale Ale, Saranac Octoberfest, Saranac Utica Club, and Ithaca Beer Company Cascazilla. 
Those attending the event will be entertained by an exciting lineup of musical acts, headlined by the Brooklyn-born Eddie Money. Money burst onto the music scene with his eponymous debut album in 1977. The album, which went double platinum, featured hits like “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Money followed the success of his debut album with a stream of Top 40 hits such as “Think I’m in Love,” “I Wanna Go Back,” “Shakin,” and the classic, Grammy-nominated duet with Ronnie Spector, “Take Me Home Tonight.” Money continues to delight new and old fans alike at venues throughout the country. As the years have passed, Money’s blue-collar brand of rock n roll has managed to transcend generations and continues to move audiences today. 
The entertainment will begin at noon, with a lunchtime Made in the Shade of the Egg performance by Sensemaya. The band fuses hot Latin dance rhythms with the cool sophistication of jazz improvisation. Their repertoire includes funkified interpretations of classic salsa to originals written in the revolutionary timba style of Cuba. 
Music on the festival’s main stage will start cooking at 5 p.m. with a performance by The Blind Spots. This all original, female-fronted, five-piece moxy rock band from Ithaca features a solid-as-a-rock rhythm section, eclectic library of keyboard sounds, and bold and inventive electric guitar stylings. Electrifying lead vocalist and force of nature Maddy Walsh can hang with the best of them, continuing to reach new heights with her voice at every show and on every recording. 
Next to hit the stage will be Soul Session, a high energy and emotive ensemble that performs multi-genre soul music with entertaining command and spontaneous originality. Soul Session, led by “soulist” Garland Nelson, the former lead vocalist of the New York Players, emotes supernatural passions from material by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Bill Withers, and many others. 
Performance schedule:
Noon - Made in the Shade of the Egg featuring Sensemaya
5:00 - The Blind Spots
6:15 - Soul Session
7:45 - Eddie Money
Free parking will be available after 3 p.m. in the cathedral lot off Madison Avenue and after 5 p.m. in the East Garage on the corners of Madison Avenue, Eagle Street, and Philip Street. Parking is also available for $5 at the visitor lot underneath the plaza after 4 p.m.  
For event updates, follow @plazaevents on Twitter.. For additional information, including ground rules, visit our website at 
Sponsors of the New York State Food Festival include: New York State Lottery, New York State Public Employees Federation, Saranac, County Waste, PYX 106, Times Union, and Holiday Inn Express.

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2014 at Brewery Ommegang

Woodstock. Bonaroo. The Great American Beer Festival. Belgium Comes to Cooperstown.

What? You haven't heard of BCTC? Well, here's the gist - thousands of people come together in the rolling, grassy backyard of a great Belgian beer brewery in upstate New York. During the weekend of camaraderie and camping, there's an exquisite VIP dinner, exclusive tastings, entrancing entertainment, and on top of all of that there is a fair amount of bottle sharing outside of the official tasting tents.

The event, which has been going since 1999, attracts beer nerds and neophytes alike, some driving just down the road while others may have several hours to make it to the festivities. Tickets every year go on sale on April 1 and they usually sell out within minutes. Volunteering is another option to get into BCTC, in which you volunteer for about 3 to 4 hours and have access to the festival.

For those who missed it this past weekend (or maybe you just want to reminisce), here's a bit about the activities from BCTC 2014.

There was a Vegas-theme this year, specifically "What Happens at BCTC, Stays at BCTC" - which was found on the bracelets and lanyards. I missed Friday night (when the VIP dinner happens) but I heard it was delicious, with ever-flowing bottles of beer.

For the past couple of years, Ommegang has especially used BCTC to highlight/premier their newest Game of Thrones beer. This year it was Valar Morghulis, a Belgian Dubbel. If you bought tickets for the  "Game of Thrones Experience", you got a special glass, a bottle of beer (retail:~$8.50), and a photo on the Iron Throne from the fantasy series. The new beer is expected out in stores this fall.

With the Vegas-theme, the organizers of BCTC did a great job of putting fun, creative twists throughout the festival grounds. There was Vegas-style entertainment - with show girls, cirque performers, an Elton John impersonator, and even Elvis skydivers (or flying Elvii, as I like to call them).

The loyal and regular attendees always get into the theme. This year I saw a fair share of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas characters and Elvii.

Oh, I almost forgot.....the beer was good, too. There were about 75 breweries from multiple countries, with a particular focus on Belgian brews. A fairly complete list of beer can be found here. Some of my favorites included: the Allagash James Bean, Stillwater/Westbrook Gose Gone Wild, and Ommegang's bourbon barrel aged Adoration. The girly-drinker in me also enjoyed the Pink Reserve from Woodchuck.

(from the Ommegang site)

When the four-hour tasting period finished up, there were still food vendors, massages, free hand-designed T-shirts (if you didn't mind the line), music, and beer shares back at the tents - which kind of transform the scenic, hop-filled yard into a tent city for a couple of days.

Even the porta potties this year were well-kept and cleaned.

The only real annoyance was the strict security which is understandable given the size of the event. As opposed to past years, this year, the security guards were extremely vigilant about checking bracelets to make sure people had paid for entry. This became an issue for some late-Friday, early-Saturday arrivals since people weren't able to get their tickets or check-in as volunteers. I, personally, was not allowed in when I arrived for my early Saturday shift because I did not yet have a volunteer bracelet to enter. Again, I understand why they're there. It, unfortunately, just left a sour taste for some in the initial hours --- which then, for me anyway, eventually fizzled away.

VIP tickets this year were about $250 and included access to the 500-person dinner and some exclusive access to parts of the festival. I believe the general admission was about $100 and camping was $20. I'm estimating because I haven't paid for a ticket for two years since volunteering is such a great gig.

Feel free to check out my Facebook page for my photo album on the event, and my Twitter and Instagram (@DanielleSanzone and @DanielleMSanzone, respectively) for other thoughts on this year's BCTC experience.

And for those bummed that you missed out with this event: 1) Go next year, and/or 2) Go to another upcoming event like the Festival of Farmhouse Ales in Vermont this weekend or Troy on Tap in NY's Capital District in early September.

Tonight (Tuesday) at the Rensselaer County Historical Society

I'm told this is rain or shine.

I definitely appreciate that the RCHS is actively trying to attract a younger demographic to their events, like this deck party.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Albany Bikeshare Starts Saturday

Following Bike Shares in Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Schenectady, the city of Albany will have one starting this weekend.

I saw the sign up table for the bike share in Troy and it seemed like an easy, straight forward process. You look over some information, sign up, and just follow the instructions of the person at the information table. You can also sign up online.

I really wanted to rent one but I just never got to it. Maybe I'll try to do it in Albany this coming week.

From talking with folks in Troy, it sounds like it's been pretty popular. It'd be great if it became a regular offering, along with this car share in Albany.

At least Mayor Lou got a chance to do it while it was in the Collar City.

From the press release:

 The City of Albany’s Bikeshare Week will begin on Saturday, August 9th and run through Friday, August 15th. There will be 25 bicycles available for use between 10am and 8pm at the following locations:
  • Washington Park (near the intersection of Hudson Ave and Washington Park Rd)
  • Lark Street (between Washington and Madison Avenues)
  • Tricentennial Square in Downtown Albany (on Broadway between Steuben and Columbia Streets)
Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan, who will kick off the City’s Bike Share Week with a bike ride around Washington Park starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning said, “We are excited to participate in the Capital Region Bikeshare Program pilot, and encourage residents of Albany to get out and enjoy a free bikeride with us.  As a bicycling and City of Albany enthusiast, for me it’s about the destination and the ride!  I am looking forward to seeing more people on two wheels in our amazing City.”
Starting Saturday, August 9 at 10:00 a.m. through Tuesday, August 12 at 8 p.m., staff members will be located at the Washington Park location to assist with sign-up for users and give a quick tutorial on how the program and bikes operate.
From Wednesday-Friday, August 13-15, the sign-in table will be located at Tricentennial Square. Users may also preregister online at  Participants who pre-register will still need to visit the check-in table before using a bicycle. Once registered, you will receive an ID number allowing access to the bikes for the rest of the week. Bike helmets will be offered to all participants courtesy of Albany PAL and Albany Bike Rescue.
There is no cost to participate, although a credit card will need to be on file as security for the bikes.  More information, including a map of locations and a self-guided tour of Downtown Albany, are available here.
This week is part of a month-long Capital Region Bikeshare Month pilot program which runs from July 10th to August 15th 2014 sponsored by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC).  The Cities of Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs took part each with a week of free bikeshare.  CDTC selected Buffalo BikeShare to provide the bikes and staff. 
“This bikeshare pilot program is a great opportunity for people to check out what bikeshare is and see how it can improve their ability to get around the Capital City,” said Kate Lawrence, Sustainability Planner for the City of Albany.
"We are excited to demo this bike sharing system in the Capital Region", says Anders
Gunnersen, Director of Buffalo BikeShare. "In Buffalo, BikeShare is quickly becoming an integral part of the livening urban scene, with a strong positive response from university students, city residents, and local businesses."
CDTC is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization carrying out Federal requirements for cooperative transportation planning and programming in the four county Capital District area. CDTC hopes to gauge interest in bikesharing regionally. Participants are asked to complete a short survey, and data on bicycle usage and trip locations will be compiled for each City. CDTC’s Capital Moves program provides information specific to the region to encourage transportation by transit, carpool, vanpool, and of course by bicycle.
Buffalo BikeShare has operated for over 2 years, putting Buffalo on the map as one of the first bikesharing cities to utilize “Social Bicycle” (SOBI) brand bicycles that feature state-of-the-art GPS driven on-board technology.

Global Trivia Fundraiser for International Center of the Capital Region

I love world trivia - and you can, too!

From the Press Release:

Second Annual WorldQuest International Global Trivia Challenge

Colonie - Come test your knowledge of the world at the WorldQuest International Global Trivia Challenge organized by the International Center of the Capital Region. The event is taking place on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 6:00 PM. Teams of up to eight (8) individuals will be competing for trophies and other prizes including bragging rights. The evening will be fun and question categories will include geography, flags and capitals, international food and international music. The event will take place at the Celtic Hall, 430 New Karner Road in Colonie. Tickets are $35/ per person or $250 for a team of eight. All proceeds will go towards the International Center's K-12 educational initiatives. For more information, please call Diane at (518) 708-7608

The Most Interesting Man in the World in Saratoga Springs

Not only does Vermont-resident Jonathan Goldsmith - whose alter ego is Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World - enjoy frequenting restaurants like LoPorto's in Troy, he also apparently likes going to the Saratoga Racecourse, according to a photo on the Times Union's Facebook page.

The same comment thread also shows snowboarder Shaun White at the track.

(from Wikipedia)

You can read a bit more about the man behind the beer ads here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tickets Available for Frozen at Times Union Center in Albany

Like many people, as soon as I heard the soundtrack for Frozen I had a feeling they'd be bringing it to live theater. I guess this includes ice skating - which will be coming to our area in December but tickets are now available.

From the press release:

Royal Sisters, Anna and Elsa, from Disney’s Frozen
Join the Cast of 8 Other Inspiring Princesses Who Find Happily Ever After
in Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes
Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt in Albany, NY

Tickets On Sale for the Skating Spectacular Where Heroes and Hearts Prevail
in Albany December 17-21 at the Times Union Center

ALBANY, NY – AUGUST 6 – Anna and Elsa and the hilarious snowman Olaf from Disney’s Frozen now share their story of true love in Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt.  Believing is just the beginning in this mesmerizing show where dreamers from Albany will witness the magic of eight Disney Princesses; Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora and Snow White make their wishes come true in this collection of celebrated tales wonderfully told through artistic skating and acrobatics.
With the help of the magical pixie Tinker Bell, the Disney Princesses embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Elsa, Anna and Olaf travel through a fantastical winter wonderland to learn true love conquers all.  Then entering a world of wonder where heroes and hearts prevail, Jasmine discovers a whole new world with Aladdin after meeting her unlikely hero in the marketplace. Prince Philip defeats the evil fire-breathing dragon Maleficent in a race to save his true love Aurora. Prince Eric breaks Ursula’s spell so that Ariel can remain part of his world. Watch in awe as the dreams of Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella, Belle and Snow White also come true in this beautifully imagined ice show.

Times Union Center
51 South Pearl Street
Albany, NY 12207

Date and Time of Performances:                  
·        Wednesday, December 17 - 7 p.m.
·        Thursday, December 18 - 7 p.m.
·        Friday, December 19 - 7 p.m.
·        Saturday, December 20 - 11 a.m.3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
·        Sunday, December 21 @ 1 p.m. & 5 p.m.

Tickets: Tickets start at just $25!
To order tickets by phone: 1-800-745-3000
To order tickets online:

*Ticket pricing is subject to change based on market demand. 

Breweries in Long Island

Long Island is pretty well known for its wineries but there are some very good breweries as well.

Barrier Brewing Co. in Oceanside puts out some solid beer selections and their brewery is just as intoxicating.

Jon and I walked into the facility where they were listening to Pink Floyd on a record player and watching Sin City on mute. You can't really top that for ambiance.

I ordered their Vermillion Saison Rouge and Jon got their well-known Money IPA - which is a great IPA. He then realized he wanted to sample more of the beers and got a sampler with Evil Giant, Bulkhead Red, Humulus Belgicus, Lights Out Stout, and MooChelle Milk Stout. All were pretty good, especially with the fresh popcorn.

Our bartenders were well-informed in beer (something you don't always find at a brewery, unfortunately) and talkative. We got a great tip from one about a place in Brooklyn called Bierkraft which we went to the next evening.

Barrier beer is not found too easily in the Capital District so I definitely recommend a trip to see these guys/gals.

They have half-off specials on Wednesdays and there is a food truck on site regularly.

Address: 3001 New St., Unit 2A, Oceanside, NY
Hours: Wed/Thurs - 4-9 p.m.
Fri - 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sat - noon to 10 p.m.
Sun - 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

We also visited Blue Point Brewing Company in Patchogue which Jon said he wanted to check out since the brewery was purchased by Anheuser Busch. We got there just a little before they opened on Saturday and weren't the only ones waiting for the taproom to open.

The bartender here was definitely one of the friendliest I've ever met. She informed us that we were allowed three free samples (about 5 oz pours) and then she poured something called a Black and Blue which was a combination of their Blueberry Ale and Imperial Stout.

It was here that I checked into a beer for the first time on Untappd (a social network of beer folk that keeps track of the beers you drink). I ordered a Sour Cherry Imperial Stout (which didn't really taste very sour-y/or cherry-y to me), Blueberry Ale, and Hoptical Illusion. Jon also got an ESB.

Their brewery has a back area with picnic tables and an open taproom with the bar and seats but only a couple of tables.

Address: 161 River Ave., Patchogue, NY
Thurs/Fri - 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat - noon to 7 p.m.

Other Long Island Breweries include: Great South Bay Brewery, which won an award at the Great American Beer Festival for their Splashing Pumpkin (I got a bottle while down there and I wasn't impressed); and Oyster Bay Brewing. Other craft breweries can be found here.

On another beer-related note:

I have finally decided to embrace the fact that beer is going to be a part of my life for a long time. It took about four years to come to this conclusion. Yeah, I guess I was a bit stubborn about it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My second AirBnB stay - on Long Island

So, Jon and I didn't have the best first experience with AirBnB last November.

We were heading into Boston for a friend's birthday and I figured I would finally give the site a chance since I hadn't used it but heard a lot of good (and some bad) things. The price was cheap ($40) especially compared to Boston hotel prices but the stay was odd since the son of the owner had a party that night and kept my boyfriend up all night. The owner ended up refunding the money.

The thing with operations like AirBnB is that they are not all alike - at all. They're all individual hosts in various parts of the world who have nothing really to do with each other, aside from all using a site to rent their homes/properties.

With that in mind, I gave it another shot. Jon had his doubts but soon found that this was going to be a much nicer experience.

We arrived in front of the house in Uniondale to the sound of our host playing the piano. It was a little creepy at first (like something out of a horror movie) but then we kept listening and he was really, really, ridiculously good. As it turns out, he used to be a Carnegie Hall pianist.

(our AirBnB house - not the nicest looking from the outside, but nice inside)

Our room was exactly what the name in the listing described - cozy and comfortable. The door locked, there was a big bed, he supplied towels, and there was a TV for Netflix/Hulu. David, the host, also offered us waters from the kitchen and even his umbrellas when we said we were a bit worried about possible rain that evening for the NIN/Soundgarden concert at Jones Beach.

(the bedroom)

He was located just 15 minutes from the beach in a nice residential neighborhood.

We got home that night and slept very well in the air conditioned room after watching a bit of TV.

Thanks to David, I look forward to another (yet-to-be-booked) stay with AirBnB.

Oakwood Cemetery Chapel Tour in Troy

I need to do this...

From the press release:

Tuesday  August 12   

Dark Tuesday Tours of Nat'l  Historic Landmark 

Every half hour from 12:30 - 3 P.M.   

Adults $7.00pp    Children under 12, Free.

Dark Day at Saratoga Raceway got you looking for something to do? The Gardner Earl Chapel is a National Historic Landmark unlike any other. Come and see the beautiful stained glass windows by Tiffany and by Maitland Armstrong, the marble mosaics, intricate carvings of wood and sandstone and other hidden treasures that make it so special. There's even a marble fireplace in the restroom!

Hear the story of the young man who inspired such a spectacular tribute. You’ll understand why this non-sectarian chapel is a popular site for weddings and why one room is nicknamed "The Gorgeous Room."  Then enjoy strolling by the pond and grounds of this lovely 19th C cemetery.

Registration is preferred but walk-ins will also be welcomed for this event. 1-800-556-6273 Please leave your name, phone, number of people and name of event. The Earl Chapel is handicapped accessible and is located a short distance from the Oakwood Avenue entrance to Oakwood Cemetery in Troy. GPS: 186 Oakwood Ave. Troy.  From Saratoga it is a 40 minute drive down I-87 to Rt 7East into Troy then left to Oakwood Avenue. Come on down. Presented by the Friends of Oakwood Cemetery, it's the surest bet you'll make all season!

Friends of Oakwood Cemetery is a group of volunteers who raise funds to maintain the historic grounds, Victorian gatehouses and National Historic Landmark Gardner Earl Chapel at this non-sectarian, not-for-profit cemetery. New volunteers are always welcome. Call 272-7520 or email For the latest updates on our events and activities Friend Us on FaceBook: Oakwood Cemetery Troy NY.

Ceremony to Commemorate Hiroshima-Nagasaki at Grafton Peace Pagoda

If you haven't been to the Grafton Peace Pagoda, you should go. This looks like a good reason to go.

From the press release:

69th Commemoration Ceremony of Hiroshima-Nagasaki and
4th Commemoration of Fukushima
Friday, August 8th, 2014
Grafton Peace Pagoda

“Having lived through an experience too cruel to be put into words, the
atomic bomb survivors have continued to appeal for nuclear abolition
and to extend their desire for peace to the people of the world. Their
dedication stems from their deep humanitarian conviction that “no
one should ever again suffer as we have.”                  --The Hiroshima Appeal from Mayors for Peace, 2013

The radiation released from Fukushima is 20-30X that of the bombing of
Hiroshima with worldwide consequences for all living things

6:45pm walk from Grafton Town Square to Peace Pagoda (4.3 miles)
8:30 Program of Peace
Ceremonial Lighting of Lanterns
Interfaith Peace Prayers

(from the pagoda's website)

Rain or shine. Please wear weather-appropriate clothes and bring a flashlight and insect repellant.
You may also want a blanket

For information on the ceremony prior to the event please call Heidi (518) 588-7122
Grafton Peace Pagoda 87 Crandall Rd. Petersburg, NY 12138 (518) 658-9301

Jones Beach on Long Island

I went for the first time to Long Island this weekend. I guess it's kind of ridicules that, in the 30-ish years that I've lived in NY's Capital District, I'd never been to Long Island. But, at the same time, I wonder how many people from Long Island have been to Troy. :-P

I saw a good excuse to finally go down when I saw the announcement for the NIN/Soundgarden tour. I debated between the nearby venues in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Jones Beach but finally decided on the latter.

The drive down wasn't too bad, about 3 hours and traffic wasn't terrible.

After we checked into where we were staying, we went to find food and then went to the beach which is an easy walk through a sub-road tunnel from the main parking lot for the concert venue. The beach is huge!

The entire state park is 15 square miles and includes a ton of sandy beach area right along the Atlantic (which was actually kinda warm when we went in early August). There was a beer garden, food vendors, and even leather couches in the sand, with nearby games like ping pong.

The beach seemed like a popular spot with row after row of garbage cans and a long man-made path to the water. I could definitely see spending a day there.

After I got to play a bit in the water and we grabbed a drink at the beer garden, we walked back to the car and to the venue.

Once inside, we found out that the venue does not sell alcohol to the general public. At all. So, we settled for a refillable cup for Coke and some small snacks.

The people watching at the concert was great - everything from goth/emo to 70-year-olds who seemed to be die-hard fans. I guess I was somewhere in between but I probably was one of the few at the show who didn't wear black.

Getting to our seats was interesting. We took the elevator to the top and then basically walked up almost as far as you could go. They were nosebleeds but, at this venue, that had advantages as well since you could see the ocean from the seats.

For those who don't mind spending a bit more money - or those afraid of heights - the VIP section looked fun, too since there was a sandy area with a gazebo and it looked like they actually had alcohol and non-carnival-like food.

The show was great. You can see video/comments on my Twitter and FB. Getting out was a bit annoying, but post-concert most venues kinda suck in that respect.

If you have an opportunity to check out either the beach or the venue, I'd definitely recommend it.

South Troy Pool

I did end up taking advantage of the free adult evening swim in Troy as I had posted earlier. I went last night to the South Troy Pool.

And ever since I posted about it on Facebook, the main question has been --- where on earth is the South Troy Pool?! (well, I'm paraphrasing)

I have to admit, until yesterday, I had never been to the pool and had only known that it existed due to prior news items that I had covered. It's not really noticeable from the main drags through South Troy. You just barely see parts of the pool's water slides when driving by on Route 4 - and that's if you know what you're looking for.

The pool is located near the intersection of 4th and Tyler streets, as indicated on this city site. You'll see a yellow pedestrian crossing sign in the road and you'll turn up a hill. At this point, you'll immediately see the red/blue/yellow water slides and a chain link fence, then you'll be in the facility's parking lot.

If you're going during the day, it'll be $1 for adults, and children (under 16, I believe) are free. The city is also offering free evening lap swim for adults, though there are no actual lane lines. The free adult swim (not on cartoon network) is Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through the summer. It's my understanding that it was being offered at the Knickerbacker pool in Lansingburgh but now those nights have swim lessons.

The South Troy Pool is nice for a municipal facility. The changing rooms and showers leave something to be desired but the pool is big and clean, and the slides look fun.

(a sign in the girls' changing room)

There are ongoing swim lessons in the mornings in South Troy and in the evenings in Lansingburgh. The pools have open swim hours from 1pm - 5:30pm daily, weather-permitting. The pools, I'm guessing, are usually filled with kids and teens during that time. The free adult evening swim is 6pm-8pm (M,T,Th).

When I went, I was completely alone save for three lifeguards. It was great being able to watch the sunset while doing laps.

Like I said, the bathrooms,etc are not the nicest (at all) but the pool hit the spot. And now we all know where it is.