Essential Events

Before there was Yaddo, female artists flocked to Wakonda Lodge at Wiawaka, for the unforgettable views—and some peace and quiet, too.
Photo by Lawrence White


by Mary Cirincione

A Week with Georgia O’Keeffe on the shores of Lake George…

okeeffe touch up 3a
A contemplative Georgia, during her stay at Wakonda Lodge in 1908.
Photo courtesy of the
Wiawaka Center for Women.

Yaddo isn’t the only famed artists’ retreat in the area. Its older sister—an Adirondack lodge known as Wakonda—was opened by the Trasks at Wiawaka in 1903, exclusively for women. Its traditions have lived on in the decades since, as Wiawaka is  now the oldest, longest continuously-operated women’s retreat in the U.S., offering classes, lectures and workshops. Though its Victorian main house and cottages have played host to many, legendary artist Georgia O’Keeffe called it home-away-from-home in 1908.

To commemorate her stay, the Wiawaka Center for Women has planned an entire week of activities from July 23 to 28.  An open house on Sunday, complete with walking tours of the property—even a visit to Georgia’s room—are free and open to all, although donations are encouraged.  Other activities include an outdoor concert with dinner and a reenactment by Claire Nolan, who will bring Georgia to life, as well as art workshops and lectures.

To view the complete schedule and learn more, visit Tickets for select events can be purchased via the website or by calling (518) 668-9690.


Everyone loves a parade. Enjoy the Saratoga Springs parade on Broadway and festivities in Congress Park on July 4. The patriotic spirit continues at the Turning Stone parade in Schuylerville on August 7.
Photos by Lawrence White

Hit parade

It doesn’t matter if you’re a baby boomer or a boomlet, a summertime parade is loved by all. Embrace your patriotic side and head to Saratoga for July 4 with friends and family in tow, for a truly “All-American” celebration, complete with a foot race, car show and plenty of fair food. Make sure you dress the part, as even four-legged friends get decked out in their patriotic best.

Then, get a second dose in Schuylerville on August 7 for the annual Turning Point Parade Weekend, a celebration of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. In case you forgot, that’s when the tide began to turn in favor of the Yankees during the Revolutionary War.


Plan to stay until dark to catch the fireworks in Congress Park, scheduled to start about 9:30 p.m. on the Fourth, and August 6 (the day before the Turning Point parade). Plenty of good food, BBQ, beer and sweet treats will be on hand to satisfy whatever fair food cravings you may have. Don’t forget your flags!

For details, visit and


Guests tour private gardens in and around Saratoga Springs, which would normally be off limits, taking in sights, sounds and scents.
Photos courtesy of Brian Hoffman

Glimpse secret gardens

Whether it’s an issue of time, talent, or heaven-forbid, both, it’s totally fine to feel some garden envy when you’re strolling through 11 glorious, private gardens in and around Saratoga Springs. Each one will solicit ooh’s and aah’s, so feel free to spend some time and soak it all in—sun gardens and shade gardens, some expansive, others cozy—especially since this tour is self-guided.

The one-day-only event will be held Sunday, July 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., so free your calendar and plan accordingly (we’re thinking mimosa brunch beforehand, or a quick lunch break in-between, but the option is yours).

Sponsored by Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, the annual tour raises funds in support of local and global women’s and girls’ initiatives, so you can rest assured that your $20 entrance fee ($25 day of tour) will be put to great use.

Purchase tickets at select retail outlets and  Have a question and need an answer? Call (518) 581-1201 ext. 4184 or send an email to



UpBeat on the roof

What’s better than live music, good company, warm summer nights and the stars up above? Not much, especially when it doesn’t cost a dime and everyone’s invited. Happening every Thursday, July 13 through August 24 at the Tang Teaching Museum, the 2017 summer concert series will feature regional musical talent spanning multiple genres.

Each show starts at 7 p.m. on the roof, but if it’s raining things move indoors. They’re bringing rock bands Great Mutations and Pony in the Pancake, indie pop rock twins Cannon the Brave and Ramblin Jug Stompers, whose sound blends bluegrass and folk music. Decoda, a New York City-based chamber which is part of a summer intensive at Skidmore, is also set to perform. So mark your calendars, grab your loved one or your girlfriends and get ready to enjoy a night out beneath the night sky. Make a real evening of it, and get dinner in town before, and drinks after.

Head to to view the lineup or give them a call at (518) 580-8080 to find out more.


Kids race in Congress Park to raise funds for Saratoga Hospital’s pediatrics program.
Photo courtesy of the Saratoga Hospital Foundation.

10th Annual Cantina Kids Fun Run is a family affair

With two courses to choose from in Congress Park—1/4 mile or 1 mile—kids and pre-teens (up to age 12) can clock some steps, score a medal and possibly snag a trophy, reserved for the top three boys and three girls for each race.

All proceeds benefit the pediatric program at Saratoga Hospital, so you can feel good about that entry fee, and know that your kids are helping other local kids at the same time. Families and strollers are welcome, so pack that minivan and plan to take on the course together on Sunday, June 4, starting at 8 a.m. Kids’ activities, face painting, healthy snacks and more are included so even the most reluctant children can be convinced.

Looking for something a tad more grownup, but just as charitable? The 35th Annual Summer Gala will be held at the Saratoga Casino Hotel on Wednesday, August 2, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., and is widely regarded as a summer highlight.

Or head outdoors for the Saratoga Hospital Golf Invitational on Thursday, September 7, at Saratoga National Golf Club, beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Early bird registration is over, but you can register up until the day of the race for $20. For more information, head to


Residents and visitors are treated to theater al fresco, courtesy of the Saratoga Shakespeare Company.
Photo by Lawrence White

Open air park(ing)

Concert Series - Cryin' Out LoudHead to Congress Park—one of the Spa City’s many jewels—on Sunday evenings in July and Tuesdays in August for more free, live music, this time with a truly fabulous backdrop. Pack a picnic and grab your favorite people, then soak up some cool night air and some cool tunes beside the War Memorial, across from the Canfield Casino. No rain dates here, so if things get wet, the show moves indoors to the Saratoga Heritage Area Visitor Center on Broadway.

Concerts start at 7 p.m. and finish by 8:30 p.m. every Sunday in July and every Tuesday in August, meaning you don’t have to be a night owl to enjoy yourself. Highlights for the 2017 season include Betsy and the ByeGons, whose groovy sound will transport you back to the ’60s, and Rich Ortiz, who has opened for the likes of Chicago and REO Speedwagon.

If you’d rather see a classic—as opposed to a rock concert—Shakespeare in the Park might be more your speed. The Young Theatre Professional Company, part of the Saratoga Shakespeare Company, will take up its annual summer residence in Congress Park throughout July and August, putting on two of the legend’s most celebrated works: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Winter’s Tale. As part of the company’s “Shakespeare for All” initiative, guests can see the productions free of charge, no tickets needed. Performances begin at 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays, in season.

Guests are advised to park in one of the lots on Spring Street or find street parking, as space is limited in the park itself. Note that performances may be cancelled due to rain.

For more information and to view the complete concert schedule, visit For details on Shakespeare in the Park, head to


Live music by the lake.
Photo by Lawrence White

Lakeside live music that’s free, too

A visit to Lake George is like a summer homecoming, so be sure to time yours well so you can take advantage of one of their free, lakeside concerts. Organized annually by the Lake George Arts Project, this year’s lineup includes salsa master Alex Torres, Incendio, a band whose sound is self-described as “international world music,” and the Secret Sisters, a soulful duo whose debut and follow-up albums were produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett. You might remember them for “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder,” a featured song on the 2012 Hunger Games soundtrack.

Salsa master Alex Torres
Photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Held every Wednesday throughout July and August (for a total of nine shows this season), the series of concerts at Shepard Park always draw a crowd. Shows start at 7 p.m. unless stated otherwise, and are truly rain or shine. The amphitheater-style viewing area means there’s really no bad seat in the house, but plan on packing a blanket or folding chair.

Looking for lakeside sparks? Grab a blanket and catch free fireworks every Thursday from July 13, through August 24.  Don’t forget about Lake George Jazz Weekend, September 16 and 17, also at Shepard Park.

For more information and to view the complete schedule, visit If it’s pouring, call (518) 668-2616 for details on the rain venue.