The first view of Ballston, generally has the same effect upon visiters, that matrimony is said to have upon young lovers. It is very extraordinary, but the first impression derived from the opening scene,--we mean of Ballston--is that it is the ugliest, most uninviting spot in the universe.

James Kirke Paulding, New Mirror for Travellers  


Poster, 1834

The major resort areas at which tourists enjoy the social and medicinal aspects of the mineral waters are Ballston, Saratoga and New Lebanon. Here the tourist may seek, and find, a scene of fashion away from the City as well as a remedy for a variety of health complaints. Visitors to the Springs can testify to their ameliorative effect:

"See how much better I feel already," said a young lady to her father, as they sat down at breakfast; "I feel quite hungry, and have no doubt that by the time I have been at the springs a week or two, if I have exercise enough, I shall have strength sufficient to set off for Niagara."
      "Well," replied the father, who seemed to be absorbed in thoughts of his business, which he had reluctantly left at the city, as it would appear, to attend his daughter on a tour for pleasure, under the pretext of health--"Well, if you get cured of your dyspepsia, or whatever it is, it's all I want. I am hungry, too. I believe this air is good for us both."

Related in Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

Ballston and Saratoga are the more established of the three. Their reputations as watering holes of the fashionable are secure; the first-time visitor may feel himself in need of guidance with regard to expected standards of behavior in these resorts. Social codes are stringent, despite a setting whose emphasis is relaxation and relief of the maladies of urban life.

Being now arrived at the head quarters, the very focus and hot bed of elegance, fashion, and refinement, it becomes us now to be more particular in our directions to the inexperienced traveller, who peradventure hath never sojourned at a watering place. For this purpose we have with great pains, and at the expense of a vast deal of actual observation, collected, digested, and codified a system of rules and regulations. . .
      The first requisite on arriving at either Ballston or Saratoga, is to procure lodgings. In the choice of a house, the traveller will do well to consult the newspapers, to see if the landlord has a proper conception of the art of puffing himself, without which, we affirm without fear of contradiction, no man has any legitimate claim to fashionable notoriety. . . . Go to the house that has the greatest number of puffs to its back.

James Kirke Paulding, New Mirror for Travellers  

For the female tourist, especially the young female tourist, knowledge of acceptable modes of behavior is crucial.

Behavior becoming young ladies at the springs:
Young ladies should never flirt very violently, except with married men, or those engaged to be married, because nobody will suspect they mean any harm in these cases, and besides, the pleasure will be enhanced by making their wives and mistresses tolerably unhappy, pleasure without giving pain to somebody, is not worth enjoying.
Young ladies should take special care of their bishops.
Young ladies should take every occasion to indulge to excess in drinking--we mean the waters--because it is good for the complexion.
Young ladies should always sit down, whenever they are tired of dancing, whether other ladies in the set have had their turn of not; and they should never sit down till they are tired, under the vulgar idea of giving those a chance of dancing who have had not before. It is the very height of tournure to pay not the least attention to the feelings of other people--except indeed they are of the first fashion.
If a young lady don't like the people standing opposite to her in the dance, she ought to quit her place and seek another, taking care to give the said people such a look, as will explain her motive.
Young ladies should be careful to remember on all occasions, that according to the most fashionable decisions, it is the height of good breeding to be ill bred.
Young ladies should never forget that blushing is a sign of guilt.
The infallible rule for dressing is, to get as much finery and as many colors, as possible, and put them all on at once.
Young ladies should be sure to laugh loud, and talk loud in public, especially when they say an ill-natured thing about somebody within hearing, who no body knows. Such people have no business at the springs. Epsom salts is good enough for them.

James Kirke Paulding, New Mirror for Travellers  

New Lebanon Springs is an up and coming resort, and the tourist should not overlook this spot as an opportunity to have the finest possible experience of the Springs.

[New Lebanon Springs is] one of the most delightful resorts for strangers, in point of situation, being in this respect incomparably superior to either of the great watering-places, Saratoga and Ballston. Among all the places which might have been selected for an agreeable residence in the warm seasons, and calculated to please a taste for the softer beauties of nature, none perhaps could have been found more eligible than that we are about to describe.
On the side of a hill about two miles east from the village, and about half way to the summit of the ridge, issues out a spring of clear warm water, which although possessed of no strong mineral qualities, has given the place its celebrity; and there stands a fine and spacious hotel, to which the visiter [sic] will direct his course.
Professor Silliman compares the scenery about Lebanon Springs to that of Bath in England. It is, however, graduated more on those principles of taste which habit cherished in an American, as it abounds far more in the deep hues of the forest, and every where exhibits the signs of progressive improvement.
Messrs. Hull and Bentley's house at the Springs is very large, commodious, and elegant; and has accommodated 300 persons at one time. The attendance and table will be found excellent, and Saratoga and Ballston waters may be obtained at the bar. It stands close by the spring, and is furnished with baths supplied with the water. The old house measures 90 feet, and the new one 120 feet long. They stand in the form of an L, and a fine piazza runs along them both, measuring 220 feet. The place now vies with Ballston and Saratoga, and has sometimes counted more visiters [sic] than either of them.
There is a small fish pond in the neighborhood.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

The Springs may for some tourists represent the pinnacle of their Tour.

It may however happen, since all things are possible in this wonderful age, that notwithstanding all these resources, these varied and never ending delights, people may be at last overtaken even here, by the fiend ennui, which seems to have been created on purpose to confound the rich and happy. In that case, they may as well give up the pursuit of happiness at once, as desperate. There is nothing beyond the springs; they are the ultima thule of the fashionable world, and those who find not pleasure there, may as well die at once--or go home.

James Kirke Paulding, The New Mirror for Travellers  

 

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