Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Petrified Sea Gardens

Jeannine and I just came back on Sunday from a few days traveling to the Saratoga Springs, NY area to visit with my nephew Ben, his wife Kelly, and their new little guy Ian, who is almost a year old. That was fun -- Kelly and Ben made us a great lunch and Ian is a real cutie-pie.

While we were there, I asked Kelly (who has lived for many of her years in that area) if she'd ever been to the "Petrified Sea Gardens". This was something I'd run across while doing some web searches on things to do in and around Saratoga Springs, and it caught my eye, as most things having to do with the prehistoric past will do. The stuff I'd read online, though, led me to believe that the "garden" was a privately-run tourist attraction that was no longer in operation, though some intrepid souls had managed to find the faded remnants of it.

Kelly told me that although she was aware of the existence of the "gardens", she'd never been to see them. (That's not so unusual -- for example, there is a unique rock formation in North Adams, my hometown, called "the Natural Bridge"… and it took me until I was in my forties to finally go there to see it.) Though there wasn't an exact address listed online, I did have some street names, including the eponymous "Petrified Sea Gardens Road", to start us on our search.

As it turned out, we found it -- or something like it -- pretty quickly once we'd gotten onto "Petrified Sea Gardens Road". Jeannine spotted what looked at first to me like a small parking lot on the side of the road, but it turned out to be an area of what I assume the "Petrified Sea Gardens" I'd read about probably looked like.

There were some signs explaining the nature of what we were looking at, which were basically petrified stromatolites, which Wikipedia defines as "layered accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue-green algae) ".

We spent some time examining the site, then got back in the truck and tried to see if we could spot the location of the "gardens" I'd read about online. I think we did find it, but there were a lot of "No Trespassing!" signs around the remnants of a stone gate which looked like it could have once been part of a roadside attraction.

In any event, even if we didn't get to see the "Petrified Sea Gardens" of local legend, we were able to check out some cool evidence of prehistory. -- PL


Mark H said...

Very cool and interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Matt said...

Next time you visit Saratoga Springs and you're looking for another type of garden you NEED to visit Yaddo. Very pretty in the summertime!