As the summer begins and the snow and cold has finally disappeared
(for now), I am excited to spend more of my free time outside, in Schuylerville. Walking through the village, I often enjoy stopping in art galleries and appreciating the local talent. I’ll sometimes walk with my parents and take them out to lunch or dinner, when they actually let me pay. I see kids with their families, reminding much of myself not so many years ago, running over the footbridge of Fish Creek, seeing what wildlife they can spot. I listen to these same children talking about designs and strategies for the homemade boat race held every year in August and coming up quickly. The liveliness of the town is especially vibrant under the summer sun, and is my personal favorite time to be a young person born and raised and still living in Saratoga County.
Walking through Schuylerville on a warm June evening, about an hour before sunset, when the breeze is delicate through the warm air, I am reminded not only of my rich family history, but of the opulent American history that occurred in the area. Saratoga County is famous for its role during the American Revolution, and one of the most important battles of the Revolution occurred right in Schuylerville: the Battle of Saratoga (1777). For a bit of a historical reminder, the Battle of Saratoga was the turning point of the American Revolution. The American army was able to surround the British army after suffering vast causalities and the British were forced to surrender. The Conventions of Saratoga outlined the terms that resulted in the withdrawal of Burgoyne’s troops. Schuylerville is proud as a community to have hosted this event vital to our nation’s history and future.
Continuing my stroll through Schuylerville, I naturally land on the site of the battle, where I can see the Saratoga Monument standing tall and proud, much like the American army did about two and a half centuries ago. The Saratoga Monument is still my personal favorite of the Saratoga National Historical Park, an area I have gotten to know like the back of my own hand since childhood. The monument was built 100 years after the British surrendered. The soaring monument made of limestone was just refurbished in 2000, looking as beautiful as it is did the day it was unveiled. Picturesque bronze statues surround the stone monument. The statues in the niches include the four main contributors to the battle: Philip Schuyler, Daniel Morgan, Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold. There is one empty niche for Benedict Arnold, who was a notorious traitor to Americans which was symbolized through the absence of his statue in the niche set aside for him. There is a cast iron staircase that leads up to an observation deck, which is closed to the public but beautiful nonetheless.
I climb up the lush green hillside, and am able to oversee the entire battleground. I think about how lucky I am that I can see the sites of the events schoolchildren read about in their textbooks whenever I please. My loop around the town of Schuylerville allows me to see all of the community’s historical sites, but I routinely save the Monument for last. It is the perfect place to reflect my years in Saratoga County, think of the memories, and plan the future I would like to build. I will continue to spend many of my summer evenings strolling through Schuylerville with family or friends, and if I’m lucky, maybe the cute dark haired waitress at my (new) favorite restaurant. Some people my age cannot wait to leave the more rural places that they were born and raised in. But I cannot think of a more beautiful, historically full, and fulfilling place to spend my life than Saratoga County. Maybe I too will have a family someday, and my children can be brought up in an existing piece of history like I was.