100 things to do this summer

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Christman Sanctuary in Schoharie County on in 2014.
Christman Sanctuary in Schoharie County on in 2014.


1. Visit Christman Sanctuary in Delanson, a pleasant, picaresque nature preserve with a 30-foot waterfall. 

2. Attend a Friday night cookout at The Cheese Traveler, a cheese, meat and specialty food shop in Albany. The food is prepared by a guest chef, and there is an interesting selection of beers and wines. Dinner service runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

3. Take in a free concert in Troy’s Riverfront Park. The shows are 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday through Aug. 9. 

4. Amuse yourself. John Mulaney, the former Saturday Night Live writer, who along with Bill Hader created the character Stefon, will stop at the Palace Theater July 27-28 for two evening shows as part of his “Kid Gorgeous” tour. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Palace’s website.

5. Try out the State Fair: If you have a packed schedule and can only make it to one fair this season, head out to the State Fair in Syracuse. It runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 4 and each day is packed with live performances, equestrian shows, vendors from all across the state and more food than anyone could try in one day.  


6. The Tri-City ValleyCats open their home schedule at Joe Bruno Stadium June 21 against the Lowell Spinners under new manager Morgan Ensberg, the long-time Houston Astros third baseman who finished his major league career in 2008 with the New York Yankees. View the Tri-City ValleyCats schedule 

7. You think we forgot the track? Saratoga Race Course opens Friday, July 21. The Travers this year falls on Saturday, Aug. 26. Track season schedule 

8. Thursday Night Fireworks in Lake George. Every Thursday night from July 13-August 24, the village of Lake George hosts a fireworks display over the lake at Shepard Park, starting about 9:30 p.m. You can also catch fireworks in the village on Tuesday, July 4, as part of the village’s Independence Day celebration.

9. Free Concerts in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs. Every Sunday evening in July and every Tuesday evening in August, the city hosts free music at the park’s War Memorial, from 7-8:30 p.m. Among the acts performing this summer are Fenimore Blues, Rich Ortiz, the Hot Club of Saratoga and the Audio Stars.

10.  Alive at 5 at Corning Riverfront Park in Albany. Start the long weekend early with free concerts along the Hudson River each Thursday evening. Music featuring local bands and big-name acts run until Aug. 3, starting at 5 p.m.

11. Go take a walk or jog through Washington Park in Albany: even if the tulips are long gone. The park is a nice trip any time of the day or evening with friends, or by yourself. There’s also a Ben and Jerry’s right next to the park.

12. Stop by the Thursday night drum circle on the Jay Street pedestrian mall in Schenectady. 

13. Browns Summer Sessions by WEQX: a new partnership with Brown’s Brewing and WEQX, these new concerts start at 5 in Troy, are held outside rain or shine with Brown’s catering and are featuring local as well as big name artists. Dates are 6/22, 6/29 and more.

14. Visit Ommegang: the brewery is fun for a day trip, and will also host a ton of big names this year for concerts, including Phantogram (obviously local-turned-national), Glass Animals, and The Shins.

15. Take a walk, run, bike or blade on the Mohawk Hudson Hike/Bike Trail. The section between Lock 8 and Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam is particularly scenic. 

16. The Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, made up of college players, is one of the most economical nights you will find in sports fandom. The baseball at Shuttleworth Park is pretty good, too. The season already is underway. Amsterdam Mohawks schedule

17. The Vanderbilt Mansion and Historic Site: Spend an afternoon in the former home of New York’s richest family. A tour through the ornate mansion and the grounds will take you to a different time and leave you feeling richer (maybe not monetarily, but intellectually).

18. Hit the water. Head to the Kayak Shak, rent a kayak and row, row, row that boat. Or try something new and rent a paddle board for some stand-up fun.

19. Brush up on your history or grab a gourmet bite in Hyde Park. Tour Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s property then have lunch at the Culinary Institute of America.


20. Pick your own strawberries or blueberries at a local farm.

21. Make homemade ice cream. With machines ranging in price from very reasonable to car payment territory, there’s something for everyone. Find a recipe online that suits your taste and whip up a batch of frosty sweetness.

22. Chase fireflies.

23. Spend a hot summer day in your neighborhood library (it’s likely air-conditioned).

24. Hit the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair, July 29 through August 5 in lovely Schoharie County.

25. Find some feathers. Buy some sequins. Get to work on that fancy hat for Saratoga Race Course’s annual hat competition.

26. Attend one of the four Daily Gazette Kids Days we have scheduled: Aug. 2 in Amsterdam; Aug. 9 at Viaport Mall Entertainment and Aquarium in Rotterdam, Aug. 16 at the GE Theatre of Proctors and Aug. 23 in Ballston Spa.

27. Ride the carousel in Saratoga Springs’ Congress Park.

28. Shop for Amish baked goods and quilts on the back roads of Montgomery and Schoharie counties.


29. Spend an hour or two in Schenectady’s Central Park rose garden. It’s one of the best in the country and is breathtaking.

30. Find some covered bridges. There are a couple nearby (Buskirk and Arlington, Vt., for example) as well as others scattered all over upstate New York and Vermont. Better yet: Find one with a rope swing and take a dip.

31. Spend a Sunday night at a Music Haven concert. The weekly series begins July 9th with Sharon Shannon.

32. Grab a sweater and head underground at Howe Caverns. Or stay above ground and try your skill at their high adventure course.

33. Order a Jackburger and fries at Jumpin’ Jack’s, pay the bill, leave the tip and hear the famous “SUBWAY!” thanks from the crew.

34. Fish our lakes, our streams, our rivers. New York state residents can buy a one-day license for just five dollars. Click here to get your fishing license online.

35. Make some money for college: Open up a lemonade or Kool-Aid stand. 

36. Float down a river in a tube.

37. Take your yoga outdoors.

38. Accept the wilderness pedestrian challenge challenge. The National Park Service is encouraging people to take part in its 100-mile challenge along the trails within Saratoga National Historical Park this summer. You can hike, you can bike, you can even run to log your miles. Click here for full details

39. Shop. We expect you’ll be able to hit the back-to-school sales by the Fourth of July.

40. People watch in downtown Saratoga Springs. The crowds, and there are crowds, are filled with fascinating people all summer long. Don’t miss this show.

41. Try your hand at a Stewart’s “make your own sundae.” Nuts, butterscotch, marshmallow creme. Who could ask for more? This is a Capital Region tradition that Baby Boomers love.

42. Take a drive to Vermont to see popular film actor Treat Williams in David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” at the Dorset Theatre Festival in Dorset, Vt. It runs Aug. 24-Sept. 2

43. A new production of “The Siege of Calais” will be staged at Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown from July 16-Aug. 19.

44. Turn back the clock and catch Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper at SPAC on July 22—or go see one of the great vocalists of our time, Diana Ross, in concert at Tanglewood on Aug. 30.

tanglewood Keith Lockhart Leads the Boston Pops at Tanglewood (Hilary Scott).JPG

45. Make the trip to Tanglewood. An hour’s drive south the Berkshire Hills will bring you to one of Massachusetts’ premier music destinations, Tanglewood, in the towns of Lenox and Stockbridge. In addition to being the year-round home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, favorites like John Mellencamp and James Taylor will perform in early-July, while an evening with David Sedaris is scheduled for Aug. 20. 

46. Jump. If you’re looking to get some air this summer you’d be hard pressed to find a better option that Flight Trampoline Park in Colonie. The facility features a trampoline field with 60 interconnected trampolines, as well as foam pits, air bags and basketball hoops. Open jumps are held every day, and a two-hour session runs $23 for individuals age 7 and up.  

47. Visit Archie, Superman and Green Lantern. The Electric City Comic Con will be held July 8 at the Schenectady County Public Library on Clinton Street in Schenectady. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature several Capital Region comic book artists as well as an array of costumed heroes and villains.

48. Check out the Picasso exhibit at The Clark in Williamstown, Mass.

49. Have a cold beer in the backyard after mowing the grass on a Friday night. Actually, have two.

50. Swim in Lake George, or in any Adirondack Lake.

51. Tackle the ladder. The 23rd annual Indian Ladder Trail Runs are on Sunday, July 23, at Thacher Park in Albany.

52. Watch a summer thunderstorm.

53. Learn to row. Aqueduct Rowing in Niskayuna is always looking for new members.

54. Smell a sugar magnolia tree.

55. Enjoy the night air with a baseball game on the radio.


56. Watch a race on the rail at Saratoga Race Course … see and hear the horses up close!

57. Watch a kids baseball or softball game.

58. Kill a mosquito.

59. Get some farm-fresh or homegrown tomatoes … slice them and make tomato sandwiches on French bread with a little oil, a little mozzarella cheese!

60. Listen to perennial summer oldies—like “Grazin’ in the Grass,” “Palisades Park” and anything by the Beach Boys.

61. Lunch or dinner on a restaurant patio or deck, anywhere in the Capital Region.

62. Ride a horse. There are a number of stables in the area that can put you and your family back in the saddle.

63. Visit Bromley without your skis. The Vermont ski resort turns into the Mountain Adventure Park in summer with alpine slides, a giant swing and a trampoline.

64. Make jelly and jam. Start with peaches and then move on to strawberries and blueberries. Fill that cupboard up.

65. Walk through the grass in your bare feet.

66. East some real barbecued chicken. Make your own or try PJ’s in Saratoga Springs or Brooks in Oneonta.

67. Go to an ice cream social. You’ll find them at churches, granges and community centers. It’s a kind of socializing that doesn’t need a Facebook account.

68. Ice cold lemonade on a hot, humid day.

69. Hike New York’s highest peak: Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks is 5,343 feet and worth every step. 


70. Check out the fish at the ViaPort Aquarium.

71.  Charcoal in the grill, cheeseburgers over the fire. Remember your marshmallows.

72. Go to SPAC: Watch the ballet, listen to the orchestra. SPAC brings some of the best artists in the world to our backyard. Don’t miss them.

73. Stay up for the Perseid Meteor Shower. It will be Aug. 12-13 this year.

74. Organize a reunion—of family, of friends, of classmates. Getting together with people you’ve known a long time is one of life’s great joys.

75. Stay on top of the news. 

76. Walk the Albany County Rail Trail.

77. Relax at the Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center June 24-25.

78. Reconnect with Norman Rockwell. The Stockbridge museum dedicated to him has a special exhibit on Andy Warhol this summer.

79. Ice skate. The Schenectady County Recreational Facility in Glenville offers public skating throughout the week.

80. Watch downtown Schenectady overflow with people at Schenectady’s Summer Night, this year on July 14.

81. Learn to play disc golf. The Schenectady Disc Golf Club is offering free clinics for beginners this summer: July 13 at Central Park in Schenectady and Aug. 17 at Blatnick Park in Niskayuna.

82. Plant something, even it’s just some lettuce seeds into a pot on your front porch.

83. Know a toddler who loves Thomas the Train? For a taste of the real thing, the Saratoga and North Creek Rail offers some summer excursions.


84. Have a locally brewed beer on the patio of Wolf Hollow Brewing Company in Glenville. 

85. Take a walk around Peebles Island in Waterford and look for the bald eagle’s nest that’s visible on a nearby island. 

86. Take the kids to a drive-in movie. Remember the bug spray.

87. Grab Lady Luck and head to the Rivers Casino on the Mohawk River in Schenectady.  

88. Relive the Woodstock days with a visit to the Museum at Bethel Woods.

89. Visit Cooperstown on Hall of Fame induction weekend.

90. Grab your flag and head to a parade, especially on Flag Day or the Fourth of July.

91. Watch a summer sunset. 

92. Take a walk in Kinns Road Park in Clifton Park.

93. Enjoy the Adirondack Wine & Food Festival, June 24-25 in Lake George.

94. Take a boat ride on Lake George.

95. Take in some history at Fort William Henry in Ticonderoga.

96. Visit Canajoharie’s Arkell Museum.

97. Take a stand-up paddleboard lesson. You can find classes in Lake George and Saratoga.

98. Pack a summer picnic and have a meal in the great outdoors. 

99. Take part in Big Birding Day June 30 and observe as many birds as possible. 

100. See some Karner blues. There’s a butterfly walk June 21 at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve.

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