A weekend can transport you to heavenly places, as it did for us when we recently took a road trip to the Saratoga region of upstate New York. Saratoga is a magical place, especially in August, when the finest Thoroughbreds in the world convene here to run at the oldest and loveliest race track in the country. The National Museum of Racing is here, and the mineral springs of Saratoga have been a popular destination for wealthy vacationers since the mid 1800s. Saratoga National Historic Park commemorates the site where our emerging nation fought for its first victory in the Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolution. The town has lovely Victorian architecture, fine hotels and resorts, restaurants, galleries and shops.
But of course, we came here to explore the book stores. Our first stop was the legendary Lyrical Ballad Bookstore in downtown Saratoga Springs.
Owned by John and Jan DeMarco, this enchanting used and rare book shop located at 7 Phila Street has been in business for almost forty years. Housed in an historic former bank building, the setting is perfect; you can quickly lose yourself exploring a maze of rooms – each one filled with excellent books. My favorite nook is the bank vault, which I would have happily been locked in for the entire weekend!
Lyrical Ballad has a beautiful selection of antiquarian books on a wide range of subjects; sporting books (including a large equine section), literature, lovely books on art, music, dance, decorated bindings, signed prints, a huge collection of bookends and more. Jan and John are knowledgeable and gracious — we thoroughly enjoyed our visit with them and our afternoon of browsing and book buying.
When we asked John where to dine in Saratoga, he recommended Forno Bistro (541 Broadway). We had a wonderful meal there. It was pouring rain as we sat out on the candle-lit canopied patio, which only added to the coziness of our experience. Our thanks to Mick for bringing us a fabulous pear dessert, gratis, because he worried that we’d gotten spattered with a few drops of rain! Thanks also to our waiter, Terrence, who snapped this photo of us:
Check back with us soon as we cover our visit to Old Saratoga Books just a few miles away in Schuylerville, New York, and our trip into the hills near Greenwich, NY to secluded and delightful Owl Pen Books.