Read all about the charming, picturesque town of Saratoga from intern Kate, the first stop in a series of favorite travel locations from the women behind GRACESHIP.
Commonly referred to as the Spa, Saratoga, located in upstate New York is a popular northeastern vacation spot. People from all over are drawn to visit for the many mineral springs in the area, the fascinating history, gorgeous lake and of course the horse racing. With unparalleled weather, fabulous restaurants and the perfect atmosphere for enjoying a laid back summer, Saratoga is the place to be.
I made my first trip to Saratoga a few summers ago with my boyfriend to visit his family. His dad trains horses there. I had never been to New York, but after spending 10 days there, I did not want to leave. The weather is absolutely perfect, highs in the upper 70’s and low 80’s, hardly any humidity, and lots of sunshine. It makes being outside and taking in all that the historic city has to offer really enjoyable.
How to get there: Saratoga provides a wonderful opportunity for a road trip. Being located in upstate New York, the journey includes beautiful views from high up on the interstate of tree covered mountain sides and your occasional small town. If long car rides aren’t your thing, you can fly into the Albany airport which is a quick 30 minutes from Saratoga Springs.
Where to stay: I recommend getting a cozy cabin overlooking Saratoga Lake. It allows you to experience the “lake life” aspect that you otherwise wouldn’t get if you were staying in town. Just be sure to bring some bug spray. Saratoga also has a number of beautiful old homes that you can rent for vacations. The architecture throughout Saratoga is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so detailed and perfectly manicured, a huge part of the picturesque town.
What to do: Put on a sundress and a hat and spend a day at the races, of course! Saratoga is the epitome of a racing town that thrives on the excitement of the summer meet. Huge crowds are drawn everyday to experience the excitement and charm of the historic track. You can bring in blankets, chairs and coolers and watch the races on the lawn or enjoy it from a box or patio table in the clubhouse. In between the races you can do a little shopping at one of the many vendor tents that line the main walk. They have a variety of things for sale from Saratoga Race Track Apparel to Beautiful Hats and Fine Art. If shopping isn’t your thing, you can get a bite to eat at any number of the food stands. There is everything from sushi to fried chicken (the pizza from Pie On Wheels is the best). The atmosphere at the Saratoga Race Course is unlike any race track I’ve ever been to and something anyone with an interest in horses has to experience.
If you are in town for the Fasig Tipton Sales, you don’t want to miss going at least one night. After dinner all of the excitement is taking place at the sales pavillion where crowds pack in to bid on horses and enjoy a cocktail. The sale at Saratoga is pretty atypical. It is a huge social event bringing people together to show off their fancy cars, while bidding on expensive horses, in cocktail attire. It is quite an experience.
On dark days you must visit the main street downtown. The downtown has the same historic charm that fills the rest of the city. There are dozens of adorable boutiques, candy stores/ bakeries and some of the best people watching in one of the most beautiful towns in America. After shopping you can head to Saratoga National Golf Course and play a round of golf, visit multiple historic landmarks including Revolutionary War battle grounds or walk around the gardens of Yotpo, an artist retreat. With Saratoga being known for their mineral water, it is paramount that you stop and get a taste at one of the natural springs throughout the town. I can’t promise you won’t want to spit it out though.
Where to eat: Spring Street Deli, for breakfast lunch and dinner. The spinach portobello salad is my favorite!
Max London’s on main street is a great modern american spot with a seasonally changing menu.
Javier’s latin restaurant is a must for the Tres Leches Cake. I could eat 5 plates of it… easy.
Bonus: Being only three hours away from New York City, there is great opportunity for an unforgettable day trip!