Unearth a Different Side of Albany at the Hidden City House & Garden Tour
Walking or driving through Albany's various neighborhoods you may have noticed the stunning architecture of the historic houses, and the vibrant plants and trees planted along the streets. But what if you could go behind the scenes? Have a peek inside these renowned houses and apartments? See what lies in store in the backyards?
The Center Square Association (CSA), Historic Albany Foundation (HAF), and Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association (H/PNA) give us a chance to do just that every summer through the Hidden City House & Garden Tour. The tour is happening on June 20th for 2019, with tickets just $20 each. Check out what makes this tour special and why it's a can't-miss event this season.
Explore Gorgeous Area Homes & Gardens You Can't See From the Street
One might assume in a city like Albany residents may not have huge backyards they can fill with lush greenery, but as you can see from the above photo this couldn't be farther from the truth. The Hidden City House and Garden Tour is the primary way to go beyond what you can see from the street to get a sense of what these Albany neighborhoods have to offer.
Visitors embark on a self-guided tour of this historic area as about a dozen homeowners open their doors and gardens for one night only. Most participants show both their house and their garden, and you go from home to home at your leisure. The tour typically gets between 450 and 700 attendees.
Besides plants, flowers, and trees outdoors you might also find rock gardens, fountains, or even sculptures. These stunning gardens aren't the only gems you'll see on the tour though - just wait until you glimpse inside these Albany homes!
What to Expect From the Tour: Beyond Houses & Gardens
If you've ever been on a similar tour, or a showcase of homes event, you've likely gotten a sense of how area residents decorate their homes and what some of the new trends are in the housing industry today. With the Hidden City House & Garden Tour, you get this and much more.
While the majority of the tour includes houses, there are also some apartments and other buildings. Inside, you might find a mix of book collections, personal mementos of the owners, souvenirs from traveling, dazzling art pieces, and much more.
Organizers switch the tour up every year, so you never know what you might come across! The tour rarely includes repeat homes within five years, and when it does, the home has often undergone changes or renovations.
Often the homeowners are present and available to talk about their homes, gardens, and restorations that have taken place. The sponsors also have several docents set up in each location to provide further information or answer questions of tour attendees. The other aspect of the homes and gardens that make this tour in particular a special one is the heavy emphasis on history.
Get Ready for a Touch a History & Learn More About These Albany Neighborhoods
The homeowners taking part in the tour love to point out the work done to the house, especially if it's a restoration, and they include as much history of the house as possible. This could include former homeowners, builders, and any other information they have access to.
Many of the homes shown have been "renovated to the nth degree." When the tour started over 40 years ago the general population in the area didn't fully grasp the grandness of their houses, and many moved away to suburbia over the years.
The ones who stayed fixed up the houses into something amazing, and these renovations continue year after year, generation after generation. This is what guests to the Hidden City House & Garden Tour get to experience firsthand - incredible homes and gardens they never knew were right in our Capital City.
A Bit on the Background of the Event
The Hidden City House & Garden Tour started in 1975, and the event has served as a significant part of strengthening Albany neighborhoods ever since. Many people end up moving into these houses or apartments after getting a glimpse of what they have to offer.
Furthermore, proceeds from the tour go back into the neighborhood for the beautification of the Center Square and Hudson/Park neighborhoods, and to the operating expenses of the Historic Albany Foundation.
The tour makes it easy for guests to make their way to the homes and gardens at their leisure, in whatever order they choose. Most of the homes are within walking distance of each other, and parking is available close by. And, many neighborhood restaurants and shops participate in the fun by offering specials and discounts to tour participants upon presentation of their ticket, so you can easily make a night of it.