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…
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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.
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.
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!
The New York Times, Joe Drape, has confirmed that super filly and Preakness winner, Rachel Alexandra, will race against the boys again the the Woodward Stakes here in Saratoga on Saturday, September 5th. Saratoga Arms does have limited availability left for that weekend (Labor Day) and would welcome anyone who would like to continue to watch history. Run like a girl Rachel!!!
Opening Day and the excitement throughout the city of Saratoga Springs is palpable. Up and down the crowded sidewalks visitors mingle with townsfolk, darting in and out of shops and restaurants, chatting on the benches, admiring the artistic horse sculptures, and the lush hanging baskets. Flags are waving proclaiming the arrival of the 141st meet at Saratoga Race Course. The Daily Racing Form is the preferred reading choice. The town is hopping and we are ready.
The Smith family and the staff of Saratoga Arms are welcoming back old friends who return year after year to their favorite Saratoga Springs Hotel. We are confident that first time guests will fast become part of the Saratoga Arms growing circle of regulars.
The Saratoga Arms dining room this morning was abuzz with racing talk and old friends catching up on the events of last year that passed so quickly. Noel continuus to delight diners with his usual scrumptious breakfasts and Kathleen shares Saratoga news and offers up tips for an enjoyable stay.
Come join us…the Racing Meet only lasts until Labor Day. The talk in the racing community is that the quality of horses and the racing will be the best ever. Don’t miss the fun.
There has been many doings about the date 8/8/08. Weddings were all the rage for that Friday. During one of our spring brainstorming sessions about how to market Saratoga Arms in the 8/8/08 hysteria, our Director of Sales and Marketing came up with a brilliant idea…
Saratoga Springs is in the middle of our thoroughbred racing season. The town is jammed and our rooms are filled. Our director thought it would be fabulous to buy a racing ticket for each room on 8/8/08, betting the eighth horse in the eighth race. Great idea! Wouldn’t you know, after the second race that Friday a torrential thunderstorm with golf ball sized hail rained down on Saratoga and the racetrack. The rest of that day’s racing was cancelled.
We all wondered if we would have a dining room full of winners on 8/9/08. We’ll never know.
Any ideas for 9/9/09?