Friday, December 4, 2009

Saratoga's Victorian Streetwalk and a Red Balloon

Last night Katie, Henry, and I enjoyed Saratoga's Victorian Streetwalk. She picked me up at Skidmore so we wouldn't have to deal with two cars, and we parked near my favorite hotel, Saratoga Arms. I'm never early for anything, but we were early last night. The streets were still empty and there weren't yet any sounds of caroling or jingling bells. We stopped at Bruegger's Bagels and had quick sandwiches. Henry had a pint-sized bagel and applesauce, and we were off to find Santa. We were so early Santa hadn't yet taken up residence in his little Alpine hut, but Mrs. Clause was eagerly greeting children. I heard one child say "I don't want you, I want Santa Claus!" Just in front of Santa's little house, in the middle of Broadway, we found actual reindeer chomping on bales of hay. They were beautiful and I must say those antlers are impressive! Henry was interested but much more enamored with the red balloon he'd just scored at a vendor's table. We tied it to his stroller which was a good move because we saw one little girl completely disintegrate when she let go of hers and it suddenly took off toward the moon-lit sky.

We strolled south and then north on Broadway, taking in the sights and sounds of this festive night. I told Katie the crowds reminded me of being at Disneyworld! Restaurants had sidewalk stands offering hot cider and soups, and Wheatfields was serving pasta with marinara and alfredo sauces. Celtic Treasures had an Irish band, and there were groups of carolers and performers all along the way. We watched one group of dancers in Renaissance garb performing with sticks. Nearby, a beautifully outfitted Father Christmas bent over to say hello to Henry. When Henry didn't respond too enthusiastically, Father Christmas said, "Well, maybe next year!" Katie and I decided to go in to Congress Park and take Henry on his first carousel ride. He loved it, and I couldn't believe it's only fifty cents! Nothing is fifty cents anymore, and we'll be taking him back there often.

We took our time strolling back to the car. It was a lovely night, though Henry's red balloon popped when we arrived home and Katie was taking him out of the car. There will be more Victorian Streetwalks, and there will be more red balloons.

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