When my girlfriend, Stacy, asked me to name the one thing I loved most about Saratoga I took her question seriously, even though I seriously doubted I could come up with an answer.
I was right. I couldn’t.
It wasn’t because there are hundreds of things to love about the town, although that does present a challenge.
It’s because a lifetime of memories and the idyllic dreams I had as a child keep me from defining it.
Why? Because once I do it would feel like THAT ONE THING has to be it.
I could never do that to myself.
The history of Saratoga is so greatly well storied and so markedly magnificent that it parallels nothing.
What makes her even grander is that she continues to write new chapters year after year.
Founded by Gideon Putnam and marked as the nation’s first resort town, Saratoga Springs has been the home to a turning point in the Revolutionary War. It is the village thousands gathered to in order to take advantage of its waters and their mysterious ways of healing. Lest we forget, the home to the greatest gambling and racing stories ever assembled in one place.
To get here you follow writer Red Smith’s directions of “From New York City you drive north for about 175 miles, turn left on Union Avenue and go back 100 years.”
She is unlike any place on earth.
She brings you back to a time when men wore ties and hats to the races, ladies dressed in the most gloriously beautiful dresses, accentuated with diamonds whose sparkle rivaled that of the August sun.
I am hoping to do the same on these pages, or at least, provide you with stories and images that allow yourself to imagine a time long ago.
Over the coming weeks I will post stories of the players, the characters, the people and horses, the waters, homes and hotels of Saratoga that has made this place the paradise on earth I believe her to be.
I invite you to come back with me. See what Saratoga was like in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries and why she is, in the 21st century, just as impressive today.
I may not be able to answer Stacy’s question directly but I can share that one of my favorite things about Saratoga is she allows me – and welcomes me – to visit a time long ago on this very day.
You are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories and memories. I would love to hear them all.