SARATOGA SPRINGS — As Saratoga residents begin to blow off the dust on their bikes and running shoes after the long quarantine, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation (SSPF) is offering a fun and educational way to get back into being active. Throughout the summer, the SSPF is offering guided walking and biking tours throughout Saratoga to give you the full story on this historic city.
The annual Bike Tours are returning again this summer to give people the full scoop behind the Saratoga Spa State Park. Join Linda Harvey-Opiteck, the SSPF Secretary as the path takes you along old roads, carriage paths, and trolley lines. By biking and walking these paths, the community will gain an understanding of the historic development of the area through the 1900’s. The trip will highlight the significant architectural and landscaping changes the springs and spas went through throughout this period. Even today the park remains a staple cultural and amusement spot for locals and tourists alike. The SSPF highlights the preservation of the spas and the local beauty of the quiet and off-the-beaten-path springs. Ever since their founding in 1977, the SSPF has worked for the protection and enhancement of the Saratoga’s cultural heritage.
The tour starts on South Broadway at the Lincoln Baths near the early bathhouses before moving along to some lesser known springs along Route 50. Afterwards, the tour will head to the serene Geyser Park area before finishing up at the complex of Beaux Arts building in the center of Saratoga Spa State Park.
Harvey-Opiteck says that her favorite part of the tour is “making people aware of the significance of this park that is in their backyard and helping them find new parts of the park that they not have explored before. Everyone puts a focus on the historic architecture in Saratoga Springs but here we have a National Historic Landmark, which there is no higher significance in the United States.”
Tickets for the tour are $20 for SSPF members and $25 for any non-members and space is limited to around twenty participants so sign up in advance. Also, for those who are interested but might not have a bike can rent one through the many CDPHP Cycle stations throughout Saratoga. The course is mostly flat so people of all ages and fitness ranges are welcome to attend. Tours are offered on Saturday, July 11, Saturday, Aug. 22, and on Sunday Sept. 27.
The SSPF is also offering their “Summer Strolls” again this summer which take you through multiple different neighborhoods and locations around Saratoga to learn more about their cultural history as well. There are twelve walks scheduled throughout the summer and like the Bike Tours, space is limited so registering for a ticket in advance is required. A guide who is well rooted in Saratoga’s rich history will lead the tour and the locations visited range from elegant streets of Saratoga’s downtown to the tranquil, hole-in-the-wall springs. These tours are offered every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. all the way through Sept. 6.
For those looking to get active this summer, try signing up for a Bike Tour or Summer Stroll. The two not only give you an in-depth guide on the city’s rich cultural history, but also are a great way to make being active fun.
For more information on the tours or to make a reservation, call the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation 518-587-5030 or visit their website at www.saratogapreservation.org.