Yaddo Gardens || Woods Hollow Nature Preserve || August 26, 2016
On our first Friday in New York, Curtis had a half day of work so we set out once again to explore another new site in Saratoga. Like I said before, we don’t really have a bucket list, we’re just taking advantage of what chances we get to see attractions both near and not-so-near. I had heard and seen pictures of Yaddo Gardens — and heard that they were both free and dog friendly — so to Yaddo Gardens we went! We have no idea how long we’ll be here, but just in case we aren’t here when the flowers are in full bloom, we thought it was necessary to visit now at the tail end of the season.
When we first arrived and were walking through, it really felt like we were visiting another Southern Plantation — only not paying a ton of money just to walk through the gardens. There was the big gorgeous mansion, water fountains, statues, trails, and of course, flowers all around. There were others visiting, but it wasn’t crowded at all and we were alone for most of our walk.
I did some research on it later and learned that there is a lot more to this place that makes it so special. Yaddo was founded in 1900. Its original owners, Spencer and Katrina Trask, bought and created this place as a peaceful retreat spot to get away from the city. They had 4 children, but all of them passed away at a young age. Not having any heirs to take over their family estate, the Trasks decided to use their land for a new purpose: as a retreat for artists to come and stay and be able to have a quiet place to create. The residency is completely free to artists who are accepted — the funding is now provided by private donors, usually artists who have stayed previously. To learn more, visit their website here.
We loved visiting here and would definitely come back if we can. It’s located right down the road from the race track and would be a great place to visit if you’re ever in the area for the horse races, or for whatever reasons people come to Saratoga. (now that racing season is wrapping up, I guess we’ll see how much tourism this area brings!)
After that, we decided to go for one more walk and find a few more letterboxes in the area. We drove to Woods Hollow Nature Preserve in Ballston Spa and went for a long walk in the woods. It’s so cool how many wooded areas there are up here, with well maintained trails and everything! It was just a walk in the woods, but it didn’t feel like just a walk in the woods. There was a pretty pond in the middle of the preserve, and it reflected the trees surrounding it so perfectly. We met a few other hikers — all of which brought their dogs along too — but for the most part, we were alone. My favorite part was when I was standing next to the pond taking pictures and admiring the natural beauty. I heard a splash in the water in front of me, but I didn’t have to worry about it being an alligator. 😉
I really hope the “magic” of this area doesn’t wear off too fast. I’m really loving how free we feel, to be able to go out whenever and take a walk and appreciate everything about it. It’s really easy to do, especially because our home backs up to a forest with trails! I still can’t believe we get to live here. Life is good. 🙂