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Capital Saratoga: Fact Sheet

Published: Feb 27, 2014

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

From Saratoga's famous horseracing, polo and bubbling mineral springs to historic battlefields and the magnificent state Capitol in Albany, Capital-Saratoga combines rich heritage with fast-forward fun. Schenectady's Stockade District features one of the largest collections of colonial houses in the US. Troy is known for its Victorian architecture and many Tiffany windows. Washington County, an agricultural gem is situated at the heart of the region with charming Main Streets, covered bridges and world renowned trout streams. The village of Cambridge, surrounded by apple orchards and farmland, has a charming Main Street, covered bridges and trout streams. Picturesque waters, from the Hudson River to Great Sacandaga Lake, provide relaxation and recreation.

COUNTIES

Albany, Fulton, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Washington

MAJOR CITIES & TOWNS

Albany, Cambridge, Cohoes, Gloversville, Johnstown, Rensselaer, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Troy, Watervliet, Whitehall

CLIMATE

The diverse climate has four distinct seasons. Summers are comfortable and warm, with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid 70s to mid 80s (degrees F) and cooler evenings. The weather is moderately cool and sunny in springtime and autumn, when spectacular fall foliage attracts thousands of visitors. Cold, snowy winters create a wonderland of magnificent scenery in historic cities and villages.

THREE SURPRISING FACTS

1. By all means, drink the water! Albany water has been judged one of the 5 best-tasting in America.

2. Troy has more Tiffany windows per square mile than any other place in the world.

3. A world-record Northern Pike that weighed over 46 pounds was caught in the Great   Sacandaga Lake.

4. Saratoga Race Course is the oldest continually operating sporting venue in the US (1863) and is noted as on of Sports Illustrated top 10 sporting venues of the 20th century.

SPORTS & OUTDOORS

Beaches: Scenic sites such as the 29-mile-long Great Sacandaga Lake and Grafton Lake and Thompson's Lake State Parks offer sandy swimming beaches, picnicking and miles of trails to hike or bike. 

Boating: The Hudson River and Mohawk, streams such as the Battenkill, The Champlain Canal and nearly 50 lakes as well as the east shores of Lake George and Lake Champlain offer many options for boating, canoeing and kayaking

Fishing: Washington Counties, the Battenkill is a nationally-recognized trout stream. Anglers can choose from nearly 50 lakes to fish for bass, trout, perch, and walleye.  There are fishing tournaments in almost every season. During ice-fishing season, the annual Walleye Challenge on the Great Sacandaga Lake welcoming 1500 enthusiasts is held in January.

Spring is "Striper Season" in the Capital region.  Both east and west shores of the Hudson fill with sportsmen.  Spawners arrive in the upper Hudson by late April and the run peaks in May.

Hunting: Some state lands are open for hunting during the appropriate seasons. Find license and other information at Capital-Saratoga's regional website or http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7844.html

Gaming, Horseracing and Polo: Saratoga Springs is famous for Thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course and world-class polo matches at Saratoga Polo. Saratoga Casino & Raceway features harness racing, gaming and a nightclub.  Surya Polo in Washington County is located in the town of Greenwich.

Summertime fun in Troy includes watching the Tri-City Valley Cats, a popular minor league baseball team, play at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. 

Golf: Golfers of all levels enjoy award-winning courses throughout the region, including the four-star Saratoga Spa Golf, in the picturesque Saratoga Spa State Park and the upscale, historic Saratoga National Golf Club.

Hiking and Biking: Wooded and mountain trails throughout the region are ideal for hiking and biking. In Cambridge, home to the Tour of the Battenkill, the largest single-day bike race in the world, you can bike along country lanes and stroll through covered bridges. Carter Pond in Greenwich is surrounded by scenic trails. The Fort Edward Feeder Canal Trail that follows an historic canal and towpath is a seven-mile linear park great for hiking and biking. 

Built on a former railroad bed, the paved FJ&G Rail Trail runs from Johnstown to Mayfield along a creek through an industrial park and across scenic countryside. Grafton Lakes State park offers 25 miles of trails to hike or bike. Wildlife viewing along bike routes is popular at Cherry Plain State Park and Schodack Island State Park, which features eight miles of multi-use trails. For urban biking, try Troy's Uncle Sam Bike Trail which runs for 3.1 miles.

The Mohawk Hudson bike-hike trail follows the shores of both rivers from Albany to Rotterdam in Schenectady County.

Scenic Train Rides: Trains offer nostalgic trips through some of New York's most striking scenery. The new Saratoga/North Creek line runs along the Hudson River, from Saratoga Springs to the Adirondacks.

Nature Centers: Several nature centers include the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park in Gansevoort, home to the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. John Boyd Thacher Park features the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, with trails ideal for birding and other wildlife viewing and the Reinman Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Center in the Town of Oppenheim, with 1500 acres of protected habitat, trails and nature center. The Discovery Center at Albany Pine Bush is one of only 20 inland pine barren environments in the world.  The Berkshire Bird Paradise in Petersburgh offers a close up look at over 100 species of birds

State Parks: The region's 11 unique state parks include Saratoga Spa State Park, which features a performing arts center, an historic hotel, a luxurious spa, and nature trails to bubbling mineral springs. Grafton Lakes State park has a sandy swimming beach and 25 miles of multi-use trails. Schodack Island State Park features eight miles of multi-use trails. Bird watching is popular at Cherry Plain State Park, Moreau Lake State Park and John Boyd Thacher State Park, with panoramic views and six miles of trails along limestone cliffs, woodlands and waterfalls and will celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2014.  Fulton County is located in the Adirondack State Park including Northampton Beach and Caroga Lake Campgrounds and day use facilities.

Scenic Byways: Follow the historic Erie Canal on the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway.  The 365-mile Canalway Trail parallels the Erie Canal from the Hudson River in the Capital-Saratoga region to Greater Niagara, passing through charming and historic waterfront communities.  The Champlain Canal runs from Waterford to Whitehall with active locks, bike trails, picnic areas and community activities.  The Adirondack Trail Scenic Byway travels north and south through Fulton County.

Winter Sports: Downhill ski areas include Maple Ski Ridge, Royal Mountain and Willard Mountain. Pineridge XC Ski Area, in Postenkill, and Tree Have Trails in Galway offer miles of groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. State parks throughout the region offer ice-skating, ice-fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

ART, ARCHITECTURE & CULTURE

Albany Institute of History & Art (Albany).  Founded in 1791, the museum celebrates five centuries of Hudson Valley history, art and culture.

The Arts Center of the Capital Region (Troy). Exhibits and special events including family programming for the ultimate arts experience.

Capital Repertory Theatre (Albany). This award-winning professional theater presents classics, vintage comedies and drama and new plays.

The Colonial Little Theatre (Johnstown). This small but excellent theater has been presenting great productions of popular plays for over 70 years.

EMPAC Center (Troy). The Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) on the campus of RPI presents innovative performances in a venue hailed by the New York Times as a "technological pleasure dome for the mind and senses."

Empire State Plaza & The Egg (Albany). The complex includes the NYS Museum, The Egg performing arts center and an acclaimed modern art collection.

Fort Salem Theatre (Salem).  A restored church presents Cabarets and Musicals.

Glove Performing Arts Center (Gloversville).  Built in 1914, the Glove Theatre presents a wide variety of music performances, comedy, family, cultural and holiday shows and events.

Hubbard Hall (Cambridge). The restored 1878 opera house presents classical and folk music.

New York State Capitol (Albany). Created in the style of a French chateau, this marvel of late 19th-century architectural grandeur took 25 years and five architects to complete. Tours highlight ornate details including the "Million Dollar Staircase" carved with 300 portraits of famous New Yorkers.

New York State Museum (Albany). Exhibits highlight New York's natural and cultural history.

The Palace Theater (Albany). Restored to its classical opulence, the historic theater presents international performers of popular and classical music, theater, movies and comedy.

Proctors Theatre (Schenectady). Amid beautiful 1926 architecture, find the best in year round entertainment including smash Broadway musicals, live music and movies.  Plays, comedy, folk, improve, classes or enjoy coffee or cocktails in the on site Apostrophe Café.

Sand Lake Center for the Arts (Averill Park). The theater presents innovative, award-winning productions.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Springs). The open-air amphitheater in Saratoga Spa State Park presents classical, country, rock and pop stars, as well as its annual summer residents: the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy). Considered acoustically perfect, this Beaux Arts gem attracts top international musicians for classical, pop and jazz concerts throughout the year.

HISTORY

Empire State Plaza Vietnam War Memorial WWII Memorial and women veterans Memorials (Albany). 

Fort Crailo State Historic Site (Rensselaer). This museum highlights local Dutch heritage in an 18th-century Dutch Colonial home and fort.

Fort Edward and Rogers Island (Fort Edward). Exhibits at the Visitors Center depict local history, from the earliest Native Americans through the Revolutionary War.

Johnson Hall State Historic Site (Johnstown).  The home of Sir William Johnson, 18th Century diplomat and trader; 20 acres of grounds with3/4 mile walking path and picnic areas.

Knickerbocker Mansion (Schaghticoke) The Mansion, constructed by Johannes Knickerbocker III (c. 1780), has been almost completely restored.  Events include Summer and Harvest Festivals including re-enactors

National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame (Saratoga Springs). Interactive programs tell about three centuries of Thoroughbred racing.

New York State Military Museum (Saratoga Springs). The collection includes over 10,000 artifacts dating from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm that relate to New York's military forces, history, and the contributions of New York veterans.

New York State Museum (Albany). Exhibits on New York's natural and cultural history include an Adirondacks display, a Mohawk Iroquois longhouse, World Trade Center artifacts and an operating historic carousel.

Oakwood Cemetery (Troy) Founded in 1848, Oakwood is a wonderful setting to explore art, architecture and history.  It is the burial site of many leaders in US history including Uncle Sam.  The Garden Earl Chapel, complete with Tiffany windows was recently named a historic landmark.

Rensselaer County Historical Society (Troy)  Housed in 2 19th century townhomes in historic downtown Troy, RCHS offers a glimpse of the counties rich heritage through exhibits, tours and special events.

Saratoga National Historical Park (Stillwater). See the historic battlefield where an American victory marked the turning point of the Revolution, General Philip Schuyler's country home, and the 155-foot Saratoga Monument.

Schenectady's Stockade District (Schenectady). This historic neighborhood features shops, restaurants and the largest collection of colonial houses in the US.

The USS Slater (Albany). Tour a WWII US Naval Destroyer Escort.

FOOD & DRINK

Throughout the region, farm markets offer fresh local produce. Apple, pumpkin, and berry picking are popular at local farms such as Goold Orchards, Indian Ladder Farms, Lakeview Orchards, Liberty Ridge Farm, Rogers Family Orchard and Timberlane Blueberry Farm. Just east of the village of Cambridge, the nuns at the New Skete Monastery sell their famous cheesecakes. 

Diverse restaurants in Troy include the famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The region's eclectic menu of restaurants also offers dining by candlelight, aboard a river cruise, by a cozy fireplace or at an outdoor café. And by all means, drink the water; Albany water has been judged one of the 5 best-tasting in America!

SHOPPING

Antique shops and galleries in cities like Albany, Saratoga Springs and Troy, and in small rural towns, sell everything from art to furniture and rare books. Saratoga Springs features stylish boutiques, more than 50 antique dealers and great restaurants. The region's shopping malls include Colonie Center, Crossgates Mall and Stuyvesant Plaza.

UNIQUE LODGING

On Main Street in the historic village of Cambridge, stay at the charming 1885 Cambridge Hotel or the historic Rice Mansion Inn, where each room features a unique design inspired by a piece of Rice Seed Company memorabilia. Other unique places to stay include:

  • The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs,
  • Batcheller Mansion Inn in Saratoga Springs,
  • Dovegate Inn in Schuylerville,
  • Gregory House in Averill Park,
  • Morgan State House in Albany,
  • Olde Judge Mansion in Troy,
  • Pompanuck Farm Institute in Cambridge, and
  • Sheldon Mansion in Granville.
  • The Orenfaga on Northville Lake in Northville

OTHER SELECTED ATTRACTIONS

Adirondack Animal Land (Broadalbin). The 80-acre wildlife park, set in the beautiful Adirondack foothills near Sacandaga Lake, is home to over 500 animals, from colorful birds to camels, buffalo and giraffes.

Captain JP Cruises (Troy). Narrated sightseeing tours on the historic Hudson River include lunch, dinner, sunset and entertainment cruises.

Children's Museum of Science & Technology (Troy). The museum was named one of the top 20 Science Centers by Parents magazine.

Dutch Apple Cruises (Albany). Narrated sightseeing tours on the historic Hudson River include lunch, dinner, sunset and entertainment cruises.

Empire State Plaza Observation Deck (Albany). Visitors take in expansive views from the 42nd floor of the Corning Tower, the state's tallest building outside of New York City.

Great Sacandaga Lake/Northampton Beach (Northampton). This sandy swimming beach on the 29-mile-long lake features a bathhouse, boat launch and picnic areas open for day use.

Harmony House Tours (Albany).  Daily trolley tours of historic downtown Albany and custom tours that include the treasures of the entire Capital Saratoga Region (new in 2013).

Roosevelt Baths and Spa (Saratoga Springs). A drive along the stately Avenue of the Pines leads to this day spa and bathhouse in Saratoga Spa State Park. Located across from the historic Gideon Putnam Resort, the spa offers bubbling mineral baths and other spa treatments.

Saratoga Casino & Raceway (Saratoga Springs). Visitors enjoy harness racing, gaming and a nightclub.

Saratoga Polo (Saratoga Springs). A tradition since 1898, world-class polo is accessible and family-friendly at historic Whitney Field. Admission at the gate offers a choice of individual Clubhouse tickets (with optional dining) or General Admission by the carload, ideal for families and friends who gather for tailgate picnics beside the field.

Saratoga Race Course (Saratoga Springs). Thoroughbred racing fans have gathered here since 1863. This cultural and architectural treasure has been named one of the Top 10 Sporting Venues in the World by Sports Illustrated magazine. "America's Mid-Summer Derby," the Travers Stakes runs in late August. 

Saratoga Spa State Park (Saratoga Springs). Nature trails lead to eight mineral springs, among the few naturally-carbonated springs in the country. The park includes the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Roosevelt Baths & Spa, Spa Little Theatre, and two golf courses.

Tri-City Valley Cats (Troy). The Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Houston Astros plays in the state-of-the-art Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, a family-friendly venue. Watch fireworks after the game.

Pember Museum and Slate Valley Museum (Granville)

MAJOR ANNUAL EVENTS

  • Albany Chef's Food & Wine Festival (January)
  • Walleye Challenge on Great Sacandaga Lake (January)
  • Chowderfest (February)
  • Adirondack Outdoorsman Show (February)
  • Maple Weekend (March)
  • Tour of the Battenkill (April)
  • Albany Tulip Festival (May)
  • Cambridge Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival (June)
  • Hats Off Saratoga (July)
  • Troy Pig Out (July)
  • Waterford Steamboat Meet (July)
  • Woodworking and fine arts Weekend (July)
  • Saratoga Race Course Travers Stakes (August)
  • Washington County Fair (August)
  • Scottish Games - Altamont Fairground Albany - September
  • Eagle Mills Art & Craft Shows (September)
  • Saratoga Wine, Food & Fall Ferrari Festival (September)
  • Gold Orchards Annual Apple Festival (October)
  • Liberty Ridge Farm Fall Festival (September to November)
  • Washington County Artisan Cheese Tour (September)
  • Waterford Tugboat Roundup (September)
  • Troy Victorian Stroll (November/December)
  • NYS Holiday Tree Lighting & Fireworks (December) 
  • First Night Saratoga (December)

CONVENTION CENTERS

The Empire State Plaza Convention Center is located in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in the heart of downtown Albany, NY. The convention center is approximately 81,000 sq ft of space, and includes 7 meeting rooms and a 26,000 sq ft exhibit hall. The Empire State Plaza consists of ten state office buildings and connects the New York State Capitol with the Governor's Mansion. The ESP also includes the New York State Museum and the 42-story Corning Tower, complete with an observation deck.

Saratoga Springs City Center is a unique conference complex formed by the 32,000 square foot Center and adjoining 242 rooms Saratoga Hilton Hotel.  The key location in downtown Saratoga Springs offers attendees the opportunity to stroll the streets of the Victorian City and enjoy unique shops and fine restaurants.

TRANSPORTATION

Land:

2-3 hours from NYC

5 hours from Niagara

3-4 hours from Montreal

Air:

Albany International Airport accessible from I-87, I-90 (NYS Thruway), I-87 (Adirondack Northway), I-88, and Taconic Parkway.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For more ideas and information, visit iloveny.com or Capital-Saratoga's regional website: http://capital-saratoga.com

CONTACT:

Melanie Klausner
M. SILVER - A Division of Finn Partners
(212)-754-6500, ext. 243
Melanie.Klausner@finnpartners.com

Eric Scheffel
Empire State Development
(518) 292-5274
escheffel@esd.ny.gov

Michele Vennard
Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau
(518) 434-1217 x300
mvennard@albany.org

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