Need some fresh air before the holiday chaos? The next time you drive into the Spa City, just shoot right the heck out the other side along Route 29 into the quaint, pastoral lands known to some as Old Saratoga, and to everybody else, Schuylerville. Now, put the pedal to the metal. Your next wonderful weekend away awaits.
Since this is a late fall/early winter weekend getaway, we’d suggest a soft landing at the Dovegate Inn (dovegateinn.com), which is located right on Schuylerville’s main drag, Broad Street. No need for dinner plans, because the inn has its own in-house restaurant, Kitchen at the Dovegate Inn, which offers up hearty, heartwarming homestyle meals that are perfect for brisk days (think Beef Stroganoff, brined/pan-fried game hen and chicken liver pâté). Each of the inn’s three rooms comes equipped with a warm and crackly fireplace, too, which will come in handy if you’re dealt a chillier hand the weekend you’re there.
What Schuylerville lacks in size (population: ~1,500), it makes up for in historical importance. Schuylerville, along with nearby Stillwater, holds the key to the birth of our democracy. Just a three-minute drive from the inn is the Saratoga Monument, a 138-year-old, 155-foot stone obelisk commemorating British General John Burgoyne’s surrender to American General Horatio Gates in 1777. (The Battles of Saratoga have long been considered the turning point in the American Revolution.) If the structure is open, we’d suggest heading through the monument’s front door and hoofing it up the stairs to get a killer 360-degree view of the Hudson River Valley below. If it’s not, take a selfie outside of it, because ’merica.
Want the full history lesson? Head over to the Saratoga National Historic Park (nps.org) in Stillwater (about 13 minutes away by car) to see where America actually fought its war for independence. Although its visitors center, indoor facilities and displays are closed through 2021, you can call 518-665-8185 to access a smartphone/car tour, which takes you to 10 stops along the road inside the park. And depending on what time of year you go there, you could also be in for some serious leaf-peeping opportunities.
Assuming you got up early to get your dose of history, you should be ravenously hungry in time for lunch, and you have some options. For the every-day-is-fiesta-day set, Amigos Cantina (amigoscantina.net) serves up some of the best Mexican/Southwestern food in the area (we’d recommend the Street Corn Crab Cakes or the Street Tacos, which come with interesting fillings such as grilled salmon or fried avocado).
More of a sandwich connoisseur? The Revolution Café (revolutioncafe.net) makes mean paninis, all of which sport historically relevant names like the General Burgoyne (roast beef, bacon, cheddar, tomato and Russian dressing), and the 1777 (grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, spinach, tomato and pesto mayo). Or if you’re the elevated pub fare type, Sweeney’s diner (facebook.com/sweeney70) has a bounty of burgers (try the Mushroom Swiss) and delicious apps, such as Mozzarella Wedges (served with marinara or melba sauce, of course).
If you grabbed-and-went with that 1777 from The Revolution, you’re more than welcome to chow down at a table inside Bound by Fate Brewing (boundbyfatebrewing.com), a family-owned-and-operated farm brewery, which serves up delicious brewskis such as Kegasus (a cream ale), Boat Bridge (an English-style brown ale), and Crumb’l (a sour, blackberry-flavored IPA).
If you’re an early riser and didn’t choose Sweeney’s for lunch the previous day, it opens bright and early for breakfast at 7am. After filling yourself up there (we’d suggest the pancakes), make your way to town again for a little shopping before the main event (more on this in a second).
Browse the bike-age at Adirondack Ultra Cycling (adkultracycling.com), and poke around Revibe Gifts & Wellness’ boutique and gift shop (facebook.com/revibeyourself). And now, cue drumroll, for the main event. Saratoga Apple (saratogaapple.com) is a full-on apple orchard and bustling farm market on the way out of town. Grab a bag of apples, some hard cider at the Orchard Taproom (or some to-go bottles) and a bagful of the market’s not-to-be-missed cider doughnuts for the road. If you still have a few left by the time you get back home, you have better self-control than we do!