My title seems redundant when the sign repeats it, but I was hoping to catch the readers’ attention. Oh well, my point is that Saratoga Springs, New York means many things to many people and those are just three of them. Doing some research, I found that Saratoga Springs was named the Queen of Spas at least in the 18th and 19th centuries when gambling was a pastime of many visitors, as well. Maybe something for the men as well as the women? Oh dear…gender stereotyping, but you know what I mean. It turns out the Mohawk Native Americans believed that the naturally carbonated hot water had been stirred by the gods to stimulate healing power. Today people still visit for spa treatments, soaking in the hot water baths and receiving massages for regeneration and pain relief. Unlike the Roman Baths at the Gellert in Budapest or Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, in Saratato you enjoy a single, private tub of the healing waters. Followed by a massage or facial or both.
Just a short distance from the town, lies the Saratoga Battlefield which holds the distinction of being the most important battle in the American Revolution. Up until this battle , the mighty British Army was overwhelming the Patriots’ ragtag army. But in October, 1777, General Gates surprised and prevailed over British General Burgoyne. Patriot hearts were renewed with hope and even more practically, the French were persuaded to enter the war with troops, supplies and money. The Battle of Saratoga was the turning point of the war for independence. The yearly re- enactment of the battle is quite popular for participants and viewers.
The horses are prominent year round with painted statures around town, but the track is king during the month of August. Native Saratogians often rent out their lovely homes for as much as $10,000 a month and go on vacations as the “pony people” descend on the city. This exorbitant amount includes maid service, the use of silver and china and use of the owner’s club during the races. I have known people who do this and make their mortgage payments for the year as well as pay for their vacations with the rent of their homes.
Now having covered the three things on the sign, I want to mention just a few more attractions in this lovely city. Skidmore College is a private liberal arts college which has been named #43 on the prestigious list of Best Colleges by US News Magazine and is located on the outskirts of the downtown.
During the summer, there are lots of open-air performances at SPAC which is Saratoga Performing Arts Center. There are many concerts, a Jazz Weekend, and dancers from the New York Ballet as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra in residence for several weeks of performances. Seats are available under the open air roof area or on the hill where families bring picnics and blankets.
Shops are available with lovely unique clothing, jewelry, pottery, and gifts. Delicious and distinctive restaurants provide special dining for people driving from all over the Capital District of New York. This brings back memories of a similar relationship between Scottsdale and Phoenix for elegant shopping and dining.
Before leaving this delightful small city , here is the carousel found in Congress Park where my grandchildren and I have spent many happy” turns”. Saratoga is a relaxing, educational, delightful place to spend a day, weekend or even longer.
I love Saratoga Springs. I spent probably six summers there attending the New York State Summer Writers Workshops at Skidmore College. Also enjoying the baths, seeing Melissa Etheridge at SPAC, eating at The WIne Bar… Many fourths of July in the Park and all the painted horses : )
What an interesting life you lead and you can pick some lovely places to live….Saratoga, Savannah, and Provincetown. I am glad my post brought back happy memories for you and that you took time to read and respond! Namaste. . . .Anne
Thanks for the history’s ride! I’ve been in Saratoga Springs many times but never knew how it got the name.
There is another one called Breakfast at the Track …namaste