Stops along the way,…Saratoga.



Above:  A lack of automotive transportation doesn’t deter Engel, Opalka, Hollinger and Shaw from making their move when it came to light that the fishing was good, and scotch was flowing from one of the springs at Saratoga.  That’s Larkin in the blue silks bringing up the rear,…the others said something about a horserace??!?!


Saratoga Springs is near and dear to my heart.  My Mom grew up there as the daughter of the editor of the city newspaper, my Grandmother lived there till the ripe old age of 103, and I have been haunting a small Caffe on Phila St. there most of my adult life.  Everybody goes there for the races, and they’re great, no doubt, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,…


The theory here is that after a great day hike in the ‘Dacks, you’re driving home and want to really cap off the day right.  Let’s address dinner first,…and that brings us to my favorite chicken restaurant on the planet, Hattie’s!

Hattie’s Chicken Shack

hatties2This is Fried Chicken heaven!  Although the restaurant has been in Saratoga since 1938, it appeared on Phila St. in the late ’60s.  I used to see Hattie talking with Lena Spencer on the sidewalk when Grandma would send me downtown, and I’d  smell that chicken!!!  It wasn’t until I was driving I finally had the good sense to go in and have some.  Beginners should skate the compulsories, Fried Chicken with the collard greens and candied yams.  You just CAN’T go wrong here though, so jump right in!  Call 518-584-4790 and grab a table, but leave room for dessert at your next stop!  You’re right next door to your evening’s entertainment, the legendary Caffe Lena.

Caffe Lena


caffedoor2In 1960 Lena Spencer opened a small caffe based on the premise that people would flock to a venue that presented the highest quality entertainment in the most intimate setting possible.  Man,…did she have that one pegged.  Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Don McClean, Ani DiFranco, Emmylou Harris, Odetta and dozens of others all played here early on their careers.  About thirty years ago, she gave a shot to a new kid who was trying to play music about where he grew up, and I’ve been playing there ever since.

  caffedylan2Lena ran the Caffe with style and grace from 1960 to 1998 when she fell at the head of her beloved staircase and an era in folk music ended.  Today Sarah Craig continues the grand tradition of presenting an eclectic mix of music, poetry, and whatever else strikes her fancy with that same sense of style and grace.  It really doesn’t matter who’s playing, or what’s going on the night you come through, whoever it is you’ll have an experience you’ll never forget, or rekindle memories of past evenings at what the International Folk Allience has named the Best Small Venue in North America!  Go to for information and tickets, and tell Sarah Chris sent you.  The desserts are all wonderful, but if you’re looking for a nightcap, there’s no alcohol at the Caffe, but you’re literally around the corner from The Parting Glass!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Parting Glass


partingginside1In my day, I’ve spent time in quite a few Irish pubs, but none more fun than the Parting Glass.  The selection of brews is unbelievable, the ambiance is absolutely authentic, it’s a great lunch choice, and the music features some of the best Irish acts around!  If you’re lucky my buddy Kevin McKrell will be playing there with one of his great bands!  Kevin is part of our Mountain Snow and Mistletoe Orchestra, as is the percussionist you’re likely to see with him, Brian Melick.  But that’s not Kevin’s only contribution to your Parting Glass experience,…those paintings on the walls, they’re his too!thechessmatch1

About adkchrisshaw

Adirondack singer, songwriter, and storyteller
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2 Responses to Stops along the way,…Saratoga.

  1. midnightgardener says:

    Always wanted to visit the Parting Glance. Sounds like a great spot and I’m a fan of Kevin from my ALCA days.

  2. Lizz says:

    Don’t forget the Ben and Jerry’s! And my absolute favorite stop in Saratoga: The Lyrical Ballad Bookstore.

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