September 3, 2017
Ilium fruit. Troja est.
Ilium was, Troy is.
Just over 100 years after the city’s peak economic era, Troy, NY is making a comeback worthy of national attention. Dubbed the “Collar City,” after the now less-than-fashionable detachable shirt collars that were once produced here, Troy enjoyed a lot of its past glory due to its location on the Hudson River – a main source of power and a direct link to other towns and cities along its banks. All of this, combined with institutions like RPI and the Emma Willard School (and later, Russell Sage College), made for an industrially wealthy city that attracted all kinds of academics, inventors, and entrepreneurs. Troy is even home to Samuel Wilson - a meatpacker and rations supplier during the War of 1812, and one of the supposed inspirations for Uncle Sam! More recently, the city had fallen on harder times than the ones seen by residents over a century ago – but that is all changing rapidly.
Within the last few years, Troy’s downtown has seen an influx of new business ventures and ideas – from cafés and restaurants, to jewelry stores and artisan craft shops, to walking and food tours. This, along with an impressive year-round farmer’s market, a whole host of annual festivals, and a monthly Troy Night Out, has once again made the Collar City a destination to visit in the Capital Region.
Beautiful Victorian architecture provides bare bones for some truly jaw-dropping renovations where people are finding homes for themselves and their businesses. Mom and pop-type shops fit right in with the city’s up-and-coming vibe, and public art installations are becoming a regular sight as you stroll through downtown. On the same street as the Arts Center of the Capital Region, a local gem for art installations and classes, there’s a printing company, a pottery studio, and a trendy paint and sip spot. There are seemingly endless options when it comes to things to do in the Collar City. With both RPI and Russell Sage College situated right near the heart of downtown, the city has an energetic feel to it, with students creating and contributing to the cultural boom. Many recent grads are either choosing to stay or are flocking towards this epicenter, with a recent census report claiming a significant rise in young residents aged 18-34.
So, what do we recommend to visitors who are looking for the full Troy experience?
There are things to do and experience pretty much every day of the week, but we always look forward to Saturdays, when Troy's Farmer's Market is held. Dozens of vendors, touting everything from fresh produce and baked goods, to bouquets of wildflowers and hand-made jewelry, convene on River Street during the summer and in the Troy Atrium during the winter. Be sure to check out some of the other shops that can be found just outside of the market - Market Block Books (a haven for anyone with the reading bug), FunCycled (custom furniture re-purposing and building, they were even featured on HGTV and Rachael Ray!), the River Street Beat Shop (a must-see for music and vinyl lovers), and so many more! A full list of shops can be found at the Troy BID website.
DINE AND DRINK
There's a reason why the Taste of Troy Food Tour is one of our recommended activities - there is so much good food and drink to be had in our city! You can book a tour by clicking here.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between is covered at countless eateries catered to anyone looking for anything - from hot dogs to fine dining.
For lunch, the Whistling Kettle is situated right in the heart of downtown, on Broadway. We of course offer over 100 varieties of loose leaf tea and a small collection of coffees, but why not stop in for an Afternoon Tea and craft beer or wine, too? Being one of the only full-service tea shops in the area, we're able to provide a unique experience for tea lovers as well as those who aren't so familiar with tea.
Historically speaking, Troy's Savings Bank Music Hall is a must-see. World-renowned acoustics and beautiful architecture make for a stunning performance space that features a lineup of classical, folk music, comedians, and more. Rockin' on the River is a weekly concert series held on Wednesdays over the summer at Troy's Riverfront Park amphitheater that offers draft beer and food vendors. And if trivia is your thing, get a team together and take on one of the many trivia nights held at local watering holes (The Ruck, Slidin' Dirty, and Bootlegger's Bar and Grill, to name a few).
Come see us at our Troy location and make a day of it - there's a whole lot of city to discover!