Exciting and elegant, Saratoga Springs is a marvelous fly-in destination best known as the horse racing capitol of the Northeast. The 1996 racing season extends from July 26th to Labor Day. Besides the racetrack, the city features a wonderful performing arts center, several fascinating museums, and plenty of places to stay and eat.
June 10, 1996
Horses thunder around the far turn, their hooves beating almost
as fast as your heart. You watch your favorite colors come into
the homestretch, just a wish and a nose behind the leader. Win
or lose, you leave elated at your first visit to Saratoga racetrack.
In it's heyday in the 1890's, the racing season at Saratoga was
the social center for New York society. It still is. When you
finish your day at the track you can stroll along Broadway, Saratoga's
main street, with its turn-of-the-century buildings and intriguing
shops. Or explore the menus of the dozens of restaurants in the
downtown area. At the Olde Bryan Inn, a short block off Broadway,
you can relax in a cozy room that has hosted diners since 1773.
Flying to Saratoga County
A pleasant flight on a summer afternoon, Saratoga is easily overlooked
as a destination for New Englanders, yet it's right in our backyard.
To approach the airport, stay on the east side of the Hudson river
until you're north of the Albany Class C Airspace. Saratoga County
Airport lies just beyond Albany's Airspace, so once you cross
the river, keep below 2000 feet. While you'd expect the Hudson
to make an easy landmark, remember that you're not looking for
the mighty river you see flowing under the George Washington bridge.
North of Albany the Hudson is seldom more than a narrow stream;
from 2000 feet it looks like a country creek.
Saratoga County Airport is located 23 miles North of the Albany
VOR, on the 06 radial. Runway 5/23 is 4700' x 100'; runway 14/32
is 4000' x 100'. Lying on the broad, flat plain of the Mohawk
Valley, Saratoga has easy approaches with no obstacles, but watch
out for gliders in the vicinity of the airport. Saratoga is one
of the prime gliding centers on the East Coast. If you come from
the northeast, you'll pass over the city of Saratoga Springs with
its oval racetracks. The airport is five miles southwest of the
city. The unicom at 122.8 is monitored during business hours,
from 7:30 in the morning until dusk, seven days a week, year round..
Jet A and 100LL fuel is available at Richmor Aviation, the FBO,
and there's plenty of tiedown space in front of their building.
During August there is a $5 landing fee for twins and a $10 fee
for jets. Overnight tiedowns are $5. Richmor does have a courtesy
car, and they can usually provide a ride to and from a restaurant.
Several are within a mile of the airport.
If you're planning on going into town for the day, its best to
go by taxi. The cost is around $10, plus $2 a head for additional
passengers. Tom Miller, the airport manager, says that if you
call when you're about 15 minutes out, the folks at Richmor will
have a cab ready to meet you when you land..
Enterprise Rent-a-Car offers pick up and delivery at the airport,
but you must call ahead for reservations. The cost for a car is
from $32.99 to $69.99 per day with unlimited mileage.
Places to See
Saratoga boasts of both a harness and flat track, each with a
separate season. The Saratoga Harness Raceway operates year round,
except December. Post-time is 7:45 PM. You may call for racing
days. Flat track racing is held at the Saratoga Race Course which
is the nation's oldest thoroughbred track founded in 1863. The
thoroughbred races start the last week in July and run through
the last Monday of August. This is Saratoga's high season. Races
are held from Wednesday to Monday with a post-time of 1 PM. The
season's culmination comes with the Travers Stakes and the Hopeful,
which run on the last two Saturdays in August.
The 1996 racing season has been extended from
July 26 to Labor Day.
Be sure to make reservations ahead of time if you're planning
on staying overnight in track season. Not only do hotels and guest
houses fill up, but you may find some August prices are more than
double their off-peak rates!
While the track is Saratoga's most famous attraction, Richmor
reports that many pilots head for the Saratoga Performing Arts
Center. Located just over three miles from the airport in the
Saratoga Spa State Park, SPAC, as it's commonly called, is a favorite
destination for bikers. SPAC is the June home of the New York
City Opera. In July it hosts the New York City Ballet, in August
the Philadelphia Orchestra. Guest artists, offering everything
from classical to jazz to rock, perform throughout the warm months.
Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the lawn while the orchestra plays.
The National Museum of Dance lies around the corner from SPAC,
next door to Lincoln Baths, where you may still "take the
waters," as society matrons did a hundred years ago. The
museum has four spacious exhibit halls devoted to professional
American dance. There is also a shop and cafe on site. The museum
is open from May to September from 11 AM to 7 PM.
With a similar eye for convenience, The National Museum of Racing
is just across from the main entrance to the thoroughbred racetrack.
Here you will find racing memorabilia as well as paintings, photos
and trophies from some of the most famous thoroughbred horses.
The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 4:30 PM and Sundays from
12 to 4:30 PM.
If you'd like a sense of the glories of Saratoga's past, stroll
down Union Avenue from the track to Congress Park, enjoying the
colorful beds of flowers and the Victorian homes that line the
street. In Congress Park the Casino Museum, which was once a working
Casino, gives you a taste of the luxury of that era. The exhibits
show 19th century resort life in Saratoga. During high season
the museum is open daily from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
With so many enticements within walking distance, you may want
to check on the getaway packages offered by local accommodations.
Where to Stay
It's no exaggeration to say that the Saratoga area boasts hundreds
of places to stay. The ones listed below are personal favorites,
within walking distance of both the track and downtown Saratoga.
If a romantic bed and breakfast is your first choice, check
out The Westchester House, a Gothic Victorian home with
antique furnishings. In fine weather enjoy your breakfast on the
patio in their side garden. Rates are from $70 to $200 per night
depending on the season booked and breakfast is included.
Right across from The Clubhouse entrance to the thoroughbred
track, Six Sisters Bed and Breakfast offers you a fantastic
view of Union Avenue from the balcony of its Master Bedroom Suite.
Host Steve Ramirez enjoys whipping up hearty country breakfasts
served with candlelight during the winter months! Rates are $70
to $100 per room except during special events. This price includes
The Inn at Saratoga, on Broadway in the heart of the
downtown area, can promise not only comfortable rooms but a Live
Jazz Brunch Buffet on Sunday from 10:00-2:00. Described below,
their restaurant is worth a trip in itself.. In the off season
rooms are priced from $85-$145 per night. During track season
this becomes $196-$245 per night.
Across Broadway from The Inn at Saratoga and almost a hundred
years newer, a Holiday Inn boasts a swimming pool, all
the modern conveniences, and friendly service. In winter the rooms
run from $56 to $66. In mid season the rates are $76-$86 and during
track season rooms are $189 per night.
Where to Eat
Saratoga, compact though it is, offers all the eating places of
any city. There are, within walking distance along Broadway, a
Dunkin' Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Friendly's, Brueggers'
Bagel Bakery, Subway and several pizza places. In addition to
these we have some favorites:
The Inn at Saratoga which was mentioned above as a
suggested place to stay is also a recommended place to eat. It
is located on the south end of Broadway and the closest restaurant
to the airport. Open only for dinner, this restaurant offers fine
cuisine in a Victorian atmosphere. Chicken Joseph is $13.50 and
poached salmon is $17.50. On Sundays the Inn offers a Jazz Brunch
from 10 AM to 2 PM at $14.95. It is served buffet style with omelets
made to order.
Just up the street is Lillian's which is open for both
lunch and dinner. Lunch begins at 11 AM and it is priced from
$3 to $9. Dinner is offered from 5 PM to 10 PM and prices range
from $12 to $16. This restaurant has both a children's menu and
a light menu on weekends.
Professor Moriarty's is also located on Broadway. It
boasts a very cozy pub built around a solid cherry bar, right
in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs. This eatery opens for
lunch at 11:30 AM and prices range from $5-$8. Dinner begins at
5 PM and the average cost is $50 per couple. Moriarty's offers
and Sunday brunch throughout the year at $9.95 which is served
from 11 AM to 3 PM. During track season this restaurant also serves
At the far end of Broadway at the corner of Maple Ave. and
Rock Street is the Olde Bryan Inn. This restaurant serves
lunch and dinner from 11:30 AM to midnight (1 A.M. in season).
Lunches are from $5 to 7.95and dinners are from $11.95 to $16.95.
The menu offers a wide selection of pasta, chicken, fish and meats.
The prime rib arrives at 4:30 PM. We think it's the best meal
All of the restaurants above accept credit cards.
Saratoga Springs Information
Chamber of Commerce (518) 584-3255 494 Broadway Rental Cars
Enterprise Rent-a-Car 587-0687 Lodging
Holiday Inn-Saratoga Springs 584-4550 or (800)465-4329 Broadway
at Circular St.
The Inn at Saratoga 583-1890 231 Broadway
The Six Sisters Bed & Breakfast 583-1173 149 Union Ave.
The Westchester House 587-7613 102 Lincoln Ave., PO Box 944
Casino Museum 584-6920 Congress Park on Broadway
Lincoln Baths 584-2011
National Museum of Dance 584-2225 S. Broadway in Saratoga
Spa State Park
National Museum of Racing 584-0400 Union Ave.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) 587-3330
Saratoga Race Course Thoroughbred Racing 584-6200 Union Ave.
Saratoga Harness Raceway Harness Racing 584-2110 Nelson Ave.