Getting Filled in the Falls

This is about a trip to Glens Falls, NY, and not a continuation of my klutziness. From Jan. 26 to 28, I was headed to the city for work purposes. during another weekend of upstate frigid temps and a determined wind chill.

Leaving early was purposeful — to get a head start on possible inclement weather and vehicular traffic. Plus, this proved to be a great excuse to enjoy my time while on the road.

Schenectady

The first stop was in Schenectady — a city I mastered spelling about 18 years ago — to visit the college roommate who put up with me for four whole years. It gave us a moment to catch up, and I got to actually talk to his wife and meet her for real instead of in passing, like the first time a few years ago at a Mumford & Sons concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). And I also got to meet their baby, who definitely at a handful of months old shows a more than a bit of Bill’s sense of humor.

We grabbed lunch at Bountiful Bread in Stuyvesant Plaza, 1475 Western Ave., which is a great bakery and eatery. If Syracuse-born Brooklyn Pickle and CoreLife Eatery had a baby, this could be a legitimate offspring. There is a hint of Panera in there, too, but there is no need to go all Maury Povich paternity test episode on the case.

Bountiful Bread sandwich of the day. [Photo by C. Malone]

The delicious wheat bread really did hold everything together for this daily special. The turkey, apples, and mustard were a perfect combination — and it’s, of course, what caught my eye after having a hard time narrowing down something from the menu. The chips and pickle were proud to side the sammy as a great support system.

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is always a necessary pit stop when it’s not a destination. The notable horseracing city in upstate New York has a special place in my heart for really no specific reason. I’ve enjoyed newspaper conferences and concerts in the city. The park is a wonderful area, and the time I walked the unique, picturesque, and somewhat eerie property of the Roosevelt Baths & Spa was especially captivating.

The less than subtle wind pushed lightly falling snow in several directions, in a chaotic fashion that winter day in January. I walked around with my cap on and coat collar up while hopping to different shops, especially the bibliophilic Northshire Bookstore, 424 Broadway, and Lyrical Ballad Bookstore, 7 Phila St.

After indulging in wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling mazes of books, a blueberry muffin and shot of espresso was enjoyed from Uncommon Grounds, 402 Broadway, before heading off to Glens and Hudson Falls to check into my Airbnb. I don’t remember ever going to the quaint village before, but the stay was inexpensive and actually a great experience.

Hudson Falls

The village wears its heart on its sleeve more than Syracuse does. The drive in was a dreary one, and the overcast skies and soft snowfall weren’t helping. The next morning, however, I was literally and figuratively looking at Hudson Falls and its upstate New York small town charm in a different light — a sunlit one.

As recommended by Bill, I hit up Davidson Brothers Brewing Company for dinner. However, this didn’t happen until later that night, and I enjoyed the meal practically right before it closed.

Why is that?

Queensbury

Oh, because I left my blazer, dress shirt, and tie back home. Despite having to run errands to TJ Maxx and Target, the plaza in Queensbury proved to be quite convenient.

Glens Falls

Davidson Brothers Brewing, 184 Glen St., is a two-floor high establishment. The majority of the interior is brick, which gives off a great sense of its history. One tidbit — this location once housed a men’s and boy’s clothing store called Coolidge & Lee and Erlanger’s.

The bartender and my server, Keith, gave insight into the building, the owners, the solid and liquid offerings, the chef, and a little around town suggestions. He’s someone you’d want on the front line of hospitality.

The Davidson Brothers’ menu has a variety of dishes, small plates to entrees and everything in between, and they cater to different diets. Despite going with an old faithful pub staple, their Smoke & Spice Burger ($13.99), the burger was delicious. The meat tasted fresh, the amount of heat from the cherry pepper relish was perfect, and the smoked gouda is always welcomed. The chef cooked it a perfect medium rare, too.

Kieth noted their chef’s philosophy, and I’m paraphrasing, is that if an establishment can’t cook something simple like a burger … what else can’t they do correctly?

The flight of Davidson’s liquid offerings showcased their beers as pretty solid. The brewery has several varieties they offer. Although the crafts aren’t overly adventurous to really grab the attention of the common snobby hipster, these are solid brews.

Plus, they offer cask beer.

I also briefly checked out Common Roots Brewing Company, a suggestion from my brother. I’ve enjoyed their Shadow Figures porter at The Evergreen, so I was curious to see what else they offered.

The descriptions of the brews at Common Roots come off more adventurous than Davidson’s, but, again, both places are high on the quality scale.

The staff and owners were very friendly. I struck up a conversation with a guy named Alex, who hails from Florida. He was in town for work, which deals with power plants.

Breakfast that Monday morning was enjoyed at Samantha’s Café and Catering, 193 Glen St. It was the first place that popped up on my Google search — kudos to their SEO — and, to cut to the chase, lived up to its hype.

The restaurant-cafe has a history of over 30 years in Glens Falls, and has consistently been woman-owned and managed. The homemade items on the menu cater to omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans; plus, there are plenty of gluten-free options. (And Samantha’s also caters a variety of events.)

I was able to chat with the current and former owners, Elizabeth “Bea” Morin and Liz Wilcox, who were incredibly hospitable. The spacious cafe is definitely treated like its a home, and it boasts a comfortable atmosphere.

I opted for a light breakfast — the bananas foster oatmeal with a side of fruit medley. The oatmeal came out in two warm squares, plus a side of maple syrup. Add in the cup of coffee, and the meal made for a perfectly sized brekkie.

Another aspect to note is Samantha’s community involvement. Although I don’t know the full extent of their involvement, that Monday morning individuals from either the local ARC organization or maybe a private living organization for adults with disabilities, came in to help out with daily tasks of cleaning and organizing. This is absolutely commendable in my book.

I definitely filled my mind and stomach over the course of a day (and maybe a quarter?). This included my meeting at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council (LARAC) and a brief exploration of the aesthetically pleasing Queensbury Hotel.

We ordered lunch from Rock Hill Bakehouse, which specializes in fresh bread among other food options. It’s another eatery that is very food-focused, which is explained through their mission and menu. It’s an extensive menu that caters to a variety of diets and all the food options made decision making a tough one. However, I went for their hearty signature sandwich “The Farmhouse,” which featured smoked chicken salad and Havarti cheese on their farm bread.

The Farmhouse from Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe [Photo by C. Malone]

I can’t wait to head back to the area and check out some more.

beer culture food Glens Falls road trip Saratoga Springs Schenectady travel

Christopher S. Malone View All →

I play with words and invisible objects.

A mind, a pen and a piece paper have the best relationship ever.

---

"Remember this--if you shut your mouth, you have your choice."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

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