The Saratoga Traveler: Day Trips, Weekend Getaways & Hidden Gems

Ballston Lake and Good Times Restaurant-a nice way to spend an afternoon


For the first day after their long drive from St. Louis I decided to take my niece Laura and her husband Bob to the fishing pier at Ballston Lake.  Ballston Lake is south of Saratoga down highway 50 to Outlet Rd.  Once you take a left onto to Outlet Rd you will pass the hiking, biking trail and shortly after that on the left is the parking lot for the fishing pier.  Be careful crossing the street, there is more traffic than you would think.

Once you cross the street and walk down the wooden walkway surrounded by cattails and lily pads you will see the best view of the lake.  On the pier there is a rail all the way around except for on the right side where you can put in a canoe or kayak or even an inflatable boat. view from fishing pier.jpg 

The lake is not only full of fish but also huge snapping turtles, geese and the occasional heron

When we were there, there was a family with two small girls later joined by a grandma and two small boys.  The girls would squeal and the boys would holler when they would catch a little bass or sunfish.  It was cute to watch.

As we were walking down the wooden walkway to leave the fishing pier we stopped at one of the cattail lined pools.  There we saw two turtles sunning themselves on a log.

2 small turtles in center.jpg 

We walked down the street (again watching for traffic) to a small bridge.  There we stood and watched more turtles and fish jumping in the water.  There were small boats with fishermen and kayaks on the lake.  It was such a pretty sight, since the weather was clear and warm that day.

After our walk we decided it was time for lunch.  We chose to take them to The Good Times Lakeview Restaurant.  My husband Mark and I have been there before and really liked it and thought it would be the kind of place that Laura and Bob would like too.  Good Times is a non pretentious restaurant,  warm and inviting, with a large fireplace and cozy seating.  But the best thing about the interior is the view.  If you go ask for a seat by the window-- there you will have a great view of the lake, but not only that the windows are lined with a huge bird feeder.  While you are waiting for your food you can watch goldfinches, red winged black birds and the more comical squirrels and chipmunks         

chimpmunk with full cheeks.jpg


goldfinch on the feeder at goodtimes.jpg

The menu at Good Times in huge.  We ordered Saratoga Chips to start with (we always do whenever we see them on the menu), and the waitress commented on how they are a house specialty.  The chips were served hot and crisp with a cheese sauce.  I have to say they were some of the best chips I've ever had.

I ordered something I thought was an unusual combination a turkey sandwich with blue cheese.  It also had caramelized red onions and spinach on it.  And the turkey--real roasted turkey, one of my weaknesses!  The sandwich was huge and delicious!  Mark ordered the bruschetta, which we had before as an appetizer.  It's tomatoes and herbs with mozzarella cheese all on fresh Italian bread.  Very good--I think it's the balsamic vinegar that makes the difference.  Bob ordered a burger and fries--he raved about the fries being so good I had to order a half order just to try them--and he was right!

Laura got the chicken quesadilla that came with a salad, both a substantial portion.   She ordered her salad with the house dressing and liked it so much she bought a bottle to take home!  We thought about dessert but lunch was way too filling.

After lunch it was back home, warm from the sun, feeling good from our walk and our bellies full of good food from Good Times!

If you visit Good Time Lakeview Restaurant remember:

The portions are large

They offer mystery dinner theater, details at the restaurant

There are no free refills on soda but there is on tea

If you like the salad dressing, buy a bottle.  The bottle itself is unique and reusable.

If you visit the fishing pier at Ballston Lake remember:

Its free!!  But you must have a license to fish

Please don't litter.  There is a garbage can for bait containers, soda cans etc.  Please use it.

But most importantly:  Enjoy it!  Its a beautiful place to spend an afternoon


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Hi Kim,
I'm a fellow blogger and new to the area so I always read your blog. Yesterday I took a friend of mine, who was up from Long Island, to the Good Times Restaurant. It was a great experience. I called the day before to make a reservation and Todd was friendly and helpful- we indeed got the table by the window which you had suggested. The little birds were great - the Chinese feel that it's very good luck if a bird just appears - different kinds of luck are associated with different colored birds.
Thanks so much for the recommendation - I know that I'll go back.
Red Phoenix Healing Arts

Hi Mary,
I'm glad you liked Good Times Restaurant. Did your friend like it too? What did you have? I hope you tried the bruschetta and Saratoga Chips!

Hi Kim,

My friend is a vegetarian and at first she didn't think that she could find something she wanted to eat -I forgot what she ordered (a pasta) but she was very happy with it. One problem - there were 2 screaming kids - different tables - my friend and I wanted to talk as we hadn't seen each other in a while - I was losing patience as the parents seemed to encourage the bad behavior - the parents didn't apologize but Todd came over and was very kind and apologetic. That was a good sign. Things happen - it's important that the restaurant does their best to smooth things over.

I'm from Indiana - simple tastes - so I had a hamburger with the chips - it was great. (Does it show that I don't have kids? - But my parents would not have allowed such bad behavior).

Keep up the good work - Mary

The Good Times Lakeview Restaurant is a new favorite of mine! I saw some coverage on Channel 10 about the restaurant having some hard times, so I decided to stop in for lunch with a friend. I had the Chicken Riggies and they were the epitome of perfection! Quaint, comfortable, and affordable, a MUST try!

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Kim Bernard

Moved to Saratoga from St Louis MO (home of The Gateway Arch, Baseball Cardinals and of course Anheuser-Busch) with my family for my husband's job. In the last 2 1/2 years we've had the opportunity to explore and discover day trips, hidden gems, along with some of the most beautiful, historic, interesting and curious places in New England. So come with me and look through a Midwesterner's eyes at Saratoga and beyond. I hope you enjoy your adventures and feel free to share yours and together we can feed our travel bug!