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It is no secret that the Saratoga horse racing is the busiest time of year and this Saratoga Springs hotel prides itself on offering guests a true Saratoga experience. Saratoga Springs is home to the oldest race course in North America, that celebrated 150 years in 2013.
With a rare exception, a racing season reservation at Saratoga Arms includes plans for at least one visit to the race track. Track knowledge can range from “There’s a race track in Saratoga????” to the enthusiast who knows the inside way to get to the coveted box seats. Most lie somewhere in between.
We get many calls from “first-timers” looking to take part in the racing experience and they have lots of questions
How do I get into the Saratoga Race Course? It is easy to get into the track. First you find a parking space. There are a few official parking lots around the track, but we recommend paying for a spot at a entrepreneurial resident that parks cars on the grounds of their homes along Nelson Avenue. It is then an easy walk to the “Wright Street” entrance to the track.
Then what do I do? Decide if you are going to mingle with the General Admission population or enter the Club House side of the track and pay an additional fee to be closer to the finish line to cheer on the winning horse and jockey. Pay your entry fee, go through the turnstile and you are on the grounds of the historic Saratoga race track.
Is there a place to sit? The answer is yes… but paying admission to Saratoga Race Course does not guarantee you a seat, but there are options and below are our suggestions.
GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING
Guaranteed grandstand seating, done early in the year, in January, is secured by a lottery system. Fill in the request form, submit with a check and cross your fingers.
Picnic tables are locate in the backyard, close to the paddock area. It is an age honored tradition that a jacket, a newspaper or racing form will hold the seat for the patron. These go fast. Get there as early as 7am to claim your picnic table.
Open air bench seating areas between the track and the grandstand. You must arrive early and claim your seat in similar fashion of the picnic tables.
Unsold grandstand seat tickets for the current day’s races go on sale each race day at 9 a.m.at the Union Avenue Reserved Seat Booth. This is an option for the early rising first timer to obtain seats for the day. Please note grandstand seat tickets do not included admission. Check out the Grandstand Seating Chart.
Dining Room Options- The Saratoga Race Course clubhouse has several dining room choices that offer a truly genteel way of watching the races. Relax as you are served a delightful lunch overlooking the track. Our first choice would be the Turf Terrace on the 3rd and 4th floors of the clubhouse. It is possible to reserve a table for two, or more on a first come basis. You may use the table as a home base, as it is yours for the day, as you cheer on your favorite horse and jockey. Expect a minimum food charge but it is one of our favorite ways to spend a Saratoga Racing afternoon.
The Porch, an open air dining area at Saratoga Race Course, is another suggested favorite. You are dining track level and just a few feet from the outside rail. Hear the pounding of the hoofs as you order from the a la carte menu.
Box Seating- And then there are the Boxes, the coveted, difficult to secure, Box Seating where the racing elite spend the afternoon. Most are held in private hands. The remaining are reserved for horsemen. Any remaining boxes will be offered to the public on the day of the race, but not on Friday or Saturday.
Please note reservations are a must and are done on a first come first served basis in the dining rooms. It is not too early to reserve your table! Call the NYRA Dining Line: 888-516-6972 NOW!
For an inside look at your seating options at the Saratoga Race Track, take a look at our video!
Let’s cheer for Beer!
Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and is the third most popular drink consumed worldwide, right behind water and tea. Some would argue it is the oldest fermented beverage dating back to 9500 bc. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia “Beer is an alcoholic beverage produced by the saccharification of starch and fermentation of the resulting sugar. The starch and saccharification enzymes are often derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat.” I guess there are folks who care about the process, but I would wager more care about the result. Saratoga Beer Week in Saratoga Springs, NY, February 18-22, 2014 will honor all things beer from the brewing process to the imbibing ritual.
The official Beer Week kickoff party takes place Tuesday February 18th at the Olde Saratoga Brewery located near the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs with beer samplings from 15 New York Brewers. Proceeds from this event benefit the NYS Brewers Association.
The bulk of the Saratoga Beer Week activities offer a perfect weekend getaway on February 20, 21 & 22, 2014.
Thursday, February 20 at 7:00pm at the Saratoga City Center travel back to the glory days of the 1960’ s and Liverpool England’s greatest export, The Beatles, or at least Hey Jude The tribute Band an authentic facsimile Beatles band. Relive the classic music and sample English beers.
On Friday, February 21, just like on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish as you rock to the popular Black 47 Irish band at the Saratoga Springs City Center. They play their own brand of Irish rock and roll that often touches on political and social issues. This is their final year of touring so this is your chance to raise your glass in a toast to them.
On Saturday, February 22, participate in one of two Beer Summit sessions giving you access to the best beer list in Upstate New York. You will receive a souvenir tasting glass for three hours of beer sampling. Delicious food from local vendors will be available for purchase. Take time to visit various vendors and local artisans and of course it wouldn’t be a party without live music!
Saratoga Arms, our Saratoga Springs hotel has partnered with the Beer Week organizers to offer an exciting Saratoga Beer Week weekend getaway package for Beer Lovers (or for the lovers of Beer Lovers) for a romantic Saratoga mini vacation.
Saratoga Arms is a family-owned Saratoga inn located just across the street from the Saratoga Beer Week festivities at Saratoga Springs City Center and within walking distance to all of the events. This exciting Saratoga Springs package includes 2 or 3 nights of luxurious accommodations (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Two Beer Week tickets will be waiting for you when you check in. The tickets give you entry to the events that take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Our farm fresh breakfast awaits you each morning . And exclusive to Saratoga Arms Beer Week guests Beer for Breakfast! Saturday morning enjoy a Brewer’s Breakfast Bash with Craig Theisen from Peak Organic Brewing Company. He will talk about his Portland, Maine brewery and vision for organic beers. And, of course he will offer a sampling many of his fine brews. What a way to start the day! Exclusive for you with this package are in-room beer gifts to take home to keep the Saratoga Beer Week memories alive.
♪“In Heaven there ♫ is no beer, that’s why we’re drinking here… ♪♫ ” in beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs located in the foothills of the Adirondacks in Upstate New York.
In the bleak mid winter month of February in downtown Saratoga Springs, there is little to look forward to except cold, snow, ice, more cold and more snow…but there is one bright spot… One weekend every February The Dance Flurry comes to town and the town takes on a beat that makes your toes tap and your heart sing. Our Saratoga Springs hotel becomes a temporary home to dance enthusiasts and music aficionados from far and wide.
Saratoga Arms, a family run inn, is located just across the street from the main venue of the Saratoga Dance Flurry. We have become a home away from home to some Flurry regulars almost from the day we opened our doors. Those that attend are a hearty good natured bunch with colorful costumes, assorted dancing shoes and well loved musical instruments. According to their website the mission of the Dance Flurry is defined as “connecting and inspiring (people) through traditional music and dance”. Their core values are dedicated to supporting traditional music and dance from diverse cultures and creating a community that encourages social interaction. They focus on local talent. The Dance Flurry organization dates back to the late 1980’s when the very first event was held in a local elementary school near Schenectady with about 300 in attendance. In 1996 the Festival moved to historic Saratoga Springs making use of several venue locations to accommodate the growing numbers of attendees. The Dance flurry has grown to over 4000 performers, volunteers and participants.
In 2006 on Dance Flurry weekend we had a devastating ice storm. The whole town was without power, many of the guests had already checked in for their weekend of dancing fun. In upstate New York when you lose power you lose heat and lights and hot water. Our staff scrambled to find flashlights and lanterns to assure the safety of the guests in our three story historic Saratoga Springs hotel. It was a hoteliers’ worst night mare, but the Flurry folk turned it into an adventure full of laughs and camaraderie. Unfortunately the event planners had to cancel the Dance Flurry weekend and when the weather had improved, we sent our good-natured guests home to return again the following year. When they return we all reminisce with a smile, remembering the year of the ice storm and The Dance Flurry that wasn’t…
The 2014 Dance Flurry takes place on the weekend of February 14, 15 & 16. Our regulars are already booked in at Saratoga Arms. We look forward to seeing them again. It is a fun weekend to let your hair down, put on your dancing shoes or tune up that old guitar and meet a great group of people who love to sing, love to dance and live to keep the music alive. You can join in or watch from the side lines but I invite you to come for that bright spot in our wintery month of February, you might just become one of our Dance Flurry regulars! This year is a bonus weekend because it is also Valentine’s Day, it can be a new style romantic getaway in upstate New York.
Winterfest is an esoteric term that appears to describe any activity or group of events that take place in the dead of winter. Even Wikipedia, the free online, publicly edited encyclopedia, defines it as “Winterfest is the name of several winter festivals held in various locations in the United States” In short, it is a winter celebration or a celebration of winter.
Winterfest is clearly meant to chase away the Winter Blues…Blahs…or Cabin Fever.
It is an invitation to pack on the layers of warm clothing, mittens, hats, scarves and waterproof boots, leave the warm comfort of your hearth, electric heaters, and down comforters and venture outside into the frigid, inclement weather of the dreary winter months.
In a Southern state there is a winterfest that involves backyard wrestling…Maybe I would catch the 11:00 news to see a highlight of that but walk out the back door into the cold winter air…no thanks.
There are winterfests that bring together faiths for worship services, family based activities that include entertainers, magicians and storytellers.
There are winter fests that focus on snow or ice sculptures. Some focus on the consumption of adult beverages, while others serve hot chocolate and flavored coffees.
Some have unusual food offerings some offer comfort foods.
Our Saratoga Winterfest offers all the best things you can envision for a winter getaway. There is something for everyone. It is a week long celebration beginning January 24 and culminating with the popular Chowder fest on February 1st.
Follow the hockey puck at the Saratoga Frozen Springs Classic. Labatt Blue beer sponsors this event January 24-26, 2014 in the scenic Saratoga Spa State Park. Sixty hockey teams compete in 4-on-4 round-robin events. The first faceoff is at6pm on Friday, January14th .
Abraham Lincoln visits Saratoga Springs for the annual Cabin Fever luncheon at the Saratoga National Gold club sponsored by Soroptimist International of Saratoga County. Actor and playwright Dr. Gene Greissman will present his “first hand” look into the life of our 16th president. Reservations are required.
Mid week learn to paint like Van Gogh. Reserve your seat at Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio. Unleash the inner artist in you as you sip a glass of wine and create your own version of Van Gogh’s famous Starry Starry Night.
The final weekend is jam-packed with fun things to do. Friday, January 31 you can be toasty warm inside at the Winterfest Wine Tasting and sample a selection of delicious wines, paired with savory Hors D’ Oeuvres. Kick up your heels and dance to live music. 6:00-9:00pm tickets in advance or at the door.
The big hit of Saratoga Winterfest is the popular favorite Chowderfest 11:00am-4:00pm at restaurants throughout the city. Over fifty Saratoga Springs restaurants offer their own specialty version of this classic potage. Sample as many as you like then vote for your favorite. Local merchants keep their doors open for a special shopping experience. Looking for things to do in Saratoga Springs… This is your answer.
The best Winterfest venue will be your stay at Saratoga Arms, Saratoga’s luxury hotel rated #1 on Trip Advisor. A stay at Saratoga Arms is a true Saratoga experience, comfy rooms, warm fires, gourmet farm fresh breakfast and a convenient downtown location. When you call for your reservation, tell us you are attending Chowderfest and we will include two signature Saratoga Arms mugs to use for your chowder sampling and to keep as souvenir of your Winterfest weekend getaway in upstate New York.
While “frightful” weather may be on the way, there is a “delightful” reason to be out and about on the evening of December 5 while staying in our downtown Saratoga Springs Hotel. That date marks the 27th annual Victorian Streetwalk in downtown Saratoga Springs– a truly unique event being put on by the Downtown Business Association and a fun way to celebrate the holiday season in Saratoga Springs.
With the theme of a “Christmas as it used to be” street party, many will don Victorian costumes for the festivities. Everyone is encouraged to attend, so not to worry if you cannot remember where your great-grandfather’s top hat is stored.
Nearly half a mile of Broadway will be closed to traffic for highlights that include: A tree lighting ceremony in front of Putnam Market. Santa & Mrs. Claus in their cottage with live reindeer. Music, caroling, and entertainment scattered along Broadway. A special postal cancellation at the Post Office. Open houses in stores. And plenty more fun!
Also coinciding will be the Saratoga Festival of Trees located at the Saratoga Springs City Center. This exciting event and craft fair puts the spirit of Christmas into attendees’ hearts with hundreds of beautifully twinkling trees, wreaths, centerpieces, and other holiday items on display for admiration or purchase. More information is available at www.SaratogaFestivalOfTrees.com.
In the spirit of giving and alleviating car congestion, CDTA busses will provide free trolley rides to Broadway from the Empire State College parking lot at 111 West Ave, the Oklahoma Track (off Exit 14 of I-87), and the Weibel Ave Skating Rink between 4:30 and 10:30pm.
But no need to bother with that if staying at our lovely Saratoga Springs Hotel since all of the action is merely a step off the front porch.
Before the holiday season gets hectic, we hope you can join us to celebrate this charming tradition on Thursday, December 5, 2013 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and is a fun festive way to celebrate the holiday season in Saratoga Springs. Please visit www.SaratogaDowntown.com for more details.
Whether or not you joined–or are planning to join–us at our Saratoga Springs hotel this summer for what has been a fabulous season of racing, you can already begin planning your next visit. Cap off summer in style by attending the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival and Concours d’Elegance: a three-day event that is quickly becoming known as the most original and exciting Wine and Food Festival north of New York City.
With events taking place Friday, September 6th through Sunday, September 8th, nearly 6,000 attendees from Montreal to Northern New Jersey will visit Saratoga Spa State Park (a 2,400 acre park preserve) to experience over 200 premiere wine and food exhibitors, collectors’ Italian-luxury vehicles, and one-of-a-kind seminars.
It all starts on Friday morning with an Adirondack Road Tour to the historic Lake George Club for a gourmet lunch that includes library-quality wines, imported fine foods, as well as tours on wooden, and Italian Comitti speed, boats. That evening features SPAC’s Live on Stage Gala: a benefit for SPAC’s Children’s Education programs, and their single largest fundraiser of the year! There will be gourmet food and wine stations (with a menu inspired by the jet-setting gourmands of Europe, Asia, and North America), a sushi bar, Heaven Hill Distillery’s Whiskey Station, and the celebrated ‘Confectionary Room’. There will also be live music and a distinctive silent auction.
Save some energy for Saturday, though, because the festival is just kicking into high gear. The Grand Tasting (beginning at noon) offers epicureans a divine day of world-class wines, culinary demonstrations, a live auction, and a luxury car invitational. The live auction will include fabulous prizes that range from a collectable bottle of wine; to a private cooking class; to a p catered dinner for 25 on SPAC’s grounds (which includes an open bar and a phenomenal display of fireworks!). These and many more donated items are as fabulous as the great assortment of automobiles (Shelby Cobra, Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Lancia, Maserati, Ferrari, Laborghini, Fiat-Abarth, and more) that will be present for judging by Pebble beach marquee auto specialists in hopes of winning first in show to receive a Formula-1Tag Heuer Edition Watch.
For true connoisseurs, there will be an additional tent only available to the first 200 ticket buyers. Access to this luxurious, comfortable, and intimate space offers festival-goers exclusive tastings of top tier food, wine and spirits; in addition to personal interactions with product experts like Master Wine Connoisseur, Kevin Zraly, who will be offering tastings from his own private wine cellar.
Kevin, writer of the largest-selling wine book in the world, will also be teaching a seminar that centers around Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon (the six major varietals). Only one-hour in length, this fast paced lesson is sure to make wine experts out of even the most novice of wine drinkers.
After a long day of wining and dining (and possibly even winning at the auction), the celebration continues with a competition-style burger bash featuring chefs from regional hot-spots. Aside from scrumptious sliders paired with wine and Stella Artois; there will be a whiskey bar, a milk shake bar, a French fries bar, live music, dancing, fire pits, and lounge environments.
With just enough time to rest, there is one more event on Sunday to finish this wonderful weekend in Saratoga. Saratoga National Golf Course plays host to a Southern-Style ‘comfort’ brunch that will include the Best in Show Auto Awards. Then wave farewell as over 20 Shelby Cobra’s depart for an East Coast tour throughout New England.
When it comes to great wine, food, cars, auctions, and celebrating; Saratoga is consistently known for catering to all of these. But if you only have one weekend to experience the finest of all, make it September 6th through 8th for the Saratoga Wine & Food Festival and Concours d’elegance.
For a full list of events and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.spac.org.
For a list of availability for the weekend, please visit Saratoga Arms. We’d love to see you.
And they’re off!! The 150th season of racing is officially under way and the celebration in Saratoga Springs is heating up. Coming up on August 2nd will be a Saratoga 150 event not to miss…the Floral Fete Promenade and Congress Park Ice Cream Social.
Reminiscent of a tradition from the late 1800′s, it was local philanthropist Marylou Whitney, who thought to bring it back. Leading the Saratoga 150 promenade will be Mrs. Whitney herself, accompanied by her husband, John Hendrickson, in a carriage decorated in pink roses. Followed by horse-draw carriages, vintage automobiles, floats and bicycles, wagons, baby carriages, and non-motorized contraptions on wheels; everything will be beautifully decorated with flowers.
Registration is open to adults and children wanting to participate in the categories of adult bicycles, baby carriages, and wagons or contraptions on wheels. Participants will get to be creative by decorating their entries with flowers. Efforts will be rewarded with cash prizes being distributed in all categories, along with a “most creative entry overall” award for $1,000. The start of the promenade begins directly in from of our historic Saratoga Springs hotel.
For those not planning to be in the promenade, you can still participate by being present on Broadway between Walton Street and Congress Park to watch and cheer for the beautiful floral designs rarely seen on the streets of Saratoga. The parade begins at 7:30pm and at 8pm the Ice Cream Social commences in Congress Park.
At Congress Park, there will be a crowd singing of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate 150 years of Saratoga racing. There will be plenty to see, hear and do with Skip Parson’s Riverboat Jazz Band, strolling entertainers, Victorian-clad Saratogians, life size cutouts for picture taking, and special tokens to ride the carousel. Oh, and of course, ice cream!
Be sure to mark your calendar for August 2, 2013, because a celebration this good may not come again for another 150 years.
Saratoga Arms’ evening front desk manager, Jeff Apple, is an avid hiker. On his days off, he is usually on top of a mountain…far, far away from cell phone coverage. Jeff has offered to share 4 blog posts of great hikes in and around our Saratoga Springs, NY hotel. Written in a four part series, Jeff will discuss the hikes, beginning with the easiest and ending with the most challenging. The first installment was Geyser Creek Trail, which is 2 miles from Saratoga Arms. His 2nd post featured a beautiful hike in the Lake George Area at Sleeping Beauty. His 3rd installment is a favorite of our guests, Hadley Mountain. For the fourth and final installment, enter Jeff and Buck Mountain…
Buck Mountain is a quintessential Adirondack hike. It is located on the eastern shore of Lake George and provides some of the best views up and down the lake. The trailhead begins just south of Pilot Knob on County Route 32, just south of Pilot Knob Road, on the scenic eastern shore drive. It is a popular trailhead, which sometimes fills on busy weekend afternoons.
Buck is a fairly difficult 6.6 mile roundtrip hike. It has an ascent of 2,000 feet and a total elevation change of 4,000 feet, making for a rather grueling climb. The views at the summit, however, are well worth the effort, with expansive lines of site down the lake to the village and north past the Narrows, a cluster of state-run camping and picnicking islands at a point where the lake reaches its narrowest point, just one mile.
The trail is a popular one and well traveled, following a wide, hard-packed old jeep trail for much of the early sections of the hike. The trail follows a stream bed for a distance, crossing it several times. The early walk through the wooded section of the trail is easy and flat. Most of the trail here is in shade, and views don’t begin to open up until close to the summit. 1.2 miles into the hike, the trail begins its climb and becomes rock-strewn. Make sure to follow the yellow trail markers.
Close to the summit, the trail becomes less discernible. The trees thin out and there are many “herd paths”, or small unofficial trails made by hordes of hikers who weren’t sure where the actual trail was. Be careful to stay on trail near the summit and follow the “cairns”, which are piles of rocks built to mark the trail above treeline.
Buck Mountain has some of the best summit views in the Lake George area. From the rocky peak you can see the villages of Lake George and Bolton Landing, Prospect, Crane, and Sleeping Beauty Mountains, and even the high peaks on a clear day! You can normally even see the cruise boats of the Lake George Steamboat Company trolling the crystal waters! It’s a difficult hike, but the views are well worth the effort.
To reach the trailhead from Saratoga Arms, take 87 North to Exit 21. Take a right off the exit. Take left on Canada Street. Take right on Beach Road and a left on 9L. Trailhead on right just before you reach Pilot Knob. There is a large parking lot at the trailhead.
Saratoga Arms’ evening front desk manager, Jeff Apple, is an avid hiker. On his days off, he is usually on top of a mountain…far, far away from cell phone coverage. Jeff has offered to share 4 blog posts of great hikes in and around our Saratoga Springs, NY hotel. Written in a four part series, Jeff will discuss the hikes, beginning with the easiest and ending with the most challenging. The first installment was Geyser Creek Trail, which is 2 miles from Saratoga Arms. His 2nd post featured a beautiful hike in the Lake George Area at Sleeping Beauty. His 3rd installment is a favorite of our guests-Enter Jeff and Hadley Mountain…
Already this year has seen wildfires ravage the Western states in the throes of a years-long drought. In the Saratoga area this has not been a problem, and after one of the wettest Springs in recent memory, forest fires are not a pressing concern by any stretch of the imagination. It has, however, not always been so. Over a century ago, from 1903-1908, fires devastated the woods of New York, burning nearly 1 million acres in the Adirondacks alone. In response, over the next few decades the state constructed a network of towers on peaks, to be staffed by an observer to report fires to a ranger before it got out of hand. At its peak, the Adirondacks had 57 of these towers. Over the years, improved technology made the towers obsolete, the steel and wood degraded, and many towers were closed or even removed entirely; of the 57 towers, 23 remain open to the public, with only about 15 of these safe to climb.
One of these towers is on nearby Hadley Mountain, approximately a half hour drive from our boutique hotel. The fire tower on Hadley was first built in 1916 and made of wooden beams and a flat, open platform. The State soon realized that the wooden structures would not last, and replaced the tower in 1920 with a steel tower with interchangeable parts. The Hadley Mountain fire tower was operational for over 70 years, becoming in 1990 one of the last fire towers in the Adirondacks to close. Not keen on losing a part of the region’s cultural heritage, a movement began to save the towers, and in 1995, just five years after it closed, Hadley Mountain fire tower became the fourth tower in the Adirondacks to be restored and open to the public.
The hike of Hadley Mountain is moderate to moderately-difficult. It is only a 2.6 mile round-trip from the trailhead, which including rests should take no more than three hours. It does, however, have 1,508 feet of ascension, making it a fairly steep climb, and then 1,508 feet of knee-pounding descent. One thing you’ll notice on the hike is bare rock that begins early in the climb, rather than near the summit, and thin, loose soils. This is due to the top soil being weakened by decades of historic fires.
The trail climbs steadily for most of the hike. Just before reaching the summit, you will see the old fire observer’s cabin. It is now used by the summit steward, who is on the summit most summer days to answer a wide variety of hikers’ questions. The summit has amazing panoramic views, which include Great Sacandaga Lake, the Hudson River, and the distant mountains of Vermont and the Adirondack High Peaks. Climbing the fire tower affords a complete 360 degree view of the surrounding topography.
Directions to the trailhead: From Saratoga, take Route 9N going North. When you reach the village of Lake Luzerne, turn left at first light onto East River Drive. Then, turn left onto Bridge Street. Turn right on Stony Creek Road (County Route 1). After 3 miles, turn left onto Hadley Hill Road and follow for 4 miles. Turn right onto Tower Road. The parking area is on the left in 1.5 miles. If you are guest of our inn, pre-printed direction cards are available at the front desk.
Saratoga Arms’ evening front desk manager, Jeff Apple, is an avid hiker. On his days off, he is usually on top of a mountain…far, far away from cell phone coverage. Jeff has offered to share 4 blog posts of great hikes in and around Saratoga Springs, NY hotel. Written in a four part series, Jeff will discuss the hikes, beginning with the easiest and ending with the most challenging. The first installment was Geyser Creek Trail, which is 2 miles from Saratoga Arms. Now Jeff has written post #2–Enter Jeff and the Sleeping Beauty…
Just to the North of Saratoga lies a vast nature playground. The Adirondack Park, or the “’dacks” as the locals refer to it, is the largest state park in the United States. It is an astounding six million acres, a combination of private and public lands, and contains some of the best wilderness remaining on the East coast. When the Adirondack Park was created in 1894, the legislation that created it included the line, “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands”, earning the region the now timeless moniker “Forever Wild”. The Adirondacks were designed to be a model for humans coexisting side-by-side with wilderness, balancing the ambitions of private enterprise with the responsibility to protect our natural heritage.
On the east side of Lake George, far less developed than the western shore, is Sleeping Beauty Mountain. It is a moderate hike of about 7 miles and one of the best hikes in the southern Adirondacks, an old classic. Sleeping Beauty is located just outside the town of Lake George, technically in the town of Fort Ann. The trailhead is reached by driving down a very long dirt road called Buttermilk Falls Road until it dead-ends at a trailhead hub parking lot known as “Hogtown”.
The beginning of the hike follows an old, no longer maintained dirt road to “Dacy’s Clearing”. The road-walking is 1.7 miles each way, constituting nearly half the total mileage for the hike. From here, you begin a gradual ascent to the rocky summit with 360 degree panoramic views, from Lake George to the Green Mountains of Vermont. The summit affords a bird-eye view of the expansive greenery of the Lake George Wild Forest. I often hear the piercing screeches of hawks and peregrine falcons that nest in the cliffs here.
Returning from Sleeping Beauty via a “loop trail” brings you past two beautiful ponds, Fishcreek and Bumps. Fishcreek Pond has two lean-tos, essentially a three-walled cabin for backcountry camping in relative comfort, and provides an opportunity to cool off in what may seem like your own private lake.
The return trip takes you past secluded Bumps Pond and then back the same way you came. Be conscientious about where you walk: there are a few places around Lake George that harbor small populations of Timber Rattlesnakes, and this is one of them. Thankfully this little guy is just a harmless Garter Snake. Happy trails!
To access the trailhead from Saratoga Arms, take Northway (I-87) North to Exit 20. Turn left on Route 9. Turn right on Route 149 East. After 6 miles, turn left on Buttermilk Falls Road, which becomes Sly Pond Road and then becomes Shelving Rock Road. Park in the main DEC hikers lot on the right (9.5 miles from Route 149).