Years ago the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY, was a closed unconnected property, no telephones in public areas, no TV, no connections to the outside world were allowed while the races took place.
The times they are a changing albeit it slowly, at all three New York race tracks, Belmont, Aqueduct and our favorite, Saratoga, in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY.
Saratoga Arms is a family owned lodging property in Saratoga Springs, NY, the town that is home to Skidmore College. This Saratoga Springs luxury hotel becomes a home away from home to many Skidmore parents and relatives as their students pursue their studies. We get to know these parents well over the four years and they become a part of our extended family.
Skidmore graduation 2012 is upon us and it is a bittersweet time for the Saratoga Arms hotel family. We are so happy to see these students graduate, filled with anticipation, enthusiasm and of course their knowledge accrued through their years at Skidmore College. On the flip side, we are saddened to say goodbye to them and the parents with whom we have established bonds of friendship. Skidmore parents are always happy that their student chose Skidmore College for their educational pursuits, because these same parents can come to a town that offers superb dining experiences, exquisite shopping opportunities and access to the arts, not to mention the simple quiet peace of sitting in the living room of Saratoga Arms or reading a book on our wicker-filled Saratoga style front porch.
It brings to mind a graduation song made popular by the Beach Boys from many, many years ago:
There’s a time a for joy
A time for tears
A time we’ll treasure through the years
We’ll remember always
We celebrate with these parents as they beam with pride watching their student accept the hard-earned diploma. We help them breathe a sigh of relief that the tuition paying days, for this student at least, have come to an end. We offer sage advice on packing this student up after four years of student collecting. What do you do with all those beer signs and celebrity posters, not to mention textbooks, scribbled in notebooks and mismatched socks? We offer support as the parents boast of the students’ impending job prospect and encourage the parents of the child returning home to begin the search for gainful employment.
It is a time to say goodbye to these loyal Saratoga Arms patrons. As they wheel their luggage out the door, they offer heartfelt handshakes, warm hugs and promises that they will return to Saratoga Arms and Saratoga Springs. We have been through too many graduations to expect that to be true. Oh we do see a handful of them return, but for the most part we bid them farewell and wish them and their educated student a happy life journey as they return to the four corners of our country and many foreign countries as well. Fortunately, every year there is a new incoming crop of wide-eyed Skidmore freshmen and their apprehensive parents, and so the family circle at our Saratoga Springs hotel continues.
Congratulations to all of our Class of 2012 students and parents …you did it! …job well done! …we will miss you!
A time for joy and a time for tears…
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 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!
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:
- Michael McDonald
- Dee Dee Bridgewater
- Geroge Wein the Newport All Stars
- Jack DeJohnette Group
- Eliane Elias
- Ben Allison Band
- Lionel Loueke Trio
- Sing the Truth
- A Night in Treme
- Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
- The Bad Plus
- Tia Fuller Quartet
- Pedrito Martinez Group
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!
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.
THE GUESTS WE MEET…
My 5 year old son Everett, grandson of Saratoga Arms owners Noel and Kathleen Smith, is an avid Little Rascals fan…the original series from the 1920s. He checks out the old VHS tapes from the Saratoga Springs Public Library on a weekly basis.
About three weeks ago, Kathleen called me from home to say that Dick Moore was staying at the hotel and was in the dining room having breakfast. Dick Moore played the character “Little Dickie” in the original Our Gang series. Kathleen told Mr. Moore that her grandson was a huge fan and asked if he would be willing to talk with him. He graciously obliged and Everett and I headed down to the hotel.
While in the car, I was concerned that Everett was expecting to see “Little Dickie” as a 5 year old boy (See Below). I told him that he is now a grown up and no longer a kid, now an 85 year old man. He declared with such confidence, “I know he is older Mom, the shows were in Black and White!!”
We arrive at the hotel and Everett bounds up to the table and introduces himself. It was his first “celebrity” experience and he was awestruck. Yet as he became more comfortable he began discussing the various episodes that “Little Dickie” was in. Mr. Moore remembered those episodes and they both talked about their experiences with such glee. As I stood there watching them both, I was struck that even though there was 80 years difference between the two, this wonderful common experience washed that 80 years away.
Mr. Moore was a gracious celebrity and took a picture with Everett (See Below) and signed an autograph as well. Everett was a gracious hotelier’s son and helped Mr. Moore load luggage into his car, earning a dollar for his troubles.
The guests we meet…
In September a gentleman who lives in South Africa checked into Saratoga Arms. He walked through the front door in full cycling gear and quite sweaty. He looked as though he had been bicycling all day…when in fact he had. Here’s his story-
After retirement, he wanted to see the world in new and inventive ways. He told us he wanted to take a trip from Montreal to New York City….on his bicycle!! He planned the trip for months. Bought a custom made bike and trained for stamina (although I’m not sure anyone truly told him about the Adirondack Mountains).
He started in Montreal in the middle of September, cycling each day and putting up for the night in little town after little town. He told us that he knew that Saratoga Springs was halfway between Montreal and New York City and seemed as though our town was a great place to spend a few days and refuel for the last half of his trip. He enjoyed the town, enjoyed our breakfasts for the three days he stayed with us and on Saturday September 25th set out for New York City. (see pic below leaving from the Saratoga Arms porch)
We asked that he keep us updated with his success and he sent an email stating that he arrived at Central Park in New York City on Sunday, October 3rd just in time for lunch. Besides the torrential rains, he had a grand time. He did send a pic in Central Park for proof, see below.
One of the most interesting things about his story is that he wanted to experience this trip with his wife of 30+ years. She traveled with him the entire way…in a TAXI!
It has been awhile since we updated the saga of the room renovation Kathleen embarked upon this Spring. Let’s pick up where we left off. (Hint: If you need a refresher click on Room Renovations .)
Kathleen and Pamela shop the Springfield, Massachusetts store. Lots and lots of fabric, but the place has never been sorted out. Difficult to find anything.. One of the sales clerks told them that nothing is ever thrown away. They leave without making a purchase. A few weeks later Kathleen and Noel fly to Atlanta for the newest grandchild’s christening, and Kathleen gets a chance to go into town to two wonderful fabric shops. There’s the perfect fabric, but Kathleen has never paid $20 per yard for anything. So she buys a one yard sample. Kathleen is going to meet Pamela in Delaware in two weeks to shop a fabulous discount fabric center. When she shows them the sample, they tell her that the fabric is too new and they would not have it for a year or so. Kathleen and Pamela like the fabric so much that they decide to bite the bullet and buy one hundred yards in Atlanta. While in Delaware they buy all of the coordinating fabrics. On the drive home Kathleen has a thought. Mr. Springfield has said he has the ability to best anyone’s price on fabric. Kathleen sends him a sample of the sample. When Springfield calls the next morning, they tell Kathleen that if she accepts two rolls totaling 101 yards shipped directly from the factory the price will be $12 per yard. Within the next week fabric is sent to Marked Tree, Arkansas for quilting, fabric is given to the drapery lady in Glens Falls, and the upholstery is delivered to a fellow up north. Ned (the best painter and plasterer in the world) is on the job, the carpet has been ordered, and new lamps are being sent from California. The room is rented soon, we have a deadline…are we going to make it?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a wonderful article in their US and International Travel section titled “Weekend in Saratoga, N.Y.” They recommend various eating establishments, places to visit and hotels in Saratoga Springs NY, with Saratoga Arms being amongst them. You may visit the link and read the entire article.
The first telephone call is made to Pamela Whitney now living in the DC area. Pamela is the decorator who worked with Kathleen on all the rooms in the addition. (www.pamelawhitneydesigns.com) She designed all the furniture and had it made in a factory in Mexico. Television armoires that also serve as dressers, desks that double as nightstands and headboards high enough on the wall that you can lean against them to read without being bothered by mouldings. Pamela has an instant and excellent understanding of what is needed. Kathleen has a formula for fabric in a room. One hundred yards of the principal fabric for quilt, drapes, shower curtain and pillow shams: thirty yards of a stripe or nubby solid for dust ruffle, pillows and trim; and ten yards of an upholstery fabric for easy chair and cushion on the straight chair. Off the two ladies go to Springfield, Massachusetts, to a shop that bills itself as the largest fabric store in America.
Stay tuned for the next installment of “A Room Redo”…