Health: Saratoga is the place to indulge and relax

The options for easing your body and mind in Saratoga Springs are abundant. You’ll be rejuvenated if
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The options for easing your body and mind in Saratoga Springs are abundant.

You’ll be rejuvenated if you spend a day walking in the park, kayaking, relaxing with a mineral water bath and massage and refueling with some healthy food.

Start your health-filled day at Saratoga Spa State Park, where you can fill up a water bottle or two at the State Seal spring pavilion. It’s on Avenue of the Pines across from the Saratoga Auto Museum.

State Seal is the most mineral-free of the city’s numerous springs, and tastes as pure as bottled water. That’s why you might see locals filling up multiple jugs as well as tourists taking their first sip.

For a morning walk or jog at the state park, you have numerous options.

You could opt for the paved path that runs alongside Avenue of the Pines, looping around the golf course. It’s a popular place for walkers and joggers wanting to burn a few calories.

But if a quiet walk is more your style, a trail through the woods beckons. Step into the woods from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center parking lot and the rest of the park and Route 50’s traffic din quickly disappears. The gushing Orenda Spring at the bottom of the hill is one of the most carbonated mineral waters in the park.

Keep walking downhill and take in the rushing sound of Geyser Brook as it heads south toward the Kayaderosseras Creek. Stop at the impressive geyser when you reach the end of the path. It’s a good place to break out your own water bottle and hydrate yourself as you read about how the minerals precipitate out of the spraying water to form an island that grows a little larger every year.

You could keep going if you have time, or head back for an appointment you’ve already scheduled at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa. A soak in the mineral waters there is just what the doctor ordered.

The mineral water was prized by the Iroquois as early as the 14th century and from the mid-1800s people drank and bathed in the waters to treat and prevent disease. The Roosevelt Baths & Spa opened in 1935.

Some people believe that bathing regularly in mineral water may prevent disease by increasing body temperature, aid good health by boosting metabolism and circulation, help skin diseases such as psoriasis, dermatitis and fungal infections, and boost the immune system.

“Men and women are just more educated now,” said Michelle Calzada, spa director for the Roosevelt Baths & Spa. “I really think that preventative health and wellness is on the rise.” Calzada said the people who patronize the baths are about half locals and half tourists passing through. Some do a whole circuit of mineral spas.

“They’re curious. They want to see what it’s all about.” Spa patrons can choose to take their baths in pure mineral water heated as it is drawn in four baths, or cold mineral water combined with hot tap water at 97 degrees. The latter is said to preserve more of the carbonation that is natural in the spring water.

The spring water is piped from the former Lincoln mineral spring across the park. Each of the 42 separate rooms has its own massage table and bathroom, for privacy during the visit. So you can get a massage or facial at the bathhouse after your soak, or you can use the facility’s 1,200-square-foot fitness center.

When you’re done at the spa, it’s time to head downtown for lunch.

A healthy meal can always be found at Four Seasons Natural Foods Store and Cafe at 33 Phila St., which serves freshly-made vegetarian and vegan fare daily on a buffet. Eat inside in the small dining area or outdoors at one of the tables facing the street.

Stock up on healthy and organic snacks for later in the day, after your canoe or kayak trip.

Fish Creek Marina, just a short drive from Saratoga Springs, is our next stop.

For upper-body strength, nothing beats paddling a kayak. And paddling north on Fish Creek, rather than south toward Saratoga Lake, is a peaceful trip, said Colin Stallard, who is working at the Kayak Shak at the marina this summer.

The marina is on county Route 67 in the town of Saratoga.

“It’s a much nicer direction to head,” Stallard said of the creek’s northern way. Boaters who go that way will see fewer motorboats and personal water crafts.

“It’s quieter, just people fishing. There’s plenty of wildlife — turtles, herons.” Kayakers can rent a single boat for four hours at $20, or a tandem boat for $30. Rowboats and canoes cost $30 for four hours.

And if you have a whole day, renting the crafts is only $5 more.

So slather on some sunscreen and hit the water.

After that outing and after downing the snacks you got earlier at Four Seasons, you’ll be needing a massage if you didn’t order one earlier at the Roosevelt Baths.

You have lots of choices, although an appointment is recommended.

Here’s a partial list of businesses that offer massage, facials and other services:

u Belisama Bodyworks, 58 Church St., 248-0090.

u Blake Ashley at Aromabird, 2 Franklin Square, 583-3888.

u Bodyease Massage Therapy, 229 Washington St., 580-9350.

u Crystal Spa, 120 S. Broadway, 584-2556.

u Esthetiques, 361 Broadway, 583-2400.

u Healing Spirit Massage, 376 Broadway, 580-0988.

u Kendra Homburger, 423-9589.

u Massage at Saratoga, 454 Broadway, 490-1794.

u Beth Sabo Novik, 583-8831.

u Professional Massage Associates, 67 Ballston Ave., 587-3827.

u Saratoga Springs Chiropractic, 3303 Route 9, 587-2117.

u Saratoga Springs Plastic Surgery, 7 Wells St., 583-4019.

u Touch Therapies of Saratoga, 8 Butler Place, 580-8501.

One idea for supper is to dine at The Beekman Street Bistro, 62 Beekman St. The restaurant prepares dishes with food from local farms.

Here are some other ideas for a health-filled day:

u Walk in Skidmore College’s North Woods, 600 acres with trails to explore.

u Play a round of golf at the Spa park.

u Stop at Yaddo Gardens off Union Avenue for some quiet reflection among the roses.

u Walk on the Railroad Run trail between the YMCA and West Circular Street.

u Bike around Saratoga Lake on Route 9P.

u Stop by the clay tennis courts at Saratoga Spa State Park.

u Gather fresh produce and other items at the Saratoga Springs Farmer’s Market on High Rock Avenue on Wednesday between 3 and 6 p.m. or Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

u Register for a yoga or pilates class.

Reach Gazette reporter Tatiana Zarnowski at 587-1780 or [email protected]

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