Travel With RJ

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Having been driving all day, once we checked into our room at the Clarion Hotel in Albany, NY, we didn’t really want to go out anywhere for dinner. So we decided to check out the restaurant at the hotel. The name of the restaurant is Scenarios.
The menu is impressive and has a lot of interesting looking things. But they had a separate sheet with specials, and one of the dishes sounded interesting. It was called Honolulu Dreamin’ Surf And Turf which included an 8oz sirloin steak topped with coconut shrimp. My wife ordered the small cut of prime rib.
We got a bowl of rolls that were good and warm, and came with a cup of whipped butter. Yummy. Then came our salads. What can I say? They were salads. Then our entrees came. I tried the coconut shrimp, and they were okay. Not great. The streak was just okay as well. My wife’s prime rib was pretty good sized considering it was the smallest cut. But I thought it is was maybe just a touch overcooked for medium-rare. It was also not a great cut of meat. I would compare it to the prime ribs I get out in Las Vegas for $6.95.
Not that we will be in the area again anytime soon, but I would probably go out and look for a different restaurant next time.
Scenarios is located in the Clarion Hotel at 3 Watervliet Ave, Albany, NY 12206. (518) 438-8431.

This afternoon we were down in Mystic, CT to meet an acquaintance on my wife’s. I was browsing the rack of pamphlets for anything that looked interesting. I found one card for a place called Nature’s Art (at the Dinosaur Place). They listed Toys, Beads, Jewelry and Minerals. I thought it might be something my wife would be interested in. She has been really accommodating and tolerating my stops at used bookstores along the way. So I have kept my eye open for things she might like. I thought the place was in Mystic, but it turned out to be in another town named Montville, CT. I found it on a rough map of the area, and it looked like it might be not too far out of are way up to Albany. I looked up Montville up in my GPS, and it wasn’t in there. At least not in the base map.
Using the rough map, we headed up in the direction where Montville should be. But at one point we came to a place where we weren’t sure to go. We were right next to a post office. So I ran in and asked where to find Nature’s Art or The Dinosaur Place. The guy gave me directions that lead me right to it. Our car needed gas, and we needed to get ice for the cooler. We also had some stuff in the car that we didn’t want to bake in the hot sun. So I dropped my wife off at the front door, and headed off to the gas station down the street. I got gas, and ice, and headed back. They have a great big T-Rex statue out front wearing sunglasses, and holding a can of Coke. I parked the car and my wife came out. She said they had a lot of stuff, but it was all stuff you could find elsewhere. Some of it she knew she could find cheaper elsewhere. They had all kinds of geodes, cut and uncut crystals, natural beads, wood beads, fine jewelry with quartz, amber, statuettes, and figurines. They also had lots of stuff for kids. But it was nothing she needed to have right now. So much for our detour.
We did stop in at their ice cream stand. I got a cone, and my wife got a root beer float. Another couple we met there said they had taken their kids to the Dinosaur Place. They were unimpressed, and their kids weren’t impressed either.
They did have good ice cream though. But overall, it wasn’t worth the detour.
The Dinosaur Place is located at 1650 Route 85, Montville, CT 06370. (860) 443-4367.

Today was our third visit to the MIT museum. The last time we here was about 10 years ago. Surprisingly, a lot of it was the same, but a lot has changed too.
We arrived just after 10am. We found free 2 hour parking on the street literally a stones throw from the door. As we walked around the corner to the entrance, we found we could have actually park right in front of the entrance. Oh well.
We walked up the stairs to the museum, and found the front desk. I asked about admittance for two, and the woman said to go in for free. Hmmm… I thought they charged. My wife overheard as we were leaving the woman had misplaced the key to the register, and that was why she let us in for free. I looked up the prices, and it normally costs $5 for adults! Lucky us!!!
The first room had a cool exhibit on robotics and artificial intelligence. That was new and really cool. The room contained a holography exhibit which had been new when we were here last 10 years ago, though it was now a little smaller. The next room contained these cool artwork moving machines. They have been here since our first visit. But they have swapped out some of the machines for new ones. The next room had an exhibit on strobe photography. That had been new when were here last time. The next room had an exhibit about DNA. This stuff was so above my head that I had a hard time being interested in it. The next rooms had stuff all about the history of MIT. Some of it was really cool.
One thing that was missing was the museum of hacks. Hacks are elaborate practical jokes such as decorating a whole building as The Great Pumpkin in the middle of the night. That had always been my favorite part of the museum. I asked the lady at the desk about it, and she said it had been moved to the Stata building on Vassar street. She said there were a bunch of exhibits located over there now. Unfortunately we were scheduled to meet someone in Mystic, CT in the afternoon.
Another thing that changed was the MIT Museum store shrunk to a little display behind the admissions desk. They still had some cool items.
Next time I come back this way, I will stop into the museum again, and maybe get over to the Stata building and check out the exhibits there.
The MIT Museum is located at 265 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139. (617) 253-4444.

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