Tuesdays used to be the one day of the week when races did not run, so it was usually our biking day. Starting in 2019, the New York Racing Association added an extra week to the meet but removed one day of racing, so now both Monday and Tuesday are “dark.” Since we did the biking on Monday, today we will walk around town after another leisurely breakfast at Circular Manor.
First we walk two blocks to Congress Park, where we can sample water from some more springs, enjoy the greenery, look at some beautiful statuary, and visit the historic Canfield Casino, which is now home to the Saratoga Springs History Museum. In the Casino there are some interesting exhibits tracing the history of Saratoga from pre-Revolutionary War days to the present. Upstairs there are some restored rooms that give you a sense of the opulence that awaited the gamblers who frequented the casino in the evenings during the late 1800s.
An old-fashioned carousel sits at the northern edge of the park, and we usually walk by it to see children riding the horses. Then we leave the park and begin visiting some of the shops on or near Broadway, Saratoga’s main commercial street. One of our first stops is always a wonderful used bookstore, Lyrical Ballad at 7 Phila St. It has a half dozen rooms filled to overflowing with books. Of course, there are sections on Saratoga history and horses, but there are large rooms filled on books on almost every subject. We always find at least two or three unusual books here to be brought home.
After the bookstore we head a half block to Broadway and our favorite store called Impressions of Saratoga. We usually end up visiting this store at least two times during our week in Saratoga, as it has loads of gifts: jewelry, ties, glassware, ornaments, T-shirts, and memorabilia. There is so much that we can’t absorb it all in a single visit.
When it’s time for lunch, we usually head to a small crepe shop on Phila Street, called Ravenous. Their crepes are absolutely delicious, as are their pommes frites. We often sit at the table in the front window. One year we were there for one of Saratoga’s notorious sudden thunderstorms, and we watched the rain flow over the curb as we munched our savory crepes.
After lunch there are still more small shops to explore on Broadway. We stop by a second bookstore, Northshire Books, which features new titles. Broadway reminds us of a mix of Richmond’s Carytown and Georgetown, with many small locally owned boutiques and specialty gift shops. Some are very exclusive; others are quirky and inexpensive. Last year for the first time we visited Celtic Treasures and found some interesting items. We will make it a certain stop on every trip to Saratoga.
On the way back to Circular Manor, we may stop by a wine shop for a chilled bottle of wine to enjoy on the porch in the late afternoon. Then we get ready for dinner. Tonight we will go to Solevo, a small Italian restaurant at 55 Phila St. We visited Solevo for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, so it has also become part of our repeat list.
Tomorrow will be our last full day in Saratoga and our last day at the track, so it will be an early evening so we will have the energy to enjoy a full day.
Today’s video would feature the song “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon, because it contains the line: “I hear you went up to Saratoga,/ where your horse naturally won,” but copyright restrictions prevent using it as the soundtrack. The movie is one we have not seen before: It Ain’t Hay (1943) which can be seen on YouTube.