Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Village of Lake George and Saratoga Springs.

After such a fun long day on Saturday, we were looking for something a little less intense on Sunday before we headed back to central NY for the week ahead. The Village of Lake George was nominated, as it usually is with the boys, and I requested that we stop in Saratoga National Park. Mark wanted to make a quick stop at the Race-cino to collect his free rewards. He always gets these in the mail, and if we are around we stop. We have obtained several free items this way. On this trip he had the chance to win up to $250-. So day planned we packed up, had a late breakfast at Ambrosia Diner and were off.

The village is a different place during the "Off" season. I particularly like this time of year the best at places that are usually hyped during the summer. I honestly struggle with crowds and this was a perfect day of the village being crowd less.  The boys went directly to the arcade, while Dad supplied them with $ for some games, and the two of us took our usual stroll down the main drag and past the lake. I stayed clear of the shops this time, surprisingly several of the stores were open. Instead we simply enjoyed the nice Fall day and the beauty of the lake against the Autumn colors.
(A picture of the main street in the village, very different from the many people during the summer months)

Not many boats out there on the lake today, but way off in the distance are two sail boats. I suggested that perhaps a trip up Prospect Mountain was in order to gain a full view of the tree's but was veto'd as we had plans to visit Saratoga Park instead. (I should have insisted, but didn't).
Not a very flattering picture of me, but the only one I have of myself from this trip. I had to get one of the large Adirondack chair. Apparently several of the boats continue to give tours during the season. Mark and I reflected on the fact that neither of us, have actually taken one the the boat curses. We agreed that the Minnie-ha-ha would be our first choice and will make an effort to follow up on that in the future.
There she is away's down the water. As we turn to walk back to the Arcade and meet up with the boys, I take a stop at the Welcoming Center. All these years we have been visiting Lake George and I have never been inside.
The center is impressive with the several murals, along with being a great tourist destination, Lake George has significant Native American History, as well as multiple battles. Since we have always come to the area in search of family fun, I never really took time to examine the history of the place. I have visited the Fort William Henry Fort and I am aware of the hidden caves along the Hudson River, Nathaniel Hawthorn apparently wrote his best Novels in them; (The Last of the Mohicans I believe) as well as seeing the sign for Bloody Pond which I am told was such named due to the color change from all the blood of dead or dying soldiers. I unfortunately do not know the exact facts surrounding it. For another time I suppose.  
I tried to get a picture of the map and the mural. I also briefly spoke with the welcoming guide and informed her that I had been to the village so many times over the last 12 years and had never been inside the center. She informed me that they had been here for 7 years. Mark and I discussed several of the changes in the area just since I have been coming and noted some things that were different and even more that had stood the test of time, including the Arcade that Mark reported he would ride his bike to as a kid with a pocket full of quarters.
The boys were found still playing games and winning tickets.
After a LONG decision of cashing in the tickets we were soon on our way towards the direction of home and made our way to Saratoga, with a quick stop at The Race-Cino. We were fortunate that a race was running and as Mark retrieved his winnings, he scored $25- although $250- would have been nice, who can sneeze at FREE money? The boys and I watched the harness racing through the fence.

For years this was simply a horse racing track until a few years ago when they added the casino. Mark and I have been a few times. Just across the Rd is the Saratoga Race Course; the oldest race course in the country. We decided that next year we will definitely make it to the track. We also have penciled in a trip to the Race Track Museum. Mark spent most of his youth at both tracks, his Grandfather raced these guys, and he worked at the race course once he was old enough.
Next stop was Saratoga Park.

We were running late by the time we got to the park, and my main objective was to simply see the entire park, as well as obtain a National Passport stamp. The park has several componets; several have to do with the arts; there is a theater, a dance school and the SPAC arena where several concerts are held each summer. (We had a nice trip to see Motley Crew many years ago). There is also an auto museum, the Gidion Hotel, (where the famous people stay) multiple trails to hike, picnic areas, and of course the all important famous healing Springs.We have all been to the park before, but I had hoped to explore it a little more in depth. Again, since I have a non-hiking family, and since we were late, we made only one stop and that was to use the restroom. We have tried the spring water before as well, and let me assure is not pleasant tasting water. I cant imagine why or what possessed people to travel for miles to obtain these "healing" liquids. Yuck. The natural spring water is actually good, but the "healing"waters (and people actually do bottle it and drink it regularly) is just plain disgusting. So since we had stopped at the springs before we didn't stop this time either. I never did find a passport location, and I am wondering if I am looking in the wrong place. This park is a state park...not a national park. I may have to do some research on it. I got some tree shots just the same.

I think we would have had a better sighting of the fall colors at Prospect Mountain. Oh well! We had a great weekend just the same and now back to the real world.