I wasn't there to see the mansion anyway, but rather to use the museum's parking lot while I explored a newly designated trail, called the Saratoga Siege Trail, that starts directly across the highway from the Schuyler house. Only recently developed by the land conservation organization Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land And Nature), this flat walking trail follows the south bank of Fish Creek for about a half mile through a mixed hardwood/conifer woods.
Here's what the Saratoga PLAN website has to say about the historical significance of this trail:
Returning to the parking lot after my excursion on the Saratoga Siege Trail, I was struck by the majestic presence of this giant Hackberry tree on the lawn of the Schuyler Mansion. This is a tree we don't see very often in the "inland" city where I live, for it is more commonly found along river bottoms and creek banks. After wandering the lawn, I found several other Hackberry trees, distinctive this time of year by the way it holds onto its shriveled leaves, as well as by its multitudinous blue-black fruits dangling from long stems.
The Hudson River is only a few hundred yards behind the mansion, and the Fish Creek runs very close to the house, flowing over some rapids and under a bridge before joining the river. This is a view of Fish Creek from the bridge looking upstream.
If I had continued north over that bridge, I would have come shortly to Canal Towpath Park, which runs between the Hudson and the old barge canal, where barges were once towed by donkeys to avoid the rapids on the open river. It's a lovely walk between these two waterways, and I visited there the next day following my kitty caregiver duties. The day was cold, but bright and still, and a lowering sun shed a golden light across the landscape.
On the third day of my cat-care duties, I arrived too late to visit other area attractions, but I got there just in time to witness one of the most spectacular sunsets I'd seen in a long, long while.
I quickly headed west on Burgoyne Road, a country road that moves through open farm fields, hoping to get some wider views of this glorious sky than I could observe from the heart of the village. By the time I reached open country, the fire was beginning to dim, but its embers still glowed from within the darkening clouds.
Yesterday, I didn't even bother to take the state highway to and from Schuylerville and Saratoga Springs, choosing instead to drive the entire way on country roads. And my reward was another spectacular sunset, viewed across wide-open fields that offered unimpeded vast views of the sky. The sky had been dark and cloud-covered all day, but just as the sun was going down, rain clouds rolled away to the south and captured the setting sunbeams on their billowing tops. When I spied this cloud like a mountaintop made out of gold, I pulled my car over and got out to stand in awe of such gorgeousness. (I recommend clicking on these photos to enlarge them and increase their impact.)
Yeah, it was kind of a pain to schlep 20 miles to and from Schuylerville every day, but the trips had their pleasures, too, as I hope this blogpost conveys. Also, Phil's kitties are sweet, and I was happy to see to their needs.