Friday, October 30, 2015


So Halloween is tomorrow, but the celebrating has been all month long; and last night we had our last spooky outing.  We headed to The Henry Hudson Planetarium at the Albany Heritage Visitor Center,
at Quackenbush Square   for Haunted Albany Tales: Story telling under the night sky of the Henry Hudson Planetarium.  It was a one hour multi-media program for adults, that included true ghost stories from the streets of Albany than up to the stars for stories from folklore and legends.

But first we headed for dinner, we chose The Olde English Pub & Pantry,
also in Quackenbush Square.  And in the Quackenbush House,
 considered the oldest house in Albany.
This beautiful building has been a French restaurant in the past, but has been a very authentic English pub since 2010.  Take a look at the beautiful interior.
The bar area just inside the front door.
The lower level dining area just past the bar.
And the upper level dining area.
And, although we sat inside, it was a beautiful warm Fall evening (thanks to the remnants from Hurricane Patricia and the warm Gulf air she dragged up) and the front patio was bustling.
Oh and yes this building is haunted!  But no ghost tonight, and I was able to enjoy my Ploughman's Toastie with oil and vinegar shoestring potatoes and a fresh brewed mint ice tea.
So after a wonderful evening of great food and spooky tales, we head home, because tomorrow is the Eve of Halloween (All Hollows Eve Eve, hmm?  Well you know what I mean.)
Oh no I have been BOOED!
Can you believe I don't already have a print copy of THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, and my two favorite Vampire movies; DRACULA  with Frank Langella.  Saw him in the role on Broadway and the big screen, and yes he is the perfect Dracula!  And SUNDOWN a very, very funny "sleeper" movie.
A pretty silk arrangement and a fresh one.
And now to get ready for tomorrow, it is going to be very warm (for the next 7 days too) so it will be busy!!  Schenectady is requesting Trick-or-Treating from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
75 treat filled bags.
A dozen "super" bags for the kids on the block and friends and family.
My famous Peep S'Mores!  For Halloween white ghost of course.
And some fun munchies all dressed up for the big day, pretzels, chocolate covered pretzels and Cracker Jacks, can you see his mask?
And I hate running out of treat bags when a kid who goes all out with her/his costume, so I always keep tons of non food "treats" for an extra special surprise.  And I can keep these year to year with out worry.
Oh, and although it has been very warm from September thru October, we did have our first hard freeze (right on schedule I am told) so I did loose all the Summer flowers.  But, my solution (just for the front yard) was to buy a 4 Mums and add some artificial pumpkins.  Luckily I was able to find red Mums still closed, so they will last thru Thanks Giving.  I quickly pulled out my poor frozen flowers and cleaned up and turned the pots then plopped in the new flowers.
And I used a variety of artificial pumpkins, some with sparkles, white, orange, and taupe resin in different shapes and sizes.
And although some Mums are starting to brown they still look pretty and healthy.
But Jack Frost didn't get all my Summer flowers, a Geranium with Petunias and the Marigolds survived.
The back yard flowers are all cleaned out, but the fallen leaves add beautiful color.
Bring on Halloween!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015


The last program for the Fall Session with SUNY/HVCC Center for Creative Retirement today at Ten Broeck Mansion   in Albany.  The mansion is a beautiful federal style home built in 1789 by Abraham Ten Broeck, it is an interpretative house museum but also the home of the Albany County Historical Society.  Since the house had changed hands over the years, the contents have been brought in to restore and furnish the property.  And because of this the house is able to be utilized for public and private events.  So today we were treated to a private tour and lunch. 

The iron on the sides of the building---the date the home was built and the initials of the very prominent owners.  Wonderful that they are still intact and in perfect condition.
Abraham Ten Broeck
The grounds of the mansion are beautiful, even in the Fall as the beautiful flowers start to wilt and the foliage turns.  And the garden is full of wonderful old trees.  Many pre-date the home.
The garden
Who is this...? ...maybe Abraham?
Inside, not all the rooms are interpretative, many are used as offices and storage, but the rooms that are done are simply lovely.
All of the first level rooms are done.
And two bedrooms with attached baths (this home was one of the first in Albany to have "modern" bath rooms.)  The bedrooms were added with an addition to the house.
The lady's bedroom.
The gentleman's room.
The second floor hallway, the pews are from The First Church of Albany..
And can you see the curved cupboard doors at the end of the hallway flanking the window?
The beautiful staircase.
My favorite part of the tour was the wine cellar in the basement of the house.
This perfectly intact room had been bricked over, and was only found when a repair needed to be made to the homes mechanical.  When a loose brick was found, so was the wine cellar, still full of wine.  Many bottles (that many had thought) no longer existed.  Needless to say, after an expert was called in, many of the bottles were auctioned off for (up to) $7,000.00 and that money is a godsend for a historic home in major need of work.  All the money went right back into the house.
The link above will take you to the article in the Times Union.
And so as we wrap up the last of the programs (we signed up for) with SUNY/HVCC we head off for lunch, a few errands and then home.  And the great thing is, they are already lining up programs for the Spring!


Friday, October 23, 2015


It has been a month full of fun-filled Halloween activities and the good times aren't over yet.  We had the pleasure of enjoying a few more spooky treats.  Wednesday night we headed out for the 7:30 p.m. show of DRACULA at The Schenectady Civic Players, a community theater on Church Street in the historic Stockade Neighborhood in Schenectady.  This all volunteer community theater is the oldest in Capital Region, founded in 1927.

The theater is a 19th century Masonic Temple.
The play was spectacular, written by Stephen Dietz, it is a very unique staging.  Relying on limited sets and props and staged using music, lighting and effects. 
 Obviously photography is not allowed but there are a few photos from a rehearsals.
Renfield is not in costume, but Dracula is!
On Thursday evening we headed to the Schenectady County Library's main branch,
on Liberty Street in downtown Schenectady for a "telling."  Two story tellers were there from 6:00 7:00 p.m. telling spooky stories for the holiday.
We heard an Irish folklore tale, a ghost story about Minot's Ledge Lighthouse off the coast of Cohasset, MA and about an old country general store as well as a few others.
And on Friday night we attended MURDER AT CHERRY HILL at the very beautiful Historic Cherry Hill on South Pearl Street in Albany.
The house is undergoing a major restoration, and is very much under construction, but still open.
This famous murder is very real.  In 1827 a murder occurred in this home belonging to the very prominent Van Rensselaer family.  Jesse Strang from Putman County had deserted his family and became a drifter and eventual found work under an assumed name at the house.  He met Elsie (Van Rensselaer) Whipple at a bar in Albany and they had an affair.  Strang shot John Whipple (Elsie's husband) at the house.  Strang's defense was Elsie compelled him to kill her husband so they could be together and she could be in control of her money.'
And even tho they both went on trial, no one believed that the ever "swooning" Elsie, from the prominent  Van Rensselaer family, could do such a thing; she was acquitted and he found guilty.  And of course she did sell him out.  Strang was hung where the Empire State Plaza now stands in Albany and this was the last public hanging in Albany,
This dramatic telling of the story included costumed interpreters, props and audience participation, all while touring the house and grounds.
This is poor dead John Whipple.
Elisa's Auntie sitting up in her room prior to the murder.
And Jesse lurking through the house.
From ghost tours in the Stockade, to haunted historic mansions like Clermont and Cherry Hill, to plays and tellings to cemetery tours and Booings; it has been a fabulous October so far.