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By Jeff Tompkins

Where can you tour an eighteenth-century mansion, admire original paintings from the Hudson River School, and stroll along the Hudson itself, all in one afternoon? Where can you see cutting-edge performance and dance, check out Pop Art from Nelson Rockefeller's celebrated collection, and board an actual Navy ship from World War II, all within a few blocks?

Give up? The answer isn't a major metropolis like Philadelphia or New York—it's Albany NY, the state capital with a lot more going on than just politics. Three hours from either Boston or New York City, Albany makes an ideal weekend getaway: It's a marvelously walkable city that offers an exceptional amount of history and culture within a few square blocks, not to mention a busy nightlife scene that might surprise you.

The wealth of historic architecture all around Albany NY is astounding—very few places, for instance, give a visitor such a strong sense of colonial America's Dutch influences rubbing shoulders with its English heritage. But that's not to suggest this town's glory days are behind it—spend some time in the revitalized downtown and you'll come away feeling that the best is yet to come!

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Finger Lakes Sailing Adventure May-October
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Black Sheep Inn & Spa


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