Saratoga Springs.. Oh The Places You'll Go

August 2011 Archives

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According to the dictionary, a watering hole by definition is a pool where animals drink. Perhaps you have seen pictures or heard of animals in Africa traveling several miles to get to a rare watering hole. Like those zebras and giraffes, here in Saratoga we have something similar- our springs. Tourist near and far travel from all over to experience the health benefits of the seventeen public mineral springs. However, there is one in particular that most of the locals and knowledgeable vacationers flock to that has especially tasty water- the State Seal Spring. Here, you can always find a group of folks filling their jugs and taking home some of the best spring water one can find for no cost. Although it's not a big secret, for me it took almost eight months before I found this well loved watering hole.

Prior to moving to Saratoga Springs, a friend in Georgia informed me that she just loved the spring water. She advised me that instead of buying bottle water or using a water filter, to simply take a clean milk carton or a pitcher to the springs. On our first day here in Saratoga, while waiting for the movers to come, my family decided to take a wintery stroll through downtown. There, we stumbled upon the Harthorn Spring. Remembering what my friend told me, I informed my husband people drank the spring water. However, as we approached it I could tell by the smell I knew I didn't want to try it. Yet, my husband, who is braver then me, took a big sip to only turn around and gag. Needless to say, we just decided that my friend was crazy and to never drink the spring water again.

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Several months later, when the snow had melted and the weather was perfect for going for a stroll, I decided to take a walk along the Avenue of Pines located in the Saratoga State Park. It was there I saw a line of people filling up numerous water containers at a spring. Thinking these people were ridiculous, but remembering what my friend had said, I decided to check it out. First thing I did was a sniff test, and to my surprise, it smelled fine. Next I took a reluctant sip. Low and behold it was not only good, but extremely tasty. Turned out my friend wasn't weird, I just went to the wrong spring. Immediately I went home and told my husband that we had been wrong, and there was a more than decent spring that we could get free water from. Since he didn't believe me, later that week I took him out to the Joseph Bruno Pavilion for him to see, or rather taste, for himself. Let's just say, from that point on, I join other locals and curious visitors in filling my pitchers with some of the best free spring water one can find about once a week.

It's pretty safe to say that the State Seal Spring is no tight-lip secret, although it took me several months to find it. Located on the Avenue of the Pines across from the Automobile Museum, you will find a small spring at the Joseph Bruno Pavilion. Turning onto the street that loops around the spring, there's always plenty of parking on the side of the road. There are 6 spouts for the spring water and one spout for the mineral water. The signs on the pavilion ask to only fill up three jugs at a time if others are waiting- although not everyone follows that suggestion- but the rotation of containers moves rather quickly. However, if you're not a patient person, I would suggest going during the week. Weekends can be sort of crowded, although it can be fun talking to others while you wait for your turn.

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The State Seal Spring, as much as I don't like comparing myself to a gazelle, is very much like a watering hole. If you ever get the chance, take your water bottle and check it out. It's definitely a wonderful treasure right here in town. And if you ever see a mother chasing her toddler there, it'll probably be just me getting my weekly drinking water supply.

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With the conclusion of summer rapidly approaching, my quest to find as many of the fiberglass horses for Horses, Saratoga Style is also coming to an end. Although some are not officially part of the exhibit, so far my good neighbor and I have found quite a few here in Saratoga Springs. On our third outing trying to locate the others, we manage to locate nine more. Here's what we found:

The first two were located at a private residency. The first one, Golden Ticket, is most likely a tribute to Willy Wonka, as the horse looks like a piece of chocolate wrapped in gold tin; if you ever see it in person, look at the ear for a "sweet" detail. The next one looks like yellow marble, but I couldn't find any information on it. Down the road, at The Olde Bryan Inn, we found the third one of the day. With different iconic images of Saratoga, this is another horse by Frankie Flores. Supposedly Snapshot, designed by Terri J. Garofalo was to be located here, but we did not see it. Continuing down the road, we easily found the fourth horse, Giddyup, a marvelous mosaic of glass and mirror pieces. Heading to the other side of downtown, the next one was Remembrance at The Inn at Saratoga. Perhaps this one had a history of being too loved by the locals because this was the only one we saw that had a surveillance sign. Continuing along Route 9, the next place we stop was Saratoga Honda to see History of Horses; this was one of my favorite horses of the day. Driving by, it simply looks like a brown and white horse, but up close there are hidden abstract images of horses throughout history. If you can ever make the time, this is one that has to be seen up close. The next one was a small drive to Longfellows to see Music in Motion. This whimsical horse had sheets of music all over it with its hair made from music instruments strings. The next one was an accidental find on the way back home. Although we weren't able to find any title information on this horse, we were able to see that this one was another Frankie Flores piece. The last horse discovered was on the way home and located on the polo field. Again, this was another Frankie Flores horse.

Although this has been a slow process, finding these horses have made for a fun adventure when there's a need to get out of the house. Of course there is still quite a few, nineteen I believe, but perhaps with some time and luck I'll find some more.

Golden Ticket
Artists: Sarah Sharpe & Amanda Newman
Location: Corner of Greenfield Ave & North Broadway
Sponsor: NBT Bank

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Unknown
Artists: Unknown
Location: Corner of Greenfield Ave & Woodlawn Ave

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Saratoga Stripes
Artist: Frankie Flores
Location: Olde Bryan Inn, 123 Maple Avenue

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Giddyup
Artists: Dana Rudolph & Ronda Jeffer
Location: 92 East Avenue
Sponsors: Sonny & Julie Bonacio/Jim LaVigne & Mary Gavin

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Remembrance
Artist: Linda B. Buerkley
Location: The Inn at Saratoga, 231 Broadway
Sponsor: The Inn at Saratoga

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The History of Horses
Artist: Robert Ratigan, Jr.
Location: Saratoga Honda at 3402 Rte 9, Saratoga Springs, NY
Sponsor: Saratoga Harness Horsepersons Assoc.

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Music in Motion
Artist: Linda Beggars
Location: Longfellows at 500 Union Avenue
Sponsor: Longfellows Restaurant & Hotel

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Unknown
Artist: Frankie Flores
Location: Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Avenue

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"Polo"
Artist: Frankie Flores
Location: Polo Club, 2 Bloomfield Rd
Sponsor: Saratoga Polo Association

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Help a girl out- have you seen any across town that I haven't seen yet? Which one is your favorite so far?

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It may be my new favorite restaurant, but then again I'm not sure. After all, I only went three times in one week. No joke! I went once on a date with my husband, then with some friends and their families after they heard how much we enjoyed it, and again when my sister and her fiancée were in town. The place? A small little pub and teahouse located on Beekman Street affectionately known as The Local. With a menu full of options for any appetite and having an inviting atmosphere, it's a watering hole and a family friendly restaurant that won't empty your wallet. If you've never been, you're missing out on one of the best kept secrets hidden in the art district of Saratoga Springs.

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The first thing you should know is that this restaurant is extremely easy to find, but for some reason it took me almost eight months to discover it. Located on the corner of Beekman Street and Grand Avenue, parking will probably be your hardest task besides trying to figure out what delicious entrée you will be eating. I say that because it only takes a minute or two finding a spot to park along one of the side streets. Once you're done with that, you have two options on where you can sit: inside the restaurant or outside in the pub garden (wouldn't recommend the later in the winter though). Inside The Local, one of the first things you'll notice is the wood bar that seats over a dozen folks. After that, there's the stone fireplace, mugs hanging above the bar, a chalk beer list also hanging above the bar, booths on the far end of the restaurant, and pub styling tables with leather ottomans on casters in the front. Of course, you also have your standard darts and television as any traditional bar does.

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Outside, however, has more of a "beer garden" feel with stone/gravel walkways, modern Adirondack chairs, café style tables, and lights hanging along the fence and in the trees. To me, after a long winter, I can't think of a more relaxing place to have dinner. And then to top things off, The Local also has some great events which are also posted on their Facebook page; and from the looks of it, they have bands that play there on a regular basis making it just another way to enjoy the evening.

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Then comes the hardest part of going to The Local: trying to decide what to eat much less what to drink. Having been voted "Best Fish and Chips" and "Best Burger" in town, those two items seem like an obvious choice. But with a menu filled with Irish and English specialties all ranging from $6 to $15, it's hard to decide whether to get poutine fries, Sheppard's pie, a tea sandwich, a salad, or even the steak and chips. Even the kids menu is hard to pass up. The Local also has an unforgettable weekend brunch menu, served from 9:30am to 3:00pm, featuring Irish dishes to traditional pancakes. And by the time you're finish with everything, don't forget their dessert menu; once again it won't disappoint. Afterwards, if you haven't eaten yourself into a coma, you can always walk around Beekman to make yourself feel less guilty for eating all that tasty food.

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In addition to the extensive menu, The Local also has an array of fine teas, craft beer, and specialty drinks. And for the record, this isn't another bar where the server doesn't know anything. If you want a suggestion of what might pair well with your meal, they are very quick with suggestions. This is one of those places I almost wished my husband and I fought more so I would have an excuse to escape to have a decent draft beer. On our first visit to The Local, one of my husband's first questions was in regards to their Mug Club. With only 220 spots available and a wait list to boot, our waitress informed us of the many benefits of becoming a member. For starters, every member receives a personal mug which is hung above the bar. When you then order a beer, because it's a 20oz mug, you get four extra ounces of beer for free not to mention the Mug Club specials every Monday and Tuesday. Members also get an invitation for the Annual Mug Club party where they also receive a Mug Club t-shirt. Let me just say, I'm thinking I may need to get on that waitlist.

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The Local, which has been honored as one of the "best neighborhood bars," definitely lives up to its reputation as the place where locals go because it's so good. For personal reasons, I love the fact that I can go to a place, not have to drive here and there for parking, get a great meal without breaking the bank, have a decent drink, and bring my family. It was embarrassing to admit that I went so often in one week, but when you find a place you love, it's hard not going back several times. It's hard to believe such a small place could have such a large personality, but that's what makes it unique. No doubt, this is my favorite local restaurant.

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Last week I wrote about my fanciful search for all the horses part of the Horses, Saratoga Style exhibit. With a camera in hand, my good friend and I were lucky enough to find quite a few on our last outing. Below are some more pictures of these whimsical horses, but before you scroll down to see them, I like a share just a bit of information and tidbits I discovered along the way.

The first horse, Horse of a Different Color, was once on displayed at SPAC according to older maps. Believing it had been vandalized and gone forever, I gave up on this one after a thorough search of the area on my first trip. It was only when I was running errands on Broadway a few days later that I realized it had a new home. The next one, Babel Horse, is probably one of my favorites. Written all over this horse are different quotes about the noble animal in different languages- quite beautiful honestly. Starry Night, conveniently located at a hotel, is created with mosaics and I can only imagine how tedious it was to create such a detail sculpture. Magic, one that I drive by on a daily basis, was one of my favorite discoveries because I cannot believe I didn't see it before. Upon closer examination, this horse has Pepsi cans all over it. Of course the sun has faded a lot of the colors, but if you notice, you can still see the logo on the saddle and the buttons are the bottom of cans- very interesting. Handi-Cap, as you will see, is also a "mosaic" of beer bottle caps, and Foundation I believe can speak for itself, but still just as beautiful as the others. The last one doesn't have a name or artist and is located in the Wilton Mall. Although this one isn't part of the series, I thought I include it anyway because until I called the mall, I thought this one may have been an older one or one that was perhaps an "extra".

So there you have it- a few more horses seen around town. Hopefully I can get back out there soon and try to find some more. As I said, I hope to find all of them if possible and have made a game out of it. Do you have a new favorite since last week? Come back soon to see which ones I find next.

Horse of a Different Color
Artist: Frankie Flores
Location: Roughly in front of 473 Broadway
Sponsored: The Adirondack Trust Insurance
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Babel Horse
Artist: Anne Francey
Location: Allerdice Glass & Mirror, 120 Excelsior Avenue
Sponsored: Allerdice Building Supply, Inc
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Starry Night
Artist: Geri Bowden
Location: Courtyard Hotel, 11 Excelsior Ave
Sponsored: Courtyard by Marriott Saratoga Springs
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Magic
Artist: Jenny McShan
Location: Saratoga Springs Visitor Center, 297 Broadway
Sponsored: Pepsi Bottling Group
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The Handi-Cap
Artist: Ali Herrmann
Location: 95 Washington Street
Sponsored: The MASIE Center/Elliott & Cathy Masie
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Foundation
Artist: Kelsey Harro
Location: In front of Spoken Boutique, 27 Church Street
Sponsored: Bast Hatfield, Inc
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Location: Wilton Mall, 3065 Route 50
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Just a side note: I like to thank my partner in crime, Jennifer Bishop, for helping me with a lot of these photos. To see more of her photos from our trip, check out her Flickr account under ryansgirl0928 or her Red Bubble portfolio under Jennifer Bishop.

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Danielle Berry

Originally from the South Carolina Lowcountry, Danielle Berry is a southern girl through and through. Born into an Air Force family with three other siblings, her life included moving every four to five years up and down the East Coast. Although saying goodbye was never easy with every move, a new town always meant more friends and unfamiliar, yet exciting, things to do. Eventually her parents settled in the small town of Beaufort, South Carolina; a quaint coastal town between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. There, she found the porches were long, but the conversations were always longer.

A Converse College alumna, she met her husband, Jared, on a reluctant blind date her freshman year. Married in 2007, she followed him to Southeast Georgia where she was hired as an interior decorator and project manager for James Michael Howard. In 2009, they welcomed their first son, Michael, and she became a full time stay-at-home mom.

This past January, she followed her husband to Saratoga Springs. Although the porches aren’t as long, she has found that the conversations with the locals are. With an overwhelming amount of experiences awaiting, she is excited to be given another opportunity in a new town, with new friends, and new adventures.