In Saratoga Springs, NY beauty is everywhere. The countryside, the parks, the race track and Lake George inspire and make dreams, but good reads, good food, and good friends top any Saratoga Springs list. In between the sights and cultural activities, I found newly discovered books, delicious food, and connections with some dear friends I’ve known since college days.

Two books I spent some time with were a result of visiting the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at The Hyde Collection. How Georgia Became O’Keeffe. Lessons on the Art of Living by Karen Karbo gives added insight into the person who became a legendary painter of the Adirondacks and the Southwest. Born in Wisconsin she lived into her nineties and was a woman who defied convention to become one of the most interesting artists of the twentieth century.

A Painter’s Kitchen-Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe by Margaret Wood tells of her relationship with food. The book includes a Foreword by Deborah Madison and many of Georgia O’Keeffe’s recipes. “Soup is such a comfort, Miss O’Keeffe would sometimes say.” There are sections on soup, salads, vegetables, main dishes, breads, desserts, and beverages. The reader learns something of her gardens and cooking techniques.

I love to read about woman who create local history. The friend who hosted us in Saratoga Springs allowed me to borrow a book from her library titled Strength Without Compromise. Womanly Influence and Political Identity in Turn-of-the-Twentieth Century Rural Upstate New York by Teri P. Gay. I can’t wait to find out more about how these women fought for the vote in their part of our country.

On the plane and in the evening, I read Lisa Genova’s novel Love Anthony. Others had recommended this book as a possibility for one of the book clubs I like to attend. It has so much to say about life, motherhood, family, autism and loving. Most likely I will finish it today. I will hate to leave Nantucket and the characters in this story. But most of all I am excited by a book that helps readers know something of life lived with autism, and that treats that life in such a respectful way. I would venture to say that this writer has some rules for writing that are similar to Mindy Kaling’s Rules for Writing. (See previous post on the home page of this blog.)

I ate sensibly in Saratoga (not always easy for me) and fish was my theme. Our hostess cooked delicious salmon, welcoming us with a simple but very delicious meal. During our time in Saratoga, I enjoyed haddock, calamari, and lobster roll. The latter is a favorite I don’t have a chance at very often. It was totally memorable. The comforting and oh-so-tasty tomato bisque at one day’s lunch stop has me looking for a new tomato soup recipe. The egg and ham sandwich at the racetrack was not on the sensible list, but oh, it’s one of my favorites.

But for all the deliciousness of the books and food, nothing is better than making connections with friends one has known since school days. I feel especially fortunate in the five friends I joined in Saratoga. They are talented women who never stop learning and growing. They never stop giving. They never stop having fun. They all have accomplishments to be proud of, but what I love most about each one, is her strong heart and can-do spirit. Each inspires me in a slightly different way, and I am grateful. So, while Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, Yo-Yo Ma’s cello, the Philadelphia Symphony, a boat ride on Lake George, and a day at the Saratoga Raceway added new dimensions to my life, shopping, eating and living with these woman for a few days is the dimension I treasure most.


  1. Judith

    such fun times! there is something so special about girl getaways (and we’ll always be girls when together … despite the age) … food sounds yummy, books interesting … glad you enjoyed Love Anthony … I do feel the ending was rather contrived, but the rest of the book more than makes up for it

    speaking of women artists … I think you would enjoy The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland …

    wishing you Godspeed on your journey home


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