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.
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.
Partnered with a ground crew predominately made up of fellow pilots, Dick Guisto, Mike Florio, and Vinnie Melling harness their commercial-pilot expertise for each Aerostat Promotions flight. After a half-hour of balloon inflation and preparation, up to four guests join their pilot at sunrise or 2.5 hours before sunset for an hour-long flight that affords aerial views of the Pioneer Valley’s breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and residential homes. Meanwhile, a chase team tracks the balloon from terra firma as it traverses approximately 10 miles of sky. Once visitors and their pilot rendezvous with the team, balloons are packed into a truck or twisted into to-scale elephant balloon animals before the group shares a champagne toast and appetizers.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
After loading up groups into their cabins, Sports Travel and Tours’ coaches set a course for Fenway Park for an evening of AL East baseball as the Red Sox look to trounce the formidable Tampa Bay Rays and regain their crimson footing in one of the majors' most competitive divisions. Powerhouse designated hitter David Ortiz leads the BoSox’s offensive charge with more than 20 RBIs and a batting average well above .300 so far this season. Likewise, shortstop Mike Aviles has racked up more than 20 runs, making so many trips around the diamond that he always stops to water his redwood growing on the third-base line.