I would like to thank one of my great followers for pointing out that I needed a ‘follow me’ button on my new blog http://juliejourneys.com/ for fellow WordPress users!

If you still want to see my posts in your reader section please follow me at my new domain :), lots of new posts there already, and many more to come.

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Friends and Followers I have some exciting news!
I love writing about all of the places that I hike, eat, and visit to share with you all, and especially post pictures. I actually post so many pictures that I have reached my media limit for WordPress. So I have a new domain name where all of my posts have moved and I will continue blogging from here on out. If you enjoy reading my blog please continue to follow me at my new site where the journey continues:


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Mr. Pio Pio

We very rarely get take out, conditions have to be just right. We were going away for the weekend so the pantry was bare, and we didn’t have enough time to sit down at a restaurant and also pack our bags. We drove through Albany’s student ghetto to visit Mr. Pio Pio, and a delicious meal was handed to us in a heavy plastic bag. The food was still nice and hot when we got back to our place, and boy was there a lot of it. We got a side of rotisserie chicken which had a lot of succulent white meat in it, a very delicious tamale, and the grande feast which came with three meats and sides.

IMG_1264All of this delicious authentic food for just over $20, we were totally stuffed and satisfied. The restaurant space itself looked nice to sit down in as well, if we had the time!


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Great Flats nature trail & Cella Bistro in Schenectady

It’s been a rough couple of days in my apartment, between school, work, and both of us having a cold everything seemed to pile up! We’ve still managed to have some fun though, and also celebrate our 6-year anniversary. It was on a workday and with sunlight dwindling everything feels a bit rushed. We smoothly made our way to Great Flats nature trail in Schenectady. I don’t know what I was expecting from this trail but it was exceeded. It was such a quiet pretty sunset hike, didn’t meet another human soul. The leaves were mostly still burnt and beautiful on the trees.

IMG_1354Birds were going wild in the skies and among the cattails. We stopped on a bridge at listened to them rustling about before setting off. The trails were well maintained, there were a few dead ends and they weren’t marked/no trail map but the preserve isn’t huge so we didn’t get lost, just kept going right. In the parking lot there is a little windmill.

IMG_1355Interesting. This is a great gem right in the middle of the city.

After our lovely hike it was time for dinner. We visited Cella Bistro, also in Schenectady, and enjoyed the best meal we have encountered in quite some time. We got there around six and the place was still calm, we sat by a brick wall with candles hanging from it. Our waitress brought us a whole huge chalkboard over with the specials. We weren’t sure how filling everything would be, but managed to order just right. We got three tapas: a jalepeno cornbread waffle with thick bacon on top, thick delicious homemade pasta with chicken and alfredo sauce, a pork slider for Jeff, and an appetizer of perfect seared scallops with truffled mushrooms.

IMG_1356Everything was so perfect. The service, the food, the atmosphere, we were so happy! The bill wasn’t bad at all either, and there was a small parking lot so no street parking to deal with, even though the restaurant is in a quiet part of the city. Couldn’t recommend this place enough!

Absolutely a flawless dining experience, a fine hike, and a wonderful reason so spend an evening together right in Schenectady.



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A museum, a lunch, and a hike in Schoharie County.

Schoharie County  has a plethora of lovely spots to visit. A really great museum is the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center. It has fun interactive science exhibits which show you how energy is created. Next door is the Lansing Manor where you can take a free tour of the estate built in 1819. These museums are great for both kids and adults alike. We had a yummy and filling lunch at the Carrot Barn. You enter a large barn and see lots of produce and country gifts for sale. We headed back to the counter and ordered some sandwiches and snacks. I got an apple turkey sandwich which was on a croissant with cranberry mayo, apples, brie, and lettuce, yum. It was so big it became lunch the next day too. Jeff’s chicken sandwich did not skimp on meat either. We went halfsies on delicious cupcakes: maple pumpkin and carrot cake. The carrot cake was exceptional and had walnuts and raisins in it.


After that we had a really lovely walk through the George Landis Arboretum in Esperance. We had been here once before on a dreary day, however Sunday I saw this place in a whole new light. The arboretum has an abundance of trails; we discovered so many we never set foot on. Lots of plants were marked and there were informational panels so we learned a lot. We particularly enjoyed the Ancient Forest Trail where we walked around and learned about the old growth forest. We also loved the great oak tree. We ran into no one on the trails, and they were very diverse and well maintained.

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The Big Duck

IMG_1097Stumbled upon this big duck while in Long Island. As large as a house and you can go inside and purchase duck memorabilia, I thought the coolest item was a childrens’ book that features the duck itself! I love a good roadside attraction.


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Taconic Sculpture Park

It has been a long rainy week, but we needed it! The waterfall at Thacher was nonexistent last time I visited. I think this weekend is going to be perfect adventuring weather, so what better fun than visiting a quirky sculpture park? I love me some outside art, and we are blessed with a lot of really great art parks: the Circle Museum is small and interesting, Storm King is vast and a bit of a drive, Omi is great and well known, and the Taconic Sculpture Park of Columbia County is funky and relatively off the radar.

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The Taconic is a physically small place that packs a big punch. There are some pieces here that I really enjoyed, particularly some of the large heads.


Many people have seen a large head while driving on the Taconic, and this would be that head. It was a huge mystery to my friends and I when we were young, and debunking it was quite a hoot. The real hoot was discovering I could enter this head, and climb up a ladder, and end up atop the head. So awesome! The views coupled with silly elation were incredible. What fun.


Don’t be surprised if the sculptor himself comes out to say hello to you, this happened to us. He lives on the premises and is quite friendly. This day would pair nicely with a trip to Chatham or apple picking in Columbia County!


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Mado Patissere

I had been looking forward to visiting Mado Patissere in Chatham for some time, and finally got a chance this weekend!

IMG_1231 The hours are elusive online, but there are raving reviews, making this joint quite intriguing to me. The owner declared that the shop is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I will take this as final truth! I got there around noon and she told me the tiny store had just been cleared out and only a few items were left. I was hungry for lunch so I was happy to see cauliflower pizza being taken out of the oven as we spoke.

IMG_1232 It was so beyond sinful, crispy and buttery, but I didn’t stop there. I ordered to pastries a caramelized walnut and a chocolate to split.


They were both jam-packed with flavor soft and dense and delicious and I’m glad this place isn’t closer to Albany because I would have a problem. Fabulously wicked lunch!


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Borden’s Pond and fun in Chatham

Borden’s Pond is a beautiful Columbia county conservation area made up of 1.6 miles of trails. I wasn’t sure if the rain was going to hold out yesterday, so I decided to pick a shorter hike in proximity to other fun things just in case. It only drizzled as we walked around these trails dazzled by fall foliage. We looked out across what I believe used to be Borden’s pond, but now seems more like a meadow. This was a little bird paradise and it was a sight to silently take in.


In the short amount of trails there is some decent up and down which will get your heart pumping, and you may come across a mysterious cabin in the woods. WHAT could be in there?! :).


When you are finished with your hike the quaint town of Chatham is within walking distance! This is a perfect spot for lunch with really great options such as Our Daily Bread and Ralph’s Pretty Good Café. I have never written about Ralph’s, but they are more than pretty good. I’d venture to say they are great. I’ve had coffee and lunch here before which came out quickly and tasty. There are outdoor seats available in the sun or it is nice to score a window seat and look out on to the block. Jeff really enjoyed his cheese steak there yesterday, while I had lunch at Mado Patissere, another fabulous Chatham option right next door. Shopping on the main street is fun too, there are a few kitschy stores to pop in and out of.



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Mrs. London’s

Looking for lunch in Saratoga? Try Mrs. London’s, and make sure you have room for epic dessert. Their sandwiches are premade, some are heated up, some served cold, both I sampled were delish! The smoked chicken Panini was crispy and gooey while the chicken salad was dense and luxurious. While I did love the meal lets be real, I’m a person who is all about dessert. Splitting lunch allows you to have the best of both worlds, I got two different sandwiches and two desserts! I was told I must try the almond croissant here, and oh boy was it ever good. Flakey, buttery, superb-ness.


There was only one Brittany left and though I have never tried one I took that for a good omen. Also delicious, similar to a croissant but with a caramelized twist.


Loved what I got here, would love to try everything on the menu, and I heard their bread is divine as well. A great spot in Saratoga, and affordable as well!


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