Ask a Local – Albany

Originally from a small town in Illinois, Rhonda K. Belluso has lived on and off for nine years in Albany, where she shares a 1929 Tudor-style home with her husband, son and stepson. A former environmental lobbyist, she owns and operates her own public relations and marketing firm, RC3 Communications.

“I love Albany’s small-town feel. It’s great bumping into friends at a coffee shop or grocery store, and my neighborhood is the best. While many things about Albany have changed, a lot is the same. There’s new, exciting development around Albany Medical Center and in the Warehouse District, but along South Manning, toward my neighborhood, it’s as charming as when I first drove there, in 2001.

For brunch, we love Café Madison (get there early to avoid the lines). For lunch, we like El Loco or El Mariachi. Our go-tos for dinner are Druthers, The Pump Station, New World Bistro and Capital City Gastropub. Jack’s Oyster House is a nice treat or one of the old Italian restaurants downtown like Lombardo’s or Café Capriccio. For coffee, we walk to Tierra Roasters or drive to Emack & Bolio’s, which has delicious confections.

I encourage guests to visit in warmer weather for the fun festivals like the Tulip Festival and the Alive at Five concert series. Track season is fun too, so we’ll do a picnic at Saratoga Racetrack—just 30 minutes north. In winter, we go to the New York State Museum, which has a giant carousel or go skating at the Empire State Plaza Ice Rink (it’s free, minus the skates). And there’s always a concert or play we can see at The Egg, Palace Theater or Upstate Concert Hall.”

Rhonda K. Belluso

Photo Courtesy of Rhonda K. Belluso