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Racing Back To 1863: Best Way To Spend A Day In Saratoga

In its heyday, Saratoga Springs was the destination of choice for high society folks who loved to gamble at the renowned Saratoga Race Course. It was also popular among the health conscious, who were convinced of the healing properties supplied by the beneficial mineral waters of the Springs. It may no longer be 1863, but Saratoga Springs is still a delightful vacation spot, offering up glimpses into its past and decidedly modern enjoyments as well. If you're lucky enough to travel to New York State's legendary Spa City, be sure to add these attractions to your itinerary.

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Dedicated to the history of thoroughbred racing, the National Museum tells the story of the horses, jockeys and trainers who put this sport, and Saratoga Springs, on the map through interactive exhibits, photo galleries and films. The museum recently debuted a renovated, expanded Steeplechase Gallery that features beautiful art photography, a map featuring the nation's steeplechase locations and a Hall of Fame inductee exhibit. Located next to the historic Race Course, the Museum is a must-see for horse lovers, history buffs and sports enthusiasts.

Saratoga Race Course
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Originally opened on August 3, 1863, the Saratoga Race Course's current season will begin on July 19 and go through September 2. The Race Course features more than just track meets. Special events such as barbecues, lifestyle expos and the famed annual Hat Contest combine to make an afternoon at the races a unique blend of old-fashioned glamour and modern-day excitement. Make sure to visit Big Red Spring while you're there. Named for fabled, chestnut-colored thoroughbreds Secretariat and Man 'O War, the Spring bubbles with  copper-colored waters.

New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Comprised of exhibits and library archives, the Military Museum is home to more than 10,000 artifacts dating from the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm. The museum houses a significant Civil War memorabilia and artifact collection, including the most comprehensive array of state battle flags available to the public nationwide and the largest compilation of Civil War flags in the world.

Saratoga National Historic Park
Stillwater, N.Y.

History comes alive in this historic park, which happens to be the location of the pivotal, Revolutionary War Battle of Saratoga. Self-guided tours of the Battlefield include optional audio CD and interpretive stations. You can also pre-arrange a guided tour. Highlights include the Schuyler House, the home of American General Philip Schuyler, the Saratoga Monument and Victory Woods.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at


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