Saratoga Springs, NY

Emily and I just returned from a weekend in Saratoga Springs, NY for a our friends’ wedding, held in the beautiful 140 year old Canfield Casino, a Renaissance Revival masterpiece in the middle of Congress Park in downtown Saratoga. The wedding was really fun and families of both the bride and the groom were extremely nice.

Adirondack Trust Bank, Saratoga Springs, NY

Adirondack Trust Bank, Saratoga Springs, NY

I’ve been to Saratoga a couple of times before and really like the downtown area and the old mansions that line the streets on and off Broadway, the town’s main street. The city used to be the place to be seen for New York’s and New England’s wealthy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when magnates such as Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie were the titans of the day. The grandeur of those days persists in many forms, in the neoclassical public buildings and banks on Broadway Street, the fountains of Congress Park, the Victorian mansions on Union Avenue, and the stately Saratoga Race Track pavilion.

Saratoga row houses

Saratoga row houses

Saratoga Springs NY Broadway

Broadway street in Saratoga

We found a rental house on Air BnB near the center of town. An old Victorian house, it had four bedrooms and a big porch, which is a must-have in Saratoga. The house had all the old Saratoga charm like original fixtures, moldings and two old staircases. It fit all ten of us (with the help of a pullout futon). Saratoga has a fair number of hotels, but the houses are all so unique and affordable (if you get a lot of people to go), I would definitely recommend going the house rental route.

Congress Park Saratoga

Congress Park, with Canfield Casino in background

Canfield Casino Saratoga

Canfield Casino

I didn’t get a chance to tour around the city on Saturday afternoon because our Amtrak was delayed and I had to scour the city looking to buy something to wear to the wedding because I forgot my suit in New York. (I settled on a sport coat and slacks at JosA Bank). The sales people empathized with my predicament and worked their magic to present me with an outfit that looked passable in both fit and appearance.

Mences and Curtis Pharmacy on Broadway

Mences and Curtis Pharmacy on Broadway

On Sunday morning, as I get up so early, I walked down to Broadway from our rental house and toyed around with my new camera, a Canon EOS6D, a full frame DSLR. I took a few street scene shots of storefronts and the Congress Park again, and watched three baby ducks follow their mother around a pond. It looked like they were having fun and it was entertaining to watch. Next thing I know I’m going to be on of those old guys in the park throwing bread crumbs at birds.

The EOS6D is my first camera that’s not a point-and-shoot, so the learning curve is steep. I’m beginning to get the hang of it and can already tell the difference in the quality of the shots compared to my previous camera, the Canon SX50. I bought a 24-100mm lens with the new one, so carrying around the camera and the lens has become more of a production than I’m used to, but it’s worth it.

Restaurants

As far as meals are concerned, I had a very forgettable lamb gyro at Falafel Den on (6 Phila Street), but a really good biscuit and sausage gravy gut bomb at Country Corner Café (25 Church St). For Saturday lunch, Emily went to her favorite, the buffet at Four Seasons (33 Phila Street). It was formally a health food store plus buffet, but their food business was so successful that they are now just a buffet all day.  After the wedding, we couldn’t resist partaking in the Saratoga tradition of pizza with hot sauce from Esperanto (6 Caroline Street). On Sunday morning, Emily, upon being awoken from her slumber, met me for a coffee and a bagel at Uncommon Grounds, another Saratoga institution and one of the best cafes in the country, if you ask me.

We’re going on our honeymoon next weekend so stay tuned for some stories and pics from Tanzania.

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Kevin is based in Washington, DC and writes about his travel adventures in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world. Through entertaining writing and eye-catching photography, he aims to provide readers with useful information as they plan their next trips.

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