If you want to take abreak from your regular weekend schedule in Williamstown, but don’t want to venture too far, Troy, N.Y. has plenty of venues for students willing to brave the world outside the purple bubble. Just a quick 45-minute drive away on Route 2, the home of Uncle Sam is a little-known destination spot for restless Ephs. Though you may have passed this upstate New York city without a thought on the way to Albany Airport, Troy definitely has much more to offer than what meets the eye. Beyond the decaying buildings lining this historic city lie numerous cultural and culinary treats â€“ you might just have to look a little deeper to find them.
Where to eat
If you’re tired of frequenting the limited cuisine selections on Spring Street, the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market can offer hard-to-find and delicious fare each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There are standard vendors selling produce, jams, relishes and honey, but best of all is the selection of pastries, sandwiches and soups also available at the market. The chocolate croissant ($3) is a must-try offering of the farmer’s market with luscious chunks of dark chocolate nestled amongst the light and fluffy layers of pastry. Though the pastries are undeniably a favorite for visitors, the highlight for most is the Jamaican all-you-can-eat buffet offered by First Choice Caribbean â€“ for just $9 diners can devour a variety of dishes ranging from Jamaican jerk chicken to ital Rastafarian stew. There is even live music provided by local bands and musicians, so you can eat your lunch along the Hudson River waterfront while enjoying some melodious acoustic tunes. Best of all, you can rest easy knowing you’re supporting community growers and chefs, all while gobbling down scrumptious servings of locally-made cuisine.
Where to shop
Within the confines of Williamstown, there are not exactly a variety of locales for students to browse music selections, listen to live music and enjoy the company of other music enthusiasts simultaneously. However, the River Street Beat Shop is a vintage record store that offers a wide array of new and used LPs, CDs, DVDs and even old school VHS tapes amidst Troy’s historic antique district. Visitors to the Beat Shop can stroll down cobblestone streets alongside numerous other vintage storefronts, taking in the sights of the district that also overlooks the scenic Hudson River. Inside, there is plenty to keep music lovers occupied with the seemingly endless and slightly disorganized collection of albums. The Beat Shop is a great place to find good deals of rare and sought-after records, but it may take a little digging to unearth these hidden treasures. On top of that, the store is mostly staffed with local musicians who, aside from assisting customers, also perform to give the store a cozy yet dynamic atmosphere.
What to do
For those looking for a monthly respite from the purple bubble, Troy Night Out, hosted from 5-9 p.m. on the last Friday of each month, provides a lively venue for students to take in the cultural offerings of the upstate New York city. Within the walking distance of Troy’s downtown area, visitors can peruse numerous art galleries, get their latest dose of a much-needed shopping fix and listen to various music performances including jazz, blues and even “rockabilly.” Best of all, there are over 20 participating restaurants in the area (who offer live entertainment and discounts to diners) for those who want to grab a quick bite in between various Troy Night Out events. For the lazy few who cannot fathom walking across the downtown area to enjoy all the sights, there is a Troy Trolley that will take visitors to all the major events and destinations. Though Troy Night Out may not be the cultural epicenter of the Northeast, it certainly provides a change of pace from College life for those who are willing to venture briefly outside the Purple Valley.