Wolff’s Biergarten and Wurst Haus

I had to be in Troy for a wake of a friend’s father. Since I usually am not in the Albany area on a weeknight I decided to mosey on over to a place I wanted to try for a while. I had originally found Wolff’s when I was here on my training/house hunting journeys…but being a cash only place I didn’t end up staying…


10007415_678012072259153_716396980_nWolff’s is a German beer hall built in an old fire station. And you probably wonder if I was in Troy why didn’t I stop at the one in Troy? Well, 29597706_10155765874807415_3695169717772512902_nAlbany is the original location and I was told it is the better location for visiting. Plus this location had Köstritzer Pale Ale which I have wanted to try for many, many years. It was a great experience especially since I got an upgrade (or discount) for happy hour. They are a cash only business, so no credit cards – which is refreshing to not have to have a “tap” open.


Köstritzer has been one of my favorite beers since I tried it in Leipzig for the first time.  And I’m glad I went…





Racing City Brewing Company

IMG_6409It is no secret that I am a fan of the local beer scene…there are over 393 breweries in New York, the most since 1876 (Dad remembers that well, right?)  You may recall that last January the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company went under. Well, a new brewery opened up just a minute down the street from the old Olde Saratoga Brewing Company called Racing City Brewing Company. I went last night and enjoyed the beer. The owners are from New Jersey, quite friendly, and the place is very nicely decorated.  It is a bit different than some other breweries in that it has a winery attached as well…perfect if you want a beer and the wifey wants a wine.


Check them out at: http://olivavineyards.com/racingcitybrewing/



Albany Tulips

Well, it appears that my hopes to photograph the beautiful tulips in Albany isn’t going to work out. Yup, you guessed it, it started to rain. Oh well…I did get a few pictures before the storm.

The first picture, well, doesn’t have tulips but I really liked the blooms on the tree.


This set of tulips was on the corner by where I park for church. It is amazing how beautiful they are. I tried to make it over to the lake house but there was an event going on so it was mobbed. By the time I made it to Moses, it was raining…Oh well…


Albany River Rats

Yesterday was the last Albany River Rat’s night at the Times Union Center. I can’t believe in less than a month 24 years of AHL hockey in Albany will be over.

The River Rats were the franchise that was here originally, well before Hartford_Whalers_Logo.svgmy time. Orginally affiliated with the New Jersey Devils, they switched affiliations to the Carolina Hurricaines (which started life as the New England/Hartford Whalers – which has, I may add, had the coolest logo).  When they were sold to a group of investors to be closer to the home team the New Jersey Devils moved their franchise from Lowell Massachusetts to Albany (about 2 1/2 short hours from Newark) to be closer to their home turf.  This brought some upgrades to the Times Union Center including NHL quality locker rooms.

So, you may ask, what does this have to do with my becoming a NJ Devils fan.  Well, when I moved out here, my friend who grew up going to the Rats (and became a NJ Devils fan through those same Rats games) told me about hockey.  Not being from a town that appreciated hockey (well, at least Dollar Bill Wirtz didn’t appreciate hockey), I didn’t get to see many games – since they were not broadcast on television until Rockey Wirtz took over the team.  I’m a bit bitter about this, but that’s ok.

It was a good night. I, of course, wore my Martin Brodeur jersey.  And I ran into my friend and was able to hear some good news.

Thanksgiving Dinner

If you don’t know me, you don’t know that I’m not around family during the holidays.  So, for Thanksgiving this year I went to Druthers (ok, I went on Black Friday) in Albany.  I first went to Druthers when I was looking to move out here and found their patio based restaurant in Saratoga Springs.  I, ironically, have never been back to that location since I just love the Warehouse District of Albany.

Druthers is famous for their Mac and Cheese and, well, it is definitely a meal with three meal leftovers.  But I ate it ALL at once.  Oops!

Druthers is just south of I-90 on Broadway and just north of the Nipper building.  You can easily get to them of the Menands exit of I-787.

The Baseball Hall of Fame

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit a place I have long dreamed of going to, a place I never thought I’d be able to visit.   You see, The National Baseball Hall of Fame is located in upstate New York in a small town called Cooperstown.  Certainly, this boy from Illinois wouldn’t travel 800 miles to go to a place that has nothing around it…  Or would he.

You see, Albany never made it on my radar before I moved here.  I thought that New York was, well, New York City…which for 40% of New Yorker’s is the case.  However, having moved up here last year I began to realize that Cooperstown was a short jaunt away.   And I realized exactly how much upstate NY had to offer.  It truly is a special area.

I set out going west from Saratoga down 29 and weaved and meandered through some of the most beautiful country.  Mountains, the Adirondacks, and farm fields soon gave way to a beautiful lake view and a small town named Cooperstown.  As I crossed what I would later find out is the only bridge in Cooperstown, I saw what reminded me of Bedford Falls.  I looked for the Bailey Savings and Loan – but not finding it, managed to locate some beautiful buildings – a thriving downtown – and most importantly the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The excitement ensued as I found a free parking space and began the 3/4 of a mile trek past the Ostego county building toward the Hall of Fame.   Saying hello to the mail man who was enthralled with his smart phone – must be checking baseball scores – I proceeded east.  As I arrived at the door, I opened it and went in.   This place is a dream for me…and I had no idea what lurked beyond.

As I entered, I listened to the old farts ahead of me – they weren’t from NY – give the poor receptionist a hard time as she tried to sell the membership.  For me, she wouldn’t need the spiel.  I just had to determine which team I would affiliate with.  Which team would be mine for the next year.

On one hand, I had my beloved Cardinals.  The team I grew up loving.  The team that made the Cubs look so awful.  The team that encompasses over half of Illinois fandom.  The team who I once had a vast collection of items from – only to be swept away by the negligence of my neighbor.  The team that I could only bear to watch one game for in 2015 – a game I watched in Bloomington.

The other hand had a team that was new to me.  A team that I have grown to love.   A team that doesn’t have a storied history as the Cardinals…or the successes of her big sister, the evil Yankees that I have despised.   Yeah, I chose the underdogs.  I chose the Mets.

I can’t wait to return.  Having a membership helped me not to feel I had to do it all – though I spent the better part of the day there.   I will return.  I can’t wait.  If it wasn’t 66 miles from my house, I’d be there every day.  I’d quit my day job.  You see, I love baseball.

But what was probably the biggest surprise was that they didn’t clear the 2015 case.  I got to see Sean Conroy’s display.  He was featured prominently in the book I read – a book about baseball and statistics.  A book that brought back memories of my Econometrics class – a class that gave me a love for math.  And, perhaps, one day I will have the opportunity to meet someone who is in the hall.  Maybe it will be my hero Ozzie Smith – or maybe it will be someone a bit less famous, but someone who made history.  We shall see.  For me, though, baseball it a way of life.  It is truly America’s sport.  And I couldn’t be more excited than a pig in mud with my visit.  I will be back.  Maybe I can find a way to get there this summer for induction.  That would be a life’s dream fulfilled…




Well, I haven’t used my camera all winter.  My plan was to take pictures of the beautiful surroundings with snow on the ground.  Unfortunately, there has been very little of the promised snow up here.    So, yesterday I went to Patsy’s Barber Shop in Albany at the suggestion of a friend.  You see, I haven’t had a decent haircut since I’ve been up here and I was lamenting of the same.  Well, Patsy’s is great – old school in a new way.  Reminded me of my barber back in Glen Ellyn at Punch.   Mom says it is too short on the sides, but I like it.

Well, driving all the way to civilization from the barren exurb I live in is a trip so I took my camera and shot some beautiful early morning photos of the New York State Capitol.  W


Looking toward Rensselaer from the Empire State Plaza

hen I got home, I went to upload them.  Seems, unfortunately, that the card was write protected so none of those images were saved.  Not a problem, it was in the 50’s today so I headed back out this afternoon.  Not as pretty (a little overcast) and the lighting was different.  I know I didn’t get some of the same shots – but I know I got others which were better.   Such is life.

I can’t wait until the tulips bloom and I can photograph Washington Park.  I hear it is beautiful.   And there are a lot of flower beds around the capitol.  Lots of beautiful buildings as well.