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12. What is there to do in Albany when I have time to explore?
Albany is full of history and colonial charm as can be seen in the historic brownstones and cultural activities of the Center Square. At just 2½ hours by car or train from New York City, 2 ½ hours from Boston, and 3½ hours from Montreal and Cape Cod, Albany is a common stop-over for touring concerts and shows in venues such as The Egg and The Palace Theater, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), and Proctor's in Schenectady-performances that would not normally come to a small city. Lenox, Massachusetts is only an hour away from Albany, and is home of Tanglewood, a performance venue for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Cranwell Resort, summer home of the political satire troupe, The Capitol Steps . Look in Metroland, Times Union, and the University website to find social and cultural events happening in the area. As you get to know the city you will enjoy discovering many of the small art galleries, live music venues, small book stores, shops and quiet cafes in the area. You will also want to check out the New York State Museum on the grandiose Empire State Plaza next to the New York State Legislature.
Summer is a pleasant time to be in Albany. There are free concerts such as the Alive at Five Concert series at the Corning Preserve and free shows and concerts in Washington Park, designed in 1870 by Frederick Law Olmsted (architect of New York City's Central Park). Many residents of Albany take day trips to the Saratoga Race Track during the racing season, which runs from the end of July to the beginning of September.
Bordered by the Adirondacks to the North, the Catskills to the south, the Berkshires and Green Mountains to the east, and the Finger Lakes farther to the west, Albany is a hub for hiking, skiing, kayaking, and biking. Organizations such as the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and Meetup allow you to plan activities with people having similar interests. As a faculty member, you have the opportunity to camp at Dippikill Wilderness Retreat, a private 850 acre wilderness retreat facility owned by the Student Association of the University at Albany. For short outings in close proximity you can visit Howe Caverns, hike or picnic in John Boyd Thacher State Park, in Peebles Island State Park, or along the old Mohawk Towpath of the Erie Canal. For wine enthusiasts, Albany is at the northern limit of the Hudson Valley Wine Region.
UAlbany also sponsors a variety of recreational activities for faculty and staff.