Liam Oliver-Goodwin, 5, celebrated his graduation from pre-school by getting wet at the opening day of the Victoria Pool in the Saratoga Spa State Park.
The pool is a big hit with Liam and his two siblings, said their mother, Jennifer Oliver-Goodwin of Malta.
“They love it here,” she said from one of the coveted beach chairs surrounding the pool, with two of her sons in chairs nearby. Her husband, Richard, was slowly leading their youngest child in a loop around nearby chairs.
The three children were among a small group of young patrons at the pool, which was mostly surrounded by adults lounging in chairs, eating at small tables in a cordoned-off area or enjoying drinks by an outdoor bar. The scene is utter serenity compared to the hectic goings on that characterize the spa park’s Peerless Pool, a haven for families with energetic and active children.
Acknowledging that a different demeanor is required for the 77-year-old Victoria Pool — which has a couple signs leading up to its entrance reminding people that children are more than welcome at Peerless Pool — Jennifer reminded her children to be on their best behavior on Saturday.
“I said to them, ‘We have to be gentlemen in here.”
And they were all very relaxed, which Richard said is part of the reason why they like the Victoria Pool. “Our Saturdays are pretty crazy, so this was a nice opportunity to chill out after a busy morning.”
That sort of relaxation has been enjoyed by Louise Goldstein for more than seven decades.
“I have been coming here since 1940, when I was born,” said Goldstein, a co-founder of the Save the Victoria Pool Society. “It was open July 26, 1935, so I didn’t miss too many years.”
She described the pool and surroundings as a “heaven.” Lamenting the fact that the pool wasn’t opened last month for the Memorial Day holiday, she said it was nice to finally kick off the summer. The pool was opened earlier than planned, though, with warm weather pushing up the start date of the season by a week for the second year.
A lot of people had similar visions because the pool area was packed with people, including a lot of familiar faces. Goldstein joked that every summer the “usual suspects” can be found at some point before it closes in September. She added that the spot is also a great place to meet new people, as the pool and surrounding park attract interesting people from all over the world.
For Goldstein, the attraction is the physical beauty of the park, which has been restored in recent years to reflect the charm of when it was first opened. The most striking features of the pool area are the columns and arches that surround it.
There’s nothing else like it,” Goldstein said. “If you Google all the pools in the world you’ll never see anything quite like it.”
She noted that while not exactly a secret in the city, the pool is still a “special place” for the people who frequent it. “There is some kind of magic.”
The Victoria Pool is also open today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will begin its regular summer schedule on June 23.