As much as I love Schenectady (not quite my hometown but definitely the city I grew up with) and as much as I have grown to love Albany (my working place for the past five years) I must say that Troy is still the liveliest, most charming of the Tri-Cities, and never is it more charming than on the day of the annual Victorian Stroll. Once a year, the streets are closed, the shops are opened, and thousands (this year, perhaps two tens of thousands) of people converge on downtown, wander around the stores, boutiques, restaurants and historic homes. There is music and morris dancing, Father Christmas and Newfoundlands, more hot cider than you can possibly imagine, dozens of people in Victorian garb, and all kinds of wonderful things to do. But mostly it’s just an opportunity to mill around on an almost-winter day (and this year it was sunny and very warm), think about the Christmas season that is just beginning, enjoy roasted chestnuts and Christmas cookies, and take it all in. Unlike Schenectady, where the downtown is just starting to breathe again, and Albany, where all we have are bars and restaurants, Troy has a wonderful mix – boutiques, galleries, antiques stores, and of course the restaurants that have sustained Troy for years, but also a violin store, a piano store, little specialty shops, and even a new used record store – and who opens a used record store these days? You could ask the same question of bookstores, but there’s a great new(ish) bookstore now, too. With the Arts Center of the Capital District as an anchor in Monument Square, the redevelopment of the Stanley’s building just a few blocks away, you’ve got a very solid working downtown that should continue to grow.
Even without the stroll, it would have been one of the busiest weekends, ever. ALL of us had works on display in galleries this weekend – necessitating an unprecedented bout of framing last week. That was weird and cool. There was the usual shuttling for Nutcracker rehearsals. There was an eighth-grade dance, and an eighth-grade movie outing. There was a pancake breakfast and dinner out and last night there was just plain exhaustion. Another weekend like this one might just do me in.
’Tisn’t quite the season, by the way – it’s finally turning cold, but we’ve had NO snow whatsoever since a mild blanketing back in, when, October? Millions of dollars worth of ski equipment gathering dust in the garage – our home mountain, Mount Snow, is barely even open. Please bring me some snow, Santa!