New York’s Historic Capital
Once home to many of New York’s elites, it’s no surprise that the state’s capital city is home to a number of sites that played important roles in the country’s cultural and political history. There are 57 sites on the National Register of Historic Places and five National Historic Landmarks in the city, including the impressive Ten Broeck Mansion.
Head south from Peru to visit the Federal-style mansion in Albany’s Arbor Hill District. Ten Broeck Mansion was home to some of the city’s prominent figures, including General Abraham Ten Broeck and Thomas Worth Olcott. Today, it serves as a historic house museum that showcases not just its own history but also the history of its several owners and the city itself, documented in its different architectural additions (Greek Revival, for example) and design styles. Take some time to explore the attic, which mostly served as the slaves’ quarters, and the basement, where a surprise awaits. If you’re visiting in the summertime, explore its beautiful, well-tended gardens.
Not far from the mansion is the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, home to Stephen and Harriett Myers. Stephen, who was himself a slave in his youth, was one of the most important leaders of the Underground Railroad and the Abolitionist Movement in the area, and it was he and his wife who were the point people in Albany, assisting runaway slaves as they made their way through Albany. Their brick townhouse still stands today; and although it is still very much under renovation, it is available for visits. Stop by with the kids and learn about how this power couple spent nearly three decades dedicating their lives to the cause.
To really understand the Abolitionist Movement, you must learn about the beginnings of slavery. TheCrailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer, New York, is a great place to start. Originally owned by Dutch-American Hendrick Van Rensselaer, the manor is now a museum. It not only showcases the lives of Dutch immigrants in the new world, it also currently houses an exhibit called A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World, which talks about how the Dutch brought and sold slaves to the Americas as part of the Triangular Slave Trade.
Hilton Albany in Downtown Albany is a modernist family-friendly hotel that features deluxe furnishings to make your family stay in Albany not just comfortable but also luxurious. Newly renovated, the hotel features spacious guest rooms with great views of the city, complementary WiFi, and a heated indoor pool.
Restaurant suggestions: Stop at Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen for lunch for some hearty Southern style cooking. Owner and chef Kizzy’s fried chicken, barbecue pork ribs, macaroni salad and corn bread are the perfect energy boosts to continue your family’s educational tour of Albany. For dinner, Jack’s Oyster House serves amazing steak and seafood dishes. Be sure to call to make a reservation.