Getaway: Why Saratoga Springs? #Travel
During the Holidays, I drove the 300 km that separate Montreal from Saratoga Springs, a charming and historic town located in New York State’s Adirondacks. The question I got the most when I got back was : why Saratoga Springs? And, after spending 48 hours in this rich-in-history town, here are few reasons why.
When you are dreaming of a 48-hour getaway, you don’t want to have to drive too far. And, let’s face it: in a 3-hour radius, the options are limited around Montreal. Once you have seen : Tremblant, the Eastern Townships, Vermont, Lake Champlain, Ottawa, Quebec City… you have seen it all. That’s why Saratoga Springs, which offers a great mix between Burlington, Vermont and the Lake Champlain area, is a great option.
– The healing waters of the “Spa City”
If you didn’t already know, the city of Saratoga Springs was named “Queen of the Spas” over a century ago. It was the naturally flowing, carbonated springs that first brought visitors in droves, including the rich and famous, to ‘take the cure’ in the healing waters of Saratoga. Today visitors still relax and rejuvenate in those same waters at one of its historic spas, including the historic Roosevelt Baths & Spa, nestled in the Saratoga Spa State Park.
Established in 1935, the Roosevelt Baths & Spa Saratoga Springs spa resort opened, offering private soaks in Saratoga’s naturally effervescent water. Still today, the mineral water is captured cold from underground springs, then mixed with warm fresh water to a neutral temperature for maximum benefits for guests to enjoy it.
– The gorgeous natural parks
The sumptuous Saratoga Spa State Park, where the historical and renown healing water spa is located, is also known for its diverse cultural and recreational resources. In addition to the famed Saratoga Performing Arts Center, park attractions include the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Roosevelt Baths & Spa you will also find The Gideon Putnam, a National Historic Landmark that offers 124 appointed guest rooms and modern American cuisine (the Gideon Restaurant has been voted best brunch in the city). Where else can you stay and dine on the lands of a State Park? The Saratoga Spa State Park also hosts a championship 18-hole course, 9-hole disc golf, tennis courts, and a public swimming pool that is free of charge for The Gideon’s hotel guests.
– The Victorian Architecture
Saratoga Springs is a city rich in history and beauty where you can still appreciate Victorian architecture all around. A stunning example is the historic and impressive Adelphi Hotel, the oldest hotel in Saratoga Springs, that proudly stands in the heart of City Center. This landmark recently reopened after being closed for 5 years and a multimillion dollar facelift. It is now a premium boutique hotel, the only one in the area, and a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World distinction. The hotel originally opened in 1877 in the midst of Saratoga’s golden age and the newly renovated structure, that is absolutely stunning, features a 1,200-square-foot (111-square-meter) glass-walled conservatory and a new 2,300-square-foot (213-square-meter) grand ballroom. The hotel is totally worth a visit – considering it is Saratoga’s oldest hotel and the city’s only luxury boutique hotel. The Adelphi is luxurious, comfortable, while ingeniously combining modernity and history. The 32-rooms reflect the vision of the modern days and have the touch of “new” luxury, but without losing its golden age touch. Absolutely wonderful; a true masterpiece.
-The (very) great restaurant and food offer
Broadway Street, which is the main street, is very fun to discover on foot with its numerous independent shops, restaurants, galleries, markets and attractions that are all located close by. Downtown Saratoga Springs is large enough to enjoy but small enough to be visited in one day. Start your day at Mrs. London Bakery, a refined bakery where you can enjoy specialty coffees and homemade croissants, or head to The Blue Hen by David Burke for an amazing weekend brunch. That superb restaurant located underneath an 11-foot glass-ceiling dome is the summit of chic, offering a classic and distinguished setting and a chef-driven menu for both breakfast and dinner. On Broadway Street, you will also find a modern steakhouse, Salt & Char ,that will please every meat lovers. The classy restaurant also offers a bar section for happy hours and afternoon drinks (their wine list is pretty impressive, too!). For a little detox and retox, The Legacy Juice Works, also located on Main street, serves smoothie bowls and cold pressed juices every day and the Saratoga Tea & Honey Company offers an incredible variety of teas and honeys to taste at the “tea bar” or to buy in bulk.
-The wide entertainment offer
There is a lot to do in Saratoga Springs and you could easily spend 48 hours and more without getting tired of it. Apart from the spas, the national parks, the shops and the restaurants, you can also stay entertained by visiting the numerous museums, like the Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, one of the largest museums in upstate New York, explore the Public Market or play at the Saratoga Strike Zone – where bowling games are only 5$ per person – or unwind at Namaste Yoga and Meditation Center where visitors have access to discounted rates. Did you know that Saratoga Springs is home to six yoga studios? Not bad for a small rural town.
Last but not least, Saratoga Springs is also a fairly affordable city : prices for lodging, entertainment and dining aren’t as high as the bigger cities located nearby (New York, Boston, Burlington) but the quality is pretty much the same. If you are traveling on a budget and still want to experience something funkier and more interesting than a chain hotel, I suggest the very cool Downtowner, located, again, on Broadway Street. The Downtowner is a stylish and modern Saratoga Springs hotel, offering a fresh take on the vintage motor lodge. The rooms are comfortable, the style is funky, the decor is design-oriented while the prices are hard to beat. Good to know: the parking is free at every Saratoga Springs hotel, which is refreshing and nice. Now : let’s all head to “Spa City” before it is no longer a well-kept secret for a fun 48 hour getaway.
by: Catherine Maisonneuve, Lifestyle Editor