Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Whenever I travel to a new city one of the first things I always look to do is a haunted tour. We have cities in this country that are full of life, but I’m more interested in those that are full of the dead – especially in October. Some locations hold history that can make you walk the line between belief and disbelief. Ten Broeck Mansion is one of those places.
I’ve lived here over twenty years and I’m ashamed I’ve never taken advantage of tours like this in my own city. I’m so glad I chose this one to be my first.
I went with four other friends; Adam, Danny, Emily, and Sean. Danny is a bit of a local historian himself, and Emily loves haunted places like I do. Adam and Sean just came for the pub crawl. (Kidding!) We were greeted with samples of seasonal ale before we started the tour. The moment you step in you can see and feel the history of the home built in 1797 for General Abraham Ten Broeck and his wife, Elizabeth Van Rensselaer. When I say you can feel the history, I mean it. It’s palpable. Perhaps I was feeling the presence of the occupants who live there 24/7.
We began on the first floor with our tour guide Maeve. Her love of the place was obvious and her historical knowledge of the home, family, and surrounding area was on point. She even shared a personal story about her cousin, a former Albany Police Officer, who had a paranormal experience at Ten Broeck, but I’ll let her tell you about that.
From the first floor we climbed to the second on a gorgeous curved staircase that opened to a sweeping room with beautiful paintings, carpets to die for, and uniquely curved closets in the corners. I walked behind the group a bit to run my hands along the smooth wooden bannister and wondered who in history had done the same.
A big surprise to me was the first bathroom we encountered. The bathtub looked made of modern materials (seriously, it’s huge and I wanted to stay behind to climb in) but also wood cabinetry that could be original to the home. I didn’t ask if it was, but when you go find out for me, please!
We toured each room on the second floor and learned the history of one seemingly innocent painting that hung above a mantel. You’ll recognize the gentleman but wait until you hear how he came to be there!
After we moved back downstairs and into the basement. For me, this was the most interesting place. I thought I could feel the history when I walked in via the first-floor entrance, but this was… it’s hard to explain… I felt meshed into the history of Ten Broeck Mansion. The brick walls, the wine-cellar, the floors. If you turned off the electricity and used candles, you could easily imagine yourself in the 18th century. (But you wouldn't catch me anywhere near that basement at night!)
We wrapped up the tour of the mansion with delicious, warm apple cider and cider donuts (my first of the season!) from Cider Belly Donuts. If you preferred a “kick” to your cider, that option was available as well.
From there the pub crawl began with historian, Tim. Our first stop was an Albany favorite – McGeary’s Irish Pub. Unfortunately, I had to part ways with my friends at McGeary’s but on our walk to the pub, we stopped at Van Rensselaer Park for a bit of history from Tim. In fact, one of Albany’s biggest secrets is hidden in that park – or maybe it’s not. You’re going to have to take the tour and decide for yourself.
Overall, it was absolutely worth the $25 entry fee, especially if you live in Albany. When you have out-of-town friends visit, you’ll be able to share some pretty cool things about the city in which you live. We’re very lucky here in our little part of New York. If you can't make it to this tour, be sure to check out some of their holiday events!
As a side note, if you’re not aware, I do not receive anything for blogs that I write about Albany locations or any other places I write about. In fact, I met the Executive Director, Samantha, and asked for her permission to write this. I do it because I love it, and I think it’s important to support local business - especially our historical locations. If you are interested in any of what I’ve discussed, here are the links for you to check out:
Ten Broeck Mansion (You can buy tickets for the tour from their home page.)
If you want to see more photos of the mansion and grounds, follow GGS on Instagram @GirlGoneSmart.
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