Across from the visitors center lies Congress Park (Broadway and Congress St., 518/587-3241), a small jewel of a retreat filled with jade-green lawns, graveled walkways, and flowering plants. In the center of things reigns the Italianate red-brick Canfield Casino, now home to the Museum of the Historical Society of Saratoga Springs.
One of the oldest parks in the country, Congress Park dates back to 1792 when Nicholas Gilman, a member of the first U.S. Congress, “discovered” and named Congress Spring. Then along came Gideon Putnam, who in 1806 bought the swampland next to the spring, siphoned off some of its waters, and built Saratoga’s first mineral-water bathhouse.
In 1876, Frederick Law Olmsted completely redesigned the park, replacing the old structures with high Victorian Gothic buildings. Tours of the park are offered in summer.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition