In approaching Saratoga Springs, over its one railway, either from the north or south, the traveler meets with a surprise. The change from open farms to close-built town is abrupt, and the cars are among the houses, and at the station, almost before the fields are missed. From the south, the first intimation is the little group of cottages, clustered about the Geyser Springs, perhaps three minutes before the train stops. From the north, the brand-new villas and embryo streets of Excelsior Park, the towers and the mansard roofs of the great hotels, flash past just as the brakes begin to pull up for the depot. In either case the train slides along the same covered platform, and “Saratoga” is announced. The intelligent brakeman knows the station is really “Saratoga Springs,” but, with that freedom for which he is famous, he clips the “Springs.” Saratoga is quite another place. This is Saratoga Springs, properly so called. The long platform swarms with importunate hackmen, and, were it not for good policing, the arrival would be a trifle formidable. The prudent passenger will provide for the transportation of his baggage, before he reaches the depot, by giving up his checks to the agent of the
Saratoga Baggage Express.
This company transports baggage to any part of the town for the small sum of twenty-five or fifty cents, and is a regularly organized and responsible concern. The agent will pass through the cars, just before the train reaches Saratoga, soliciting checks. He can be readily recognized by the badge on his hat, and passengers need have no doubts of his integrity or authority, for none but the reliable agent of the Express Company is allowed on the cars. By giving him your checks, you will save much inconvenience, and have your baggage promptly delivered at your boarding-house, without further trouble. To find the porter of your house, a glance at the row of signs overhead will show just where the correct man stands, and where you should go to find him. Each hotel has a reliable man under its sign, and the badge on his hat will make the assurance sure. Give him your checks, and then walk to the house. The most distant hotel, except the Mansion House, is only four blocks away, and the little walk will properly introduce one to the place. Unless there are boat or horse-races going on, there is no need to hasten to secure rooms. This is the land of vast hotels, and a party of six or more is a small affair where twenty thousand people may be lodged at once.