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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Besties 2018: All the People and Places Category Winners

CRL reveals all of the top places in the Capital Region voted on by you!


Local People and Media

Afternoon Anchor
Kelly Lynch
Kelly has won over our Capital Region Living Magazine readers many times over the past years. Perhaps, the area’s busiest woman, mom, radio personality and TV anchor. Can you think of any others? We are always happy to see Kelly win year after year. She has signed off as noontime anchor, but we’ll look for her on new projects.

Evening Anchor
John Gray
Biased—we plead guilty. The multi-talented John Gray leads our very own columnist team with his wit and heart. So rarely does the written word translate so well to on-air personality but it sure does with John. Congrats and always proud of you, John.

Phil Bayly: Photo by Megan Mumford

Morning Anchor
Phil Bayly
How bittersweet is this? We said goodbye to Phil with his final broadcast this year, but certainly he leaves our CRL readers with heavy hearts. Because of Phil’s complete domination of the morning anchor and team categories over many years, we asked him if he would pose for this important cover. We thought you could post it next to your TV and pretend he is still waking you in the morning.

Morning Team
Channel 13 team
And once again, congrats to Paul Caiano, Subrina Dhami, and of course, Phil Bayly, who has made his final a.m. team broadcast. Our readers love you and can’t wait to see the future unfold with you and the morning broadcasts. We can see your love for our area and each other. Thank you.

Steve Caporizzo
Again, we are totally biased and thrilled when we see Steve win our readers’ poll. He helps us so much each year with our pet philanthropy at the magazine and helps all four-legged furry friends throughout our area. Oh yes, he is a heck of a meteorologist, too!

Music Radio
WMHT Radio
Classical WMHT 89.1 is on my radio as I write this and, frankly, almost always is. Our readers are committed to classical music and we see it many ways throughout the year. How lucky are we that WMHT exists for us and thrives like few others in our country. RISE is part of WMHT’s 24-hour radio information service for the blind and print disabled in New York’s Capital Region and the Hudson Valley. Each week, their dedicated team of volunteers read articles from local and national newspapers, popular periodicals and books to audiences who would otherwise be unable to access such information.

News Radio
All things Considered, Midday Magazine, NPR News, Roundtable and, of course, The Linda/WAMC Performing Arts Studio are just a few extraordinary points of light where WAMC serves our communities. The consistent win in our annual “Bestie” readers’ poll shows the devotion of the Capital Region to WAMC. Bravo Alan Chartock and team.

Local Radio Personality
Joe Donahue
Joe is also the senior director of news and programming for WAMC. A very busy and talented man for sure. Joe talks to people on the radio for a living in a way that we admire and love. The answer to the number one question, I will bet, is a yes. He does read each and every book he discusses. In addition to countless impressive human “gets,” he has talked to a lot of Muppets.

Local Print Journalist
John Gray
I could just say “ditto” to everything I have already raved about John Gray, but that doesn’t do him justice. He does it all well and we are glad that we can acknowledge this year after year!

Rodger Wyland
Rodger has a way to make not only the sports enthusiasts understand the sports world but even those of us who just follow one or two sports. He understands them all, seemingly enjoys them and is quite eloquent in his delivery. This talent is another perennial winner.


Art Gallery
Albany Center Gallery
488 Broadway, Albany
This nonprofit promotes and exhibit contemporary visual art of emerging and established artists living primarily in the region and inspires interest by an increasingly diverse audience. Visitors love the gallery, great space, well-curated exhibits and the creative events. Our readers say: “Bestie” again this year.
The Arts Center of the Capital Region
265 River Street, Troy

County Fairs
Saratoga County Fair
162 Prospect Street, Ballston Spa
Fairgoers report fun times on the rides, at games, events, food stands, animal showings and more. It’s a summer tradition passed along to new generations. Outstanding local acclaim for the management of this fair year after year.
Schaghticoke Fair
69 Stillwater Bridge Road, Schaghticoke
Altamont Fair
Route 156, Altamont

Children’s Museum
miSci (Museum of Innovation & Science)
15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady
Challenger Learning Center, Phantom of the Universe planetarium shows, plus hands-on exhibits. How cool is all that. One visitor recalled how her boys had enjoyed this museum of science and innovation and now her granddaughter is engrossed in all to see and learn there. Check schedules because miSci, a repeat “Bestie,” includes some changing exhibits and events.
CMOST (Children’s Museum of Science & Technology)
250 Jordan Road, Troy
The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
69 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs

New York State Museum
222 Madison Avenue, Albany
Lots of cool things to see and learn, from history to nature and more, museum visitors comment. The carousel is a particular magnet for kids. The 9/11 exhibit is a moving experience. Special exhibits and events making it popular for repeat visits by adults, too. That’s why readers named the museum a “Bestie” again.
Albany Institute of History & Art
125 Washington Avenue, Albany
MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contmporary Art)
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA

Concert Hall
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
30 Second Street, Troy
Famous for its acoustics, this historic concert hall books a wonderful array of entertainment, from classical, folk, soul, and contemporary music, to comedy and more. Experiencing the act on stage plus the theater is what going to the Music Hall is all about. A repeat “Bestie.”
The Egg
1 Empire State Plaza S. Mall Arterial, Albany
The Palace
19 Clinton Avenue, Albany

Fund-raising Event
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (American Cancer Society)
Washington Park, Albany
Making Strides against Breast Cancer, presented by the American Cancer Society is planned, from the opening ceremony to the post-walk entertainment, as a celebration of survivors, a remembrance of loved ones, and an opportunity to support research and awareness. Participants have described the walk as a wonderfully emotional day, so fulfilling through the power of strength and courage and the beauty of pink all day long, a time to meet others and share.

Live Music Venue
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
30 Second Street, Troy
The Music Hall is a double “Bestie” this year, tops in concert hall, too. That’s not at all a surprise, given the positive comments from attendees who enjoyed all kinds of music there.
The Palace
19 Clinton Avenue, Albany
432 State Street, Schenectady

Movie Theater
Crandell Theatre
48 Main Street, Chatham
Columbia County’s oldest movie theater is the area’s “Bestie,” with audience members appreciating the opportunity to experience, with your neighbors, the small town vibe of movie-going in this historic building, the offerings of popular and independent films, and the fresh popcorn! Hollywood Drive-In 9270 NY-66 Averill Park hollywooddrivein.com

Outdoor Summer Venue
108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga
Just as people eagerly look over seed catalogs even before the snow has disappeared, Capital Region residents are saving the dates for events at SPAC, longing to be in the amphitheater or under the pines and stars enjoying the unbeatable combination of terrific music or dance in an outdoor venue. Congrats for being a repeat “Bestie.”
Park Playhouse
Washington Park, Albany
Alive at Five
(Jennings Landing) 1 Quay Street, Albany

Seasonal Event
Holiday Lights in the Park
Washington Park, Albany
tied with
Saratoga Race Track
267 Union Avenue, Saratoga
The Capital Region has great traditional events. There’s a tie in the “Bestie” for seasonal event – one in winter and the other for the summer place to be. Capital Holiday Lights in the Park just celebrated its 21st year of providing hundreds of spectacular light displays, concluding at the Lake House with crafts, goodies and Santa. Then in the summer, visit the thoroughbred track at Saratoga to take in the races, the people and the atmosphere. Readers note that both are fun venues to share with family and friends.
Tulip Festival Washington Park, Albany
tied with
Troy Victorian Stroll, Troy

Capital District Flower & Garden Show
HVCC, Troy

Theater Plays/Musicals
432 State Street, Schenectady
On occasion, Capital Region residents make the trek to New York City to catch a show but our readers comment that we are fortunate to have shows right around the corner from Schenectady’s Broadway at Proctors. This beautiful theatre has the technical facilities to stage a range of plays and musicals, often beginning the tours fresh from New York. Again, the “Bestie” goes to Proctors.
Mac-Haydn Theatre
1925 NY-203, Chatham
Capital Repertory Theatre
111 North Pearl Street, Albany


Animal Hospital
The Animal Hospital
2 Rocking Horse Lane, Slingerlands
The pets’ well-being is the top priority at The Animal Hospital, readers told us and again bestowed a “Bestie.” They praise the staff for professional, caring and respect exhibited and for explaining conditions and procedures.
Catskill Animal Hospital
601 King’s Road, Catskill
Guilderland Animal Hospital
4963 Western Turnpike, Altamont
tied with
Drumm Veterinary Hospital
1639 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush

Appliance Store
Cocca’s Appliances
158 Railroad Avenue, Colonie
“They are the best at what they do,” says a customer, summing up readers’ views in choosing Cocca’s as the appliance “Bestie.” Selection, knowledge and service are among reasons why customers appreciate their experience at Cocca’s.
Marcella’s Appliance Center
15 Park Avenue, Clifton Park
560 Broadway, Schenectady
Earl B. Feiden Appliance
Multiple locations

Auto Service
Gil’s Garage
817 Saratoga Road, Burnt Hills
219 Guideboard Road, Clifton Park
Integrity, trustworthy, reliable, friendly, great service by mechanics who know vehicles. Those are some of the descriptions given to Gil’s Garage. And that’s why customers say that they always recommend Gil’s and why this auto service received the “Bestie” nod.
Gochee’s Garage Inc
329 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
Cole’s Collision Centers
Multiple locations

Kinderhook Bank
Multiple locations
Locally-owned Kinderhook Bank has been in business since 1853 and cites customer relationship as its most important asset. Our voters appreciate attentive, friendly service, along with its array of personal banking and loan products.
The Bank of Greene County
Multiple locations
Berkshire Bank
Multiple locations

Old Daley Catering
2 Northern Drive, Troy
tied with
Mazzone Catering
431 Pierce Road, Clifton Park
Old Daley Catering received kudos for been responsive, accessible and flexible in planning weddings and other events. The result, readers note, is a smoothly running event, delicious food, great presentation. The caterer “makes it easy to be a bride,” one review sums up. Mazzone Catering, a repeat “Bestie,” was applauded for the staff’s professionalism, attentiveness, meeting special needs, being there all the way, and creating tasty menus that guests raved about months later.
Nicole’s Catering
556 Delaware Avenue, Albany
Simon’s Catering
86 Broad Street, Kinderhook

Credit Union
Multiple locations
A repeat “Bestie” in this category, SEFCU is known for its friendly and knowledgeable financial services, with staff ready to make the procedure smooth, whether in-person or electronically. SEFCU also offers financial educational resources on line, as well as seminars.
CapCom Federal Credit Union
Multiple locations
Sunmark Federal Credit Union
Multiple locations

Customer Service
CapCom Federal Credit Union
Multiple locations
“Our purpose is to benefit every member, every time, every day,” is Cap Com’s stated purpose. That means making people a priority and putting an emphasis on customer service. Our readers notice and applaud this approach with a repeat “Bestie” in this category.
Multiple locations
Rensselaer Honda
770 Hoosick Road, Troy


Photo courtesy of Nine Pin Cider

Cutting Edge (Original Business)
Nine Pin Cider
929 Broadway, Albany
The Capital Region is proud of Nine Pin Cider, dedicated to creating off-dry ciders, and to using the Capital District and Hudson Valley orchards that make them possible. In addition to starting and growing this innovative business, our readers appreciate how Nine Pin has promoted support for such craft business and agricultures and offers interactive tasting and events, such as hosting the Gathering of Farm Ciders at Nine Pin. No wonder it’s our Cutting Edge “Bestie.”
Saratoga Botanicals
80 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs
Music to my Hair
1214 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham

Day Spa
Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness
221 Wolf Road, Albany
268 Broadway, Saratoga
Clients enjoy the feeling of well-being from the massage, facial and other services and knowledgeable staff attention at Complexions. A bonus is the added array of luxuries during the services—comfy robes, slippers, plus herbal teas, lemon water and more.
Kimberley’s A Day Spa
982 New Loudon Road, Latham
Saratoga Botanicals
80 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs

Dry Cleaners
Executive Cleaners
1475 Western Avenue, Albany
This “Bestie” is praised for its great customer and counter service, garment repairs and walking customers through how to care for clothing, comforters and more.
Silvestri Cleaners
69 Fuller Road, Albany
145 Vly Road, Schenectady
Hartz Family Cleaners
1714 Union Street, Schenectady
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Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness
221 Wolf Road, Albany
268 Broadway, Saratoga
Relaxed and refreshed. That’s how clients at Complexions describe their experience in selecting from the menu of facials to promote healthier skin to meet their needs. You might say that you can see it on their faces.
48 Hudson Avenue, Delmar
Skin Solutions – Ruth Trenchillo

Fitness Center
Capital District YMCA
Multiple locations
The Y’s range of fitness programs – from personal trainers, to aquatics, group exercise, boxing, running and more – raises one question: Why not work at your fitness when you have the Y there to help you?
Multiple locations
Metabolic Meltdown
Multiple locations

Enchanted Garden Florist
243 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
Customers report great customer service and advice to realize their floral visions. This, of course, gives bloom to lovely arrangements, even when requests are last minute.
Worthington Florist
125 West Sand Lake Road, Wynantskill
Emil J. Nagengast
169 Ontario Street, Albany
1475 Western Avenue, Albany

Furniture Store
The Warehouse at Huck Finn
25 Erie Boulevard, Albany
Customers like the huge selection, the store zones layout for ease in locating furniture, and the friendly staff ready to answer questions and help.
Old Brick Furniture
33-37 Warehouse Row, Albany
2910 Campbell Road, Schenectady
Mooradians Furniture
1758A Route 9 Parkwood Plaza, Clifton Park
800 Central Avenue, Albany

Hair Salon
Christopher Brian
90 Fourth Street, Troy
tied with
Choices Hair Studio
180 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
Happy clients of Christopher Brian Salon, a repeat “Bestie,” appreciate the down-to-earth approach – knowledge but attentive to your needs and likes. The results, they say, are amazing. Getting your hair done is such a personal thing. People choosing Choices Hair Studio speak about friendly and professional service where stylists know just what to do to create that that certain look causing you to smile when you glance at a mirror.
Pure Elements Organic Salon
1724 & 1728 Western Avenue, Albany
Jean Paul Salon & Spa
1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany
594 New Loudon Road, Newton Plaza, Latham

St. Peter’s Hospital
315 S. Manning Boulevard, Albany
St. Peter’s is again the ‘Bestie” for hospitals and receives “thank yous” for expert and attentive care and caring for loved ones and oneself. In addition patients appreciate the ease in access to a range of services and labs.
Albany Medical Center
43 New Scotland Avenue, Albany
Glens Falls Hospital
100 Park Street, Glens Falls


Photo by Megan Mumford

Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness
221 Wolf Road, Albany
268 Broadway, Saratoga
Complexions is a “Bestie” winner for three categories this year. Clients enjoy the attention to the well-being of their hands and feet and the smooth healthy results of the mani-pedi services from knowledgeable staff. Kimberley’s A Day Spa
982 New Loudon Road, Latham
Splash Spa
2309 Nott Street East, Niskayuna @ River’s Casino 1 Rush Street, Schenectady

Laberge Massage Therapy
204 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
Readers again bestow a “Bestie” on Laberge Massage Therapy for skilled, professional and compassionate care, and the development with the client of an individualized plan based on particular needs and goals.
Spa Broadway at the White Sands
453 Broadway, Troy
48 Hudson Avenue, Delmar

Pilates Studio
Pilates Principle
578 New Loudon Road, Latham
Whether in private lessons or group sessions, novice or more experienced, clients find their experience at Pilates Principle to be enjoyable, relaxing but challenging. They welcome the individual attention and knowledge given by instructors.
Free Movement
500 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar
Lifetree Pilates
3021 Main Street, Valatie

Real Estate Company
Coldwell Banker Prime Properties
Multiple locations
Coldwell Banker has again been chosen as the real estate company “Bestie” in guiding clients, whether buying, selling or relocating, and sharing knowledge of the process and local real estate. They appreciate Coldwell Banker’s objective of making a positive difference in people’s lives in the real estate experience. Wedding

Hitlin Photography
48 Columbia Street, Albany
Hitlin Photography receives kudos for creative, fine quality photos plus their professionalism, kindness and sense of humor that made the bride and groom, wedding party and guests comfortable in front of the camera.
TR Laz
Jeff Foley

Yoga Studio
747 Madison Avenue, Albany
10 Second Street, Troy
tied with
Hot Yoga Spot
Multiple locations
A repeat “Bestie,” Heartspace is applauded for its supportive caring environment advancing yoga from a mind, body and spirit focus. Hot Yoga Spot is, well, hot with our readers, especially because of the friendly knowledgeable instructors and for the facilities. Newcomers report that they are quickly at ease and clients of all levels say that their stress melts away.


Apple Orchard
Golden Harvest
3074 US Route 9, Valatie
One of the great reasons of living in the Capital Region is the opportunity for awesome autumn apple picking and Golden Harvest is the readers’ choice but not just for this seasonal activity. With 25 varieties of apples, Golden Harvest also has a popular harvest store enjoyed throughout the year and bakes up mouth-watering cider doughnuts that go great with the cider from its mill, and more. With almost six decades of experience, no wonder it’s the 2018 “Bestie.”
Indian Ladder Farms
342 Altamont Road, Altamont
Bowman Orchards
141 Sugar Hill Road, Rexford

Bike Shop
Bike Barn Cycling and Fitness
109 Remsen Street, Cohoes
More than just a bike shop. That’s Bike Barn’s motto and our readers’ conclusion. The shop offers bike sales, bike repairs, parts, accessories, coordination of group rides and something more—the knowledge of a passionate biker whose family operated a bike shop and a keen interest in serving the novice as well as those with a ton of experience.
Downtube Bicycle Works
466 Madison Avenue, Albany
Mad Dog Bicycles
561 Delaware Avenue, Delmar

Northshire Bookstore
424 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
4869 Main Street Manchester Center, VT
Northshire believes in “the joy of serendipity,” enabling customers to browse and discover books, as well as interesting stationery, clothing, and gifts. One floor is dedicated to children and has nurtured a new generation of avid readers. And then there are the great author readings and community events. No wonder our readers say Northshire means “Bestie.”
Market Block Books
290 River Street, Troy
The Open Door Bookstore & Gift Gallery
128 Jay Street, Schenectady

Bridal Shop
Route 43, West Sand Lake
DeAnna’s one-on-one attention to help you find the perfect gown has won the praise of our readers who applaud the personalized service and ambience in making this part of wedding planning so memorable. In addition to relaxed private appointments with formal wear specialists, DeAnna’s has a carriage house for browsing sample gowns for brides and mothers, and special dresses.
Bridal Gallery by Yvonne
895 New Loudon Road, Latham
A Love Story Bridal
188 River Street, Troy


Photo by Fred Neudoerffer. NeuStudios, LLC

Car Dealer
Keeler Motor Car
1111 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham
Keeler customers describe the staff’s efforts as making the sales process smooth. Taking the time to explain everything from the features of the vehicle to the service. The Keeler Motor Car Company team is most definitely a knowledgeable lineup from start to finish. Keeler is again “Bestie” in this category.
Rensselaer Honda
770 Hoosick Road, Troy
Kinderhook Toyota
1908 State Route 9H, Hudson

Clothing Boutique
Truly Rhe
One Broadway, Troy
Truly Rhe is truly special to our readers who cite finding amazing selections not found elsewhere, receiving great personal service and feeling amazing when wearing their purchases – whether stopping in to shop, arranging a private shopping party, or attending a special event at this unique boutique. Once again, the “Bestie” winner.
3991 Route 43, West Sand Lake
1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany

Finder’s Keepers Consignments
1603 Route 9, Clifton Park
This repeat “Bestie” continues to be appreciated for its quality clothing, accessories, jewelry and more, nicely displayed. Customers also like the welcoming atmosphere and staff’s willingness to work with people to meet individual needs.
10 New Karner Road, Guilderland
Something Olde Something New
1969 New Scotland Road, Slingerlands

CSA/Community Co-Op
Honest Weight
100 Watervliet Avenue, Albany
Honest Weight returns as a “Bestie.” Customers comment that shopping there is a feel-good experience. They enjoy the local sourcing, the fresh produce, selection of bulk products, spices, awesome cheeses, and well stocked and labeled presentation.
Niskayuna Co-op
2227 Nott Street, Niskayuna
Chatham Real Food Market Co-Op
15 Church Street, Chatham

Farmers Market
Troy Waterfront Farmers Market
River Street, Monument Square, Troy (April-October)
49 Fourth Street, The Troy Atrium, Troy (November-March)
Troy Farmers Market has become a staple in Troy life and it’s a repeat “Bestie.” People remark about the variety and quality of food, from fresh produce to local cheese, brews, and more, in a fun environment with music, opportunity to talk with the farmers and artisans who produced what’s at hand. One customer sums it up this way: The farmers’ market has an all-round “great vibe.”
Saratoga Farmers Market
65 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs
Schenectady GreenMarket
Around City Hall, Schenectady (May-October)
Proctors Theatre, Schenectady (November-April)

Garden Nursery
Faddegon’s Nursery
1140 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham
tied with
Hewitts Garden Center
Multiple locations
Faddegon’s is appreciated for its great selection of healthy indoor and outdoor plants and for its knowledgeable and friendly staff. It also is a source of ideas and creative design for plantings. A repeat “Bestie,” Hewitts Garden Center is applauded for its focus on plantings and equipment needed for gardening. One customer noted that she stopped by for one plant and came away with a whole garden.
Samascott’s Garden Market
65 Chatham Street, Kinderhook
Kulak’s Nursery & Landscape
1615 Route 146, Rexford

Gift Shop
The Cross Eyed Owl Gift Shop
3143 US Highway 9, Valatie
tied with
Wit’s End Giftique
1762 Route 9, Parkwood Plaza, Clifton Park
A feast for the shopper’s eye. The place to find that unique gift or to find something for the hard-to-buy-for. Those are some of the reasons readers love The Cross Eyed Owl, a repeat “Bestie.” They also appreciate how it is set up by themes. Wit’s End Giftique is that place to find the special gift with lots of merchandise to explore as you browse from room to room. And you’re sure to find something for yourself, too.
Pearl Grant Richmans
1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany
Maggie’s Gift Shop
521 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham

Hardware Store
Ace Hardware (Troy) 831 Hoosick Road, Troy
63 Third Street, Troy
It’s critical to have a good hardware store at hand when you need, well, to be handy. Ace in Troy is just the place, our readers tell us. A recent customer was worried when she had a need for a bunch of items. Would Ace have them? Yes, indeed, plus an informed staff to share tips.
Phillips Hardware
Multiple locations
Mario’s Home Center
1057 Kinderhook Street, Valatie
9 Route 9H Ramp, Valatie

Health Food Store
Four Seasons Natural Foods
120 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs
“We hope that you will feel at home as soon as you walk in,” say the folks at family-owned Four Seasons Natural Foods, which offers groceries, local meats and fresh-cut cheeses, beauty aids and household products, plus a juice and sandwich bar. Tastes great and makes me you feel great, say customers.
Uncle Sam’s Good Natural Products
77 Fourth Street, Troy 644 Loudon Road, Latham
Kaaterskill Farm Natural Storehouse
173 Healy Boulevard, Hudson
3 Boulevard Avenue, Catskill
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In-Store Pet
Benson’s (Huey)
Multiple locations
The motto of family-owned Benson’s Pet Center is “It’s all about the pets.” In addition to products and service, visitors can visit with in-store pets. A special favorite in the Saratoga Spring store is Huey, a 16-year-old Umbrella Cockatoo who may greet you with ‘hello” or demonstrate skill at tearing apart a toy.
Head to Tail (In Memory of Bella)
1604 Union Street, Schenectady

Joyelles Jewelers
318 Delaware Avenue, Main Square Shoppes, Delmar
Selecting and caring for jewelry are personal processes. A repeat “Bestie,” our readers appreciate the emphasis that family-owned Joyelles Jewelers places individualized knowledgeable and friendly service and building a relationship with its customers, whether in purchasing or seeking repair of items.
Northeastern Fine Jewelry
Multiple locations
R.H. Van Alstyne Fine Jewelry
42 Main Street, Chatham

Exit 9 Wine & Liquor
9 Halfmoon Crossing Boulevard, Halfmoon
At more than 37,000 square feet and a 4,000-bottle temperature-controlled wine room, Exit 9 is one of the largest wine and liquor store in the state. While the store has continued to grow in size and stock, customers praise the informed staff and the focus on personal service to help you make selections to your taste.
Empire Wine & Liquor
1440 Central Avenue, Albany
All Star Wine & Spirits
579 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham

Men’s wear Shop
Mark Thomas Men’s Apparel
5 Metro Park Road, Wolf Road Park, Albany
Step into Mark Thomas and expect to be in experienced hands for fine tailoring fit to each customer’s personal style in men’s wear, including sportswear and Italian suiting, plus shoes and leather goods. Customers appreciate the special attention and knowledge. No wonder that Mark Thomas is a past “Bestie.”
Amore Clothing
595 Loudon Road, Newton Plaza, Latham

Music Store
John Keal Music
819 Livingston Avenue, Albany
Parkwood Plaza, Route 9, Clifton Park
Learning to play a musical instrument in school is a great learning tool about performing together and doing your best and it can create a lifetime of enjoyment of music. Our readers appreciate John Keal’s professionalism in instrument sales and service and the personable staff, as well as its special events, like instrument petting zoos.
Parkway Music
1777 Route 9, Clifton Park
Segel Violins
44 Third Street, Troy

Sporting Goods Store
Goldstock’s Sporting Goods
98 Freeman’s Bridge Road
Goldstock’s has been the go-to place for sporting goods for 122 years and prides itself on being the shop “where people just know about sports” – and share your passion and participation in your sport, whether that’s skiing, fishing, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, ice skating hiking, kayaking or other pursuits. And they know the Capital Region’s sports environment inside and out. A repeat “Bestie.”
Steiner’s Sports
Multiple locations

Shopping Mall/Center
Crossgates Mall
1 Crossgates Mall Road, Albany
Crossgates offers more than 200 stores, restaurants, movie theater, entertainment for adults and families and even a spa. A great variety of stores and things to do, including sit-down restaurants as well as a food court, reviewers comment about the mall.
Colonie Center
131 Colonie Center, Albany
Stuyvesant Plaza
1475 Western Avenue, Albany

Multiple locations
Hannaford receives a repeat “Bestie” for fresh products, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a place that has what you need when you need it. Cheers are raised, as well, for the selection of cheeses, deli items, a fun recipe magazine that gets you out of a menu rut, expanded bulk products and a shopping “to go” option. Did you know that this supermarket began as a fresh produce vendor in 1883?
Price Chopper
Multiple locations
Honest Weight
100 Watervliet Avenue, Albany

Travel Agency
AAA Hudson Valley
Multiple locations
AAA Hudson Valley gets thumbs’ up when it comes to helping plan your travel and take the stress out of making arrangements. The agency offers travel planning, air and Amtrak tickets, hotel deals, rental cars, cruises, tours, on-line booking opportunity, and special AAA vacation packages, plus travel event nights to get ideas and tips.
Empress Travel
1711 Union Street, Schenectady


Adirondack Inn
Mirror Lake Inn
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid
Over the years of their endless “Bestie” wins, we have waxed expressively on the MLI in Lake Placid. It just gets better and better each year and the Weibrecht family has created perfection in the mountains.
Whiteface Lodge
7 Whiteface Inn Lane, Lake Placid
The Sagamore
110 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing

Photo courtesy of The Reluctant Panther

B&B (Within 3 hours)
The Reluctant Panther
39 West Road, Manchester Village, VT
The Reluctant Panther website notes that The Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant is southern Vermont’s premier small luxury hotel. Their 20 luxurious rooms and suites are pure excellence and a stay there is magical.
The Inn at Cooperstown
16 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown
The Red Lion Inn
30 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA

Day Trip (Within 3 hours)
Cooperstown is one of those magical places in New York that has something for everyone. It is a very romantic setting with the beautiful lake. The restaurants make it a foodie destination now. The Glimmerglass Festival offers amazing operas and musicals. The museums are great including the Baseball Hall of Fame, a national treasure.
Lake Placid
Manchester, VT

Dog Friendly
Saratoga State Park
The Saratoga Spa State Dog Park is located off of Crescent Street in Saratoga Springs. There are two large fenced in areas for dogs to run and play joyfully, plus a half-acre for small dogs to use and the remaining fenced in portion for all dogs to use. This is to help protect smaller dogs, but upon owners’ discretion, small dogs can use the larger section. What more can the dog loving Capital Region Living readers dream for?
Lucas Confectionery (Yappy Hour)
12 Second Street, Troy
Town of Colonie Dog Park

Golf Course – Public
Van Patten Golf Club
924 Main Street, Clifton Park
Van Patten has terrific views and challenging play for golfers at every skill level. The fairways are well-groomed and the greens on the course are difficult yet fun for all our CRL readers. A perennial vote-getter for good reason.
Capital Hills at Albany Golf Course
65 O’Neil Road, Albany
Saratoga National Golf Club
458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs

Golf Course – Private
Shaker Ridge Country Club
802 Albany Shaker Road, Albany
This marvelous 18-hole course features 6, 837 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. Their members and many top PGA professionals have enjoyed the course and they aren’t the only ones!
The Country Club of Troy
100 Troy Country Club Road, Troy
Colonie Country Club
141 Maple Road, Route 85A, Voorheesville

Hiking Trail
Thacher State Park
1 Hailes Cave Road, Voorheesville
Thacher State Park, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world, is one of the gems of the Capital Region. The views are simply awesome and whether you are a first-timer of a repeat visitor, you can’t help but say a-h-h-h and feel yourself relax as you look out on the panorama before you. It’s trails are favorites for hikers who often snap photos along the way to continue to enjoy sights seen.
Five Rivers
56 Game Farm Road, Delmar

Photo courtesy of The Century House

Hotel – Capital Region
The Century House
997 New Loudon Road, Latham
We always expect the Century House to win “Besties” for their food and, of course, they have again this year, but this is a first-time win for their newly remodeled hotel. A free full breakfast buffet, English-country decor and nature trails delight their guests and those of us who live in the Capital Region feel very comfortable sending our visiting guests there for lodging.
The Desmond
660 Albany Shaker Road, Albany
The Pavilion Grand Hotel
30 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs

Hudson Valley Inn
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz
A Victorian castle resort nestled in the Hudson Valley, Mohonk is again this year’s “Bestie” winner. This gem is surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine woodlands. Great restaurant, fabulous spa. They have it all.

Kids Camp
YMCA – Camp Chingachgook
1872 Pilot Knob Road, Kattskill Bay
This community-focused YMCA nonprofit has recreational programs and services for all ages. Children who return year after year, as well as kids enjoying their first time, cannot imagine a summer without Camp Chingachgook. Once again, for many years as a consecutive winner Camp Chingachgook delivers on all cylinders to the children of our readers. Camp Fowler 152 Pelcher Road, Lake Pleasant campfowler.org Camp Lovejoy 3476 Lovejoy Road, Altamont bgcschenectady.org/camp-details

Washington Park
Madison Avenue, Albany
The site of many Capital Region festivals and gatherings, it can be said that from the tulips to the snow, Washington Park delivers everything that a park should. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed NYC’s Central Park, the park is about 81 acres, with the 5.2-acre Washington Park Lake.
Saratoga State Park
19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs
The Crossings of Colonie
580 Albany Shaker Road, Loudonville

Picnic Spot
Thacher State Park
1 Hailes Cave Road, Voorheesville
Another perennial winner that excites our readers each year. A fabulous state park that all New Yorkers can claim as their own with majestic surroundings and plenty of room to enjoy family and friends picnicking.
Saratoga State Park
19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs
Washington Park
Madison Avenue, Albany


Reception Hall
Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake
2339 NY-43, Averill Park
The very historic Crooked Lake House offers a charming environment for any of your celebratory needs, especially weddings. It feels like the lakeside estate that it was, while preserving the glamorous feel and luxurious indulgences of a bygone era. Elegant, fun-filled, and grand come to mind when thinking of the Old Daley Inn on Crooked Lake.
The Century House
997 New Loudon Road, Latham
Franklin Plaza
4 Fourth Street, Troy

Romantic Getaway
Belhurst Castle
4069 West Lake Road, Geneva
You can set free your inner romantic side at Belhurst. CRL readers certainly know their romance, Belhurst Castle is one of 10 favorite small romantic inns and resorts across the U.S. including historic castles, beachside resorts, and mountaintop inns, and they can now add a “Bestie” to their accolades of love!
Mirror Lake Inn
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid
The Inn at Erlowest
3178 Lake Shore Drive, Lake George

Ski Area
Hunter Mountain
64 Klein Avenue, Hunter
Hunter Mountain is a ski resort located about one and one-half hours from Albany in Hunter, New York. It features a 1,600-foot vertical drop. Thousands of our readers each ski season head south on the NYS Thruway to enjoy all that Hunter has to offer and that seems to be perfect for our skiing readers.
Jiminy Peak
37 Corey Road, Hancock, MA
Gore Mountain
793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek

Saratoga Inn/Hotel
The Adelphi Hotel
365 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
Since 1877, when The Adelphi Hotel opened its doors, this wonderful hotel has captivated Saratoga Springs. Now with the wonderful renovations and enhancements, it is once again claiming its prominence in downtown Saratoga. No wonder that it is this year’s “Bestie” winner.
Longfellows Hotel, Restaurant & Conference Center
500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs
The Gideon Putnam
24 Gideon Putnam Road, Saratoga Springs

Vermont Inn
The Dorset Inn
8 Church Street and
Route 30, Dorset, VT
I guess it isn’t enough that the Dorset Inn is Vermont’s oldest continually operating inn. The Dorset also has fabulous food and wine awards to boot. For more than 220 years, the inn has offered traditional New England hospitality with gracious lodgings, gourmet dining, fine wine and great spirits—all trademarks of a quintessential Vermont experience—and it sits on the prettiest “green” in Vermont!
The Inn at Manchester
3967 Main Street, Manchester, VT
The Woodstock Inn
14 The Green, Woodstock, VT

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