Hidden behind a veritable forest of deciduous trees, off of a long and winding road, bordered on the north by Union Avenue and on the east by I-87 you will find Yaddo. This mansion estate turned artist residence is a hidden treasure in the Capital Region, and while its doors are closed to the general public, its gardens are not. I often find myself wandering through the Yaddo property as a way to clear my head of whatever nonsense I happen to be worrying about at the moment. It is definitely not in its prime yet since the roses aren’t even close to blooming, but on a clear sunny day it is a great place to go when I need some me time. On this particular day it was about 90 degrees in the shade, and simply lifting my Nikon to my face caused me to sweat profusely. Of course it didn’t help that I had just come from work and was still in my khakis. No matter. There were so many angles to capture that I simply became one with the perspiration (i.e. wiped it on my sleeve).
The establishment of Yaddo is centered around both love and loss, and these feelings are tangible as you walk through the wrought iron gate guarding the entrance. Engraved above the archway, S.T. and K. T., Spencer Trask and Katrina Trask, are the names of Yaddo’s original proprietors and creators, deeply in love, deeply committed to the arts, and deeply saddened by the loss of all of their children before they reached adulthood. The most inspiring thing I take away from this story is the fact that Spencer and Katrina kept pushing forward. Instead of throwing in the proverbial towel they built a residence that continues to inspire people today: painters, musicians, filmmakers, and photographers, among others, apply for residency for two weeks to two months at this esteemed mansion. I’d be lying if I said that I had no interest in seeing what goes on within its stone walls.
Sadly, as with most non-profits, Yaddo has experienced its share of financial challenges. As the above sign illustrates, the garden rock fountain is inoperable at the moment due to cracks in its foundation. They rely mostly on donations for upkeep, and, as with everywhere else, money is tight. I truly hope that they get the relief they need soon, as this is certainly a local treasure that should not be allowed to fall into disrepair.
Interested in supporting Yaddo? Check out their information page here.
The Yaddo Gardens are open from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week.
See all of my Saratoga Springs photos on Flickr.