Gorgeous day for our final day! We first hit Saratoga Springs, a great town to spend time in; and by serendipity heard someone mention the Adirondack Balloon Festival. We got to the airfield in Glens Falls mid-afternoon, with the balloons not scheduled to launch until evening, so there was a lot of time to kill. We just unloaded our bikes and tooled around. It was so awesome. Then we watched them blow up and launch all the balloons.
Little planning. No airplanes. I know it wasn’t really an Instagrammy destination (“Yeah I went to Albany for my vacation this year”) but we just had such FUN. I heartily recommend thinking about your vacations in terms of “What do we actually like to spend time doing?” Standing in airport security lines? Having jet lag? Trying to get perfect pictures to post? Versus tooling around on bikes and bumping into balloons… hmm…
Day 7 was a bit chilly and really, really windy. You can see my high-quality North Face windbreaker here. Xopher, alas, did not bring a similar article of clothing. We tried to bike more of the Erie Canal, we really did; but he couldn’t hack it. Ha! “Just wait till next year!”
So many gorgeous pictures from this day to choose from – but this is in my Top 5 fave pix of the entire summer.
Never mind that the lovely light green is from algae. I said never mind! It’s beautiful.
We needed a break from biking after totally overdoing it for two days, so Day 6 featured a nature walk along some abandoned Erie Canal towpath trails at the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve. So many birds to see! Particularly herons – we were seeing so many great blue herons throughout the whole week, we almost stopped pointing them out.
Hot weather and biking in earnest. Colonie to Schenectady – something like 16 miles each way, which is too much for us to begin with, plus some city meandering. The bridge shown is part of I-87. It is iconic for me; it represents a kind of milestone whenever I’m making the NYC trip. Going south it means the beginning of tolls and more civilization. Going north it means the Adirondack Northway and the beginning of more empty spaces. Bridges are exciting to me to begin with, and it was exciting to be so close to this one and not in a car. It may have been a rough exercise day, but we had the best meal of the trip that night at Umana Yana downtown. Afro-Caribbean. Xopher had oxtail and I had red bean stew.
The morning was to be unsettled with clearing skies later. We started with some walking but then enough already! We biked from downtown Albany, up the Hudson River, 11 miles to Waterford – Lock E2, on – yes, finally, the Erie Canal. Shown here is the older, more scenic, now neglected lock, which runs alongside the more modern one actually in use.
Yes, I know that so far this Erie Canal journal has been remarkably uncontaminated by pictures of anything near the actual Erie Canal; but bear with me. The forecast was rain. So, we started with some walking, rather than biking, in the Pine Hollow Arboretum, discovered courtesy of Google maps. We stopped in at a cheese shop, where I said we should just look around and not buy anything, so we only bought about four things. And picked up one free thing, a copy of the Edible Capital District, where I noticed mention of a “chic warehouse district” downtown. “That’s probably where we want to be,” we agreed, and made a beeline to check out its hipster breweries and eateries. And lo and behold it was lunchtime, so we had a flight of six 5-ounce beers (holy moly) and food at Druthers. This brewery has locations in Albany, Schenectady, and Saratoga, and we’d end up at all three before the week was out (I just love biking). Dinner was great Thai in nearby Rensselaer.
We discovered at the end of it a lovely tap room called the Northern Barrell. Their brilliant advertising consisted of chalk writing on the ground as the trail was tapering off, and we followed it. We weren’t hungry for lunch, but we went back for din-dins.
Day 1 was driving to our base camp in Albany. The slow way! South to Bennington. One stop to look at gourds:
A stop to pick up a spotting scope being given away for free outside a home in North Ferrisburgh. A ‘spotting scope’ is a telescope meant for not very far distances. This serendipitous find was a good omen for a trip that was mainly about drifting towards whatever seemed interesting. A stop at Cookie Love to kick off Vacation Eating. And din-dins at Madison brewpub in Bennington.