“Tour de Farm” is perhaps a slight misnomer, because the ride rolls through areas rich with significant historical influence. “Tour de Farm and History” better represents the tour, but is also a mouthful! On the tour, not only will you see farms, but also many Revolutionary War historic sites.
In 1777, American soldiers fought two fierce battled against the British and forced surrender on the land which is now the Saratoga National Historical Park. According to Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy’s The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloo, the Saratoga Battles rank as the 13th most important battles in world history.
On the 35-mile route, you’ll pass through (and stop by) historic houses, farms and, significant sites of the Saratoga Battles, which include:
The Schuyler House
The Schuyler House is located 8 miles north of the Battlefield.
The Schuyler House is the restored country house of American General Philip J. Schuyler, a hero of the Saratoga Battles, both before and after the Revolutionary War. The original house was actually burned by the British; the one that stands today was built in 1777.
Sword Surrender Site
“Surrender of General Burgoyne” by John Trumbull, 1822.
Faced with overwhelming numbers, Burgoyne surrendered his sword to General Gates on October 17, 1777. Burgoyne’s depleted army, some 6,000 men, marched out of its camp “with the Honors of War” and stacked its weapons along the west bank of the Hudson River at the Field of Grounded Arms.
Freeman Farm Overlook
The view from the former farm site. Although the view is mostly obscured from heavy tree growth, the view remains similar to what it was in 1777.
Major fighting took place on the land leased from farmer John Freeman, a loyalists who went north and joined British forces, on September 19, 1777.
The Neilson House
From the Neilson House, one has an almost 360-degree view of the battlefield.
Built by John and Lydia Neilson in 1775 or 1776, the infamous General Benedict Arnold used this house as headquarters in 1777. Today, it looks much the same and will be host to a “Progressive Encampment” during Tour de Farm.
Think you’ll be tired from all that biking? Imagine these soldiers and their families who marched many miles on foot!
The Saratoga National Historical Park was first authorized as a New York State historical preserve in 1927 and was made part of the National Park Service when authorized by Congress in 1938.