I am always impressed by New York state when I visit. It is so much more than New York City. We went on a road trip to the Adirondacks taking our time to explore as we went. The only thing I knew about Saratoga Springs is that it has horse racing and friends liked it. I wanted to find some springs, so we made sure to stop. I was really impressed by what I found- it was one of my favorite stops!
The springs of Saratoga Springs
The original settlers of the area, the Mohawk and Iroquois Indians, first used the springs, which give the area its name, as curative waters. In the early 1800s Gideon Putnam put Saratoga Springs on the map, so to speak, by building a spa and hotel in the middle of New York’s wilderness. Set among the foothills of the Adirondacks, the springs are nestled among blankets of green.
How to find Saratoga’s springs
I had incorrectly thought that I may find pools to soak in like Santa Barbara or Iceland. If you hope to soak in the waters, you have to be over 16 and enter the upscale spas, such as the Roosevelt Spa. There are swimming pools in Saratoga Spa State Park, but they are full of regular water. But don’t worry- if you don’t have a reservation in the spa, there are many ways you can drink the waters.
How many springs are there?
There are 21 spring remaining. You can find them sprinkled around Saratoga Spa State Park and Congress Park which is right around downtown Saratoga Springs. Each spring has its own flavor based on the minerals in it and it was fun taste-testing them all. All of my party, including three elementary school-aged boys, tried all the waters that we came across. The fountains they come from are also quite different and beautiful. Find out what properties each spring is said to have.
Saratoga Spa State Park
This large state park is free to enter and has 12 miles of trails. The classical architecture has it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In it you will find the spas and pools, as well as an outdoor concert arena which is an excellent venue to see a performance. But we came to town to experience the waters and there are so many here. Each spring has an associated drinking fountain. Locals fill large 5-gallon bottles from their favorite spring to bring home water. Our 15 minutes at a very popular spring brought probably twenty water-seekers.
Why were they all coming to the springs?
It is believed that the high mineral content of the water is very good for you. The locals believe the best water for you is the naturally carbonated mineral water.
Be aware which spigot you are drinking from!
The spigot labeled Mineral Water in not water in the sense we normally drink. It is the naturally carbonated, highly mineralized water and it contains sulfur. We described it as sparkling water with a heavy dose of rotten egg. A local we met swears he is so healthy because he has come to drink out of the spring every day for the last 25 years. He says the key is getting it past your nose. If the spigot isn’t labeled it is regular drinking water.
Congress Park is conveniently located right at the end of Saratoga Springs’ bustling main street, Broadway. There are also beautiful lakes with ducks, waking trails and many more Springs. We even caught Shakespeare in the park in our one day in Saratoga Springs.
Broadway is a truly wide street full of life. This is a very happening town with both chain and local stores and restaurants. Grab a table in season at one of its patios to do some people-watching. The town is full of people decked out in their finery watching street performers.
We were very impressed with our time in Saratoga Springs and would love to come back in the future without kids to try the spas. I think I am already feeling healthier- right in time for my hike in the Adirondacks tomorrow. Saratoga Springs is the perfect spot for a US road trip of part of a New York State road trip.
Where to stay in Saratoga Springs?
What is your favorite part of New York state? Please let me know in the comments below.