The beautiful town of Saratoga Springs has a rich history that continues into its modern-day life.
Originally inhabited by the Iroquois Indians, neighboring tribes would come to Saratoga Springs each summer to visit the natural springs that the city is still famous for today.
During the Revolutionary War, the Battles of Saratoga during September and October 1777 were seen as a turning point for the war. British General John Burgoyne surrendered on Oct. 17, 1777, in an area outside modern-day Schuylerville now called Victory. The Saratoga Monument located there is a symbol of that day.
There are a number of parks to honor the defeat of the British in Saratoga, including the Saratoga National Historical Park in Stillwater and the General Phillip Schuyler House in Schuylerville.
After the Revolutionary War, the building of Saratoga Springs slowly began. In the early 1800s, Gideon Putnam built the Grand Union Hotel and Congress Hall, the first two hotels in the area. The building of these hotels spurred the growth of Saratoga Springs, and now many tourists enjoy the luxury hotel and spa that bears his name.
In 1826, Saratoga Springs legally was recognized as a village and was becoming known to tourists for its natural beauty as well as its up-and-coming nature. President Martin Van Buren was a frequent vacationer there, among others.
In 1864, the famous Saratoga Race Course was built by John Hunter and William R. Travers. The course became increasingly popular, which also added Saratoga Springs to a list of great places to gamble.
Less than a decade later, Morrissey’s Club House was built as a casino for male tourists. Morrissey’s Club House had a strict policy against women and locals gambling in their casinos. The area was expanded upon after Richard Canfield’s 1894 acquisition of the casino, and today the Canfield Casino is no longer a place to gamble but a historical museum and an event hall known for world-class weddings and affairs.
Many visitors to the city of Saratoga Springs come to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. Dubbed “The Queen of Spas” during the Victorian Era, its reputation still holds true with a number of fine resorts and spas. Whether a visitor is in a mood to test out the mineral baths in Saratoga State Park of looking for a more modern facial or manicure, “The Spa City” is the place to be.
When it comes to lodging, vacationers have their pick of ideal locations. From bed and breakfasts to traditional chain hotels to camp sites, the area is truly a tourist’s paradise. Many of these locations are just a short walk from street-side shopping, world-class cuisine and a vibrant nightlife. For those who like to kick back and have a drink while listening to some great live music, Caroline Street is not to be missed. For those who like to try their hand at the slots, the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway (better known to locals as “Racino”) is a mere five-minute drive from the heart of the city.
If you’re looking for a little music, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (also known as SPAC) is not to be passed by. Settled in the midst of tall pine trees in the same park as a beautiful golf course and the famous mineral baths, SPAC draws a number of popular acts each summer, in addition to more classical events such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet. The ampitheater-style seating is great for those who like to be up close and personal with the artists, while the casual lawn seating is popular among those who like to socialize outdoors while enjoying the music and the starry summer sky.
Those who love the outdoors are not limited to outdoor concert seating. While the entire North Country area boasts rivers, lakes and breathtaking mountain views, Saratoga Springs is by far the most eclectic jewel. With nature activities for even the most cautious outdoorsman, Saratoga Springs has a number of hiking and bike trails, from the Mountain Biking-Stables to the Nielman Parcel and the Wilton Wildlife Preserve. Saratoga Lake, just a short drive from the city, is a sparkling oasis lined with marinas and lake side dining — a must-visit for the nautical type.
For the more sophisticated outdoorsman, the area is home to a number of tree-lined golf courses and the famous Saratoga Polo. Saratoga Springs is home to one of the four oldest polo fields in the United States.