I append the exclamation point because our stay in this lovely city was a bit of pure serendipity aided by a healthy dose of ignorance.
When Sharon asked me where we might stay in the Hudson River Valley, I tossed off the name Saratoga for no good reason and not realizing that it is actually above the valley and some hundred miles distant from Hyde Park. However, my mistake gave us the chance to drive up and down the various iterations of Highway 9 (9, 9W, 9L, 9P, etc. What is that about anyways? There are other numbers available for roads, aren’t there?) and to get to know this gorgeous area.
But this logistical error also gave us some time to explore the city of Saratoga Springs. We might not have done so were it not for our determination to slow things down after a hectic chase across the Chesapeake and the fact that Sharon, our Logistics Manager, found the Inn at Saratoga. The hotel, designated as one of the Historic Hotels of America, was an absolute delight. As soon as we checked in we decided to spend an extra day which gave us the chance to see the city and not just the Hudson River Valley. Anyone staying anywhere nearby should seriously consider this hotel. It was a delight.
So, we began our day devoted to exploring the city by heading up to the Saratoga Springs State Park which encompasses the grounds of the old spa. From the main buildings, we strolled about a mile out to the geyser and a few of the springs and sampled the waters which flow freely. Interestingly enough, two springs, only yards away from one another, can taste completely different. I liked them, particularly the carbonic-gassed Polaris Spring, Sharon less so. The tale of how they were saved from exhaustion in the late 19th century is another story in itself.
|Main approach to the spa|
|These buildings were constructed in the late 1920s with the support of Governor Roosevelt|
|This gentleman, after he finished fishing, was kind enough to share some local lore and to give us a cup with which to sample the waters|
|Sharon at the Hayes Spring|
|Me at Karista, good, but not as good as Polaris|
From there we went into the old downtown area and just happened into Comfort Foods, which gave us a fine lunch accompanied with a great Spotify playlist of classical rock. Both of us were delighted with the intact and well maintained late 19th century streetscape.
We finished up with the essential tour of the Saratoga battlefield. Here, more than any other battle save Yorktown (see below), the American War for Independence was won when the continental armies of Arnold and Gates beat that of Burgoyne. This convinced the French that the Americans were a good enough bet to be worth supporting as payback for their defeat in the Franch and Indian Wars and the loss of Canada.
|The main battlefield|
|Neilsen's farm gave the Continentals their headquarters|
|Rosa mans the guns|
|The Saratoga monument marks the spot where Burgoyne surrendered his army to Gates|