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Olympic Dreams – part 1 of 2

13 Jul

A quick 2 hours from Albany is an Olympic wonderland known as Lake Placid. During my research I learned that Lake Placid has hosted the Olympics  in both 1932 and 1980. Neat!

I also learned that Lake Placid is both a lake and the name of the little village that sits alongside Mirror Lake.

I did quite a bit of hotel research because the hotels in Lake Placid are on the higher end (even for 2-star chains). We agreed on the Crown Plaza because it’s just a few steps away from the village. It has classic Adirondack decor in common areas and a  bar and restaurant area with a wonderful view of the mountains and Mirror Lake. It’s absolutely worth grabbing a drink here!


The hotel has a decent indoor pool and a huge party area in the high-ceiling pool area. There is also a very, very large outdoor patio just off the pool. Both of these areas would be perfect for a group gathering.

We also took advantage of the hotel’s private beach just minutes away from the hotel itself (they have a free shuttle or you can drive yourself). It’s a wonderful beach and there are row boats and paddle boats to use for free. There are also lots of lounge chairs for relaxing on the sand.

The only thing we didn’t like about the hotel staff was that the staff was more-than-rude several times. We just ignored those grumpy pants! The reviewers on Trip Advisor seemed to have the same experiences as us.

At the recommendation of a local (hubs talks to everyone!), we went to The Cottage for a cocktail and a snack. Loved it!

The cottage is right on Mirror Lake and we sat on the very nice patio. The server was a sweetheart and took great care of us.

We had some yummy nachos and I feel in deep lust with this maple martini. MAPLE MARTINI! Plus look at the chic way that it’s served in a stemless glass with an accompanying ice-filled holder and a little glass vial for refills. Deep, deep lust.


People on Yelp like The Cottage, too.

The Lake Placid village is a very quaint little town with lots of shops and restaurants. It’s unfortunate, however, that there are some outlet stores mixed in.

Just across the street from the classic downtown movie theater is a big town park on Mirror Lake. I grabbed coffee and sat down here for a while. I’d love to be down there when there’s a concert on this stage.

This guy came up to see if I had any snacks to share. Unfortunately, I didn’t and he quickly waddled away.

This adorable canine was waiting for his owner outside of Starbucks…no leash. Wow!


In a post coming up very soon, I’ll share our Olympic adventures with you!



The Good, The Bad, The Pizza

12 Jul

I’m not going to hold back on my review of Hearth and Harvest Pizza in Saratoga Springs, NY. Because, at the same time,  it’s so good…and so bad.

But I’m the first to admit that while I kvetch while we’re there, I always want to go back for one reason only: THE PIZZA IS DELICIOUS!

Hearth and Harvest starts with simple, organic, (sometimes) local ingredients. Check it out yourself by reviewing their menu.  We usually order the Mammie’s Poppy salad (overpriced and the lettuce is past-it’s-prime) and the basic Hearth House pizza.

Here’s the wood-fired pizza oven which is a key reason this pizza is so delicious. The crust is perfection!

Isn’t this beautiful?

So while I complain about the wait time (ridiculous for a pizza that cooks in minutes), the service (knock, knock, hellllllooooooooo), the furniture (chintzy), the water (fish, fish, fish taste), and the lack of appetizers (none!), look at how happy I am. Did I say that I love this pizza?

My friends over at the Saratoga Seen blog have had a mixed bag of experiences. Click here to read their feedback.

Click here to see what the folks at Yelp have to say.

Gang, what are your thoughts about H&H? And what is your favorite pizza place Upstate? (BTW, I also love Ferretti’s in Clifton Park…YUM)


Buffy, Shall We Sun Ourselves?

7 Jul

I’ve seen the waspy Sagamore Resort from a boat on Lake George and thought it was quite lovely. But I really didn’t know HOW lovely ’til I went there for lunch.

I LOVE THIS PLACE!

The architecture is classic and so beautifully maintained.


We had lunch outside on the Veranda Terrace. The food was wonderful and very reasonably priced. Honestly, their prices were practically the same as a national sit-down chain restaurant. Four of us had lunch and drinks for about $80. Great deal and look at this patio!

After we ate we took a little stroll down to the water. Aren’t the water and the mountains gorgeous?

I HIGHLY recommend a lunch date at The Sagamore. I want to go back soon and take a cruise on The Morgan, The Sagamore’s replica of a 19th century tour boat. $18 for visitors (free for hotel guests).  Oh and the cruise has fireworks on Thursdays.

Reviewers on Trip Advisor have good things to say about The Sagamore, too. Click here to read the reviews.

Anyone have tips for The Sagamore? Or been to a wedding there?


Oh Dairy Princess!

5 Jul

There is heaven at 476 Maple Ave in Saratoga Springs. It’s called The Dairy Haus and their lemon soft serve is to die for.


I am not a fan of most local ice cream joints. The soft serve ice cream just ucks me out and gives me a weird frothy-feeling belly.

But the Dairy Haus has the most delicious soft lemon ice cream. It’s sweet and oh so creamy…as you can see from the licking.

They also have a shaded tent and swings. Y’know for swinging and stuffing your face.

I’ve had other things (hot fudge sundaes and such) and they are quite good. But, I’m telling you: the lemony soft serve rocks!

Others on Yelp like The Dairy Haus, too (click here for full Yelp reviews).

To the East

3 Jul

I love cooking! And, in particular, love cooking Asian (and Mexican) dishes. I was thrilled to find the Asian Supermarket at 1245 Central Avenue, Albany.

Now I must warn you (because it slaps me across the face every time that I visit): IT SMELLS LIKE THE WORST ROTTEN FISHY HELL IN HERE! When I walk through the door, I feel like I’ve just put my face in a raunchy fish’s belly. It’s disgusting.

But once you acclimate, you’ll discover aisles and aisles of Asian goodies!

And some really scary things such as these Long Stick Fish Sausages. Please, please tell me if you buy these and what you think.

A trip by the STINKY fish counter is sort of like going to the zoo. Expect to see live eels, turtles, and these little guys. Truth be told, I’d like to free them all into the Hudson River!

I love browsing the produce section because there’s always something unique in addition to my must-buy bok choy tips (THE best) such as these pomelos (think of them as a mild, huge grapefruit). They are truly the size of my head!

If you go: don’t bring just your American Express…they don’t take it.

SLURP Caffe Italia

22 Jun

One of the very first places I visited in Upstate New York was Caffe Italia at 662 Central Avenue in Albany. It was the ideal setting to meet hub’s Italian Family. His father has been eating here for about 30 years.

During that first dinner, I fell in love…with the olive oil bread dipping sauce. Delizioso!  It’s so good that I’ve actually considered drinking it straight up.

From what I can tell, it’s a simple mix of fresh ingredients: olive oil, flat-leaf parsley, garlic chunks, and tomatoes. Drench that bread and enjoy. Magnifico!

There are many other wonderful Italian dishes on the menu that I also adore. Give it a shot and let me know your favorite.

Caffe Italia doesn’t have a web site, so call 518-459-8029 for reservations.

If you go, tell Jimmy (the bald waiter) that Mrs. Vaccarielli sent you. 😉