The History of Saratoga, New York

Happy Independence America! I’ve already watched some Fireworks to get in the spirit of our Independence, which occurred on July 4th, 1776, when the colonies wrote the Declaration of Independence. But did you know that my hometown, Saratoga Springs, New York has a lot to do with America winning it’s Independence?

In the past, I’ve written some detail about Saratoga National Historic Park, but I wanted to write another post on here of the history and the park in itself now that it’s Spring and you can really see what it has to offer.

While the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, the war for freedom was just beginning. In fact, in September of 1777 through October of 177720180609_113958 the Battle of Saratoga began and is now known to many history buffs as the “Turning Point of The Revolutionary War”. It was in October of 1777 when British troops surrendered to American troops, a battle that would change the tide of the Revolutionary War in favor of the American colonists. This battle was significant because other countries, like France saw what happened and joined the war to fight for the freedom of America.

I love the history of Saratoga for this specifically, there is so much you can see and understand in just a few hours. To think that you can walk on land that was once walked on by the very people who gave this country it’s freedom always blows my mind.

When visiting the National Historic Park, you can experience it in many different ways in the Spring and Summer. You can walk the trail or bike it (roughly 9 miles), you can drive through it, or even take a horse (if you have one). There are reenactments done at different points in the year, as well as guides and maps that can explain everything to you. We went for a bike ride (it’s a hilly 9+miles if you do this) and stopped at each section of the trail to see views of the battlefield and read the markings left to explain the significance of each site.

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It’s a great location to learn some history, get some exercise or even go to read and have a picnic. I’m hoping to have a lovely picnic there before the year ends — it’s on my summer bucket list. Once you’re done here, you can head to the Saratoga Monument and Victory Woods where you can learn more about the battlefield. Before walking through Victory Woods, you’ll pass through a cemetery filled with headstones from the 1700 and 1800’s, there could literally be Revolutionary and Civil War heroes buried in this cemetery. It’s an eerie feeling but one that helps you appreciate the magnitude of their sacrifice.

So, again, Happy Independence Day America! I’m so lucky to live in an area that had such a significant impact on our freedom.

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Hiking Mount Mansfield

Most people know the Stowe area of Vermont for it’s Skiing. I am not a skier. Okay, that’s a little of a lie, I can ski and will go but I would prefer to see the Mountains without snow on them. When we lived in VT we tried to hit some of the higher peaks of Vermont. Mt. Mansfield is one of those Mountains in Stowe.

In fact, Mt Mansfield is the highest peak in VT at 4,339 feet, which in Adirondack terms, isn’t that high. The High Peaks of the Adirondacks has over 46 mountains at over 4,000 feet, it’s highest over 5,000 feet (Mount Marcy). Knowing that we were moving to New York a few years ago had us thinking about getting ready for some of these higher elevations — like Mt. Mansfield.

Mt Mansfield

The trail is about a 6.6 mile round trip hike. At times I thought I was going to die, I’m not going to lie but I also want to say I was really out of shape. There were some times where it seemed really steep for my 5 foot 2 short legs but I mean look at the view above! It was so worth it! Be aware that it’s highly popular, so don’t expect a quiet hike, there will be families and dogs everywhere, I would have loved to go maybe during the week with less people but you know, real work gets in the way.

Favorite Restaurants In & Around Saratoga

Oh Saratoga. There is nothing better than walking Broadway and people watching, catching a drink or going to a rooftop bar. But one of my favorite things to do is the food.

There are so many options, and while I might not be a foodie, I am always looking for new restaurants to take people to when they’re visiting. Here’s my favorite places. I’m attaching $ to indicate affordability.

My Favorites in Saratoga

Druthers Brewing Company $$

Relatively new, this is our favorite hot spot. The only downfall is that once we bring our friends there they never want to go anywhere else. Why you ask? Because of their Mac and Cheese.

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Not only is it super affordable, it’s also huge! But don’t forget to try their homemade beer and split a beer and cheese appetizer (My favorite from any place I’ve tried).

Boca Bistro $$$

Looking for something a little different than American? Try Boca Bistro where you can get some serious tapas including some back wrapped dates that are out of this world. It is pricey however so I would use this for a fancier dinner or special occasion.

Wheatfields $$

Italian at its finest (sorry Chianti!) Wheatfields has a bunch of options, a ridiculously good happy hour and a relaxed feel even though it’s not a pub style.

The Stadium $

If you’re looking for a quick bite and a place to watch every sporting event at once, The Stadium is for you. There are two, we prefer Westside Stadium with less people but either are fantastic.

Around Saratoga

Longfellows $$$

Another like Boca Bistro, Longfellows is the perfect spot for special occasions (they even host weddings, Thanksgiving & Easter buffets). We went there for my 30th birthday, not only was it a surprise, it was a delicious surprise. There are so many nooks and a homey feel to the place. The food is definitely hand crafted food too.

Harvest and Hearth $

Right next to a creek where you can go kayaking, Harvest and Hearth has the best artisan pizza in the area. I still haven’t brought my friends here yet but I know once I do they will love it. The other fantastic thing about this place is the alcohol options. They carry local/New York wine and beer and it makes me happy every time I go. If you’re there get the natural with goat cheese yummm!

The Whistling Kettle $$

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For a late breakfast/early lunch with the feel of the U.K. the Whistling Kettle offers a variety of fun menus ideas and tea. SO MUCH TEA! All different flavors and all delicious! You can get crepes, sandwiches, quiches and scones here. What’s even better is you can get all three in their tier menu. Where you pick the the three things you want. Don’t forget to get tea, it will come in its own pot for you.

If you come to the area I am begging you to try one of these. They are definitely my favorite and I know my friends will vouch for it! Have you already been to Saratoga and dined at one of these? If so, which? Did you love it?

My Favorite Things to do in Upstate New York in The Spring

I haven’t really told you all about my hometown and what to do there during the different seasons. Now that’s I’ve finished my posts about preparing for England I’m going to give you advice on what to do if you’re ever in my area. I’ll do advice based on season and try and do itineraries for short and long-term stays.

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Spring, it can be a fabulous time and it can be a horrible time here in the Northeast. I’m writing this post on April 17th and we had snow/ice mix today, but this weekend will be sunny and 60 so to say to be prepared for anything would be an understatement.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to see the Tulips (usually in May) at Washington Park Historic District but since the weather is so unpredictable in Spring, I would suggest seeing the history of Upstate New York. The New York State Museum in Albany is one of my favorites, but don’t be too surprised if you get a little emotional. Cost for admission is free too! If you’re in Albany, try and check out for a tour with the New York State Capitol a building which has been around since the 1880s. The admission for this tour is free as well. Afterwards, grab a drink at Nine Pin Cider and stop for lunch or dinner at Dinosaur BBQ, originally from Syracuse, this restaurant has quick service, inexpensive, good BBQ and a view of the Hudson River.

A little farther north of Albany is my hometown of Saratoga Springs — one of the hot spots for the summer and fall (we’ll get to that later). But in the Spring there is still a bunch of history to be seen — including the Saratoga National Battle Grounds, Yaddo Gardens, The Auto Museum, The Saratoga State Park and National Museum of Dance and while you’re at it, try some of the many natural springs in the area for your health.

The Nightlife is awesome in Saratoga, I’d recommend some wine from Thirsty Owl and Swedish Hill and when you’re done with that, try dinner at Wheatfields if you’re a fan of Italian (PS- homemade pasta), it’s inexpensive with a great atmosphere.

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Those are my suggestions for coming to visit my area in the Spring. There is so much more to tell you and I can’t wait to give advice on seasonal and multiple day vacations.