Woohoo! Our first trip in 2 years! We decided to stay local and not fly because we weren’t sure how things would turn out when we planned this trip back in Feb 2021. I’ve been curious about Saratoga Springs, NY since forever (maybe 20 years) and early October 2021 was the right time. Saratoga is a quaint, cute, pretty town. It is known as “The Queen of Spas” and the oldest racetrack in America. For a lot of the 19th and 20th centuries, they were known for gambling, horse racing, and health resorts.
In 1691, the Brits built Fort Saratoga on the western shores of the Hudson River. The current village of Schuylerville is about a mile south and was known as Saratoga until 1831. Native Americans believed the local springs were sacred; about 10 miles south in a village now called High Rock Spring. William Johnson, a British solider from the French and Indian War was brought here in 1767 to treat his wounds. The Mohonk and other native Americans believed the carbonated water was stirred up by the God Manitou which gave it it’s healing properties. These are the only carbonated springs east of the Rocky Mountains. We didn’t get around to tastings the springs. Click here to find out where to taste the spring water.
Europeans began settling the area in 1776. Saratoga Springs has been a resort destination for over 200 years. Gideon Putnam was the man that created the resort in the wilderness back in 1802. His tavern was 3 stories and across from Congress Spring. The tavern and area evolved over the years becoming what it is today. There’s a great possibly that the area wouldn’t have been developed if it weren’t for the springs because mineral water was a tradition for Europeans. The railroads arrived in 1831, leading to a tourist boom.
Horse racing isn’t my thing so I would only visit during off season. Horse season starts in July and lasts 40 days. I don’t wear fur, minimal leather, trying to cut down on meats and seafood so you get the gist. We all live differently but you can see horse racing season would drive me bonkers. 1863, marks the year when thoroughbreds met for racing and this is where their racing history comes in.
Broadway is their main street and the Victorian buildings lining it are lovely. Normally we travel mostly car free but we went away with our friend and she drives. It’s better to have a car here but you can take Amtrak and it’s 4 hours north of NYC, about 3 by car. We were able to walk to Saratoga Springs Spa State Park from our Airbnb. The food was surprisingly really good. We walked into this with no expectations.
I forgot to take a pic but make sure you stop at Saratoga Olive Oil Company. A few places mentioned them and they are delicious. Try some samples and buy stuff for home or as gifts! I bought garlic olive oil, rosemary olive oil, lemon balsamic vinegrette, and grapefruit vinegrette. Also read they are rated top 5 places to buy olive oil. Click here to check out their website.
This little trip felt great, I felt normal up there. Vic pointed out that we still wore our masks and I’m a germaphobe by nature so cleaned everyone’s hands all the time. It was the trip which was normal like our old pre covid routine that made me feel great. Saratoga Springs area has good vaxx rates. We can’t wait to go back!
It also felt good hanging out with someone else, someone down to earth. We went away with our friend who has extra time because she’s divorcing. We don’t see her as much since she had kids. It was nice for me to have conversations other than investments, real estate, people moaning about getting old (I know people in their 70s that live life more fully than some folks I know in their 40s), have non homophobic conversations, non racist conversations, non classist conversations, etc. As you can see my social circle dwindled in shutdown and I grew to hate my life. That’s why I started seeing a shrink. 19 fucking months of conversations like this didn’t make me feel good and really made me rethink things. I’ve lived in NYC all my life and have known people for a long time; people are changing not so much in good ways or I’m just finding out who they have always been. I repeat, it felt good to have conversations not like the ones I just mentioned. It was hard to leave Saratoga. This was the first time in over a year I felt normal.