Capital Region Living Magazine

Capital Region “Bestie” Awards

By Vikki Moran & Beth Krueger

Bold-Denotes Winner
Italic-Denotes Runner-up


Evening anchor (Tie)
Lydia Kulbida and John Gray
Two experienced newscasters from WTEN tied in our readers’ poll—Lydia Kulbida and John Gray. Both have been honored with broadcasting awards. Our readers appreciate them on-air as anchors and for their work on stories impacting and involving the Capital Region. Both are dedicated volunteers with area community organizations. Lydia is described as a working mom, grad school student, dancer and foodie, in addition to her news roles. John is celebrating 25 years of television and is a columnist in area publications also, chosen by our readers as this years “bestie” in the journalist category.

Morning anchor
Phil Bayly, Subrina Dhammi and Paul Caiano – WNYT
We’re not surprised that WNYT morning anchor team Phil Bayly, Subrina Dhammi and Paul Caiano repeated their win in this category. In addition to great presentation of the latest news and weather and their combined experience, they have super synergy—and that’s a fine way for Capital Region viewers to start the day.

Steve Caporizzo - WTEN
Steve Caporizzo, who has been WTEN’s Chief Meteorologist since 1989, has seen and analyzed a lot of Capital Region weather. And our readers have confidence in his forecasts. They also appreciate his collaborations with the community, visiting numerous schools to educate young people about meteorology and his work with shelters and his Pet Connections segments to aid homeless animals.

WGNA 107.7
Who isn't into country music nowadays? Just about everywhere you turn you hear it and everywhere you look you see stars that are as popular as those in pop. WGNA heads the list this year with outstanding radio personalities, contests and, of course, the wildly popular Countryfest held each year with some of the biggest and the best of country music.

WAMC FM 90.3
The moniker of WAMC is your news, your radio. How true that is! Northeast broadcast radio serves parts of seven different states in the Northeast. My personal favorite broadcast, and I'm sure one many who voted for WAMC loves as well, is The Roundtable. It airs every weekday between 9 and 11 with great interviews and very insightful information. I have to say I would never read as many interesting titles if not for the Roundtable. Nerdy? No. Intelligent and interesting? Yes.

Paul Vandenburgh
Talk 1300 AM
Paul, like many radio personalities popular throughout our country, is often controversial but never ever boring. Paul loves this area and his loyal listeners and it is apparent. He brings the latest troubles to the light and offers opinions that you will either love or not. His interviews are always insightful from wherever you stand on local issues.

John Gray

A perennial favorite of our readers and why not. He writes our “last page” column each month to the delight of many.  I love to watch people read Capital Region Living magazine.  It is often read from back to front. Why?  John Gray's column!  We love your work, John, both on and off the air.

Rodger Wyland
NewsChannel 13
Another perennial winner in our readers’ poll. His knowledge and genuine enthusiasm are unmatched to date.  I propose a new on-air game—“Pick a sport and try to stump Rodger game.” It could be good but, trust me, I doubt anyone would ever beat Rodger.


Mirror Lake Inn
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid
Travel and Leisure, Condé Nast, National Geographic Traveler and Capital Region Living magazines all agree: If you're heading to Lake Placid and you want understated luxury, a world class spa and fantastic food, there really is only one place to go—Mirror Lake Inn. The Weinbrecht family has been showing the way to Adirondack bliss for many years. Obviously, we are following their path to the door of the Mirror Lake Inn.

Friends Lake Inn
963 Friends Lake Road, Chestertown

The Sagamore
110 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing 

B & B (within 3 hours of the Region)
Mirror Lake Inn
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid
Our readers are consistent folks, for sure.  Once again, their votes for the best in the B & B category is the gorgeous Mirror Lake Inn.  Relaxing, breathtaking scenery awaits your visit there.

Mariaville Lake B & B
Mariaville Road and Batter Street, Mariaville Lake

Tied with: 
Friends Lake Inn
963 Friends Lake Road, Chestertown 

 The English Garden Bed & Breakfast At The Ellice Sanders Home
205 Union Street, Schenectady

Bike/Hike Trail
A trip, short or long, on the Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail provides a combination of every-changing scenery riverside with a sense of history following the Erie Canal towpath and former railroad grades of the area's first transportation routes.  Starting in Pattersonville, going through the Stockade in Schenectady and to Albany’s Riverfront Park, the trail is one of the longest paved rail-trails in the United States. It’s part of the statewide Canalway Trail from Buffalo to Albany.

Explore the history and arts of this great town that sits majestically on Otsego Lake. "America's Most Perfect Village" has it all—The Farmers Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, The Baseball Hall of Fame, world class golfing and a wonderful opera season at Glimmerglass. Why go anywhere else, our readers ask!

Lake Placid 

Lake George

Saratoga National Golf Club
458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs 

Saratoga National is a beautiful award-winning public course with amenities and a top-notch course to play that most private courses would love to own.  Our readers feel that the ambiance is unparalleled.  They also took note of the food options and setting as the very best in the area.

Capital Hills at Albany
65 O'Neil Road, Albany

Tied with:
Van Patten Golf Club
924 Main Street, Clifton Park

 Schenectady Municipal Golf Course
400 Oregon Avenue, Schenectady

Albany Country Club
300 Wormer Road, Voorheesville
Traditional and full family oriented activities at the same time.  A beautiful setting greets the lucky members of this wonderful club. The club has a long history of gracious hospitality.

Schuyler Meadows Club
17 Schuyler Meadows Club Road, Loudonville 

 Wolferts Roost Country Club
120 Van Rensselaer Boulevard, Albany

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center
56 Game Farm Road, Delmar
“Explore the path to outdoor learning,” Five Rivers invites us. Our readers have taken up that invitation and tell us how glad they are that they hiked the Center’s more than 10 miles trails set in fields and forests, and along wetlands. Nature abounds and visitors come away fit and refreshed with a sense of tranquility and knowledge from exploring the sights and sounds of this year-round living museum.

Capital Region Hotel
Albany Renaissance
144 State Street, Albany
Cozy yet upscale and modern while embracing Albany history; attentive staff, awesome rooms and great bar area. That’s what’s being said about the Albany Renaissance, opened in 2015 downtown on the site of the old DeWitt Clinton Hotel. The Hotel combines old world charm, handsome dark wood paneling and marble floors, with modern touches of convenience and flare. A recipient of 2015 New York State Historic Preservation Award.  Our readers say tops in the Capital Region hotel category.

The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center,
660 Albany Shaker Road, Albany

Gideon Putnam, 
24 Gideon Putnam Road, Saratoga Springs

Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz 
Unique in every detail, this historic American resort hotel located on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County has something for the entire family to enjoy. The Mohonk Mountain House is still family owned and operated today.  Whether it is a romantic weekend or a family vacation, our readers think that you just can’t go wrong here.

Buttermilk Falls Inn
220 North Road, Milton

YMCA Camp Chingachgook
1872 Pilot Knob Road, Kattskill Bay
Camp Chingachgook’s summer programs offer lots of options, from camper experiences to relationship-building skills. The campers form friendships that often last well beyond the summer and gain the lasting self-confidence that comes with their newly found interpersonal skills. 

JMU 4 Kids

YMCA Adventure Camp
5928 State Farm Road, Guilderland

Brookview Station 
1297 Brookview Station Road, Castleton 
Is there any reason to doubt Brookview Station’s status as a “Bestie” in our readers’ poll? Not with wines like Whistle-Stop White, a Semi-dry Apple Wine that was awarded The Cornell Cup in 2007 Best Wine of the Hudson River Region competition, as well as a Gold Medal in NY Wine & Food Classic of the 2008 Gold Medal Int’l Eastern Wine Competition, plus Sunset Charlie, a blended Rose that won a silver Medal in September 2011 HVWGA Competition.

Hudson-Chatham Winery
1900 State Route 66, Ghent
Columbia County’s first winery certainly has been winning praise and awards from the beginning. History is very important to this husband and wife team—history of the region and the land, from the history of the valley to the history of their farmstead, to the history of the individual vines they grow.

Saratoga Winery
462 Route 29 Saratoga Springs

Altamont Vineyard & Winery
3001 Furbeck Road, Altamont 

The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom
Route 9, Lake George   
This is one category that we apparently let the kids vote for as the resounding answer would always be the same—The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom.  It has been a long time since this area’s gem was Storytown but the allure for families is still astounding.

Saratoga State Park
19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs

Bethlehem Town Pool
261 Elm Avenue, Delmar

Washington Park
Borders Madison Avenue, Albany  Washington Park in Albany is the city's premier park and the site of many festivals and gatherings. As public property, it dates back to the city charter in 1686.  Strolling, laying the sun or enjoying some festival music, this is our readers’ fav!

John Boyd Thatcher Park
1 Hales Cave Road, Voorheesville 
Thacher State Park is located 15 miles southwest of Albany  near Voorheesville on State Route 157. Mostly atop the Helderberg Escarpment, the park has several hiking trails and many picnic spots that offer panoramic views of the Green Mountains in Vermont and the Taconic Mountains. Tell me, where else offers so much beauty for a picnic spot?

50 Simmons Lane, Albany 
Sky Zone is an indoor trampoline park. On a rainy day, your kids obviously love “fun fitness.”  There are trampolines as far as the eye can see and kids jumping for joy to be there (pardon the pun).

Old Daley on Crooked Lake
2339 NY Route 43, Averill Park
The very historic Crooked Lake House offers the charming setting of a lakeside estate, yet preserves the glamorous feel and comfortable indulgences of what the owners refer to as the “Rat Pack” era. A reception here would, of course, come with the wonderful food known to be the staple of Old Daley Catering. Charm, elegance, history and outstanding food!

Appel Inn
590 NY Route 146, Altamont

Saratoga National Golf Club
458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs

Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid
To escape with your loved one to a truly romantic experience is what this category is all about. At the MLI you can enjoy accommodations in one of many stunning rooms or suites with four-poster king-sized beds, areas to enjoy a nice bottle of wine and a world class spa.  All this with Mirror Lake and the Adirondack high peaks as the backdrop.

Longfellows Hotel & Conference Center
500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs

The Inn at Stockbridge
30 East Street, Stockbridge

Gore Mountain
793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek
Gore has 109 trails, boasts 2,537 vertical feet, and is home to the most skiable acreage in New York for good reason—it has all of that and more.  Families flock on weekends to enjoy skiing at all levels of this vast terrain.

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort
37 Corey Road, Hancock, MA

Whiteface Mountain
5021 NYS Route 86, Wilmington

Longfellows Hotel and Conference Center
500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs
Minutes from the excitement of Saratoga Springs yet tucked away in a private setting is Longfellows’ very spacious guest rooms, luxurious lofts and expansive suites.  An award-winning wine list and fantastic food also are available at the property’s restaurant. This is a great pick by our readers anytime of the year, not just during the Saratoga racing season.

The Gideon Putnam
24 Gideon Putnam Road, Saratoga Springs

The Inn at Saratoga
231 Broadway, Saratoga Springs

The Dorset Inn
8 Church St, Dorset, VT
The Dorset Inn has been around for 219 years!  While the historical beauty cannot go unobserved, it is the hospitality, fabulous rooms and the award-winning food and wine that played a huge part in why our readers feel the Dorset is the best. Experience neighboring Vermont this way and you just may move!

The Woodstock Inn and Resort
14 The Green, Woodstock  VT
A truly New England experience in the heart of possibly the most charming city on earth.  Many of the rooms have fireplaces, sitting areas and large comfy beds. Winner of many hospitality awards, this Inn/Resort is a must-do!


County fairs
Saratoga County Fair
162 Prospect Street, Ballston Spa
Readers are already anticipating the sights and sounds of the 2016 fair July 19-24 – the 175th. Remembering summertime fun in past years has become a summer tradition for generations. This classic fair offers a mix of grandstand and live music entertainment, rodeo and other competitions, midway rides, pageants, animal displays, games, educational presentations and “guilty pleasure” food—something for all ages.

Altamont County Fair
129 Grand, Altamont

Schaghticoke Fair 
69 Stillwater Bridge Road, Schaghticoke  

Children's museum
15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady 
MiSci (Museum of Innovation & Science) says all of its exhibits, programs, and events are designed with its mission in mind: to inspire people to celebrate and explore science and technology, past, present, and future. And our readers tell us there is always something cool to learn and explore for all ages and families at this museum, whether it be star gazing at the planetarium, joining the crew of scientists and engineers in a simulated space mission at the Challenger Learning Center, or visiting the many exhibits.

Children's Museum of Science and Technology
250 Jordan Road, Troy

Saratoga Children’s Museum
69 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs

NY State Museum Cultural Education Center
260 Madison Avenue, Albany
The State Museum is one of the places that you visit time and again, – and you introduce new generations to the fun and discoveries. Step into the Adirondack wilderness, go back to Harlem of the 1920s, learn about stoneware, experience earthquakes, count all the bird species in New York, examine fire equipment over the years, and more, as well as programs and activities, such as CANstruction, where teams build creative sculpture from cans.  And yes, for those who visited the museum on school trips over the years and became a fan of the Cohoes mastodon, excavated in 1866, he’s still there to greet you.

Albany Institute of History & Art
125 Washington Avenue, Albany 

15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady 

Concert hall
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
30 Second Street, Troy
Capital Region residents are glad that, back in 1870, Troy Savings Bank decided to build a stunning music hall on the second floor of its new facilities. And we continue to enjoy the fantastic and world renowned acoustics of this hall, which is in use 150 days in a year, staging orchestral and chamber music, as well as jazz, folk, blues, and more.

Fund-raising event
Whiskers Animal Benevolent League
Whiskers is a volunteer-run animal shelter that pledges that they will be there for every cat and kitten taken in for their entire lives if need be. In our poll, readers tell us that the Whiskers’ fund raiser supporting its free-roaming shelter and foster program is, well, simply p-u-r-r-fect.  With event themes like Kitty Glitter and, Purresidential Silent Auction where you vote for your favorite shelter cat-tidate, you’re smiling before you even enter the door.

Taste of Albany
Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless
176 Sheridan Avenue, Albany

Friehofer Run for Women

Live music venue
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
30 Second Street, Troy
Capital Region readers shout “bravo” again to Troy Music Hall as a live music venue to enjoy a variety of genres (and great acoustics of the hall).

Saratoga Performing Arts Center
108 Avenue of the Pines, 
Saratoga Springs

297 West Street, Lenox

Movie theatre
Spectrum 8 (a Landmark Theatre)
290 Delaware Avenue, Albany
There’s something personal about seeing a movie at the Spectrum, operated by Landmark Theatres since November 2015. A Capital Region fixture since opening in 1983, this is the place to see top Hollywood movies, first-run independent and foreign language features, and attend special events such as showings accompanied by conversations with filmmakers.  Even the snacks, like hot cocoa and cake, say film as an art form.

Outdoor summer venue
Saratoga Race Track
267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs
There’s nothing like a visit to the Saratoga Race Track – horse-watching, people-watching, the atmosphere, being part of a tradition and, our readers tell us, the go-to outdoor summer venue, whether you pack a picnic and find your favorite table under the trees, cheer from the grand stands or dine at a linen-covered table. Stroll the grounds, meet a jockey, pat a horse, visit booths, have a snack or more, and start the day with breakfast at the track. Attendance topped 1 million last year. 

297 West Street, Lenox

Saratoga Performing Arts Center
108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs

Seasonal event
Saratoga Thoroughbred Season Saratoga Race Track
267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs
Before we know, we will hear that familiar phrase, “And they’re off.” The 148th meet starts July 22. Our readers, who also named the Race Course as the top summer outdoor venue, are counting the days.

Capital Lights in the Park
Washington Park

NY in Bloom
NY State Museum Cultural Education Center
260 Madison Avenue, Albany

Albany Symphony
19 Clinton Avenue, Albany
Our readers knew that the Albany Symphony is a gem, long before the orchestra won a Grammy in 2014 and was nominated again this year. The ASO brings the audience great classics, features legendary soloists, introduces new artists and new compositions, presents wonderfully innovative children’s concerts that create new generations of listeners, and takes its talent into the schools. The symphony has just introduced its new season, which includes Yo-Yo-Ma and world premieres.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center
108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs 

Theatre plays/musicals
432 State Street, Schenectady
Proctors and plays/musicals; Of course, our readers say. It’s like that old Sinatra song that observes, “Go together like a horse and carriage.” That includes titles that have become classics, as well as those that have been on Broadway just moments ago. From the huge productions to the more intimate, we get to enjoy all this in a gorgeous historic theatre. How great is that!

Park Play House
895 Broadway, Albany

Capital Repertory Theatre
111 N. Pearl Street, Albany  



Garden & Flower Show



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