Urban Walking, USA
Comments 16

Love Among the Tombstones

The New York Saga, continued…

I like a gal who appreciates a nice romantic stroll through a rustic cemetery.

It was a sunny early-January morning when Kate and I went driving in her van out between the snowy fields to the home of her sister’s family. I mentioned Doug and his pottery in the wedding episode of this ongoing family drama; well, his studio is here next to the house, in a quiet village called Schuylerville, 15 miles southeast of Saratoga Springs, which featured prominently in the American Revolution and took me several attempts to pronounce properly.

We had lunch there with Kristen and a friend and then strolled over to the Saratoga Monument (there’s a great shot of it under construction on the National Park Service website), which stands tall and straight on high ground with a cemetery in its shadow. Oh, I suppose I should mention that we were a couple now — it had been an eventful few days and the old Goat magic, which originally manifested itself in the virtual pages of this very blog and proved even more powerful in the flesh, was still going strong, much to my relief and amazement — and I’d blown a grand or so, quite happily, scrapping air tickets so I could stay there in Upstate New York for an extra couple of weeks. Things were going very well indeed, in fact, and now I could actually relax enough to take in some of the area’s highlights and begin a crash course in American Revolution history.

Here’s the monument, a 155-ft obelisk dating from 1877-82:

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A monumental piece of work

It was closed for the season but in Summer you can climb the stairs to the top. A century before its construction, the battles the monument commemorates — there were two significant ones, on September 19 and October 7, 1777 — had concluded a mile from here with the first significant British surrender of the war. Believe me, I had to look this stuff up. My Civil War history is okay; my grasp of Revolutionary War stuff very limited.

Apparently the Battles of Saratoga are often included in lists of the most significant clashes in history. The British defeat here led directly to the French siding with the Colonials against Britain — and they were just the first. That threatened to turn the conflict into a world war which Britain could never have won. The fighting in this area, and General Burgoyne‘s subsequent surrender, is considered the turning point in the Revolution.

But that story deserves its own post when I get the chance to explore the battlefield properly. For now I’ll leave the two love-struck protagonists, those crazy kids, sauntering gaily (I’m telling you they sauntered gaily — deal with it.) between the rows of snow-draped graves and mausoleums, pausing here and there for a photograph or to gaze adoringly into each other’s gorgeous blue-grey eyes. They made an adorable sight, take it from me. (I checked with Kate: “Babe,” I said, “How adorable were we that day in the graveyard?” “Now, hon,” she replied, falling at once into a swoony kinda reverie,  “You know darned well we were freakin’ adorable that day.”)

So there. A good journalist always checks his facts.

Enjoy the pictures.

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Yup, last year of the Civil War. That’s one date I do know.

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Kate at the monument base

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Phew, that saves me an exhausting paragraph or two

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Feel the Stillness

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A last glimpse of the Monument

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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16 Comments

  1. Glad you got the adorableness confirmation, though, naturally, I didn’t doubt it.

    If you can be that happy and gay in a boneyard, then I can’t even begin to imagine the Richter scale of ecstasy in somewhere less deathly. I think it would go stratospheric!

    • You know, I never thought of that! I usually take women to marble orchards, rural dumps for a good relaxing scavenge, or if they’re lucky maybe a garage sale for a special treat. I’m gonna put my thinking cap on and see if I can come up with somewhere really special for next time I see her…

  2. I don’t know much about it, either. Except that in the UK it’s talked of as The American War of Independence, not -usually- revolution. It’s never struck me before, but I suppose the writers of history didn’t like to think of the English succumbing to a revolution. It makes US independence sound like a “Good Thing” (which most people here these days think it is, I think).

    • Good points. Must have been quite a blow for the Empire’s ego. But I need to read more. Never really got how such an idealised insurrection could have stemmed from something as “bland” as “no taxation without representation”.

  3. I’ve haunted so many cemeteries throughout my life, alone or with company, that I may in fact be a ghost. American cemeteries like the one you and your gal traipsed through were the inspiration for our beautiful (and totally romantic) parks (think Central Park). Also, I’ve always figured anyone squeamish about death might not have much zest for life, so it’s a good test of a companion’s wits, character and general interest in being human.

    Happy Pi Day 🙂

    • Great comment, thanks. I never knew that about the parks.

      Now, please don’t befoul my site with mathematics again!

  4. Revolutionary War history:

    Watch “The Devils Disciple” (1959) with Burt and Kirk and then watch “Drums along the Mohawk (1939) and “Allegheny Uprising” (1939) which are more fun, though less factual.

    Of course read up on the same ….

  5. I’ve spent some time over the years strolling around cemeteries, but I’ve never been in one that’s covered in snow. It takes on a whole new look! It feels like I’m missing out now, as the photo opportunities are endless! As you know, we don’t really have the climate for snow. Anyway, I’m impressed by ‘Thorpe’s’. That’s a good one.

    • Yeah, Greg, as a graveyard rambler I really enjoyed the novelty of snow as well. You would love it there: history and great shots left, right and centre. I can’t wait for a chance to go up that monument staircase as well, though I’ve seen more than one warning that it’s not for acrophobics.

  6. a strawberry patch says

    Beautiful pictures as usual! Of course, as a American, Revolutionary War history is fascinating to me; but even if I wasn’t, I would still be interested. Rag-tag, untrained militia beats the greatest Empire of the time- I have always loved a good, underdog wins story!

    • Thank you as always! Yes, I always found the Civil War fascinating and enthralling but the more I learn about the RW, the deeper I want to dig (well, not in the cemetery). Looking forward to walking that battlefield area and visiting a historical house or two in a kinder season.

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