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Nourishing Your Albany Roots

So, you’ve moved into your lovely Albany Neighborhood and are feeling settled. The boxes are unpacked, and a few of the walls have even been repainted. You’ve introduced yourself to the neighbors, and everyone seems friendly, but it’s time to grow your roots a little deeper.

Here are a few ideas you might not have considered to connect with people in your new neighborhood:

Get a Library Card

Proof of address hooks you up with a world of not only books, but movies, tech classes, book discussion groups, film and music events, and how-to gatherings. The libraries in each of the Albany Neighborhoods are thriving centers of resources for a wide variety of interests. Did you know you can even sign out a pass with your library card that provides free/reduced cost access to our local museums? Just another way to feel connected to the area, and at no cost. 

Go To The Park

Green spaces in Albany are terrific places to get more comfortable in the neighborhood. Not only do they provide a place for relaxing outdoor activities—from picnics to softball–but many of our parks host organized events on evenings and weekends. There are the larger Tulip Fest /Art on Lark shindigs, but don’t overlook outdoor movie nights at Ridgefield, kayaking at 6 Mile, activist group marches starting at Swinburne, Monday night music at The Point, and the shift the Albany Golf Course makes in late fall to a miles long dog park. Speaking of which…

Get a Dog

Ok, you don’t want to get a dog merely to meet people; that would be terrible advice. Dog ownership is a huge responsibility, no one should talk you into it, and dogs deserve to be in loving homes where they are wanted, not where they are merely accessories that provide conversation-openers. All that being said, the demands of walking a dog (or two!) a couple of times a day around your neighborhood will get you out of the house to explore, and people who might not start a conversation with a random stranger on the street will jump right into a chat with a dog as a buffer. You’ll meet other dog owners in the neighborhood. Strangely, many of them will introduce their dogs to yours and never mention their own name. But the ice will be broken, and knowing the people at the end of the street as “Ruby’s mama” or “Zinnia’s parents” is better than not knowing them at all. Plus, you’ll need to find a local groomer, a vet, and maybe a playgroup for your pup. Your local network will grow be-FUR your very eyes. (Sorry. I’ll try not to let that happen again.) Alternatively, our local shelters and foster groups need volunteers. If you’re a pet lover but not ready for one of your own, volunteering might be a way to connect with people who have similar interests.

Become “A Regular”

This is an easy one. Pick a spot in your neighborhood you are curious about: the empanada place that smells amazing every time you walk by, the new coffee shop, the gastropub. Go in, order something, and check the place out. And here’s the important part: GO BACK. Become a familiar face. Make it a goal to order “the usual” and have the staff nod in affirmation rather than looking confused. Frequenting a local haunt will open unexpected avenues of conversation, support local business, and help you feel connected to your locale.

Fruits and Vegetables

Our local Farmers’ Markets and stands are not to be missed. At this point in the season, there’s very likely one in walking distance of you sometime this week. Wander over, check it out, and buy some fresh local produce. Ask the staff for a recommendation for using beet greens or to suggest a recipe for the 27 ears of corn you can’t resist and voila! You’ll have a good conversation and the start of a good meal underway. Want to make this a weekly event? Consider joining a CSA! Or a community garden!

Nexdoor

Let’s face it, relocation can be exhausting. It’s possible that your neighborhood isn’t the only thing that has changed for you recently. You might have started a new job, too, or a new romantic arrangement, and the energy you have left for going out and making friends in the neighborhood might be more than you can muster at the moment. Well, there’s an app for that. Nexdoor is a bulletin board of sorts, organized by neighborhood, where you can read and post news of the happenings in your area: garage sales, fireworks, roofing recommendations—really, anything relevant to your area and interests.

Any ideas we missed here? Feel free to post in comments!

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