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Monday, April 15, 2024

The Grateful Traveler: Staycation, All You Ever Wanted…

How to travel with the best of them–without ever leaving the Capital Region.

Seals & Crofts’ 1972 hit song “Summer Breeze”—deftly covered in 2015 by Capital Region rock star (and The Voice winner) Sawyer Fredericks, with help from hitmaker Pharrell Williams—is my summer relaxation/let-loose song. For many of us, the itch for a change of scenery has these go-to songs playing on a loop in our brains. And while many of us will likely be staying put this summer due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, there’s nothing more enjoyable and authentically liberating than a well-thought-out staycation. If ever there was a time to embrace the Capital Region and its environs, it would be this summer.

A Horse, of Course
No fans allowed at Saratoga Race Course this season? No problem! Ride your own horse. Horseback riding and dude ranches are plentiful in the region. The Roaring Brook Ranch Resort in Lake George is one of the best and offers day-trippers an opportunity to horseback ride at a per-person rate. (It’s also conveniently located just two miles from Lake George Beach State Park.) Afterwards, enjoy a socially distanced al fresco bite or beverage at The Stable Door Lounge, or order from the resort’s restaurant, The Paddock.

Tee It Up
Golf has been one of the lone sports allowed during the majority of pandemic, and while you could get a tee time at the “same old, same old,” why not try out a new course? It could be good for your soul and swing. Nestled between the Berkshire Mountains and lovely Copake Lake, Copake Country Club has a wonderfully designed 18-hole course with stunning, tranquil views. The bucolic Columbia County course truly delivers. After golf, grab a bite at The Greens, the course’s restaurant and bar, which serves club fare and finely prepared American cuisine. It’s a hole-in-one-worthy end to the day.

Tube Time
With so many lakes, creeks, ponds and the mighty Hudson near the Capital Region, a water getaway (waterway?) could make for a splish-splashing good staycation sensation. And many an option offers fabulous family fun. I’d suggest packing a lunch, breathing in nature’s goodness, and enjoying a day floating and cruising down the Esopus Creek in Phoenicia, just south of Albany. Rent a tube at Town Tinker Tube Rentals, then wade into the refreshing water and tube your way to bliss. Do be aware that there are patches of rough waters, but they are short and very manageable. After your trip, head over to see the world’s largest kaleidoscope at the Emerson Resort & Spa in nearby Mount Tremper. Trust me; it’s a hoot. Pay a small fee to enter the kaleidoscope show, and then lean back and enjoy. Once the show’s over, there are a ton of options for photo ops and selfies outside.

You’re on a Boat
Snug Harbor Marina, with locations on Lake George in Silver Bay and Ticonderoga, is one of the top boat rental companies for a day on the lake. While the Adirondack lakes can get crowded during the summer months, you can still find plenty of space to weave around the islands and enjoy the majesty of the “Queen of American Lakes.” Have some poles and tackle? Make it a pleasure cruise and fishing outing all in one.

Harvest Spirits in Valatie

Top It Off
Whether you’re going antiquing in Hudson, wine tasting in the Finger Lakes or history seeking in Hyde Park—or are more into amusement parks (like the Great Escape in Queensbury), local distilleries (like Harvest Spirits in Valatie) or breweries (like Hank Hudson Brewing Company in Mechanicville), all are add-ons to make a memorable staycation even more unforgettable. Each night can end with a drive-in movie at one of the many regional theaters (like Jericho in Glenmont) or late-night dinner under the stars (that’s all you). Never look at what you are missing—only what you can enjoy to the fullest. Who knows what local adventures you will discover?

Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran is a travel writer and the founder of the Grateful Traveler.

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