July 12 – Lake George and Saratoga Springs

We were almost a little disappointed to be leaving the heart of the Adirondacks.  The whole region is both beautiful and filled with history.

After a relatively short drive to our next campground Lake George, we got hooked up and headed out for Saratoga Springs, which people had told us was a “must” stop … particularly the “springs”.

With maps of the area almost non-existent, we located the Visitor’s Center and were pleased to discover the area we were looking for was in a park directly across the street.

The volunteer at the Center was also kind enough to give us a couple of paper cups to enable us to try the water from the various fountains.

Legend has it that Congress Park was one of America’s earliest resort destinations.  The land was mostly a swamp in 1792 when New Hampshire Congressman John Gilman discovered the mineral spring.  Over the ensuing centuries, these mineral springs, which today can be found all over the city, were believed to have healing powers.

The springs are famous for their varied and distinct tastes:  some are clear freshwater, others are saltier, and some taste strongly of a certain mineral such as sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride. There is a sulfur odor but mineral analysis of the water consistently shows almost no presence of dissolved sulfur, because the sulfur is in the form of the gas hydrogen sulfide, which degasses from the water very quickly. Visitors are welcome to bottle the spring water for personal consumption.

In 1822, Dr. John Clarke purchased the land, drained it and laid out pathways and built pavilions over the Columbia and Congress Springs.  He built himself a Greek Revival home overlooking the Park.

Now called “The Casino” and housing the Park’s Museum

He also built the first bottling plant on the land and sold bottled Congress Water nationally and internationally, thereby triggering Sarasota Springs world-renown reputation.

Our first stop was at the Columbia Spring, which ran dry many years ago and now dispenses only city water.

Nearby was Congress Spring.

Yuk!

The taste was a bit strange and the texture more like the concoction you need to drink the day before a colonoscopy.   We deposited our paper cups in the next trash receptacle and continued our tour around the very pretty park with its varied architecture.

 

Deer Park Spring

The Reservoir

The dramatic Morrissey Fountain

The Palladian Circle

(Believed to be based on a former papal gardens in Rome with a sundial in the center and four sculptures known as herms on the perimeter.  Two of the four are thought to be of Pan, the Greek god of the Forest.  The other two depict maenads, followers of Dionysus, the god of revelry and wine)

Triton Pool

A Carousel

The Spirit of Life

Civil War Monument

 

Dedicated to the New York 77th Infantry Regiment.

And, then there were the dozen or so, large and creative bird houses scattered throughout the park.

Leaving town, a drive up North Broadway, toward Skidmore College is worth the detour … lined with palatial, mostly old, homes.

Back in the town of Lake George,  we watched some of the cruise boats come and go and several people parasailing,

Lake George is a glacial lake, 33 miles long and 1 to 3 miles widelocated in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.  It drains in a northeasterly direction over numerous rapids and waterfalls into Lake Champlain.  It was discovered in 1646 by Isaac Jogues, a French Jesuit missionary, who named it Lac du St. Sacrement; the English colonial leader Sir William Johnson renamed it for the king of England in 1755.  During the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution the area around Lake George was the scene of many battles.

One of those French and Indian War battles was the backdrop for my favorite novel as a child, The Last of the Mohicans. In it, Fort William Henry played a significant role.  So, I was more than delighted to look up as we parked our car to see …

To paraphrase Dirty Harry, It made my day!

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