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Centrally located between New York's capital city of Albany and the gateway to the Adirondack Park that is Lake George, Saratoga Springs offers several easy day trip options for those wishing to sample the regional variety of Upstate New York.
History buffs will be interested in the Saratoga National Historical Park, a short drive east from downtown Saratoga Springs. This area comprises the battlefield that served as the turning point of the American Revolutionary War, a battle monument, the preserved home of a reknowned war general, a national cemetery, and miles of hiking and biking trails. The Battlefield itself boasts a scenic driving/biking loop, bisected by wooded and open trails that visitors can share with numerous birds and deer during the warmer months, or that can be enjoyed for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing during the winter.
Continuing further east of the park area, one travels through the quaint towns and farmland of Washington County, including Greenwich, NY, and Cambridge, NY, which both boast a number of small cafes, novelty shops, and antique stores, as well as roadside farmstands during summer and autumn, and maple sugar houses and farms to visit in early spring. A few miles beyond Cambridge is the Vermont border, and the village of Arlington, VT, one of Norman Rockwell's hometowns, and the upscale Manchester, VT, where a day can easily be spent shopping the many namebrand outlet stores in the compact downtown area. While in Manchester, stop by the historic Hildene property, summer home of Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln. The beautifully maintained property now plays host to several seasonal events, home tours, and outdoor recreational activities.
Due north of Saratoga Springs is the city of Glens Falls, whose renewed downtown is similar to Saratoga's in size, architectural style, and mix of independent retail and restaurant businesses. Visit the notable Hyde Collection, a museum complex in the preserved Mediterranean-style home of a former businessman and philanthropist, housing works by Rembrandt, Renoir, and El Greco among many others. Beyond Glens Falls, at the foothills of the Adirondacks, is the village of Lake George. If one can look past the slightly seedy commercial strip known as Canada Street--with its tacky T-shirt shops, souvenir stores, and arcades--the lake itself is a true scenic wonder. A paved bike path connecting Glens Falls and Lake George makes for a wonderful active day outing, and approaching the village by bike is not only more scenic, but saves on the tolls one would otherwise pay if driving into Lake George for the day.
Driving north of Lake George, either on I87 or Rt. 9 (the more scenic route) you really begin to enter the heart of the Adirondacks. Schroon Lake is a quaint village and four-season resort offering hiking, golfing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and events for the entire family. Continuing northwest from Schroon Lake brings you to Keene and Keene Valley, the "Home of the High Peaks" and the beginning of the trail to Mt. Marcy, New York State's highest mountain. Continue along Rt. 73, through spectacular scenery and be amazed as you round a bend to see the symbols of the village of Lake Placid, the ski jumps. The ski jumps are reminders of the 1980 Winter Olympics that were held here. The ski jumps, as well as other Olympic sites from both the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics, are open to the public. There is a cute Main Street to explore with lots of restaurants and shops. A walk around Mirror Lake is a great way to explore the village. Ten miles west is the village of Saranac Lake. Saranac Lake grew from the mid-19th century as a logging community, to the home of many guides who led tourists from larger cities to hunt and fish. During the late 19th century Saranac Lake grew into a thriving community supported by tuberculosis patients staying in the area for 'the cure'. Today, Saranac Lake, voted an 'All America City', is home to one of the oldest Winter Carnivals in the country. Continuing west from Saranac Lake, brings you to Tupper Lake, home of The Wild Center, the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks. The Wild Center is a fantastic place for the entire family, with live animals, guided walks, feature films and indoor and outdoor exhibitions. To ensure seeing live animals in the Adirondacks, visit The Wild Center. Continue southwest to Long Lake and make sure you visit Hoss's Country Corner, an Adirondack institution. South from Long Lake is Blue Mountain Lake, the home of the Adirondack Museum, a great outdoor museum where you can learn about the human history of the Adirondacks.
Due south of Saratoga is New York's capital of Albany. While many downtown businesses cater to the those working as part of the seat of the state's government, there are several attractions that are worth visiting. The New York State Museum has interesting permanent and visiting exhibitions, as does the Albany Institute of History and Art. During the winter, you can ice skate outdoors in the shadow of the imposing Capitol in the complex known as the Nelson D. Rockefeller State Plaza. In the summer months, this same plaza hosts free musical concerts from national headliners and the area's largest Fourth of July fireworks display.
To the west of Saratoga, and a destination unto itself, is Cooperstown--home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame--and beyond that the scenic Finger Lakes region of New York State, known for its natural beauty and its many wineries.