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‘Tis the Farmer’s Market Season

farmers market saratoga springsAs the saying goes: April showers, May brings flowers. And May sure has delivered. With the warmth from sunshine giving new life to trees, plants, and wildlife, there is no doubt that Saratoga’s Spring has sprung.

May also means the Saratoga Farmers Market returned to its outdoors home in High Rock Park. When it comes to capturing the true flavor of summer, this is the place to be. Featuring dozens of vendors, the twice-­‐weekly market includes local products ranging from vegetables, to cheese, to meat, to crafts.

Because everything is fresh and local, no two days’ offerings are necessarily going to be the same. If a specific piece of produce isn’t for sale, it isn’t in season. Unlike regular supermarkets, these crops aren’t genetically modified, imported from thousands of miles away, or forcefully ripened. Instead, you’re getting food directly from the source; if you have a question about anything (even if it’s as silly as “why are those carrots purple?”), you can ask knowing that the answer is a reliable one, since whoever answers is very likely to have played a first-­‐hand role in producing the food.

Also, if you live in the area and have a green thumb, you can pick up plants to grow in your own garden. Whether it is a pretty hanging basket of flowers or a tomato seedling, the only thing more local than produce from the Saratoga Farmer’s Market is produce growing at your own home. Incase you have no idea where to begin, there is usually a booth with ‘master’ gardeners from the Cornell Cooperative Extension who can provide soil tests, answer any questions, and let you know about the programs they offer.

And don’t worry about waiting until you’re home to feast, as some of the vendors are there to cook up delicious food on site: smoothies, burritos, ice cream, and more! Additionally, even though taste is the focused sense of the event, the organizers schedule a musical act to keep your ears occupied as you go around smelling and tasting the fresh fare.

The Saratoga Farmer’s Market runs Wednesdays 3pm-­‐6pm and Saturdays 9am-­‐1pm in High Rock Park. The market is within walking distance to Saratoga Arms.  We have plenty of room to store your goodies. If driving, parking is available on the street along High Rock Avenue in front of the market, or in the city lot adjacent (no charge for either).

Happy Marketing! And seriously…Purple Carrots do exist.

The Saratoga Race Course is 150 Years Old

Health. History. Horses. It is those three words that greet all who enter Saratoga Springs, and it is those three words (coincidentally and conveniently all starting with the letter “H”) that capture the spirit of this great town. Of course, special emphasis will be placed on the third “H” (Horses), since this summer marks the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of racing at the Saratoga Race Course.

To celebrate, there are numerous events planned from May through September. One in particular that is worth noting is the equestrian film festival slated for June 11-­‐13. Presented by Skidmore College and The Saratoga Film Forum, this special presentation will be held at Skidmore’s Arthur Zankel Music Center. Typically used for musical performances, this beautifully designed and acoustically-­‐tuned venue will be no less fitting for these screenings.

saratoga springs horse racing

First, Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 pm will have a screening of Seabiscuit. Set during the Great Depression, this film tells the true story of the horse that reached unexpected greatness in the racing world, and became a symbol of hope to many Americans. Nominated in 2003 for seven Academy awards (including Best Picture), Seabiscuit stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Elizabeth Banks.

Secretariat the movie

Following on Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 pm will be a screening of Secretariat. Chronicling the life of the first thoroughbred race horse to win The Triple Crown in 25 years (as of 1973), this film depicts the struggle that Secretariat’s owner (Penny Chenery) faced from the foreign and male-­‐dominated world of horse racing in order to foster a champion. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Secretariat stars Diane Lane and John Malkovich.

Saratoga 1937

Last but not least will be a screening of Saratoga on Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 pm. Originally released in 1937 when Seabiscuit was actually racing, this romantic comedy film stars Clark Gable (who went on to star in Gone with the Wind) as bookie Duke Bradley, who acquires the deed to a stud farm in lieu of the gambling debts of Frank Clayton. He soon meets Frank’s daughter Carol Clayton (Jean Harlow), and develops an eye for her despite her recent engagement to another man. Despite Harlow’s sudden death of kidney failure during the making of Saratoga, it went on to be MGM’s biggest moneymaker of 1937.

Both Seabiscuit and Saratoga had portions filmed in Saratoga Springs. Following the June 13 screening, there will be a talk by Saratoga Film Forum local historians and history teachers, Dave Patterson and Charlie Kuenzel, about the role of Saratoga and the track in classic American films.

Admission is FREE with a Saratoga 150 Lapel Medallion or a Saratoga ARTSFEST pass, otherwise general admission can be purchased for $5. For more information about this event and many others taking place throughout the summer please visit Saratoga 150.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway :: Gambling Fever in Saratoga Springs All Year

Saratoga Springs track bettingDuring six weeks of every summer, Saratoga Springs plays host to thousands of visitors hoping to win big on their wagers at the Saratoga Race Course.  But should you find yourself in Saratoga Springs and feeling lucky during any of the other 46 weeks of the year, look no further than the Saratoga Casino and Raceway—informally known as the Racino.

Upon entering, one is quickly greeted with the dinging of slot machines (apparently over 1,700 of them!).  Scattered throughout, there are many choices—with themes like Wheel of Fortune, Sex in the City, and The Hangover—that will offer you a fun time and possibly make you some quick bucks in the process. In addition to slots, they offer video poker, progressives, and Keno; and for the Vegas savvy, they offer electronic table games like Roulette, Craps, and Baccarat.

If it is your first time, do not forget to stop by the Player Extras Club before beginning your winning streak.  By signing up for a FREE card, you can earn rewards depending on how much you play.

Not to worry if machine gambling is not your thing:  it is called the RACE-ino for a reason.  Live harness racing takes place March through mid-December on their very own half-mile track.  Race fans can also watch and wager on simulcast races from across the country.

By now you have probably worked up quite an appetite from all of your victory laps around the gaming floor.  If you are looking for something quick to get you right back to the slots, Lucky Joe’s offers pizza, grilled sandwiches, salads, and other choices to satisfy your hunger.  For true variety and VALUE, the Garden Buffet offers all kinds of tastes:  Italian, Asian, American, and Southwestern cuisines, as well as a carving station, salad bar, and an array of delicious desserts.  Last but not least, Fortunes is a nice sit down restaurant that not only offers mouth-watering meals, but also features trackside dining to allow amazing views of the live harness racing and includes the ability to place tableside wagers.  Nothing like having the meal paid for by your winning horse.

Just when you think there is nothing left to do at the Racino, night falls and Vapor Nightclub starts pulsing.  Every Friday night features a great party band that is guaranteed to get your feet moving on the floor.   Then on Saturdays, Vapor maintains true nightclub status with DJ’s who know how to spin the vinyl and give you a good beat.

So if you find yourself feeling lucky or looking for somewhere to have fun while staying at our Saratoga Springs hotel, head on over to Saratoga Casino and Raceway.  Open 7 days a week from 9am to 4am, they are very likely to be open when you want to go!

Good luck!

Chowder and Beer…Meant to be together in Saratoga Springs

Who needs thoroughbred racing when you can have Chowder and Beer right here in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY.

Our city has a big Winter Weekend coming up and Saratoga Arms, Saratoga’s luxury hotel is right in the middle of it all! The weekend of February 3-5, 2012 is designed to fend off those winter blahs.

Something’s Brewing at Saratoga Arms, the city’s finest boutique hotel. We are hosting the first of four Ultimate Bed and Brew Weekends beginning Friday, February 3. With the craft beer enthusiast in mind and a nod to beer and food connoisseurs, Saratoga Arms together with the Olde Saratoga Brewing Company and Sperry’s Restaurant, has designed a package that from start to finish will give you a beer experience that you will talk about for a long time to come. Participate in a behind the scenes tour of our local brewery with beer samplings and end with a gourmet beer pairing meal under the direction of Master Chef Dale Miller at renowned Sperry’s Restaurant. This Saratoga Bed and Breakfast has it all planned out just for you. Meet other beer enthusiasts and sample homebrewed or regional craft beers. Take home specially selected souvenirs of the weekend and maybe a six-pack of locally brewed beer.

We have Beer Weekend guests from last year who had such a great time that they are returning this year with friends and neighbors. They plan to make it an annual event.

As an added bonus this same weekend is the 14th Annual Saratoga Springs Chowderfest and Winter Festival. On February 4th more than 35 fabulous local restaurants throughout the city will participate in putting forth their very best chowder recipes for you to sample and judge. There will be wine tastings, live music and plenty of photo ops. Post your pics on our facebook page. See what’s in store in the video below:

Come for the chowder and stay for the beer or the other way around…just come. It’s two events wrapped up in a great winter weekend in Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Arms has a room ready for you and of course there is the breakfast…. ah the breakfast, homemade muffins, hot-from-the-kitchen omelets… but that is for another blog for another day.

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!

 

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.