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July 4th Festivities

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, July 01, 2017


Independence Day is right around the corner and we have compiled our annual list of some local fireworks displays! We are lucky to have many fun and family-oriented events take place in our area. We hope you are able to take part!



Saratoga Lake Fireworks Display

When: Monday, July 3rd

Where: Saratoga Lake in two locations, at The Water’s Edge and at Brown’s Beach



Saratoga’s All-American Celebration

When: Monday, July 3rd and Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Downtown Saratoga Springs


*Saratoga’s All-American Celebration is two days jam packed with events for the whole family. Everything from a fireside chat with Ben Franklin, a great children’s program, the historic city tour, a classic car show, a parade for the kids…all the way to the culmination of the celebration with fireworks in Congress Park on July 4th. There is even a sidewalk sale! This is my favorite 4th of July event and one that I go to every year.



July 4th Celebration in Clifton Park

When: Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Clifton Commons, Clifton Park


*This celebration ends with a wonderful fireworks display, but you don’t want to miss all of the other fun things you can do earlier in the day. There are amusement park rides, food vendors, a parade, and even a craft show. Something for everyone! The parade begins at 12pm on Route 146 in fron of the Shenendehowa School Campus.



Lake George 4th of July Fireworks

When: Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Shepard’s Park in Lake George



New York State’s 4th of July Celebration

When: Tuesday, July 4th

Where: Empire State Plaza, Albany


*This is one of the largest fireworks displays in the area and one that comes highly recommended. More than 20,000 people attend this event every year, so be prepared for large crowds. Due to the high volume of people, parking might be a little harder than usual, so make sure you show up early. The evening starts at 3pm, with live bands, a naturalization ceremony, and food and craft vendors, culminating in one of the most impressive fireworks displays in the area!



We hope you enjoy Independence Day with your friends and family!


Our Favorite BBQ Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Friday, June 09, 2017

(Photo: @bigbarbecue on Twitter)


Starting tomorrow and running through the weekend is one of our favorite events of the year, The 15th Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party! Held in Madison Square Park in New York City, this is a charity event that benefits the Madison Square Park Conservancy. In past years, more than 17 barbecue pitmasters were in attendance serving up some of the best BBQ in the country, making this one of the country’s premiere barbecue events! The event is free to attend and food is sold by the plate. This event has had over 125,000 visitors in the past, so lines can be long. However, the food is well worth the wait! In honor of the event, we thought we would share with you some of our favorite Summer BBQ and grilling recipes. We hope you enjoy the weekend!

Bruschetta Chicken


Ingredients:

4 tbsp. oil

Juice of 1 lemon, divided

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness

3 Roma tomatoes, diced

4 slices provolone

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine oil, juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons), 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and Italian seasoning and whisk to combine. Transfer to a large re-sealable bag along with chicken. Seal and chill, 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer chicken to a preheated grill and discard excess marinade. Grill chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
  3. Combine diced tomatoes and remaining juice from ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. While chicken is still on grill, top each breast with 1 slice Provolone and cover grill until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Top chicken with tomato mixture and serve.

Campfire Potatoes



Ingredients:

2 lb. mini Yukon gold potatoes, quartered

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 c. shredded mozzarella

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high, or preheat the oven to 425º.
  2. Cut 4 large pieces of foil about 10” long. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide potatoes between foil pieces, then fold the foil packets crosswise to completely cover the potatoes. Roll the top and bottom edges to seal them closed.
  4. Place foil packets on the grill and cook until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top of the potatoes and reseal the foil packet. Cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Top with parsley and red pepper flakes and serve warm.


Spicy Grilled Shrimp



Ingredients:

1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard

2 lb. large easy-peel shrimp

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 halved

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine oil, garlic, celery seed, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden, sizzling, and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard and transfer to a bowl; cool completely.
  2. Add shrimp and sliced lemon to oil mixture. Season with salt and black pepper; toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  3. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill shrimp and lemon slices until lemons and shrimp are lightly charred and shrimp are just cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side.
  4. To serve, transfer to a platter and squeeze lemon halves over top.


Grilled Potato Salad



Ingredients:

3 lb. baby Yukon gold potatoes

Kosher salt

Black pepper

6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

6 slices center-cut bacon cut into 1/2 in. pieces

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. firmly packed brown sugar

8 scallions

2 tbsp. fresh marjoram, plus more for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Line a plate with paper towels.
  2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold salted water by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until easily pierced with a knife, 14 to 16 minutes. Drain and let cool. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to prepared plate with a slotted spoon.
  4. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings from skillet. Off the heat, add garlic, vinegar, and brown sugar to the drippings in the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Grill potatoes cut-side down until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Grill scallions, turning occasionally, until charred, 4 to 6 minutes. Chop scallions into 1-inch pieces.
  6. Add potatoes, scallions, and marjoram to bowl with dressing, and toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with marjoram. Serve immediately.

Beer Braised BBQ Pork Butt



Ingredients for Dry Rub:

2 tablespoons salt

About 40 grinds black pepper

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground mustard seed

12 ounces good ale or dark beer, such as Bass

4 cloves garlic, chopped

One 5-pound pork butt

Ingredients for BBQ Pork Butt:

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub all over pork butt. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and as long as overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Unwrap pork and place in a roasting pan with sides about 2 inches high. Cook 45 minutes until dark browned and even blackening in places. Remove from oven. Lower oven to 325 degrees F. Pour beer over the top and add chopped garlic around the pork. Cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil or twice with regular foil. Poke about 10 holes all over the top of the foil. Cook pork butt 2 1/2 hours longer until so tender that it comes away very easily from center bone.
  3. Place the meat on a plate and pour the pan juice into a saucepan.
  1. To the pan juices add the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer until reduced by half and thick, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the sauce is boiling down, pull apart the pork with 2 forks. Pour the sauce over the pulled pork and work through until fully absorbed.

Mother's Day Breakfast Recipes

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, May 13, 2017

(Hallmark ECards-Giphy.com)



Mother’s Day is tomorrow and what better way to pamper the most important woman in your life than breakfast in bed! We have put together a short list of some of our favorite delectable recipes for you to treat her with!



Banana Bread Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1/2 c. finely chopped toasted pecans, plus more for serving

3 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 c. Buttermilk

1 c. mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium), plus slices for serving

2 large eggs

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for griddle

pure maple syrup, for serving



Directions:

  1. Stir together flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, banana, eggs, and butter in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture and stir until just combined.
  2. Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat; butter. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake on griddle. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until plump and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Place pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet, and keep warm in a 175°F oven up to 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
  3. Serve with maple syrup, toasted pecans, and sliced bananas.


Spinach Ricotta Brunch Bake

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry thawed

6 eggs beaten

1 cup ricotta cheese

A dash hot sauce

1 cup spinach chopped

6 slices bacon cooked, chopped

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded

1 medium red bell pepper chopped



Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.
  2. Unfold pastry sheets and roll out one sheet to 11-inch square; set aside. Roll out remaining sheet to 12-inch square; use to line the bottom and side of the prepared spring form pan.
  3. Reserve 1 tbsp. eggs. Mix remaining eggs with ricotta, hot sauce and spinach. Layer half each of the bacon, cheddar, ricotta mixture and peppers in crust. Repeat layers.
  4. Cover with remaining pastry sheet; fold under edges of pastry, then tuck inside pan. Brush pastry with reserved egg. Cut slits in top crust.
  5. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 min. Run small knife around edge of pan to loosen crust before removing rim.


Easy Eggs in Clouds

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1/4 cup grated pecorino-romano

1/4 cup chopped chives

1/4 cup crumbled bacon

Pepper



Directions:

  1. Separate eggs, putting whites in 1 large bowl and yolks in 4 separate small bowls.
  2. Whip whites until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold in cheese, chives and bacon.
  4. Spoon into 4 mounds on parchment-lined baking sheet; make a deep well in center of each.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 3 minutes, then and 1 yolk to each well; season with pepper. Bake until yolks are just set, 2 to 3 minutes.


Strawberry Sweet Rolls

Ingredients for Rolls:

1 tube crescent rolls

1 c. strawberry preserves

1 c. chopped strawberries

1 tbsp. melted butter

sugar (for sprinkling)

Ingredients for Glaze:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 tbsp. butter, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp. lemon juice



Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8"-x-8" baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, unroll dough and separate the sheet into 4 rectangles. Pinch the perforations to seal. Spread strawberry preserves onto each rectangle, then top with chopped strawberries. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle and pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into 4 to 5 slices. Place side by side, cut side up in baking pan.
  3. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
  4. For the glaze: In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.
  1. Drizzle baked rolls with cream cheese glaze. Serve warm.


Blueberry Breakfast Braid

Ingredients:

6 tbsp. cream cheese, divided

1/4 c. sugar, divided (plus more for sprinkling)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided

2 c. (1 pt.) fresh or frozen blueberries

2 tbsp. cornstarch

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 8-oz. tube crescent dough

All-purpose flour, for work surface

Egg wash (1 beaten egg plus 1 tsp. milk)

1/4 c. sliced almonds

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 tbsp. heavy cream



Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine 4 tablespoons cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
  3. Unroll the refrigerated crescent roll dough. If there are perforated edges, pinch the lines together to get rid of the cutouts. Lightly flour the dough, then roll it out slightly with a rolling pin to create a large rectangle.
  4. Spread the cream cheese mixture in the center of the dough, leaving about a 3” border on each side. Spread the blueberries over the cream cheese mixture. With a sharp paring knife (or kitchen shears), cut diagonal 1" strips along both sides of the dough border. Starting at the top of the dough, fold the strips over the blueberries, alternating sides to fold the left and right strips over one another. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar and almonds. Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool slightly.
  5. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons cream cheese, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is evenly incorporated into the cream cheese. Whisk in the cream, adding more to loosen the glaze if necessary.
  6. Drizzle glaze over the pastry. Cut crosswise to serve.


Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Ingredients for Donuts:

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 and 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

2 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Glaze:

1 and 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice, more if needed

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest



Directions for Donuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a doughnut pan; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest; mix together with your fingers until zest is evenly distributed in the sugar. Add in the melted butter and beat until combined. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon extract; beat well. Stir in milk.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture together using a rubber spatula, stirring only until mixture is evenly combined.
  5. Spoon or pipe the thick batter into the molds of your prepared pan, filling each mold up 2/3 of the way. Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until firm and lightly golden on the tops.
  6. Remove pan from oven and allow doughnuts to cool for at least 10 minutes in the tray before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cool, dip each doughnut in glaze.

Directions for Glaze:

  1. In a wide, shallow dish combine the sifted confectioners' sugar and milk; whisk to combine - the mixture will be a little clumpy at this point. Stir in the salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest; whisk smooth.

 


Our Favorite Romantic Getaways

Kelly McCombs - Friday, January 20, 2017

                                                            (Photo from www.thesagamore.com)


With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, now is the time to plan that romantic getaway! Whether you want to stay close to home or travel a few hours out of town, we have put together a list of some of our favorites!



First up is The Inn at Five Points in Saratoga Springs, NY. Owned by James and Eilis Petrosino, the Inn is a beautifully restored Victorian Bed and Breakfast nestled right in the heart of Saratoga. Centrally located and within walking distance to all that Saratoga has to offer, this would be a very special place to visit with your loved one for a romantic overnight, yet one that is still close to home. The Petrosino's serve a delicious breakfast every morning, in true Bed and Breakfast fashion, with everything being locally grown and sourced. If you would like a true taste of all that Saratoga has to offer, this is the place to do it!



For something a bit farther out of town, head south to The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Architecturally impressive, this castle-like resort is situated right on the banks of Lake Mohonk. Surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains and forest, The Mohonk Mountain house offers a few different packages for your romantic getaway. Whether you want a relaxing spa package for two or a luxurious “Special Occasion” package, they have something to fit everyone’s needs. There are a plethora of activities here even in the winter, from ice skating to snow tubing, so you will never be bored!



Heading back up north, The Sagamore in Bolton Landing on Lake George is one of those hotels that many people know and rave about. Another stunning resort, The Sagamore has been inviting guests to stay with them since 1883. They are offering a lovely Valentine’s Weekend Getaway package which includes breakfast and dinner for two, along with complimentary champagne and chocolates. They also have a beautiful spa which should be high on the list of priorities if you choose to stay with them. There isn’t anything more romantic than relaxing time spent together!



One of my favorite places to go on Valentine’s Day is a little farther than the others, but very much worth it. Niagara Falls during the winter months is one of the most beautiful places. Even if you have been there before in the warmer months, seeing it in winter adds a whole new dimension. The mist from the falls coats everything in a layer of ice, making for some really beautiful ice sculptures. Make sure you dress warmly! Even though this may not be one of the coziest romantic getaways, you will surely make some wonderful memories with your loved one!



We hope you are able to take a little time away from your everyday life to be able to enjoy one of this beautiful places with your loved one. Even if it isn't for Valentine's Day, they all are wonderful places to visit any day of the year!


Local Events

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, November 05, 2016



Photo courtesy of Saratoga Farmers Market



Looking for something to do in and around Saratoga this weekend? The weather is supposed to be crisp and beautiful, so why not get out of the house! Keep on reading for some of the events that are on our list!



The Saratoga Farmers Market is moving indoors for the winter starting today, and they are hosting a delicious tasting event to celebrate! Located at the Lincoln Baths at Saratoga Spa State Park, the "Taste of the Market" will give market goers a wonderful opportunity to sample a variety of cheeses, fruits, vegetables, sweets, meats, and many prepared foods that the market vendors offer. There will also be cooking advice and recipes, too! The market runs from 9am-1pm today (Saturday). Don't miss out on your chance to try a ton of wonderful samples!



If you are a winter sports enthusiast, make sure to check out the Northeast Ski and Craft Beer Showcase, being held at the Empire State Plaza today 10am-6pm and tomorrow 10am-5pm. Formerly known as the Albany Ski and Snowboard Expo, this showcase is New York's largest and longest running winter sports show, heading into it's 55th year! You'll be able to check out the best in new ski and snowboard equipment and fashion, along with some pretty fantastic destinations! There will even be prizes to win! Tickets are $10 at the door and make sure to bring extra cash to take part in drinking some delicious craft beers!  



Who doesn't love a good barbecue wing? If you fancy yourself a wing connoisseur, then you don't want to miss the Capital Region Wing Wars 13. Held in Troy at the Franklin Terrace Ballroom today until 5pm, a ticket to Wing Wars will only cost you $25. This will give you the chance to sample two wings from each of the 15+ vendors, which is over 30 wings per person! Make sure you are prepared for some seriously spice wings, as some of the vendors like to kick it up a notch. There will also be beer and wine for sale, a DJ and free pizza! All proceeds go to St. Jude the Apostle School tuition assistance program. 



And finally, if you feel like taking a bit of a drive, head on up to Lake George to drive the Prospect Mountain Memorial Highway. There will be no fee to drive here today and tomorrow, so take advantage and enjoy some spectacular views from high above Lake George in the Adirondacks. 



We hope you enjoy the beautiful weekend ahead and get the chance to attend some of these fun Fall events! 





Rainy Day Fun

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, October 22, 2016

(Photo Credit: Pluviobrew)

With some rainy weather on tap for the next few days, you might be thinking that you’ll probably have nothing to do over the weekend besides to stay inside and watch TV. That sounds too boring for us, so we have put together a few rainy day activities that you can do to take up some of your time this weekend.


If you have kids in the house, grab a bunch of blanket and pillows and make an indoor tent/fort. Just because the weather is bad doesn’t mean you can’t go camping! Follow this up with an indoor picnic, to be eaten inside the “tent”, of course! The kids will really get a kick out of it and it’s a fun way to get them involved in helping set up. You can play board games, tell scary stories, all while inside the “tent”!


If you are looking to have a nice relaxing night at home while it rains, why not make your own bubble bath? Mix together a ½ cup of liquid hand or body soap, 1 tablespoon of honey and one egg white. You can also add in the essential oil of your choosing to make it smell beautiful. Run this mixture under the tap to create a beautiful bubble bath. The honey will naturally help attract and keep moisture in your skin and the egg white will help the bubbles last longer. Now, sit back and relax in your bath and let the stress of the day unwind.


Along the same lines of the relaxing bath, one thing that I love to do on rainy days is treat myself to a deep conditioning hair treatment. I won’t be running any errands anywhere, so what better time to take care of myself? I will either use a store bought hair mask, or my favorite: coconut oil. Yes, just regular coconut oil that you can purchase from the grocery store. I will massage some into my scalp and bring it down to the ends of my hair, then I will put it up in a bun and let it sit for a few hours. The coconut oil just washes out with regular shampoo. You will be left with very soft, silky smooth hair!


This might sound boring, but on rainy days I like to put some music on and clean up around the house. The music keeps me entertained and usually makes me work more efficiently. I love coming home to a clean house, so taking the opportunity to neaten things up when I’m stuck inside anyway is the perfect thing for me.


My personal plan for this rainy weekend is a horror movie marathon! It is almost Halloween, so many of the channels on TV are showing some older horror movies. I’ll also use services like Netflix to make sure I have a day full of scary fun. I really only watch scary movies before Halloween, so this is my excuse to get all of the old horror classics together for a fun night. I’ll make some popcorn and cozy up on the couch. I might leave a light on though…horror movies plus a gloomy, rainy day might make for some extra nerves!


My final thought for a rainy day activity is a simple one: reading. If I know that there are a few rainy days coming up, I will plan ahead and go to my local bookstore to pick up a book or two that I know I would love to curl up with under a blanket. I am usually go, go, go, so I normally don’t take the time to stop and relax with a good book. A rainy day is the perfect excuse for me because it forces me to relax and immerse myself in another world.


I hope you all stay warm and dry this rainy weekend and don’t forget to take some time for yourself!


Local Fall Activities

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, October 01, 2016

With the start of October brings all of the fun outdoor Fall activates that are plentiful in the Capital region! We are lucky enough to usually have beautiful weather and colorful changes in the leaves, which makes this season one of our favorites! We have put together a list of some of the best local Fall activities for this year!


Topping the list is apple picking, of course! There are numerous apple orchards in the Saratoga area, many of them offering pick-your-own, which means you get to pick which apples you want right from the trees! My favorite orchard, and the one I go to every year, is Bowman Orchards. They boast 46 different varieties of apples on almost 100 acres! On top of the apple picking, they have hay rides, apple cider donuts, and plenty of fun activities for everyone in the family. They even have a plethora of different farm animals for you to pet. Bowman Orchards is quintessential “Fall” to me and a must see!


On October 29th this year, is the much loved 15th Annual Saratoga Fall Festival. The event runs from 11am-4pm and is free to attend! There is live music, trick-or-treating, food vendors, a petting zoo, and even a magic show! This is one of my favorites because it’s fun to see everyone out in Downtown Saratoga Springs enjoying the cool weather and Fall activities!


Along with apple picking, one of my other favorite Fall things to do is go pumpkin picking! We always go to Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke. It is very easy to spend the whole day here, exploring the Farm and all it has to offer. They are known for having the Capital Area’s original and largest corn maze. It is huge! There are two phases of the maze; Phase 1 for the younger crowd and Phase 2 for the more adventurous folks. They offer a game at the start of the maze that gives you hints and clues to help you find your way through. Liberty Ridge Farm also has a General Store where you can purchase things like homemade pies, apple cider donuts, and many other souvenirs. They have pig races, a giant pumpkin cannon, and a live band…there is so much to do! In addition to all of this fun family-friendly stuff, every Friday and Saturday night in October, Liberty Ridge turns into Nightmares at Liberty Ridge. If you are feeling brave and like terrifying things, than this is a must-see. Nightmares boasts 7 different haunted attractions that are all sure to have you quaking in your boots. Liberty Ridge Farm is the perfect Fall destination for the young and old alike!


If you are up for a little physical activity and are wanting to see all of the beautifully changing leaves, I recommend hiking up Prospect Mountain in the Adirondacks. The hike is approximately 4 miles in length round trip and is great for experienced hikers and those with no experience. The summit offers spectacular panoramic views of Lake George and the Adirondack region and is the perfect place to hike during the Fall to take part in leaf peeping. Before I head out to Prospect Mountain, I always check the foliage report here. This great website lets you know when to expect to see the best colors in various areas in the state.


Our final favorite Fall activity is visiting our local Farmer’s Market. With the change in the season comes a change in the many different kinds of produce that are available. Now is the perfect time to visit the Saratoga Farmer’s Market before it moves inside for the winter. Not only do they have a huge selection of different fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but they also offer many vendors that sell local meats, cheeses, jams, and even crafts and other various items. The Saratoga Farmer’s Market runs every Wednesday from 3-6pm and every Saturday from 9am-1pm at the High Rock Park Pavilion in downtown Saratoga Springs.


We hope you take some time this Autumn to get out and explore the many fun and exciting things to do in our area. We are lucky enough to have many wonderful events, so take advantage of the cooler weather and get out there!


Our Favorite Seattle Eateries

Kelly McCombs - Friday, August 26, 2016

                                                          (Photo Credit: Jennifer Richard, thestranger.com)

Seattle is known for is incredibly diverse and unique restaurant scene. Whether you are in the mood for deliciously fresh seafood, an incredible Cuban cured meat sandwich, or some of the best bakery treats around, Seattle is the place to be. Let’s continue our adventure and go over some of our favorites!


Topping the list today is one of the most unique and extravagant dining options. Altura, located on Broadway East in Seattle, strives to make your dining experience one that you will remember. No two nights at Altura will be the same, as the chef prepares a different menu every day. Each meal is between five and seven courses with “small bites” in between. While this restaurant is on the pricey side at $137 per person, the delicious food and atmosphere is certainly worth it. Sitting at the bar while watching the chef cook is one of the best seats in all of Seattle!


Next up is one of my personal favorite restaurants, Lark, on East Seneca St. Lark is popularly known as one of the premier artisan-focused restaurants in all of Seattle. They only use locally grown, organic ingredients, and only those that are currently in season. In the mood for something a little less fancy, but in keeping with the Lark philosophy of fresh, organic and in season? The owners also own a beautiful bar named Bitter/Raw and a delicious sandwich and coffee counter called Slab. Each of these locations comes highly recommended. You are sure to have a delicious meal and a wonderful experience here!


If I am in Seattle and feeling like a nice, juicy burger, my go-to stop is Red Mill Burgers! There are two locations of this delicious eatery available to you, and both of them will have a line out the door if you hit the timing right. Red Mill Burgers offers a large variety of flame-grilled burgers with every topping imaginable. They even offer vegetarian options and a few different chicken sandwich options. Family owned and operated, Red Mill is a friendly and vibrant burger joint. They were even named on the list of the Top 20 Burgers You Must Eat Before You Die on the Oprah Show and in GQ magazine! Sounds like eating here is a necessity!


Heading in a completely different direction, one of the most raved about bakeries in all of Seattle is Bakery Nouveau. Chef William Leaman has won numerous prestigious awards and been feature in so many dining publications that there are too many to count. Bakery Nouveau offers two locations, one in West Seattle and one on Capitol Hill, with the decadent smells traveling outside the bakery for blocks. Each location offers a large variety of breads, chocolates and other delicious sweets such as French macarons, cookies and even sweet and savory breakfast pastries. If you have a sweet tooth, this is a must-see place for you!


Looking for something a little different? While Dough Zone Dumpling House is a small chain of restaurants, they serve some of the best Chinese comfort food in all of Washington State. Offering a large variety of dumplings and noodle dishes, this unique eatery will have you craving more locations so that you can go anytime!


This is only a small selection of our favorite restaurants in Seattle. There are literally hundreds of wonderful places to eat anywhere you go. The thing about Seattle is there is a beautiful mix of cultures and flavors all over the city. If you ever get the chance to visit, we hope that you find our lists useful on your travels!


Things To Do in Seattle

Kelly McCombs - Friday, August 19, 2016


The last city we visited on our travel adventures was San Francisco. We thought, why not head on up the coast and check out Seattle? Located on Puget Sound in Washington State, Seattle is surrounded by thousands of acres of parkland, which is why it is dubbed the “Emerald City”. It has an eclectic and cultured scene with a variety of things to see and do, perfect for everyone in the family.


The most iconic image of Seattle has to be the Space Needle. Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is an observation tower that overlooks the Seattle skyline and the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, including Mount Rainier. Visitors reach the top of the needle by elevators and can stand out on the observation deck to take in the breathtaking views. The Space Needle also has a restaurant at the top, called SkyCity Restaurant. If you want to impress someone, take them here. The views are some of the best on the West Coast!


If you are looking to get away from the hub-bub of the city, take a stroll through Seattle’s Arboretum. This is an absolutely gorgeous place to take a break from the world. Nooks and crannies abound in this delightful mix of gardens, pathways, streams and bridges. Your mind is sure to relax and forget your troubles in a place like this! The Arboretum is gorgeous at any time of year, as new and different plants will be blooming, the leaves will be changing, and the snow will make it look like a fairytale. One of my personal favorite places!


If you happen to be in Seattle on a hot, sunny day (sometimes a rarity in rainy Seattle), head on over to the International Fountain. Located in Seattle Center, this is another piece of architecture that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It was completely remodeled in 1995 to make it much safer and child-friendly. Now, children (and adults!) can play in the bowl of the fountain and even walk right up to it. Make sure to bring your bathing suit to enjoy this Seattle mainstay!


If you’re in the mood to peruse fresh veggies, beautiful flowers and other unique handmade and grown items, Pike Place Market is a must-see. This market boasts being the longest continually operating public market in the entire country! If you are looking for some fresh fish, there is no better place to buy some. Watch your head as you go through the fish market. You might see fish flying above it! Even if you don’t want to buy any fish, it is still worth the trip to the fish market to see the fish mongers throw huge fish in the air to one another. The entertainment factor alone is worth it! You could spend hours at this market looking at the thousands and thousands of different items. There are even a few restaurants if you wanted a break from walking.


Our final stop on our tour of Seattle is the Woodland Park Zoo. Originally a private collection of animals on the estate of Guy C. Phinney in the late 1800’s, the city took over the collection and estate upon his death. The zoo has a vast array of exhibits and ranks second to New York’s Bronx Zoo in the number of exhibit awards received from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. There are over 300 different animal species on the 92 acres that the zoo encompasses. It is open to the public every day of the year except Christmas. If you have children, this would be a fun place to explore. Fun and educational, all at the same time!


These are just a few of the wonderful places to see on your visit to Seattle. This city is so full of life and culture, it is one that everyone should take some time to see. Stay tuned next week, when we talk about some of our favorite eateries in Seattle!


Local Outdoor Activities

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 29, 2016

                                                         Photo Credit: Leah Carter

Now that summer is in full swing, why not take full advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside for some fun summer activities? We have compiled a list of some local attractions that are best visited during the warm summer months!


First on the list is Six Flags Great Escape! This has always been one of my very favorite places to go during the summer, ever since I was a kid. You can’t beat all of the fun roller coasters and other rides. They even have a water park which is perfect for those hot summer days. Great Escape is fun for all ages! Located just a few miles north of Saratoga in Queensbury, this theme park has over 135 rides, shows and attractions. Make sure to take a ride on The Comet, the wooden roller coaster towards the back of the park. This is my personal favorite! Great Escape is the perfect place to make memories with your family and friends!


If you will be in the Lake George area around September 8th-11th and you love classic cars, make sure to check out the Adirondack Nationals Car Show. This show is the highlight of the season for all of the regular car show guys and gals and is known for showcasing some of the best classic cars and hot rods in the area. There is nothing quite like walking through the aisles of cars and imagining the good old days. They sure don’t make them like they used to! This show features food vendors, automotive vendors, and a nightly cruise in, just to name a few of the exciting things that you'll see!


If you are in the mood to take in some beautiful sights, head on down to Thatcher State Park for some hiking. There are different difficulty levels on the various trails, so don’t worry if you are not an experienced hiker. Thatcher Park provides some of the most splendid views of the Hudson-Mohawk valleys and the Adirondack and Greene Mountains, so this is one place that you will not want to miss. The park also offers picnic areas, volleyball courts, baseball fields and playgrounds. Perfect for the whole family!


If you are more on the daring and adventurous side, you should check out Adirondack Extreme in Bolton Landing. This adventure course offers 1.5 miles of aerial adventures such as rope swings, zip lines, and bridges. Not for the faint of heart, however they do offer different course levels and you can exit the courses at any time. They are open from April through November and reservation are strongly recommended. If you are looking to add some adventure into your life, this is certainly the place to find it!


This is just a small taste of some of the fun, outdoor activities that the Saratoga area has to offer. Take some time this weekend, get outside, and enjoy this beautiful summer!



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