The Saratoga Horse Racing Experience

saratogaracingWhile the presence of the mineral springs might have been key to the original interest in and development of the Saratoga Springs area, surely it is Saratoga horse racing that has spread the fame of this area far and wide today.

Established in 1863, the Saratoga Race Course is the oldest annual thoroughbred horse racing event in America and has been called one of the top ten sporting venues in the world by Sports Illustrated. For six weeks every summer, the crowds descend on the Saratoga area to take in one of the greatest horse racing meets known to man!

The race was initiated by John Hunter and W.R. Travers backed by John Morrissey. During the late Victorian area it became an extremely fashionable place to be during August and you were likely to see an amazing array of the rich and famous attending.

Saratoga has been the location for many historical horse racing events and in particular some stunning upsets such as the 1919 loss of the heavily favored “Man O’ War” to “Upset”. At odds of 100 to 1, Jim Dandy beat the 1930 Triple Crown Winner “Gallop Fox”. And in 1973 “Secretariat” lost to “Onion” in a heavy upset.

So come experience Saratoga this summer and take home unforgettable memories!

Saratoga Lake Offers Great Recreation

saratogalakeSaratoga Lake is another great attraction for the Saratoga Springs area. It is located just a few miles south of town and offers all the aquatic recreation you would expect. The lake is about two miles wide and five miles long making it plenty big for fun water activities. Kayderosseras Creek flows into the lake from the north while it’s outlet is the head for Fish Creek on the south.

Most of the shore property is privately owned, but there is public access at the northern boat launch, plus there are many private marinas that would be happy to accommodate you. In addition there are a number of businesses that offer boat rental, water ski equipment and fishing guides. There are also boat tours available for those who would like to see the sites with a knowledgeable guide.

Imagine yourself out on the lake with friends and family, waterproof wakeboard tower speakers thumping out your favorite music as you crank up the marine stereo and participate in endless skiing and wakeboarding fun! It’s all possible at Saratoga lake!

You can find wonderful restaurants and hotels at the Lake as well such as Harvest & Hearth on Fish Creek and Cliff’s Country Inn which offers lake view rooms.

Fishing is great on Saratoga Lake. Fishermen can find Bass, northern pike and walleye plentifully. During the winter, ice fishing is popular and bow hunting for carp is a fun pursuit. You can check out the weekly Saratoga fishing Report.

The sport of rowing is also popular on the lake and it would not be unusual to see the Skidmore College Champion Rowing Team out practing their talents. The Lake has hosted numerous collegiate rowing races since the late 1800s!

If you are looking for more than just a short visit, vacation rental properties are available, or stay a while and purchase your own lakefront home!

Saratoga Historic National Park

Red_Canons_mod3_300dpiThe Saratoga Historic National Park is the site of the American Revolutionary War Battle famously called “The Battle Of Saratoga.” This battle was fought in 1777 and was a pivotal event in the war. To that point, American victories had been few and not very significant. The British army was considered far superior in every way and the primary tactics of the revolutionary forces were to harass and run. All major battles, until Saratoga, had resulted in British victories.

The actual result of the Battle of Saratoga could be considered a draw, but ultimately the British withdrew, which was enough of a victory for the Americans. For the first time they had gone toe to toe with the British on an open battlefield and did not have to retreat. This was enough of a triumph that it played a significant part in the ability of Benjamin Franklin to convince the French to intervene in the war on behalf of the Americans which ultimately resulted in American independence.

The park preserves the battlefield and provides great historical insight into what happened there. It first became a New York State historical preserve in 1927 on the 150th anniversary of the battle. Later it became part of the National Park system in 1938.

A self guided tour is available and there is also a wonderful visitor’s center which offers unique displays, historical information, and a 20 minute film about the park.

Saratoga’s Natural Mineral Springs

Saratoga SpringSaratoga Springs actually has a namesake which are the amazing naturally occurring mineral springs that are found in this area. The water is naturally carbonated and the springs are abundant here because of a particular geological fault line called the Saratoga fault. Because it is so important to the town, the springs have been kept well preserved and are accessible in public parks throughout the city.

Visitors are welcome to sample the water from the springs and each one is unique depending on the minerals in the area and each has a different taste and color. There are also wonderful mineral baths available at local spas. You can pick up a guide to the springs at the Saratoga Springs Visitors Center, or at the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

Before the area was settled by colonists, the Native Americans considered the springs and the surrounding area as sacred ground. They referred to the spring we know today as High Rock Spring as “Medicine Spring of the Great Spirit”. They were very much aware of the healing nature of the waters.

In 1771 Sir William Johnson was one of the first white men to visit the springs, when he was brought to High Rock Spring for healing. Soon word of the springs spread and curiosity brought more visitors.

In the 1800s, Saratoga came to be as a resort town to serve the needs of the many visitors seeking the health benefits of the springs.