Established in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art has been chronicling artistic expression longer than the Louvre, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Visitors acquaint themselves with an eternally revolving set of exhibits, including Hajo: An Artist’s Journey, which documents Hans-Joachim Richard Christoph's work in package design incorporating the bold, stylized graphics of the Berlin school of graphic design. Visitors can sidle up to one of the permanent exhibitions, such as the panoramic landscape art of The Landscape that Defined America: The Hudson River School or the ornamentally preserved remains of Ancient Egypt, an exhibit that spotlights the Nile, the Egyptian concept of afterlife, and ways to reposition a mummy into a hip-hop mummy.
The licensed guides at Ghosts of New York usher guests on fun and spooky walking tours starring some of the city's most infamous sites. Explore the Big Apple's eerie side with Ghosts of the City, which seeks out the spirits of Walt Whitman, P.T. Barnum, and Joe Piscopo's career. Literary buffs will thrill to the pursuit of Edgar Allan Poe and fellow Greenwich Village specters Aaron Burr, Eleanor Roosevelt, and her pet dog Fala, said to be chasing its insubstantial tail to this day. Seekers of more modern frightening fare may opt for the Ghosts of the Upper West Side tour, which starts from the Ghostbusters building and moves on to highlight the haunts of Irving Berlin and John Lennon. Check out the calendar to plan your tour.
Decades ago, large cruise ships called dayliners traveled the wide waters of the Hudson River, ushering passengers to ports from Albany to New York City. Although time has passed, Dutch Apple Cruises keeps this tradition alive with Dutch Apple II: a 65-foot, US Coast Guard-inspected cruise ship created in the classic dayliner style. Built from a blend of indigenous and traditional sea-worthy woods, including fragrant Douglas fir and Adirondack white cedar, the three-level ship carries passengers along Albany's major waterway on narrated sightseeing tours and charter cruises.
More than 100 passengers at a time roam the enclosed, temperature-controlled decks, which boast amenities such as a dance floor and cash bar. Travelers can also step out onto the open-air deck with a pair of binoculars to spot a passing eagle or watch a bass open the fruit basket they sent it. During charters, live entertainers such as DJs, dancers, singers, and comedians join passengers for a night of revelry.
Dutch Apple Cruises also offers land tours that include specialty tours such as hop and haunt which traverses the haunted history of historic buildings or brewery and distillery tours that divulge what goes into churning beer annually.
In the mid-18th century, distillers at Albany's first distillery, the Quackenbush Still House, crafted rum from Caribbean molasses, Hudson River water, and wild yeast. Instead of Quackenbush's large wooden fermenting vessels, The Albany Distilling Company's distilling duo, Matt Jager and John Curtin, rely on sleek, modern equipment to create their Quackenbush Still House rum. Updated gear, yeast, and water aside, Matt and John stick to Quackenbush's original recipe to yield the rum's smooth, butterscotch-flavored finish.
Their other small-batch spirits likewise pay homage to recipes of old, from the slowly processed Coal Yard New Make whiskey to Ironweed, a Prohibition-style whiskey aged in oak. Available throughout New York state, The Albany Distilling Company's libations are also served twice weekly at the distillery's very own tasting room.
Yankee Trails World Travel's cozy coaches transport fans to Yankee Stadium for an evening of early-season American League competition against the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees took six games of eight from the Twins in the 2011 season and look to improve upon last year's division-clinching 97-win campaign. Alongside veteran shortstop and five-time World Series champion Derek Jeter, the Yankees 2012 roster brims with breakout talents that include Robinson Canó, the 2011 Home Run Derby champion whose out-of-the-park hits have dramatically increased reports of UFOs hovering above the Bronx.
During the Parade of Homes, guests throw open the doors of 15 purpose-built show homes scattered around greater Albany. Builders show off domiciles ranging from townhouses to stately mansions built in styles including french country, victorian, and farmhouse. On Friday evenings, Chefs on Parade fills the model kitchens with the bustle of working chefs, as representatives from local restaurants, including Carmine’s Brazilian Grill and Mouzon House, dole out free samples and compete to be crowned best in show based on their mastery of presentation, taste, and how well they can arrange ingredients into smiley faces.