Saratoga Springs, NY
Go for: History, Spa, Romance
hattie's photo by heather bohm-tallman
From Poughkeepsie: 2 hours
Just the name Saratoga Springs conjures three diverse and distinct images: a Revolutionary War battlefield, healing springs and spas, and a historic racetrack. Known as Serachtuague (“fast-moving waters”) by Native Americans, Saratoga’s springs have drawn visitors seeking their medicinal powers for centuries. Even George Washington — who stopped at High Rock Spring in 1783 en route to Saratoga Battlefield — was a fan (he reportedly tried to purchase the land). The battlefield is now Saratoga National Historical Park, a must-visit for Revolutionary War history buffs.
If racing is more your speed, visit in early September to catch the end of the racing season. Off-season, book a tour of Saratoga Race Course’s training track and walk, where legends — including Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and Man o’ War — once trained.
(L to R) Saratoga Race Course; Hattie's Chicken Shack
At Saratoga Spa State Park you can take a romantic walk or bike its thousands of acres of trails, book a mineral bath at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa, attend an event at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center or visit the National Museum of Dance and the Saratoga Automobile Museum. Leave time to stroll down Main Street, voted among the best in the country by USA Today. As far as dining, Mouzon House serves farm-to-table fare in a romantic, garden setting, while history buffs will appreciate the Olde Bryan Inn, established in 1773 by Revolutionary War hero Alexander Bryan. On the casual side, Hattie’s Chicken Shack was named by Food & Wine as one of the best places in the US to get fried chicken.
STAY: Pavilion Grand Hotel
In just three short years, this boutique European-style hotel has already earned a reputation as a distinctive destination. Just steps away from the site of Pavilion Spring, it’s ideally situated one block from Main Street and a few blocks from Congress Park (where you can ride the vintage carousel). The perfect romantic resort, rooms are all suites, 48 suites in total, and the penthouses have private rooftop terraces. If you manage to leave your room, there is also an on-site spa and salon, the excellent Fish at 30 Lake restaurant, and the bistro, where you can purchase a glass of red or white from the wine dispenser (only one of three in the state) 24 hours a day. After all, what’s a romantic vacation without a little vino? From $189/night; www.paviliongrandhotel.com