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Ten Great Summer Dates in the Capital Region

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Ten Great Summer Dates in the Capital Region

Summer Dates, Capital RegionIt’s summer and love is in the air in the Capital Region. But where do you go when you want to have that extra special date? You know what we mean—the one that’s a little out of the ordinary. Here’s 10 great date ideas ranging from romantic to utterly fun to even the infamous blind date, all of them located in or around the Capital Region.

1. The Romantic Date
Thacher Park, Vorheesville

Located a short scenic drive southwest of Albany is the John Boyd Thacher State Park. Controversy spread when the state announced the park would not be open in the 2010 summer season due to budget cuts. Luckily the community rallied around the park and funding was restored. The park boasts several hiking trails, including the Indian Ladder Trail. What’s more romantic than a waterfall? Take a date here with a picnic and be sure to check out the amazing views of the Capital Region and beyond from one of the overlooks.

2. The Exciting Date
Saratoga Race Track, Saratoga

Each summer from late July to early September, the world looks to Saratoga for its thoroughbred horse racing. Feeling lucky? You and your date can compete to see whose horse wins while you spend an exciting day at the races. The race track is also an excuse to get all dressed up in the summertime, complete with a fabulous hat for the ladies and seersucker for the guys. At the end of the day head to Siro’s near the track and spend your winnings on a Mint Julep.

3. The Music Date
Alive at Five, Albany

Especially convenient for those who work in downtown Albany, Alive at Five is a series of free public concerts held at the Corning Preserve every Thursday at 5pm from June 2nd through August 4th. Future acts include a Jimmy Buffet tribute band and Kansas. Here’s an insider tip: buy a bunch of drink tickets on your first visit. You can use them throughout the summer and it cuts down on the amount of lines you have to wait on to get a cool drink in the hot sun.

4. The Fun Date
Hoffman’s Playland, Latham

Call me crazy but any date that involves funnel cake and skeeball is paradise to me. And speaking from experience, Hoffman’s Playland is not just for kids. The free admission is an added bonus. You can get on some rides, pig out, and then hit the arcade. It’s not officially summer until you’ve played miniature golf.

5. The “Cool” Date
Peerless Pool, Saratoga

The Peerless Pool, the larger of Saratoga’s Spa State Park is a football field sized oasis complete with a waterslide. It’s a great place to bring a hot date to cool off. The pool features a zero depth entry which means you can walk right into the water like you’re at the beach. Showers, locker rooms and concessions are available. The pool opens June 25th. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Parking in that section of the park is also $8.

6. The Dinner Date
The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark, Albany

The Wine Bar is always a great place to bring a special date. In the warmer weather you can enjoy fine dining on the back patio. My favorite thing on the menu is the Skirt Steak with an amazing carrot rissotto. Don’t be afraid to ask for wine suggestions from the knowledgeable staff. And don’t forget your wallet. This is surely an intimate place that will impress a date.

7. The 50s Date
Malta Drive-In Theatre, Malta

The Capital Region is lucky enough to have four of the remaining drive-in theatres in the country and hopefully they will be around forever. Travel back in time as you pull up to the Malta Drive-In which looks largely unchanged since it opened in 1949. Besides being an original date idea, the Malta Drive-In is budget friendly—see two summer blockbusters for just $8 a person. Or just pretend to watch the movie, we won’t tell. Don’t forget the bug spray and the camp chairs if you decide to sit outside your car.

8. The Beach Date
Grafton Lake State Park Beach, Grafton

I could easily spend every weekend at Grafton Lake State Park. That is, if I was in the habit of waking up early on Saturdays, packing the car full of beach toys and picnic food and starting the slow crawl on Route 2 in Troy early enough to make the trip worthwhile.  Since I’m not, I relish the few summer days I do make it to the beach and do some excellent people watching. If somehow you get tired of the sandy beach and cool lake surrounded by pine trees, there are also twenty five miles of hiking trails in the park for you and your date to explore. Leave early and bring lots of sunscreen for a fun-filled day at the beach.

9. The Artsy Date

Summer is a great time for a day trip down to the picturesque town of Hudson, about thirty miles south of Albany. Walk down Hudson’s historic Warren Street and check out antique shops and an eclectic mix of stores, art galleries and restaurants (many known for their local fare). After you’re down shopping, head over to the waterfront park and take in views of the Hudson River.

10. The Blind Date
Crisan Bakery & Edible Art Gallery, Albany

Head to the Crisan Bakery on Albany’s Lark Street and you’ll be sure to have a sweet night regardless of your company. Choose from an amazing array of desserts like gelato or fresh pastries. Try to score one of the coveted outdoor tables so you can watch people go by as you break the ice. The great thing about dessert is you can linger as long (or as short) as you want eating it. If things go well, you can walk to one of Lark Street’s several bars to continue the evening.

–Stacey Stump is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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