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Saratoga Springs: Queen of Spas, a Revolution, and Some Horsing Around

The mineral waters of Saratoga Springs may be sampled free at Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Spa State Park, the Old Iron Spring in Ballston Spa, and here in Congress Park.
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The mineral waters of Saratoga Springs may be sampled free at Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Spa State Park, the Old Iron Spring in Ballston Spa, and here in Congress Park.

Saratoga Springs is a resort city named for the therapeutic carbonated mineral waters.  It is also renowned as  a thoroughbred racing center.

Drive along historic canals and scenic waterways. Learn about a Revolutionary history that changed the world. It’s a city with Victorian mansions that is renowned its performing arts and gastronomic delight.

Mineral deposits from “The Geyser” spouter in Saratoga Springs has formed a mound, and debris that falls on it quickly becomes fossilized.
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Mineral deposits from “The Geyser” spouter in Saratoga Springs has formed a mound, and debris that falls on it quickly becomes fossilized.

A little history

The salty water of Saratoga Springs attracted animals and this drew hunters. Iroquois and Mohawks believed this to be a gift from the Great Spirit.

Sir William Johnson, wounded in the French and Indian War, was brought to the springs and spread the word of the medicinal powers. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton visited General Schuyler here.

By the 19th century, Congress Spring Water was sold around the world. “Taking the cure” — drinking mineral waters, hydrotherapy treatments, mineral baths — became a fashionable health treatment. Today, the waters may be sampled free in Congress Park, at Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Spa State Park, and the Old Iron Spring in Ballston Spa.

Saratoga Springs has been designated American Heritage’s first Great American Place and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Great American Main Street.

Shop or dine in restored Victorian buildings of Saratoga Spring’s main street, Broadway, where the unmistakable equine theme includes life-size horse statues.
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Shop or dine in restored Victorian buildings of Saratoga Spring’s main street, Broadway, where the unmistakable equine theme includes life-size horse statues.

Attractions

Shop or dine in restored Victorian buildings of Saratoga Spring’s main street, Broadway, where the unmistakable equine theme includes life-size horse statues. Canfield Casino and Historical Society Museum is inside historic Congress Park, across from the Visitor Center on Broadway. For the holiday season, enjoy a Victorian Streetwalk.

Saratoga Spa State Park

Walk the pathways past mineral springs and spouters in the 2500 acre Saratoga Spa State Park. Play a round of championship golf, or indulge in spa services/a mineral bath or massage. Catch a performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC)—ballet, orchestra, jazz, concerts and festivals. The National Museum of Dance in former Washington Bathhouse, just outside park.

Skidmore College offers dance, music, and theater performances. Or just horse around:

Equestrian events: And they’re off…

For six weeks in summer you can try your luck at the sport of kings. Saratoga Race Course is the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in country. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is right across the street. Saratoga Gaming and Raceway on I-87 offers harness racing April to November.

Saratoga National Historical Park

The American Revolution began at Lexington and Concord with the shot heard ‘round the world, but the victory at Saratoga was the turning point of the war. The surrender of the mighty British brought the Americans international and vital French and Spanish support.

A timeline exhibit and fiber optic map at the Saratoga National Historical Park Visitor Center traces the battles, bringing the heroics of General Philip Schuyler and Benedict Arnold and surrender of British General Burgoyne to life.

Drive the nine mile loop from the Visitor Center. Stop for a picnic overlooking farms and the Hudson River.

The 155-foot Saratoga Monument in the village of Victory is on the site of Burgoyne’s camp and commemorates his surrender to Gates in 1777.
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The 155-foot Saratoga Monument in the village of Victory is on the site of Burgoyne’s camp and commemorates his surrender to Gates in 1777.

Also worth a visit are the General Philip Schuyler House and the 155-foot Saratoga Monument, on the site of Burgoyne’s camp, in the village of Victory, commemorating his surrender to Gates in 1777.

Historic Erie and Champlain Canals

At the Lakes to Locks Passage and Scenic Byway along US Route 4, interpretive exhibits reveal the importance of these waterways in this history rich area.

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