Friday, June 2, 2017

Driving Across New York

This morning we were up early and getting things ready to leave Niagara Falls and Canada. And today is my birthday. Our plan is to drive across New York and make our way to Albany. So about 6:30am we caught a shuttle from the hotel to our car and then we headed to the border crossing. There wasn't any traffic and we drove straight to the booth.
The border agent asked us two questions, looked at our passports and waved us through. Once over the border we headed to I90 and then headed east. I90 is a toll road and part of the New York State Thruway system. One of the things I liked about this road was the rest areas (or travel plazas) along the way. They were all inclusive - meaning they had restaurants, gas stations, stores, coffee, bathrooms and information. Anything you needed, not having to worry about where the next gas station might be.

Once we had maneuvered all the roads and arrived on I90 we decided to look for a place for breakfast. We noticed a sign for a Denny's and we headed there. After getting something to eat and then filling the car with gas we got back on I90 and continued our drive.
Near Port Byron we pulled off the thruway at the Erie Canal Heritage Park at Port Byron. We met the nicest woman who gave us a lot of history and information about the canal and the area. Then we explored some locks that are still intact. After about an hour we got back on the road and continued our trip.  We drove for a while and made our next stop at the Guilderland Travel Plaza. Our main reason for stopping was to find a letterbox and you can read about that at A Rest and A Box. While here we also got some coffee and then continued on our way. Finally, we arrived in Albany and in plenty of time to go and take a tour of the State Capitol. We wanted to arrive early enough to take the tour since the Capitol is closed on the weekends. Once we were near the Capitol finding a parking spot was a challenge - thankfully someone pulled away from a  parking meter and we grabbed it.

Once on the Capitol grounds we walked around the building and took some pictures and then headed inside.
After going through security we made our way to the information desk and asked about the tours. There was a tour starting in the next 30 minutes so until then we went to the gift shop and got some postcards and then returned to the information desk. Just before the tour started I got my Capitol stamp and then we met the other three people that were joining the tour - two of the other three were from Albuquerque - 'small world'. Our tour guide was an incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining man. The tour lasted about an hour and 15 minutes and we got to see all the important areas, artwork and features. This Capitol building is one of my favorites - beautiful. classic and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed our tour and it was worth our drive across New York to visit.
It was about 4:00pm when we left the Capitol area and headed for our hotel. We had reservations at a Hampton Inn off of Wolf Road in the northwest part of the city. So we got to the hotel and checked in and then got settled into our room. About an hour later we walked next door to the Warehouse Grill & BBQ for some dinner. After eating we returned to the hotel and relaxed. Now I need to get some rest. It has been a long day and we are both tired and thankfully we don't have to be up early. It was a good birthday and we had a great time and we look forward to our weekend in Albany.

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