Saratoga National Historic Park
The battles that turned the course of the American Revolution were fought about 12 miles southeast of Saratoga. The former battlefield is now part of Saratoga National Historic Park (648 Rte. 32, at Rte. 4, 518/664-9821, www.nps.gov/sara, 9 a.m.–dusk Apr.–Nov., weather permitting, $5 per car, $3 per hiker or biker).
In October 1777, British general Burgoyne and his forces marched south from Canada to take control of the Hudson River. They planned to meet up with Col. Leger and his forces in Albany, and continue on to New York City to join up with Gen. Howe. Instead, just outside Saratoga, Gen. Burgoyne came upon the American forces, 9,000 strong. Led by Gen. Horatio Gates and Gen. Benedict Arnold, the Americans defeated the British in two fierce battles.
A tour of Saratoga National Historic Park begins at the visitors center (9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily Apr.–Nov.), where you can watch an informative film. Beyond the center begins a nine-mile self-guided driving tour past strategic points equipped with audio recordings, plaques, and maps.
Only a few bunkers remain, but the countryside is exceptionally lovely, especially in the late afternoon when the mists roll in from the nearby Hudson River.
Continue north of the battlefield on Route 4 for about eight miles to reach Schuylerville, lined with worn white buildings and empty storefronts. Just south of the Route 32 intersection stands the General Philip Schuyler House (Rte. 4, 518/664-9821, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Thurs.–Sun. June–Sept., free admission). Also part of the Saratoga National Historic Park, the house once belonged to the Schuyler family, who ran a self-sufficient estate here that employed about 200 people. The house was burnt by Burgoyne during the Battles of Saratoga but was rebuilt that same year.
Take Route 32 west of the Schuyler House about a half mile to reach the Saratoga Monument (Rte. 32, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Thurs.–Sun. June–Sept., weekends in fall, free admission), a beautifully restored gray obelisk on a hill. The third part of Saratoga National Historic Park, the monument features four niches honoring the battles’ American leaders—Gen. Philip Schuyler, Gen. Horatio Gates, Col. Daniel Morgan, and Gen. Benedict Arnold. Statues stand in the first three niches, but the fourth stands deliberately empty.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition