Weekend in Saratoga, N.Y.

Peak season in Saratoga drives up hotel prices nearly threefold (with minimum stays required). But the Grand Union Motel offers value with king bed guest rooms and refrigerators. On site is a pool, spring waters and the Crystal Spa. July rates start at $149; $179 through Labor Day; www.grandunionmotel.com, 120 Broadway, 518-584-9000.

Downtown's Ravenous is a creperie featuring traditional French favorites and unique international creations for lunch, dinner and brunch. Diners love the variety of seasoned Belgian-style pommes frites (starting at $3.25). Crepes $10-$12; dessert crepes $5.75-$8; www.ravenouscrepes.com, 21 Phila St., 518-581-0560.

Built in 1863, the Saratoga Race Course is the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the nation. Visit in the morning to see horses work out and to catch a free backstretch track tour. Get your photos of colorful jockeys in the paddock area about 20 minutes before race time. Visit the track Web site for more tips, including how to bet on the horses. Admission and re-entry is $3 grandstand, $5 clubhouse. Some free seating available at the trackside apron. First-come, first-served tickets available each race day, $8-$15; www.nyra.com/index_saratoga.html, 267 Union Ave, 518-584-6200.


The Albany Airport is 30 miles south of Saratoga. Round-trip rates start at $433 and require a 21-day advance purchase. Valid on Continental, Delta (nonstop), United, USAirways.

Located just five minutes from downtown, the Saratoga Farmstead is a peaceful setting amid wildflower fields. Built during the Civil War, this restored farmhouse features charming accommodations with private bath, lavish breakfast, snacks and beverages; $225-$275; www.saratogafarmstead.com, 41 Locust Grove Road, 518-587-2074.

Soak up a bit of history at the Olde Bryan Inn Restaurant. Established in 1787, the inn naturally has its share of ghost stories (see the dedicated Web page). A charming and historic setting for true American fare with appetizers and sandwiches $8-$10; light dishes $10-$17; hearty meals $17-$27; www.oldebryaninn.com, 123 Maple Ave., 518-587-2990.

Get ready to get wet with a Class II and III white-water rafting adventure on the Sacandaga River. No experience or special gear is required. Riders will experience warm-water rapids along a 3.5-mile stretch in the lovely scenery of the southern Adirondack Mountains; $26; $24 for ages 10 and under (minimum age 5); www.4soc.com, 1 Whitewater Way, Hadley, 866-696-7238. At the 2,100-acre Saratoga Spa State Park, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center serves as the summer home of the New York City Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Lake George Opera. Catch a performance under the stars. Tickets average $18; www.spac.org.


The drive from Boston and New York City is about 200 miles, or a 3.5-hour drive. One-way, walk-up Business Class rates start at $441; valid nonstop with AirTran, American (to New York City) or Delta.

The family-owned and -operated Saratoga Arms is in the heart of the historic district and within an easy stroll of downtown. Guest room and amenities include elegant custom furnishings, Saratoga water, plush robes and full breakfast. This popular hotel fills fast during summer -- book early. Rates go to $495 through Labor Day; www.saratogaarms.com, 497 Broadway, 518-584-1775.

The historic Wishing Well is located in the foothills of the Adirondacks and has been welcoming patrons since 1936. This cozy white bungalow features nightly specialties such as fresh steamed Maine lobsters; entrees $21-$29. Items from a seasonal menu are served in the fireside piano Tavern bar; $5-$17; www.wishingwellrestaurant.com, 745 Saratoga Road, Wilton, 518-584-7640.

There are 17 public mineral springs located throughout Saratoga. Each is naturally carbonated with its own unique mineral content, taste and healing properties. Pick up a self-guided map of the springs at the Visitors Center (297 Broadway), www.saratogaspringsvisitorcenter.com. Bring your own water bottle. Take a revitalizing private soak in effervescent waters properly heated to 97-100 degrees. A 40-minute mineral bath is $25; $30 with herbs. Treat yourself to a 75-minute Adirondack Woods Hot Stone Massage, $135. Several other treatments available; www.rooseveltbathsandspa.com, 39 Roosevelt Drive, 518-226-4790.

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