Warren on Dec 3rd 2010
A Crazy Turkey Day Weekend in Saratoga
Our weekend was a holiday adventure with family
We left New York City on Wednesday afternoon. Fortified by Penn Station sushi we boarded a jam-packed Amtrak train for the four-hour trip to Saratoga, via Albany, Schenectady, and all those Hudson River Valley towns. It was the Ethan Allen, ultimate destination, Rutland, otherwise knows as Rut Vegas. Let me stop right here. Instead of writing a long day-by-day narrative of our weekend, i’m going to cut to the highs and the lows using my brand new ranking system: First Class; Coach; and Standby.
Gideon Putnam Hotel
I love the old-world charm of the Gideon Putnam. The service is top notch and always in fashion; the rooms are large and clean. The common area with two fireplaces and big comfy couches is a delight. Best of all may be the location: right in the middle of the Saratoga Spa State Park with its gorgeous WPA era buildings, the Hall of Springs, Lincoln Baths, etc… Also prompt shuttle service into Saratoga, the train station, the harness track,.
Lauren was there morning noon and night. All told we had: lentil soup, potato leek soup, shrimp and corn chowder, jalapeno bagel tuna fish sandwich, jalpeno bagel with Atlantic smoked salmon and garlic cream cheese, Greek salad, chocolate mouse cake, several cups of coffee, lemon tea.
Glen Sanders Turkey Dinner:
We ordered the 10-person thanksgiving dinner to be picked up at the hall of springs. It included: 18 pound turkey; mashed potatoes and gravy; baked squash, green bean casseroe; stuffing, corn; cranberry sauce; rolls; apple and pumpkin pies and ingredient for next day’s soup. Granted it took two hours of prep time and included more items requiring reheating than we had oven space for, but in the end, it was delicious. The turkey was moist and perfectly cooked. The potatoes were real. The gravy tasted like homemade (it helped that we added a bit of juice from the turkey pan.
Very cool cozy little bar just off Caroline St in Saratoga. (Around the corner from the Tin and Lint where i spent many an hour back in the ’70s.) Know for its martinis. There’s a whole book of them to choose from and they start at $7.50. Friendly bartender, good peanuts, and live jazz. No velvet ropes. What’s not to like?
No full-body scans, no pat-downs, no long lines. Leave your shoes on. And your watch, your jewelry, your belt, etc.. etc.. It’s a civilized way to travel. In my experience, the trains are usually on time. There’s a cafe car where you can get a coffee or beer or bottle of wine for a not exorbitant amount of money. they have a kick-ass cheese tray too. The holiday train from Penn Station to Saratoga was full but didn’t’ feel like a cattle car as the LIRR often does. Sit back, watch the Hudson river flow by, and before you know it, you’re there. Points off though for the Saratoga station being closed when we arrived at 7:00 pm.
On Thursday I had oatmeal and they brought me a side of strawberries when I asked for fruit. It was good. Friday I ordered oatmeal and fruit again. This time they brought me brown sugar, sraisins, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. But the ceral was cold. I asked them to stick it in the microwaves and they made a fresh bowl and brought a whole new helping of fruit.
We snagged $40 in Kasino Kash from the hotel and wasted no time hoppng the shuttle over to the Racino to see if we could build our fortune there. After negotiating the very complicated registration system and not fully understanding the whole points/cash equation we made a beeline to the 5 cent slots.
Tim’s Jeep Wrangler
Once my Mom’s car got towed, Tim was nice enough to let us use his Jeep. It was fun Only problem was the battery came up dead the first morning. So i called Northway AAA and things got worse. (See below)
Turkey Trot 5K run
Don’t know what made me think it would be easy to find my daughters at the starting line of the Christopher Daily Turkey Trot on
Broadway in Saratoga. After all there were 3,000 runners and a like number of spectators. Bundles against the cold, i scanned the crowd, but before i found them, someone found me. I hear a voice calling my name and se
e a familiar face. it’s my old friend Kathryn whom i haven’t seen in at least 20 years! Thoughwe’ve been facebook friends for awhile, it’s such a treat to see her in person. I was amazed that she was able to pick me out of the crowd. We talked for awhile then met up again at the finish line where we shivered together. After 30-some minutes my girls came running by. i collected them at teh finish line and we headed off to do some thanksgiving dinner shopping at
My Mom’s Oldsmobile
This was where the weekend got interesting. When we arrived on Friday we picked up the old, assumed to be trusty Oldsmobile from my Mom’s house to use for the weekend. Or was that rusty? It was fine when we drove to the Gideon that night. However, the next morning as i drove into Saratoga for the Turkey Trot, the brakes seemed weird in a pedal to the floor kind of way. Drove back to the hotel, then back to Mom’s house, stopping to get a bottle of brake fluid on the way. Praying, the whole time, that i didn’t have to stop suddenly. When i checked, i found the fluid reservoir was empty so i filled er up.
They were prompt; i have to admit that. The arrived as promised when i called them to jump start the jeep in the Gideon Putnam parking lot. the AAA guy started it right up, but that’s when the funny stuff started. He offered to run some “tests” on the battery and immediately shut off the Jeep. Then he hooked up some sort of monitor and after a few minutes it spit out a print out. “Ah ha,” he sez. “You’ve got a bad cell. It won’t hold a charge.” I tried to restart, and sure enough, it wouldn’t. But, of course, he had a recommendation for a parts supply store just down the street that could fix me up right away. Ok, that seemed a little fishy so i said no thanks, left the car runing while i went back inside to finish breakfast and call Tim. We decided i should bring the Jeep back to him and let him deal with it. Had nit not been for the earlier incident with the failed brakes i probably would have taken a chance and kept it, but i was feeling a bit gun shy. Long story short: Tim had no trouble starting and restarting the Jeep and i was left without a vehicle all weekend because of the AAA scam.
Yes, i know I gave this joint my highest rating above. But I’ve just flashed back on the taste of the martini i chose from their martini menu book. Out of hundreds of choices on the menu i chose the Smoke on the Vodka martini. A vodka martini with a splash of single malt scotch. Sounds good, right? WEll, it was smokey all right. in fact it smelled and taste like a burning tire.