Dennis and I decided we wanted a romantic night away from home, but with three kids and busy schedules, we didn’t see how that was going to happen any time soon. And then we had an Aha! moment. We didn’t have to go far to get away. Maybe romance was right around the corner. And so we set out to give ourselves a 16-hour escape only 10 minutes from home.
We booked a room at 74 State, the lovely boutique hotel on State Street in the heart of downtown Albany, and we made reservations at Lombardo’s, one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town. Then we shipped Chiara off to a friend’s house for a sleepover and prepped Olivia and Noah for their first night staying home alone. We put on fancier clothes then usual and headed downtown.
Within minutes we were checked into our cozy “junior suite” with a fireplace and jacuzzi tub. We still had more than an hour before our 7 p.m. reservation, so we walked across the street to North Pearl Street to get a cocktail at The Capital American Eatery and Lounge, a new favorite restaurant.
On the way, we happened upon one of the pianos in the “Play Me I’m Yours” exhibit that is happening through July in downtown Albany. I had to play something, even if it was only Chopsticks. Then someone else came along who could really play, so we enjoyed a little street music. (Dennis also dared me to do a Cher pose atop the piano, which I did, as you have already seen in that top photo.)
We had some perfectly mixed cocktails at Capital — a Manhattan for Dennis, gin and tonic for me — in the quiet restaurant that the Times Union referred to as “meat-packing district style.” If we hadn’t been in the mood for Italian, this would have been a perfect pick for dinner. We’ve had two dinner dates there so far and both times the food has been fantastic.
Finally, we were off to Lombardo’s, which was fabulous, as usual. Fried calamari, a bottle of wine from Sicily, zuppa di pesce for Dennis and shrimp wrapped in proscuitto for me, all topped off with an amazing tiramisu.
74 State is a great option for a quick night away close to home, if you’re in the Capital Region. Although it no longer has a bar or restaurant, they do include a complimentary buffet breakfast. It was pretty basic and I didn’t love the disposable plates and forks, but I did appreciate saving money by not going out for an expensive brunch, which was our original plan. We were a little sorry we hadn’t brought walking shoes because the beautiful weather was perfect for a quick trip over the bridge to the Corning Preserve along the Hudson. Next time. And there will be a next time.