Saratoga Springs trip

Old Jul 11th, 2022, 03:36 PM
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Saratoga Springs trip

My wife and I are going to Saratoga Springs for several days in late July. Looking for recommendations on restaurants and things to do. We are both in our mid 60s and active.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 08:35 PM
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bookmarking - I don't have time to give a long answer now but will come back from time to time to add more...

Late july - assuming you'll be there for the track.
Mon and Tue are "dark days" (No racing) the town is quieter those days. The last few years many restaurants are now actually closed those days. Not all, but quite a few.
The Philadelphia orchestra is in town the last week of July. Wed 7/27 thru Sunday. 7/31

Lots of restaurants in town, with some changeover in the last year.
Quickly, off the top of my head, I'd say be sure to try Solevo Kitchen. I'll come back another day with more reco's.

I can point you to walking trails in town (Spa State Park, of up to 3-5 miles), or send you a short or longer distance out of town for hiking hills, or around lakes...
I can also point you to neighborhood walks, along Union Ave (between downtown and the track), or up north Broadway (between downtown and Skidmore).

Are you interested in the mineral springs? there are springs all over town (here and there downtown, plus the spa state park) for tasting the water. There are self guided options, and likely docent or otherwise guided tours. You can take a mineral bath at Roosevelt spa, in the state park.

At the track, a morning backstretch (stables, etc) tour is nice. I'm not a huge track fan/ betting, but we do like to walk by the practice track and watch the horses train each morning.

other stuff to do if I didn't hit any of your interests.... let me know if you want more info about anything.

where will you be staying? Hotel in town, or nearby? AirBnB/VRBO, many in town, plus surrounds....
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 01:46 AM
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We enjoyed the food tour which started at the wonderful farmers market and included a yaste of the mineral springs. This was pre covid so check to see if food tour still offered.
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 06:34 AM
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We lived just outside of Saratoga Springs years ago. I cannot give any updated information restaurants and such of course, but we loved going to SPAC so you might see what performances they have for your dates. The Roosevelt Spa that was mentioned above was a place that I very much enjoyed. The mineral bath was so relaxing, but the massages were also really nice, so a good combo IMO.
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 06:59 AM
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Great info. We will be there Mon-Wed. Sounds like we will miss the horse racing. Anymore info on restaurants would be appreciated. And, more info on the walking hikes.
Thanks again for all the great info.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 09:44 AM
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More about restaurants:

Since covid we've not gone out that much, so I have less 1st hand experience...
Prices are my guess, $ to $$$$

Def need a reservation at most of these places, and all are right downtown.
  • 15 Church (maybe $$$$ or $$$$$) - consistently excellent, and high demand.
  • Solevo Kitchen
  • Seneca
  • Rhea (same owners as Seneca), a noodle restaurant. its one i want to try, but it recently got panned in the Albany newspaper as not quite good enough. I can't tell if the reviewer knows their stuff or not...
  • Sperry's - a Saratoga classic. I can't tell if people like it since they've been going there for 90 years, or if it really is still excellent.
  • Wine Bar. Smaller menu, but we know the owner and she works her tail off as
  • Salt & Char ($$$$ or $$$$$) Consistently inconsistent
  • Morrisseys ($$$$ or $$$$) Consistently inconsistent - some say they love the sushi since it's (sometimes) better than supermarket takeout, but IMO the sushi is pretty poor compared to a place that really knows quality...
  • Mouzon house. elegant setting
  • Cantina. Consistently ok mexican - fun atmosphere when they open the wall of doors to the street
  • Mercantile - dunno. Wasn't impressed when it opened a few years ago and havent been back but it always seems busy.
  • Walt & Whitman (one is a breakfast cafe, the other is a bar) - not sure which is which... Love their breakfast egg sandwiches
  • Hatties. Another town classic - fried chicken.
  • Forno, Boca Bistro, and Chianti. All owned by a big conglomerate. I find that they all rely on salty fatty sauces or ingredients (eg bacon), and those flavors dominate. Not on my go-to list.
  • Max Londons - used to have a Tue nite pizza special. Consistently ok
  • Wheatfields. Another long time local place. I don't hear much about it..
  • Coffee shops (& tea)
    • starbucks is temporarily closed due to construction
    • Saratoga Coffee traders - home store for Death Wish coffee - good, but there can be a line
    • Saratoga Tea & Honey. - wide variety of freshly brewed teas (hot or cold) - fun for a stop in
    • Stewart's convenience stores. I gotta say, they go through so much coffee that their drip coffee at half the price of the specialty stores does me just fine, if you just want a cup of coffee. 4 these stores right in town... (3 with gas stations)
    • Spot coffee. A block or 2 off broadway. Not in an area you'll probably be, but it's a pleasant little gathering place for coffee with friend

There are quite a few others - happy to clarify or add.
Will come back next week and post about walks/hikes.


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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by J62 View Post
More about restaurants:

Since covid we've not gone out that much, so I have less 1st hand experience...
Prices are my guess, $ to $$$$

Def need a reservation at most of these places, and all are right downtown.
  • 15 Church (maybe $$$$ or $$$$$) - consistently excellent, and high demand.
  • Solevo Kitchen
  • Seneca
  • Rhea (same owners as Seneca), a noodle restaurant. its one i want to try, but it recently got panned in the Albany newspaper as not quite good enough. I can't tell if the reviewer knows their stuff or not...
  • Sperry's - a Saratoga classic. I can't tell if people like it since they've been going there for 90 years, or if it really is still excellent.
  • Wine Bar. Smaller menu, but we know the owner and she works her tail off as
  • Salt & Char ($$$$ or $$$$$) Consistently inconsistent
  • Morrisseys ($$$$ or $$$$) Consistently inconsistent - some say they love the sushi since it's (sometimes) better than supermarket takeout, but IMO the sushi is pretty poor compared to a place that really knows quality...
  • Mouzon house. elegant setting
  • Cantina. Consistently ok mexican - fun atmosphere when they open the wall of doors to the street
  • Mercantile - dunno. Wasn't impressed when it opened a few years ago and havent been back but it always seems busy.
  • Walt & Whitman (one is a breakfast cafe, the other is a bar) - not sure which is which... Love their breakfast egg sandwiches
  • Hatties. Another town classic - fried chicken.
  • Forno, Boca Bistro, and Chianti. All owned by a big conglomerate. I find that they all rely on salty fatty sauces or ingredients (eg bacon), and those flavors dominate. Not on my go-to list.
  • Max Londons - used to have a Tue nite pizza special. Consistently ok
  • Wheatfields. Another long time local place. I don't hear much about it..
  • Coffee shops (& tea)
    • starbucks is temporarily closed due to construction
    • Saratoga Coffee traders - home store for Death Wish coffee - good, but there can be a line
    • Saratoga Tea & Honey. - wide variety of freshly brewed teas (hot or cold) - fun for a stop in
    • Stewart's convenience stores. I gotta say, they go through so much coffee that their drip coffee at half the price of the specialty stores does me just fine, if you just want a cup of coffee. 4 these stores right in town... (3 with gas stations)
    • Spot coffee. A block or 2 off broadway. Not in an area you'll probably be, but it's a pleasant little gathering place for coffee with friend

There are quite a few others - happy to clarify or add.
Will come back next week and post about walks/hikes.
more newa about restaurants closed on dark dayshttps://www.timesunion.com/upstatebu...s-17296925.php

there will be plenty of options open but itís an ongoing trend

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Old Jul 14th, 2022, 04:17 AM
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Great info on the restaurants. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Jul 16th, 2022, 04:01 PM
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Saratoga has live racing on the Wednesday and would be open Mon/Tue for simulcast. Some tracks have tours, Sar might.

The Battle at Saratoga was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.
Saratoga National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
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Old Jul 16th, 2022, 09:14 PM
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Uh, simulcast of horses running at other tracks, on Monday & Tue when there is no live racing?
I don't think so...at the harness track/casino, maybe, but not the thoroughbred track.

You CAN go to the practice track and watch the horses training every day. It's right near the main track, across Union Ave, at the corner of Union and East. They typically start running around 7 or so, and end by 11ish. I'll include that on one of my in-town walks I'll get to next week.

The Fasig-Tipton auction center is also a place to visit when there a sale - yearlings. I'm not sure the schedule this year but definitely enjoyable to just walk by all the barns and see the little horses on their way to becoming race horses...

I'll also include more info about the Battlefield, both walks and the self-guided driving tour. Or if you have bikes, the 10.5mi bike loop. It's about a 20min drive outside town.

Since you will be there on the Wed am, I highly recommend you do the free tram tour which departs every 15min from 7:30 am to 9:00am.
https://www.saratogaracetrack.com/tours/

Last edited by J62; Jul 16th, 2022 at 09:47 PM.
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Old Jul 20th, 2022, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by J62 View Post
Uh, simulcast of horses running at other tracks, on Monday & Tue when there is no live racing?
I don't think so...at the harness track/casino, maybe, but not the thoroughbred track.
Saratoga RC has a simulcast area in the grandstand and their calendar shows the programming for Mon/Tue. Apparently, the harness track and casino are run by a different company and there would probably be simulcast there (at the harness track) too. Simulcast is a must-have at any track.. Not that simulcast is of interest to the OP, only that the place should be open but very different experience from live TB race days, of course.
Sar22_Facility_Map_1.jpg (3375◊2625) (nyra.com)
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Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 06:00 PM
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Hiking/walking - sorry for the delay getting this posted.

Assuming you are staying right in town:, the 1st 3 are in town walks
1. you can take a neighborhood walk out to the race track along union ave, then stop by the practice track at corner union & east. For a walking loop, go down east ave to lake, then loop back into town on Lake. A lot of historic / victorian era homes along Union.

2. Another "neighborhood" walk is to walk up N. Broadway towards Skidmore. You can add in a loop around the skidmore campus for about a 3mi loop. There are also some old (and new) mansions along N. Broadway. Many are used only during the 2mo of summer and are vacant the rest of the year.

3 spring run trail - handy if you're staying in the Hilton or Courtyard. trail is old RR walk/bike trail. It goes past several mid 1800s springs/bath houses that are no longer there, so now it's just a walk on a paved trail in the woods..its about 1mi end to end.. Good trail if you want to go out for a run, as is the loop around Skidmore.


short distance out of town - 5min drive

4. Saratoga Spa Park. 5mi trial, or any part thereof. That's a trail mostly through the woods. alternatively there are several 3mi or so loops along walking path (Park near the gideon Putnam, walk up ave of pines, down along rt 9, back on E-W road, then You need to drive to get there. Spa park is a good place to explore the mineral springs and sample (taste) the waters. You can also take a mineral bath at the roosevelt spa in the park.

longer drive
5. Saratoga Battlefield park - about 20min east of town. THeres a nice 4mi loop through fields and woods.

6. 15min north of town is Moreau state park. some flat hikes around the lake (3mi loop) or you can add in more miles and hike up the hills on the Oak trail (or maybe it's Red Oak).
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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by J62 View Post
Hiking/walking - sorry for the delay getting this posted.

Assuming you are staying right in town:, the 1st 3 are in town walks
1. you can take a neighborhood walk out to the race track along union ave, then stop by the practice track at corner union & east. For a walking loop, go down east ave to lake, then loop back into town on Lake. A lot of historic / victorian era homes along Union.

2. Another "neighborhood" walk is to walk up N. Broadway towards Skidmore. You can add in a loop around the skidmore campus for about a 3mi loop. There are also some old (and new) mansions along N. Broadway. Many are used only during the 2mo of summer and are vacant the rest of the year.

3 spring run trail - handy if you're staying in the Hilton or Courtyard. trail is old RR walk/bike trail. It goes past several mid 1800s springs/bath houses that are no longer there, so now it's just a walk on a paved trail in the woods..its about 1mi end to end.. Good trail if you want to go out for a run, as is the loop around Skidmore.


short distance out of town - 5min drive

4. Saratoga Spa Park. 5mi trial, or any part thereof. That's a trail mostly through the woods. alternatively there are several 3mi or so loops along walking path (Park near the gideon Putnam, walk up ave of pines, down along rt 9, back on E-W road, then You need to drive to get there. Spa park is a good place to explore the mineral springs and sample (taste) the waters. You can also take a mineral bath at the roosevelt spa in the park.

longer drive
5. Saratoga Battlefield park - about 20min east of town. THeres a nice 4mi loop through fields and woods.

6. 15min north of town is Moreau state park. some flat hikes around the lake (3mi loop) or you can add in more miles and hike up the hills on the Oak trail (or maybe it's Red Oak).
Great info / suggestions on the hiking options. I appreciate the large amount of feedback you provided.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 06:09 PM
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No problem.

Some friends of ours gave us good info today about the track...
If you go to the track early, around 7:30 or so, you can get a coffee (or more) and sit in the stands and watch the horses training. You can also byo coffee/food in with you. You'd get the benefit of seeing the track complex without all the fans. There will be a rush of fans staking out picnic tables and lawn spots, but not in the stands.

As long as you leave by around 9:30 you get your admission fee refunded, and you will also get any parking fee refunded (if you park at an official NYRA lot, not one of the neighborhood properties. The backstretch tours I described above are outside the paid admission area.
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Old Jul 25th, 2022, 11:34 AM
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gotta say: The Saratoga summer meet has some ,of the best horse races you will ever see in North America. This past Saturday the racing was impressive with lots of awesome horses. Sunday was there few fans - the benches on the apron were mostly empty. Wednesday has a $200,000 sprint which would be the feature race on a Saturday at a lot of tracks.
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