This morning, I saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine who visited the Ulysses S. Grant cottage. He posted about its historic significance, and included a number of photos that he took around the site. It was a neat post, and it made me want to visit the site.
I looked into it to see where it was located, and was surprised to find that it was just north of Saratoga — less than an hour’s drive from my home!
It got me thinking about traveling to places that are nearby. It’s been often said that some of the best places to explore are right in your own backyard. It’s especially important now with the pandemic restricting travel. My wife has complained to me about the need to de-stress and take some time off, and I’ve suggested doing a weekend (even just one night) up in Lake George — not too far from my home (it’s easily do-able as a day trip), but just far enough away to warrant a weekend.
It also got me thinking about what places are worth the trip for those who aren’t from around here. Granted, the Albany metropolitan area doesn’t exactly pop up on most people’s radars when they’re considering vacation spots or places to visit. Even I’ve been occasionally at a loss for words whenever friends ask me about things around my home that are worth the trip. But when I stop to think about it (as I’m doing right now for this article), there are a number of places around here to visit.
So, here’s a not-so-comprehensive list (really, just things that come to me) that are within an easy day trip from my home in the Albany area (including a few places that I’ve already mentioned above).
- Albany/Capital District
- Dutch Apple Cruises
- USS Slater
- New York State Museum
- Captain JP Cruise Line (when I checked, their web site was down, and I saw a note that they were — temporarily, I hope — not operating due to COVID-19)
- Howe Caverns
- Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
- Erie Canal (the Erie Canal Museum is located in Syracuse, about two hours away)
- New York State Capitol
- Empire State Plaza
- Saratoga Springs (especially if you’re a horse racing fan)
- Cooperstown (especially if you’re a baseball fan)
- Lake George
- New York City (only a 2½ hour train ride from Albany-Rensselaer station to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan)
- The Adirondacks
- The Berkshires
- The Catskills
- Woodstock (my hometown!)
- The Hudson Valley (disclosure: I have a friend who works for Dutchess Tourism, so I am admittedly biased toward their site)
- The Green Mountains
- Some of the area colleges
(There are probably a lot more things that I’m missing, but that would make for a very long list. This isn’t a travel ‘blog, and I am not a travel writer.)
What are some good places to visit in your own backyard? (Feel free to comment below.) If you’re itching to check some places out, go out and do so.