This post begins a week long series about my family’s trip to Saratoga Springs, New York.
Most people probably recognize Saratoga Springs as the center of the horse racing world. Indeed, the horses take to the track every July, August, and September. Checking out the races was the catalyst for planning a recent trip to the area. However, while researching, I quickly discovered there is a lot more to do than just go to the race track; so much to do that we couldn’t cover it all in one trip. Each day, I'll share some personal highlights from our adventures.
Whenever I plan a trip, one of my first points of research is to check my National Parks map to see if any spots are located on our route. Sure enough, driving to Saratoga Racetrack we passed Saratoga National Historic Park, with five different stops. It was a rainy, dreary morning so we could not take full advantage of the park, but we still learned a lot about the Revolutionary War:
Saratoga Battlefield Visitor Center: The grounds are beautiful and would have been fun to explore had it not been raining hard when we visited. We opted to spend an hour inside learning about the two battles in the fall of 1777, during the Revolutionary War. Those battle are considered the turning point of the war because they were the first times that a British army surrendered to the United States. See if you children can "I Spy":
- A tent to reenact sleeping on the battlefield (little ones will love “hiding” from their parents)
- A costume area to dress up as either an American or British soldier
- A huge chalkboard to keep children entertained while adults read more about the battles
- A pair of silver cufflinks belonging to General John Burgoyne (my daughter loves anything flashy and sparkly)
- Weapons of War: a big display of authentic muskets, cannonballs, pistols, and spoontoons.
- A twenty minute film that explains the history of the battles, including film footage shot right on site in 2002.
Don’t forget to collect four stamps for your passport at the Visitor's Center.
Saratoga Tour Road: You can drive the 10 mile paved driving tour road that goes through the camp and battle locations.
Saratoga Monument: It’s only open on the weekend (we were passing through on a Tuesday) so we could not climb the 188 steps to the top of the 155 foot granite monument. However, it looked like a beautiful property with a hill kids where could burn a lot of energy and spots to picnic. It’s a short, five minute drive from the battlefield, in the middle of a residential neighborhood. As we were driving through town, we also passed Schuyler Corn Maze and Farm which looked like it would be a lot of fun come fall.
Victory Woods: A four mile hiking trail that goes through most of the sites where the battles occurred. You can park at the monument parking lot and follow the white trail markers on the dirt road by the cemetery.
Schulyer House: The restored home of American General Schuyler, dating back to 1777. It’s about a mile from the monument and again, only open on the weekend, so we could not explore it ourselves.
A quick glance at their 2017 calendar shows a variety of activities from Frost Faires in the winter to Junior Ranger days in the spring to evening bike tours and music series in the summer to candlelit tours in the fall. I wished we lived closer!