Saturday, May 18, 2013

Excuse Me, But Where Are Your Hospitals?

Several weeks ago, (yes, I am very far behind with my blog!) I went to visit Saratoga Springs, NY.  After years of not seeing her, I was going to meet my friend, Sam, from Seattle!

Sam and I met through a mutual friend.  At the time, she worked for Seattle Public Library, and I worked for the King County Library System.  Eventually, Sam moved to Syracuse, NY, to get her Ph.D. in Library Science.  I hadn't seen her for so long, and Saratoga Springs is about halfway between us.

In related news, Sam (at the time) was about eight months pregnant.  I got to Saratoga Springs first, and the first thing I did was find the nearest hospital, just in case.  I passed it on my way in, and then found the nearest Urgent Care, too.  Whew!  There was no way I was going to deliver an early baby in our hotel room.  This was not Grey's Anatomy!

We had a great time.  Saratoga Springs is gorgeous!  We were most interested in Saratoga Spa State Park.  It is huge and amazing!  The only problem with its hugeness is that there are no maps.  Seriously, we drove and walked around all over the place and only found things by accident.  It wasn't until the very end of our trip that we found the places we were actually looking for.

You know how on college campuses there are maps here and there showing where all of the buildings and dorms are?  Heck, even Newburyport has a map downtown where pretty much every tourist has to trip over it.  Basically, if a place expects tourists, there are usually maps!  We discovered the one and only map at the exit of the park as we drove away.  If you are reading this, Saratoga Spa State Park, a few maps would not be remiss!

The interesting thing about Saratoga Spa State Park is that it is so many things.  Part of it is gorgeous hiking.

They even have a geyser!

Then part of the park is kind of like a city park.  Lots of short trails, parking lots, and pavilions you can rent for picnics and stuff.  They had a big, public pool as well as playgrounds.  It reminded me very much of North Park north of Pittsburgh, PA.

Another part of it looks like a college campus.  That is where they have the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (which has the unfortunate acronym SPAC) and all of the spa buildings that were built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Saratoga Springs has hot springs all over, and it was the place to go at the time for a spa experience or for healing.  Even FDR went there to see if the mineral springs would help with his polio.

As Sam and I procrastinated, we couldn't get appointments at the Saratoga Spa State Park Roosevelt Baths and Spa (see?  Roosevelt!).  But we did get appointments at another spa: The Crystal Spa.  Here is how numerous these mineral springs are: when they broke ground for a motel where The Crystal Spa is located, up popped a mineral spring!  And, so, up popped The Crystal Spa!

Anyway, I made appointments for a mineral bath and facial, and Sam made an appointment for a mineral bath and prenatal massage.  When we arrived, Sam was informed that the minerals in a mineral bath are bad for pregnant women, so she couldn't do that.  Hm.  When we were on the phone and let them know we were making appointments for two people: one of whom would like a mineral bath and prenatal massage,  was that not an indication that one of the people was pregnant?  Seriously.

So I had my first-ever mineral bath, and I did not like it one bit.  I tend to get hot really easily, and I do not like being hot.  The mineral bath was much hotter than I expected.  Also, the minerals make you float in the water.  This mineral bath was in a long bathtub, and I wasn't tall enough to be able to brace my feet on the opposite end, so I kept bouncing all around.  In short, I was hot and floating around.  No thanks.  But now I can say I had a mineral bath in Saratoga Springs.  And my facial was excellent.

We also spent some time wandering around downtown Saratoga Springs, which is gorgeous!  There are tons of shops and restaurants, and tons of people were out and about.  Skidmore College is located there, which I think adds to everything there is to do.  Saturday evening, we went to three dessert places in a row: 

The Chocolate Mill, where I got their homemade hot chocolate which was delicious;

Bettie's Cakes, which is a cupcake store;

and Saratoga Candy, which had a lot of nostalgic candy, like sugar buttons and those wax bottles you bite the end off of and then suck out the (sugar) juice.

So all in all, we had perfect weather, did lots of exploring, ate great food (including non-desserts), and had fun.  The one thing we did not do, that I would like to go back and do, is visit the racetracks and see some races.  It's their 150-year anniversary.  Also, they have a harness racing track, and I would love to see a harness race.  So expect another Saratoga Springs post in the future.

Finally, Sam and her hubby have, of course, been watching pregnancy videos.  She had one with her, and kudos to whoever designed the cover!  I did not actually watch this video, but allow me to share the cover with you:

This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!  "Laugh and Learn About Childbirth"?  Really?  Laugh?  Perhaps one needs to keep one's sense of humor in the middle of labor.  And I love the smiley face, complete with buzz cut, on the pregnant belly.  Fantastic.

Oh, and Sam didn't have her baby while we were there.  Whew!