Sunday, November 2, 2014

Battle of Saratoga National Battlefield and Monument.

Saratoga National Historical Park
Stillwater, NY
October 13th 2014
On Sunday, I had hoped that we all would take a trip North towards Lake Placid and perhaps climb Whiteface Mountain to LEAF PEEP!!! (isn't that all the new RAGE?)...no one in my family thought this was a good idea....maybe Prospect Mountain then (a much closer but smaller mountain in the Village of Lake George.) NAH!!! The boys wanted to "hang out" instead. I am NEVER settled simply "hanging" out and we were in the heart of the Adirondacks for perhaps one of the last times...I wanted to get up and GO!!! It was then that Mark came to my rescue and suggested we go to Saratoga National Park. I have been bugging him to take me for years so I could get my National Park stamp. So on this beautiful Fall Sunday, we took a day trip just the two of us to the National Park to learn about the Battle at Saratoga.
What I didn't know and......
Did you know that the battle of Saratoga was actually in Stillwater NY not Saratoga?.......Did you know that the Saratoga National Monument is several miles away from the battlefield? Did you know that there are 188 steep steps up the monument and if you are fat and out of shape your legs will hurt days after you make the climb? Do you have any idea what war was fought in Saratoga?
 I didn't know about any of it and in all honestly I didn't really know much of anything about the battle that took place in and around Saratoga at all.

 I did learned however that the battle at Saratoga was one of the most important battles in reference to the American Revolution and a critical part of why we do not fly the British flag and have noon tea today.

Our tour of the National Park started in the Welcoming center. We were greeted by an eager staff member and given a brief informative about the place. A movie (to start in about 30 minutes...we did not have time for that) and a few interactive museum like displays were housed in the building.
First strop was a hands on children's area....note the word CHILDREN.. thank you Mark for playing the part of the child for me in the absence of ours.
The second room was all about medical needs and such during the Revolutionary War. What we did, what we didn't do and WOW are we blessed by the medical advances we have today.

I can ONLY imagine....
A photo of the battle,
and some bullets..the musket Worm looks like to could do some damage..
 The style of dress,...

 The view of the fields below...it's so beautiful it could be a painting.

The leaves were amazing, although these were touched up a bit by the computer. 

After touring the welcoming center, I got my National Stamp stamped and purchased a Pin (I like to get Pins from the National Parks) we paid the $5- car tour fee and started our journey.





To be honest, once we left the visitor center....it wasn't really all that thrilling. For most of the 10 stops along the way, nearly all of them were open fields with signs capturing a description of what happened here. The signs were nice as most of them had a voice navigator of that time period describing the events. 


 This is the only building, other then the visitor center and odd shaped outhouse (pictured later) still standing on the property. Hard to imagine your family home filled with soldiers..I'd imagine a bit scary too. The park provided informant offered some enlightening information around the structure as well as giving me TMI about the Saratoga Spring water giving him the shits....yep ONLY I can get the REAL scoop!
 There were families and photographers  all over this area attempting to get fall pictures. I wanted to get the building from the outside, but not get all of the people...here was my best attempt. (Colors were slightly photo shopped)

 Monuments for the Unknown Soldiers.
and some more natural beauty. 


 These are not photo shopped. The colors are just not quite there yet.

 There was some kind of ceremony going on, We didn't stop to investigate.

below is the wheat field today....
There were miles and miles of walking trails through the park, and we saw several people making their way along these winding trails. Not for us, instead we kept along the driving tour.
 We eventually came upon a British encampment. Burgoyne's Headquarters's was held here.
 We approached this nice gentleman who was rather interested in telling us about his rifle,
 I requested a picture with him instead.
The oddly shaped outhouse....

 The British Hospital was once located here and the Hudson River...
 ...runs right along the battlefield
 Once we exited the park, we headed back towards Stillwater, NY where the Saratoga Monument is held. Below is the Schuyler House. Home before and after the war of General Philip Schuyler.
Our next stop, although 7 miles away from the Saratoga National Historical Park was the Saratoga Monument...and totally worth the time.  



 This five story monument has 188 steep steps to the very tip top and is filled with bronze engravings, statues and stories surrounding the fall of the British.
 The "turning point" in the American Revolution. The battles fought in Stillwater lead to the British surrender at Saratoga on Oct. 17, 1777.
According to the brochure the  British troops lead by Burgoyne were faced with growing American army's, there was little help coming in from the South, and they were running out of supplies. The British had suffered some 1.200 casualties. The Americans had suffered 200. The Americans nearly 17,000 men surrounded the British forcing them to surrender on Oct 17, 1777. 
"One of the most decisive victories in  American and World history had now been won."
The monument is pretty impressive. 

 yes.....that is the General Arnold most of us know as the TRAITOR...Benedict Arnold. Obviously this was before he became a turncoat.
 We begin our climb....
 A view looking up.......
 A view from the top....
 beautiful.....
 Heading down. Those 188 steps kicked my butt. I was sore for two days after.




 Stillwater, NY is closer to Saratoga then the National Battlefield and if you only have a short time to visit I highly recommend you skip the drive to the battlefield and stop here. If your a battle buff, you might enjoy the fields better, but this was my favorite part despite the CLIMB up....
 a view looking straight up outside the monument. Mark and I didn't walk the Victory Wood Trail along the cemetery, but instead made our way back to the car. We had one more Saratoga experience to be had on this day...much less historical but super fun...


After all that history we made our way to the town of Saratoga for the RACINO.....see my next post on that. TTFN