From the moment we entered its outskirts, Saratoga was beautiful. And it just kept getting better and better. I wanted to explore a little but we needed to find a place to stay before it got dark, and we lucked out and found a large room with a kitchenette at the Carriage House Inn. The manager seemed a little disappointed that we didn’t take the colonial room with the four poster bed and lots of drapery, but the room was so small and we had already seen the one with plenty of space and a kitchen as well. I guess we weren’t just not that romantic anymore.
Saratoga Springs was famous in the 1880s for its ‘healing waters’, when soaking in natural springs was considered a great alternative to visiting the hospital. Famous people came from as far away as Europe (the King of Spain and Napoleon’s older brother, Joseph). Today, there is still one spring that operates, but the city is better known for its liberal-arts college Skidmore and its racetrack. In fact, the Saratoga course is the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in America.
The Lonely Planet doesn’t mention much more about Saratoga other than describing the world-famous performing arts centre and the Hyde Collection Art Museum in nearby Glen falls, but I was blown away by the beauty of the magnificent homes along the major thoroughfares. The city is full of beautiful parks and I made Anil drive out to the racetrack so that I could take some photos even though the season was just finished. I can just imagine the excitement that envelops the place when the horses are running. Anil was also very patient as we drove up and down some of the leafy streets so that I could photograph a few of the mansions. I loved the huge verandahs and especially the striped awnings. I fantasized sitting in the shade on a hot summer afternoon drinking tall glasses of lemonade and reading a great novel. Almost as great a life as I’m having right now.
I kept thinking that I had heard of Skidmore College before, but I couldn’t think of where or how. When I posted the photos on my journal, I received an email from our good friend Wynne Blades, telling me she too loved the ‘Old Broads on Broadway’. It took me a minute to make the connection, but then I realized she was referring to the beautiful homes I photographed on Broadway Ave. Wynne is the person who told me about Skidmore, she has been coming here for writing classes during the summer breaks from teaching with Anil at Tempo School.
After a lunch at an outdoor patio in the centre of town, we headed over to a par 3 golf course for a quick nine holes under towering elms. The afternoon sun was quite warm and we had a great round, if time had permitted, I would have loved to play the back nine too. We were heading into New York City and knew we would not be able to get in a game of golf for at least the next two weeks. Anil laughed at my developing interest in the game, especially after I resisted so strongly during the eight years since he started playing.
I was reluctant to leave this lovely place after so short a stay, but we were looking forward to seeing family in New York and I knew they were anxious for us to arrive. There are so many places waiting for us to discover, but I must say that Saratoga Springs ranks right up there with New Orleans as one of the two places in the United States that I would love to visit again. There is such a sense of old-world elegance about both cities that I love and would like to spend hours and hours exploring.