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Getting to the Albany Airport
Do not, I repeat, do not follow MapQuest. Start out by going around the Williamstown traffic circle, taking Rt. 7 South. Continue on Rt. 7 for several miles, then proceed to get on Rt. 2 West (towards Troy). Continue on this for quite a while, until you get past the town of Grafton in New York state. Look out for a sighn for Rt. 278. The turnoff will be after a school and a Stewart's shop. Stop and get ice cream if you like. Continue down all of 278 until you reach Rt. 7. Note the weird steeple of the Gilead Lutheran Church on your right side. Remember it; you'll turn off when you see it onto 278 coming back.
Continue on Rt. 7 for a looong way. You'll go through Troy, then down a large hill. It'll divide towards the base into two different routes. Take the right lane to 787/7. Continue on Rt. 7. back up the valley. At the top, keep to the left and keep going. You'll merge onto Rt. 87 South. Do not go to Latham (that means, do not follow where 7 now goes, or you will end up in Latham. Do not get on 87 north (unless you have a hunkering to go to Montreal). Continue on Rt. 87 until you get to exit 4. There should be signs for the airport. Follow them by getting off the highway, turning left at the light, then right at the next light. Continue for about 2 miles, keeping to the right when the highway divides. Follow the signs to your appropriate parking option.
Also, the Albany airport is not in Albany. It is in Colonie. If you find yourself in Albany, get on 787 north until you hit the exit for 7 west.
It should be noted that going this is the much preferred route for getting to Albany when there is snow on the ground. Snow cleaning is truly horrendous in Vermont and adds significant time to your trip--especially detrimental if you're trying to make your flight.
- - - - - - - - - ALTERNATIVE ROUTE FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT LIKE DRIVING ON ICY ROADS OVER HUGE MOUNTAINS (aka the Vermont route denigrated above, which most of the time is also just as fast)
Head west on Rt 2 toward the traffic circle, and hang a right onto Rt 7 North. You'll go up 7 North into Vermont, past the car dealerships in Pownal, etc, until you see signs that say "JCT 346."
Take a left onto Rt 346--there is no right turn, so if you miss it, you'll keep going toward Bennington (if you hit the Apple Barn, you've gone way too far). 346 is pretty straightforward--just keep an eye out for the big yellow signs with arrows. There are two places where the pavement goes (more or less) straight but Rt 346 doesn't, so make sure you follow the arrows. You'll take 346 all the way into New York.
Eventually 346 will dead end, and you'll take a right on Rt. 22. You aren't on 22 for long--but fortunately, you can't miss your turn, as this road also dead-ends.
When 22 dead-ends you will be faced with NY 7 (not to be confused with Vermont 7--they are not at all the same road!). Go west--that is, take a left at the light. You'll Rt 7 for quite a while as well. Eventually you will see signs of dense civilization--this is Troy. I suggest buying gas elsewhere, incidentally; it's 20 cents cheaper in Williamstown. Keep going until you get to a large and complicated intersection with two stop lights, one right after the other, and signs for 7, 787, and Downtown Troy.
It is preferable, at this point, to be in the right lane since traffic tends to be heavy. You want to stay on Rt 7, which will become a big divided highway. 787 is not what you want, but getting stuck in the downtown Troy lane is worst of all--all the streets are one-way and you can get lost very quickly.
After that you want 87 South--several miles up Rt 7. It's a left-hand exit.
Once on 87, you want exit 4 or 5--both will get you to the airport via signage. If you've never been there before, note that there are two airports--a municipal one and a big one--and you want the big one, which may not be the first one you see. There will be signs for parking.
Getting to Crossgates Mall
Follow all of the same directions, except do not get off at exit 4 on Rt. 87. Keep going. Take the Crossgates Mall exit (3, I believe) which will take you directly take you to the mall. Although beware if it is a school holiday, a Saturday, or the month of December. Do not take this exit, as it backs up. Take the next one. At the light, take a right, then at the next lihgt take another right. Continue down that street until you see the Crossgates signs on the right and then turn right into the mall.