Nine Miles of Memories

Just outside of the world famous city of Saratoga Springs, NY, known for the inventions of the club sandwich and potato chips, the oldest horse racing track in the United States, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the mineral springs, and the famous mineral baths that used to attract royalty and celebrities alike, lies a stretch of road nine miles long.

If you drive this nine mile stretch of road, you’ll pass through fields, over and along streams, and through wooded areas that seem to come alive with a past two centuries old. You won’t pass any convenience stores, but you’ll certainly see your share of wildlife; rabbits and deer call this place “Home.”

When you finish your drive through this landscape, you will be able to say you have driven through nine miles of the most historic pieces of land in America. You’ll step on some of the same grounds that helped shape our nation, breathed life into our independence from Great Britain, and where the turning point of the American Revolution took place.

I am talking about the Saratoga National Historical Park and the Battles of Saratoga. It was here where American patriots fought the British, defeating them and bringing the largest military force in the world closer to surrender. It was here where Benedict Arnold fought and was wounded. Yes, it’s along this road, that I not only relive history from colonial America, but also memories from my youth.

These grounds are not only home to deer, rabbits, and other wildlife. They’re not only home to centuries old trees that speak to you as you walk amongst them. They’re not only the burial sites of thousands of Continental Army and British soldiers. These grounds are home to some of my greatest memories in life.

It was along this road that I remember bike riding as a child. It was always a treat for us growing up, to load the bikes into the car and head to “the battlefield,” as we call it around here.

It was along this road that we used to come for a quiet drive, windows down (no matter how hot it was), radio off, and driving below the 25 mph speed limit on the one-way tour road. Even when I drive it today, I still turn off the radio and roll the windows down. It’s a land that although once soiled with blood, now demands peace; a land that once echoed with cannon and musket fire, now demands quietness. A land which was once filled with the battle cries of freedom, now asks for only whispers.

It was along this road that I learned to drive. My Dad once had a Ford Bronco stick-shift, and it was along these nine miles that I stalled and jerked the engine over and over. It was along this road that I learned how to push in the clutch, shift, stop on a hill, and come to a stop. It was also here that I learned the patience of a father.

Along this road I learned how to cross country ski, how to approach a deer from upwind, downwind, and everywhere in between. Along this same road is where I began to train and condition my body before joining the Air Force; running and walking the miles of pavement on cold March days in 2001.

Along these roads is where I returned in 2017 when I retired from the military. No longer a boy on a BMX bicycle, no longer a teenager learning to drive, and no longer a young man seeing how fast he could run a couple miles. I returned as an older man, weathered and experienced from life and death, war and peace, joy and sorrow. I returned to these grounds for one simple reason, and it’s the reason I keep going back.

From the very first day I rode my bike there, to the days I learned to drive, to the days my feet pounded the pavement, until now, the grounds remain the same. I return and can go to the same exact spot I went three decades ago, and it remains untouched. I can tell stories, or I can remain silent and just remember a day from years past come alive in the moment.

Nine miles of road. History shaped. Memories made. A life transformed.

For more information about this area, visit the Town of Saratoga Historian’s blog.

“Social Separation” – A Beautiful Day!

We have all seen on social media, television, and maybe our rare interactions with others during these extraordinary times, just how much of a toll social separation has taken. Not just on the economy, small businesses, family dynamics, but also on our social lives. Oh my goodness, what would we have done if COVID-19 happened pre-Facebook? Many would be devastated even more than they already are.

Each of us have developed our own coping mechanisms to deal with this newfound isolation. Me personally, I have spent more time outdoors and on trails than I ever have before. I have enjoyed it! I’ve enjoyed a simpler life; seeing people return to the basic things in life and have no choice but to slow down and just cherish the moment.

While I do yearn for a life of normalcy and seeing things return to normal, I am hoping that we never forget these days that have caused us to stop our daily routine as we knew it. When everything gets back to normal, I hope there are many lessons learned, and people will approach life in a more humble way.

One place I’ve been visiting more than ever, is Moreau Lake State Park, located in South Glens Falls/Gansevoort, NY. Not only does it have a lake that people typically frequent during the summer months, but there are plenty of cabins, rustic campsites, picnic areas, and a lot of hiking trails varying in length.

Just off the highway, it provides a sanctuary for birds and wildlife, as well as a place to center and feed the soul.



Take advantage of the time you have right now, to decide who you will be when all this is over. It’s a perfect time to hit the RESET button!

Stay safe everyone!

America, Social Media, and Me – Part 2 of 5

Worldwide, there are currently 3.5 billion active social media users. Given that the world population is roughly 7.8 billion, that means almost half of the population worldwide is connected in some way through a social media network. On average, people have 7.6 social media accounts. I told you yesterday I had eight, and for me, I thought that was excessive. Nope, I guess it’s just average. The average person spends approximately 142 minutes on social media per day. Facebook and WhatsApp handle sixty million messages a day on average. Facebook and Snapchat both have an average of eight billion daily views. Adults in the United States spend an average of one hour and sixteen minutes each day watching videos on digital devices. Even here on WordPress where you’re reading this from, there’s approximately 70 million blog posts published each month! Here are some more astonishing statistics from SocialPilot: Social Media Marketing Blog (www.socialpilot.co).

  • 69% of Americans are on Facebook
  • 74% of Facebook users check it daily
  • The average user spends 35 minutes on Facebook a day
  • Women make up for 52% of Facebook users; men make up for 48%
  • 90 million access their Facebook accounts daily
  • More than 100 million hours of video are watched per day on Facebook
  • The average number of friends each Facebook user has is 155
  • 500 million people visit Twitter each month
  • Twitter has 1.3 billion accounts w/317 million monthly active users
  • The average Twitter user has 707 followers
  • There are 6,000 Tweets every second
  • 22% of Americans use Twitter
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube…every single minute
  • People watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day
  • The average person watches forty minutes of YouTube content a day
  • YouTube sees approximately 1,148,000,000 video views per day
  • Covering 95% of the internet population, YouTube can be navigated in 76 different languages
  • Instagram has 1 billion active users monthly
  • 95+ million photos are uploaded onto Instagram daily
  • There are 4.2 billion likes on Instagram daily
  • 37% of Americans use Instagram
  • Pinterest has 200 million users each month
  • 28% of American citizens use Pinterest
  • LinkedIn has 500 million members
  • 27% of American adults use LinkedIn
  • Snapchat has 187 million active users daily
  • 60% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25
  • 24% of adults in America use Snapchat
  • The average user spends twenty-five minutes a day on Snapchat

Phew!!! That’s a ton of statistics and don’t worry, there won’t be a test on any of them at the end of the week. The numbers are important however because it’s all leading into what I’m going to be talking about the rest of the week. While some of the numbers might be scary, I’m not going to say they’re negative. I’m not going to suggest any of them should be any less. I’m not even going to go so far as to say you and I should spend less time per day on a particular social media platform. What am I suggesting? Well, I guess you’ll have to come back tomorrow!