New York and the Unintended Benefits of Being in a Familiar Place

Sorry I haven't updated recently. The last week or so has involved a lot of friends and family time, and I felt like maybe those kinds of adventures are super fun for us, but may not be too much fun for the small handful of people who read this blog. But also, I didn't wan't to just not share this part of the trip with you, because it was part of the trip and some nuggets of travel wisdom were revealed that may be worth sharing.

Since it's been a minute, here's a recap of where we're at.

First we did this:

Austin to Oakland

Then This:
Oakland to New York

And now, we are in the middle of doing this:
Boston to Asheville

This trip has been wonderful, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to take the leap and do it at a time in our lives when we could have probably come up with a thousand excuses not to. That said, having covered so much ground, and knowing there's more to go, we're tired. Amidst all the good food, good beer, and good fun, there has been some stress, and I think it's important to relay that information in addition to all the "greatest hits" that get posted on social media. By the way, here's my Instagram feed, where I've been posting one photo per day for the entire trip!

So, back to New York.

  • On Sunday, we stopped in Buffalo for the night, and were quite pleased that it was neither super cold nor super snowy (because, Buffalo). As soon as we were settled in to our hotel room, we looked for a place to eat. Lo and behold, Big Ditch Brewing Company was within walking distance from us and was open, thus becoming our late lunch/ early dinner destination. We got some snacks and shared a flight of most of their offerings. We were particularly fond of the Deep Cut Double IPA.
    Big Ditch

  • On Monday, we stopped in Albany to leave our car and hop on a train to Manhattan, where Casey's company has an office. I tagged along, excited to spend time in a walkable city I sort of know. While Casey was working, I had grand plans of checking out Tørst and visiting the Museum of Feelings, which is a giant ad for Glade, but still it looked cool, and it was free. However, the weather was garbage, so I didn't do either of these things. In fact, aside from getting out for a run along the East River, grabbing a couple of good meals, and walking to Penn Station to catch a train back to Albany, I really didn't do much of anything. And you know what? I think it's exactly what I needed. Oh! I did manage to get together with my good friend, Katie, who I met when we worked together in Boston. Hanging out with Katie is the best ab workout ever, because she is hands down one of the funniest people I've ever met.

New York

I think it's easy to get caught up in the notion that you should be maximizing every moment of a trip to the extreme, which maybe you should. But not so much that you're stressed about not doing everything everywhere, all the time. Luckily, this wasn't my first trip to New York, and it likely won't be my last, so I felt okay spending some alone time in Casey's work apartment, letting my batteries recharge. I think it also provided Casey with an opportunity to focus on hammering out some solid work in an environment he identifies specifically as a place to work.

  • I returned to Albany Thursday, leaving Casey in Manhattan for an extra day, and spent the evening with my friends, Kara and Dan. Side note: the train ride from Penn Station to Albany is incredibly scenic. I sat on the right side, which was lovely, but if you sit on the left side, you should be able to see the Hudson River for almost the entire trip.

Train Ride

I've known Kara for about twenty years, and have stayed at her house for at least part of every pilgrimage I've made back to upstate New York. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm comfortable opening her refrigerator and don't feel pants are always necessary when I am at her place. We ran to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients to make dinner (I cannot tell you how much I miss cooking), then went to The Malt Room at Brown's Brewing. The space is beautifully laid out, our bartender seemed knowledgable, and the drinks tasted great! After drinks, we returned home to make dinner, and spent the evening watching Color Guard videos from when we participated in the activity back in middle and high school. It was exactly the low key, low pressure type of night I've come to expect (and love) when spending time with her.

  • We spent Friday hanging around the house, working out, and procuring ugly sweaters and provisions for Kara and Dan's second annual ugly sweater party, then we waited for Casey's train to get in. We grabbed dinner at The Merry Monk in Albany, which had good food and an impressive beer selection. After dinner, we stopped by Rare Form Brewing Company in Troy. I first came here last April, fell in love with their Coconut Cream Ale, and have made it a point to see what they're up to every time I visit the area.

  • First thing on Saturday, Casey and I brought the car to the dealership to have it serviced (First rule of road trips: take care of your car!). Then we ventured to Troy for breakfast and the Troy Farmers' Market, where we got to check out some local produce, local crafts, and local fashion.

Well Dressed Dog

  • The majority of the rest of the day was spent preparing for then enjoying the ugly sweater party. A lot of the people who came are friends I've met through Kara, and very much enjoy spending time with. I was excited to introduce Casey to this side of my Upstate life, because he hasn't spent much time there, and the time he has spent there has been almost exclusively at family functions.

ugly sweater

  • On Sunday, we bid farewell to Kara and Dan, and met up with my brother, my sister in law, my niece and nephew, and my Aunt Paula to get breakfast at Lakeside Farms. This is one of my favorite breakfast places, and is reminiscent of a Cracker Barrel, only with fresher food and more authentic shit on the walls.

After breakfast and a little more family time, Casey and I began our journey towards Boston, another place we both know very well. I'll do my best to share that part of our trip in a more timely fashion than I have this one!