Since seeing the signs for it around Center Square, my interest was piqued in the House and Garden tour put together by the Center Square Neighborhood Association and Historic Albany Foundation in partnership with Audubon NY and Audubon Society of the Capitol Region. ( phew that’s a mouthful of sponsors)
Mister and I headed to lark street at around 530 (the tour was from 5-8), and I’m glad he suggested starting early. After picking up the maps which served as our tickets we were off on a balmy evening stroll around the neighborhood.
There were several homes included on this free form tour, which you could visit in any order on your own. Some had only the gardens open while one had the entire house, garden, and even rooftop deck open (which had a phenomenal view of Washington Park).
What really left an impression on me was how genuinely excited the owners were to share their homes with the strangers tramping through. Some offered real iced tea in their gardens, or wine in their magnificent kitchens. There were cookies and kind words all around Center Square.
I couldn’t resist stopping at Crisan, which was offering a free cookie to every tour participant. (It turned out to be a truffle that tasted just like a gooey fig newton and was just enough sweetness to perk us up for the second half of homes)
There were volunteer docents helping to get people through the houses and gardens, as well as the owners on hand to answer questions about plant varieties, decorative choices, and impressive kitchen remodels.
While I may never inhabit a structure worth being on such a tour, it felt like a mass party of neighbors, of which I felt honored to be a part. We even met many people we’ve seen at the dog park, or in passing around town, making us feel like part of a genuine neighborhood.
I’m already looking forward to next year.