Category Archives: Saratoga

Lakes to Locks/ Saratoga Trip- Day 3 Recap

a logo with a number and text

a lake with mountains in the background

Our third and final day in the Lakes to Locks Passage & Saratoga area wasn’t as busy as our first two days. (Find out about Day 1 here and Day 2 here) We wanted to get home at a reasonable hour and had a long drive ahead.

We decided to stick with seeing some sites around Saratoga Spa State Park which is where our hotel, the Gideon Putnam Resort is located.

Here are some things we saw around the park:

  • Checked out the Gideon Putnam Resort
  • Sampled some water from a couple of natural springs
  • Drove around the park to see some buildings
  • Visited the Lincoln Baths

a horse statue in front of a building
Gideon Putnam Resort

The Gideon Putnam Resort is a beautiful hotel on the Historic Hotels of America list. The hotel has a museum-room with poster boards telling about it’s history. We didn’t get to see a lot of the grounds but what we did see was well kept and very nice.

a group of people pouring water into a water fountain
State Seal Spring

 We sampled water at two more springs in the park. I had originally planned to try out a bunch more but Lucas was not too interested so we called it a day soon after. One of the springs had such good water that people were pulling up with their cars full of bottles to fill up. It was an interesting sight to see!

a building with columns and a lawn
Hall of Springs

We drove around the park and saw some really beautiful architecture. The old bottling plant now is the home to the Automobile Museum. We also walked around a small section of the park and enjoyed checking out the Hall of Springs and Administration buildings. The park wasn’t crowded but there were many people walking around and jogging.

a white building with columns and a lawn
Lincoln Baths

Every time we drove by the Lincoln Baths, I wondered what it looked like inside. From the outside the building was an impressive site to see. I asked at the hotel what the  Lincoln  building was used for and found out that it was now home to the park police! I stopped by the Lincoln Baths and took a few pictures outside before going in for a look. I only walked around the first floor and was pretty impressed. There were two very old fountains which were no longer working. You could also see up to the second floor through an octagonal cutout in the ceiling.

Lastly, we got to enjoy some good food before heading home.
To save time, we ate breakfast in our room. (No, we did not order room service.) We enjoyed apple cider doughtnuts that we had picked up on the way back to our hotel on day 2. The farm stand Saratoga Apple sold all different apples that you could buy by the pound. It also sold vegetables and other local products. The donuts made for a tasty breakfast!

For lunch we drove towards home and stopped in Troy, NY for some great barbecue. Dinosaur BBQ isn’t located in the Lakes to Locks Passage or Saratoga. One of their locations is in Troy, NY which was on the way home so I had to stop there for lunch. Kim and I visited the NYC location a few years back and loved it but we rarely go up to Harlem. We figured a stop for some great bbq on the way home was a great idea!

    ***I plan to write individual posts for some of the things mentioned above in the near future. 

    Don’t forget to keep checking back!

    Lakes to Locks/ Saratoga Trip- Day 2 Recap

    a logo with a number and text

    a lake with mountains in the background

    Kim, Lucas and I had another busy day on our visit to the Lackes to Locks Passage & Saratoga area. (Check out my recap on the first day of our trip here)

    We got started a little later than expected due to being a bit tired from the long drive and busy day we had the day before. We also got lucky with the weather. Rain was in the forecast but we ended up with a comfortably chilly day with the rain holding out until dinner time!

    Here were some things we did:

    • Saratoga National Historic Park
    • River/ canal tour with Champlain Canal Tours
    • Climbing to the top and jumping by the Saratoga Monument
    • Checked out some of the creatively decorated horse statues around the area 
    a sign on a stone wall
    Entrance to the park

    Our first stop of the day was the Saratoga National Historic Park. We had a nice chat with one of the park rangers at the visitor’s center. We learned a bit about the site which was crucial during the Revolutionary War. A 10 mile, one way road connects most of the important stops along the way. There was lots of information at each stop and many of the sites had nice views.  I can’t say that there was a lot to see going through the park but history buffs will love it. Free downloadable MP3 files about the site are available here.

    a man holding a baby
    Inside Lock 5

    We took a two hour boat tour with Champlain Canal Tours. The scenery on the water was really great. We passed by some small islands, saw a waterfall and got to go through Lock 5 of the Champlain Canal which was the highlight. It was really amazing to head into the lock and get lowered 18 feet to the level of the Hudson River. 

    a tall tower with a tree in front of it
    The Saratoga Monument

    The Saratoga Monument is part of the National Historic Park but is 8 miles away.
    I consider it a separate site since it is so far away plus we saw it after our boat tour. The monument is a 155 foot tall obelisk that commemorates the American victory at Saratoga. We climbed to the top of the monument (184 steps) which was worthwhile for the excellent views. Inside the monument are a bunch of metal plaques which tell about various events during the revolution.
     I also jumped in front of the monument (on three of sides) which I will post at another time.

    a statue of a horse with a drawing on it
    Pony “X” Press horse

    We saw a bunch of creatively painted horse statues around Saratoga and Schuylerville that reminded us of the Cow Parade in NY and the Custer Stampede in South Dakota. From what I could tell these uniquely painted horses were part of a few art-related projects. It was fun seeing these horses while walking around.

    Some more great food:
    Two places that were on Throwdown with Bobby Flay were recommended to us. One famous for it’s fried chicken, the other for it’s ice cream. We also stopped by a really awesome bakery.

    • Hattie’s Restaurant– Hattie’s is know for having some of the best fried chicken according to Food & Wine magazine online. The chicken did not disappoint, Kim and I both loved it. The mashed potato’s were also really great. The rest of the menu was filled with Southern and Louisiana style food. (They beat Bobby!)
    • The Ice Cream Man makes their own ice cream using the old fashioned batch method of production. There were some interesting flavors and the flavors we had were very creamy and tasty. A small wasn’t so small. After our visit, Kim and I wished we had shared one.
    • We had amazing pastries at Mrs. London’s Bakery & Cafe. According to some newspaper/ magazine articles inside, Mrs. London’s was considered one of the best bakeries in the U.S. After eating there it was worthy of that distinction. Everything we tried was excellent so I am pretty sure whatever you try will be tasty!

    ***I plan to write individual posts for some of the things mentioned above in the near future. 

    Don’t forget to keep checking back!

    Lakes to Locks/ Saratoga Trip- Day 1 Recap

    a logo with a number and text
    a lake with mountains in the background

    Here is a little about our first day in the Lakes to Locks Passage & Saratoga area.

    We started out pretty early and hit a bump (poopy) in the road thanks to Lucas. (too much info?) We had to pull over to clean the little guy up and then hit a bit of traffic which set us back around 45 minutes. Once we got out of Manhattan, the ride was smooth sailing and traffic free.

    Here are some of the things we did:

    • Saratoga Farmer’s Market
    • National Museum of Racing
    • Sampled water from various springs
    • Congress Park- Lucas went on his first carousel ride
    a group of people walking under a roof
    Inside the farmer’s market

    The Saratoga Farmer’s Market was our first stop. It’s only open until 1:00pm.  We got there around noon so we had about an hour which was plenty of time. The market is partially covered and not huge but was packed with lots of great products. We bought a bunch of things (honey chocolate peanut butter and an olive tapenade to name a few )and are glad that we made it before closing!

    a sign on a wall
    See what it’s like to ride a race horse!

    Horse racing is a big deal in Saratoga but I can’t say that Kim and I are fans. However when I heard about the racing simulator at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, I had to go and try it out. The museum had lots of nice displays which we skimmed through but the highlight was definitely the simulator. For the $5 fee I got to dress up like a jockey and see and feel what it’s like to ride a race horse. After this experience, I really give jockeys a lot of credit. Definitely a fun experience! I need to make it back to Saratoga during racing season to attend a live race!

    a sign next to a gazebo
    Our first taste of Saratoga spring water

    Thanks to a comment from reader Rich A. we decided to try out some natural spring water in Saratoga. We were also chatting with a caterer at the Museum of Racing (they do wedding there) and she mentioned how the springs all have different tastes and supposed health benefits. On our first day we tried out water at four springs. So far I’ll take NYC tap water over any of these options. There are still more springs to find and taste. Maybe they will be more enjoyable than the first four.

    a woman and child on a merry go round
    Round and round they go

    Kim got to take Lucas on his first carousel ride in Congress Park. We made it just in time before the carousel closed for the day so a wedding party could take pictures there. I’m not sure if Kim or Lucas had a better time during the ride but it was definitely worth the $1 fee.

    We also ate some really great food so far:

    • We tried a “dougboy” which is similar to a calzone but better and with chicken inside. It was so good that Kim and I ordered a third one to share!
    • For dinner we had an incredible meal at Wheatfields. Known for it’s fresh-made pastas and open for over 20 years in Saratoga. I loved the tagline for the restaurant “from the local fields to your plate”. The Italian based menu listed the local farms where their products are sourced from. I highly recommend trying a pizza and gnocchi there!

    That’s all for now. It’s time to get some sleep before another busy day in the area!

    ***I plan to write individual posts for some of the things mentioned above in the near future. 

    Don’t forget to keep checking back!