Yearly Archives: 2011

On this day in Saratoga Arms history

On December 19, 1997, Kathleen and Noel Smith purchased a dilapidated old rooming house on Broadway. It took great vision (and a very helpful local bank) to renovate, restore and reopen this 1870 building as Saratoga Arms a sixteen-room hotel in 1998. As we reflect upon the past 14 years, we are thankful for the changes that our Saratoga Springs Hotel has brought into our lives.

  • In 1999, The Preservation Foundation recognized the restoration effort as a positive contribution to the preservation of the historic downtown district.
  • In 2002, Amy Smith, the eldest Smith daughter, joined the family business as General Manager.
  • In 2005, a new addition that doubled the size of Saratoga Arms to 31 rooms was opened with an executive meeting room and workout facilities, just in time to welcome Skidmore graduation parents and families.
  • In 2009, Sheila Smith Sperling, the middle of the three Smith daughters, joined the family business as Group Sales Manager.
  • Interspersed over the years, 6 grandchildren have expanded the family, possibly assuring that the family business will continue for a third generation.
  • Over 60,000 guests have walked through our doors, some famous, some infamous and many not so famous guests including politicians, celebrities and horse breeders. Those who return year after year are more than just guests, they have become good friends.
  • We have seen the changing times from CD players to iPod alarm clocks, old tube television to flat screens, corded high speed internet access to wireless throughout, and a user-friendly interactive website with all the bells and whistles of the digital age.
Although the past 14 years have brought many changes to our Saratoga Springs Bed and Breakfast, those that have remained constant are the most important–Noel still makes the breakfast each morning, Kathleen remains the quintessential social engineer and Judy takes great pride in making every guest’s stay a special one.
Thanks to all of our guests, the Saratoga Springs community and a hardworking Saratoga Arms family for making the first 14 years such a success. Just imagine what the next 14 years will hold for Saratoga Arms.
Saratoga Springs Hotel

Saratoga Springs Victorian Streetwalk Turns 25

It’s the silver anniversary of Saratoga Springs’ holiday kick off extravaganza near Saratoga Arms. This Upstate New York city is transformed into a Victorian Winter Wonderland on December 1, 2011 from 6-10pm. The main street of Broadway is closed to vehicle traffic as thousands of people take to the streets.

There are over 50 venues of entertainment, from musicians and singers to magicians and Santa himself, there to delight old and young. Our Saratoga Springs Hotel always has a caroling group on the front steps. And many dress in traditional Victorian outfits for the evening.

The shops stay open and many locations serve free hot beverages and treats. It is a wonderful way to start your holiday season.

Amy and Sheila, the Smith sisters from our Saratoga Springs Bed and Breakfast, dressed as Victorian ladies during last year’s streetwalk. Take a peak at their experience.

Top 10 Interesting Tidbits About the Saratoga Lip Dub

On September 1, 2011, residents from Saratoga Springs, NY participated in a citywide Lip Dub. People in costume (many with props) lined the downtown street to lip sync to 3 Train songs. On September 27th, the premiere of the finished product was shown on the big screen of The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and we have the full video below for your enjoyment.

We have tabulated our list of the 10 things you might not know about the Saratoga Lip Dub…interesting behind the scenes morsels, a little idea of who these people are, and just a few reasons why Saratoga Springs is a great place to live and a better place to visit. Our list is in chronological order. So as you watch, read our list and follow along.

1. Shauna Sutton, Deputy Mayor of Saratoga Springs, had the “Hey Soul Sister” lyrics taped to her back for anyone behind her to read. She is located at the beginning of the video at the Saratoga Springs City Center, dressed in a blue suit.

2. The folks seen crossing the street from the City Center to the Stewarts Ice Cream cow are actors from the Saratoga Shakespeare Company, a great summer theatre in Congress Park.

3. The porch of Saratoga Arms was filled with many, many, many family members, friends, neighbors, classmates and members of Saratoga Pride.

4. The large wagon filled with garden fresh vegetables (the woman was singing into a zucchini) was from local farms that participate in the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, just voted the 2nd best medium sized farmers market in the country.

5. The Victorian Era dressed people walking across the street participate every year at the Saratoga Springs Victorian Street Walk. The Street Walk will be held this year on Thursday, December 1, 2011.

6. No people or animals were injured during the making of this video. The boy on the stretcher was an actor and we have a wonderful city hospital. :)

7. The white t-shirts and people holding beer steins represent the annual Chowderfest and our citywide Brewfest. And remember, Saratoga Arms offers Ultimate Winter Beer Weekends!!

8. What is the poster of the crazy-haired lady with all of the squigglies? Why, it’s the Saratoga Springs Annual First Night, a New Year’s Eve event with music all over the city…and fireworks at midnight.

9. I have looked but I have never seen a human slot machine or life sized dice at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.  I’m still looking though.  What would be the return?

10. Over 1,000 people attended the finale in historic Congress Park. What a great way to spend a summer afternoon.

 

 

A Rare Mansion Tour of the Artists’ Retreat, Yaddo

Yaddo is something of a Saratoga Springs legend and mystery. This upstate New York artists’ retreat has been an haven of privacy and focus for many famous artists since its doors were first opened in 1926. Each year more than 200 individuals are invited to spend anywhere from two weeks to two months to hone their craft. Many renowned artists have spent time living and working at Yaddo through the years including John Cheever, Truman Capote, Langston Hughes and Sylvia Plath – just to name a few.

Rarely has Yaddo opened its doors to the public. The only public areas are the lovely outdoor gardens that grace the 400-acre estate. Yet on September 18, Yaddo is opening its doors for the first time in 8 years for a public tour of the Yaddo Mansion and West House. Visitors will see the wonderful architecture of these houses, including enormous stained glass windows, fireplace mosaics and original furnishings and artwork. The 2-hour tour also includes the viewing of artists’ studios and outdoor burial grounds.

The event will be held rain or shine at a rate of $40 per person. The 2-hour tour slots fill quickly and the only remaining reservation times available are September 18th at 8:30am or 4:00pm. Reservations are ONLY available by advance booking via Yaddo’s website. Please note that the final day for placing a reservation will be Thursday, September 15th at 5:00pm.

Take this opportunity to peek into an era and place that few ever get to see. It may be another decade before the folks at Yaddo open their door again.

To get an inside look, click the Yaddo Mansion below for a video tour.

Saratoga Springs NY Hotel

Courtesy of Lina via Flickr

 

Saratoga Arms Participates in the Saratoga Lip Dub

Friends and family of Saratoga Arms were featured in a city-wide Lip Dub. A Lip Dub…what is that? It is a one take, unedited lip sync that has become all the rage on YouTube. Being the brainchild of the Saratoga County Chamber, they thought it would be a great way to promote the city. The video featured 3 Train songs (their drummer is a Saratoga Springs grad and classmate of Saratoga Arms’ own Sheila Smith) and incorporated between 3,000 – 5,000 people along the main street of Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs.

The porch of our Saratoga Springs Hotel was a Lip Dub destination and the 50 volunteers did a great job. Amy and Sheila from Saratoga Arms take you on a behind the scenes view of the day.

The premiere will be held on September 27th, between 6 – 8 pm at the Saratoga Springs City Center. At that time, it will go live on YouTube and other Internet sites. We are looking for over 10 million views. Be sure to keep a look out for Saratoga Lip Dub!

 

Top 10 Reasons for a Non-Gambler to Attend the Saratoga Race Course

Saratoga Springs is the summer place to be. And many flock to this wonderful upstate New York town to see the thoroughbred racing at the Saratoga Race Course. But what can you do if you don’t bet? We have come up with our Top-10 list of great Things To Do at the track even if you’re not a gambler:

1-People watch - Saratoga is the place for fancy hats and people dressed to the nines. You could get lost all day in watching the festive crowds.
2-Dress up or not - Do you want to get all dressed up in your finest clothes and have a seat in the Clubhouse, or are you interested in wearing shorts and sitting at a picnic table with a cooler? The great thing about the Saratoga races is that you can do both, although preferably not on the same day.

Saratoga Springs Hotel

3-Play the name game, the color game, or the number game - While you may not be a gambler, it’s always fun to get caught up in the most exciting 2 minutes in sports. You don’t have to be a horse handicapper, as we’ve noticed that sometimes the biggest winners are those who know nothing about horse racing! Just play what you know – favorite number is 9, favorite color is yellow and diamonds are a favorite jewel. Put $10 across the board on the number 9 and who knows, you might come home a winner.

Saratoga Springs Bed and Breakfast

Courtesy of dougtone via Flickr

4-Spot a celebrity - Saratoga has been known to have the cast from The Sopranos in the winner’s circle. A certain cast member from Entourage owns a share in a Saratoga restaurant and a certain former NY Giants coach is seen at the track throughout the meet. Who can you spot?
5-Great Music - There’s a different musical act out in the general admission area each racing day. And who knows, you could kick up your feet as well.

6-Sample the Food and Drink - From the famous fried chicken from local favorite (and winner of the Bobby Flay Throwdown competition) Hattie’s, to famous NYC restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, there’s something for everyone’s appetite. And don’t forget the Saratoga Race Track’s signature cocktail, The Saratoga Sunrise. It’s a perfect thirst quencher for a summer day.
7-View the Paddock Area - Want to see these horses a bit closer up? The paddock area is where the horses get saddled, the jockeys are given final instructions from their trainers and you can get a first glimpse of the horses prior to the race.

Saratoga Springs Inn

Courtesy of dmcordell via Flickr

8-Get a Jockey’s Autograph - These athletes are quite accessible after their race. They dismount their horses at the finish line and walk through the crowd back towards the Jockey quarters. Do you have a little one at home that would love an autograph? The jockeys are usually quite accommodating. Hint: pick the winning jockey and ask them to sign the race page of your program.
Saratoga Springs NY Hotel
9-Sample the Big Red Spring - Our upstate city is known for having curative spring water. There are many free-flowing springs within the downtown area and the Saratoga Spa State Park. And there’s also one within the Race Course grounds. On the far side of the paddock is the Big Red Spring. Bring a cup, take a sip…maybe your aches and pains will subside.
Saratoga Springs NY Bed and Breakfast

10-Cross it off your Bucket List - Sports Illustrated named the Saratoga Race Course one of the Top 10 sporting venues of the 20th century. We couldn’t agree more!

Have you made your booking? Come see why Saratoga is called “The Summer Place To Be” while you enjoy your stay at Saratoga Arms!

Def Leppard and Heart Groupon Ticket Deal at SPAC

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is having Def Leppard and Heart as a rocking 80′s double bill on Sunday, July 10th. Remember those days of big hair and men in tights? The 80′s had a certain hold on fashion that we haven’t seen in some time.

If you want to relive that time and listen to some wonderful music, Groupon has just announced quite a deal on tickets. They are offering 51% off one ticket. It is a great way to experience Saratoga Springs in the summer at a great venue. Of course they have a limited amount of tickets and the deal expires soon and you need to sign up for the Albany/Capital Region of New York.

Of course, if you want to make a night of it, Saratoga Arms has availability for Sunday, July 10th. Head into town in the afternoon, check in at our wonderful Saratoga Springs hotel, hit the town, have an early dinner and go to the concert. Many of the staff grew up in the 80′s and would love to hear all about the concert during our complimentary breakfast the next morning.

2011 SPAC Jazz Festival

Saratoga Springs, NY and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which is just a mile from our Saratoga Springs Hotel, is home to the annual Freihofer’s Jazz Festival, June 25th and 26th.  For 34 years the biggest names in Jazz have descended upon Saratoga Springs for a wonderful weekend of music, and guests at the Saratoga Arms always have a fabulous time there.  This year the stage will be graced by the following outstanding acts:

If you have never been to the festival or maybe want to spot an old friend, have a look at the video below that the folks at SPAC have produced.  Don’t miss out on all the excitement as it’s an unforgettable experience for all!

5 Reasons to Attend the April Bed and Brew Weekend at Saratoga Arms

The long winter is slowly coming to an end and you are probably itching to experience a weekend getaway to Saratoga Springs. Did you know that our Saratoga Springs hotel offers one of the most unique Spring packages in the Upstate New York Area? Here are the five reasons why the Bed and Brew Weekend is a Saratoga Springs Package that you won’t soon forget.

1 - Saratoga Springs - A beautiful city that has a very walkable downtown with unique shops and restaurants, a wealth of history, national museums and, of course, the famous mineral waters.

2 - The VIP Brewery Tour – On Saturday, we transport you to the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company for an exclusive VIP tour of the brewery.  Bob will be your guide as he takes you from the grain room all of the way through to the bottling area.  He is excited to share his wealth of brewing knowledge and there are many opportunities to taste the many varieties of beer that are presently being brewed throughout the tour.

Saratoga Brewing Company

Pouring a Fresh Beer

3 – Beer pairing dinner at Sperry’s – Following the Brewery tour we will hop back on the bus for the 4-course beer pairing dinner at Sperry’s Restaurant, specially prepared by Executive Chef Dale Miller.  Dale is one of only 66 Certified Master Chefs in the US and we are thrilled to have him in Saratoga Springs. He and his staff will guide you through each course and tell us how each is prepared and why it goes so well with the paired beer.

Saratoga Springs Fine Dining

Beer Tasting Dinner at Sperry's

Sperry's Retaurant in Saratoga Springs

Main Course at Sperry's Beer Dinner

4 - Saratoga Arms - We are a family run luxury hotel in Saratoga Springs located in the heart of downtown and rated #1 on TripAdvisor.  The hotel is run by native Saratogians, the Smith Family.  The beer weekend is hosted by the Smith daughters, either Amy or Sheila.  Kathleen, the mom, has an abundance of Saratoga information, both historical and current, and Noel, the dad, is your cook for breakfast each morning.

Saratoga Arms Owners

The Smith Family

5 – Breakfast…speaking of breakfast. Included in your package is a perfect way to start your fun filled day.  We have an inviting buffet with homemade baked goods, cereals, yogurts, fruit, bagels and juices.  Noel also prepares a cooked to order item from the kitchen.  His omelettes are out of this world and his Irish breakfasts are renowned. Kathleen tells people that she was thin before she met him.

Saratoga Springs bed and breakfast

Breakfast Time

The April Bed and Brew weekend is the last one of 2011. Remember, “in Heaven there is no beer…that is why you should be drinking here”.  Come join us!

Saratoga Arms and The Price is Right

COME ON DOWN…

Saratoga Arms, the Saratoga Racecourse and Saratoga Springs will be featured on the The Price is Right on Thursday, February 17th as one of the Showcase Showdowns.  We are thrilled to be part of this package!!

Set your DVR or TIVO to see if we have a winner.  We will be watching!!

Check your local listings for air time.