Nights Out in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

My Mom and I laid low during the few weeks after my father passed away in March at our family home in Troy, New York. Then I said, “Let’s have some fun.”

After a few minutes of reflection, Mom said, “Yes, I’d like to break out and enjoy myself. Although don’t take too many pictures because officially I’m in mourning.”

The heck with old conventions–we’re no longer entrenched in the burdensome customs of the Victorian Age; Mom was long overdue for a little gaiety in her life. (I do, however, think there’s a lot to be said for the nineteenth-century tradition of wearing black for at least a year. It indicated to people ‘I’m vulnerable. Be kind to me.’ But I suppose that’s a thing of the past–people would just think we dressed very New Yorkish. Or Goth.)

So I checked out what was happening in the capital district area, the region that encompasses Albany, Schenectady and Troy as well as the event listings for Saratoga Springs, New York, the quaint old town just forty-five minutes north of us where I lived five years prior to moving to Colorado. Of course I zeroed in on what interested me the most in the Entertainment section of the Times Union; fortunately Mom and I have very similar tastes.

I snatched up tickets for a Sam Bush concert at The Egg in Albany and a book event featuring Augusten Burroughs, put on by the renowned Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga. Mom agreed to treat us to dinner and suddenly we felt excited about life again. With all the care-taking Mom did for Dad the past six months, there’s no doubt that these plans promised to buoy her back to more fun-loving days.

The Egg

The Egg

The Egg Filling In

The Egg Filling In

Happy can’t begin to describe how we felt at the Sam Bush performance at The Egg, a marvelous venue, which also represented one of the major pours for my father’s ready mix concrete company, Clemente Latham Concrete, decades ago. Mom always wanted to attend the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, where Sammy, also known as the “King of Telluride,” has played for over forty years. Since it’s unlikely Mom will make it to T-ride for the festival, I thought it was awesome that this Bluegrass great was coming to her, in an intimate venue known for its extraordinary acoustics. She loved it and we felt so much joy in our hearts from a show that had us hand clapping, foot stomping and swaying in our seats. It was almost like experiencing one of Sam Bush’s summer solstice performances beneath a star-studded Telluride night sky. Yeah!

Café Capriccio

Café Capriccio

My Capriccio Dinner

My Capriccio Dinner

We dined beforehand at Café Capriccio, a long-established Albany restaurant where you can savor many fine Italian dishes within a cozy, wood-paneled decor. The restaurant was one of my Dad’s favorites, so of course he was very much with us in spirit throughout the meal.

Augusten Burroughs

Augusten Burroughs

August Augusten

August Augusten

Mom and I often share books and Augusten Burroughs’s “Running with Scissors” ranks as one of our favorites. (There’s no doubt that it makes us feel way better about our own version of family craziness–ha!) He was on a major book tour for his recently released “Lust & Wonder” and was not surprisingly stopping at Northshire Bookstore. Held at one of the auditoriums of Skidmore College, the event drew a big crowd and I doubt no one left disappointed. After having first read a passage from “Lust & Wonder,” Augusten answered questions from the audience for almost an hour. The amount of openness, honesty and sincerity from this man melts my heart, which is perhaps why he’s loved by so many. (Note that Northshire Bookstore hosts many wonderful author events in both its Saratoga Springs and Manchester, Vermont locations. I did a presentation at its Manchester store many years ago for The Riches of Paris and hope to do one in Saratoga soon for my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart.)

Les Petits Gâteaux Chex Mrs. London's

Les Petits Gâteaux Chez Mrs. London’s

The Beautiful Breads from Mrs. London's

The Beautiful Breads from Mrs. London’s

Mom Pondering the Pastry Offerings

Mom Pondering the Pastry Offerings

Mom Delighted with Her Choice

Mom Delighted with Her Choice

Before the event, Mom and I made an obligatory stop at Mrs. London’s, a French bakery that rivals those of Paris. We picked up a few pastries for morning before settling into an early dinner at Wheatfields where we enjoyed a delicious meal. They couldn’t have been nicer to us, both by accommodating our request to split a main course (and actually plate the half portions) and expediting our time there so that we could make the event. No wonder it’s one of the best-loved dining spots of Saratoga.

My Half-Portion at Wheatfields

My Half-Portion at Wheatfields

Mom Looking Coy at Wheatfields

Mom Looking Coy at Wheatfields

Voilà, that’s been our fun so far. We almost attended a concert at the famous Troy Musical Hall but we’ll have to save that and perhaps a night at the ballet at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) for a later date. As much as I always boast about the cultural scene in my little mountain town of Telluride, Colorado, it’s true that there’s so much from which to choose in upstate New York. Once again, I think the Entertainment section of the Times Union is one of the best resources for all.

Am looking forward to more fun nights out with Mom!

 
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