For anyone interested in seeing a heartwarming show of love that a man has for his wife, they need only visit the beauty of Yaddo Gardens, on their way in or their way out of the Spa City.
Spencer Trask bought the property and gifted it to his wife Katrina, whom he adored. Katrina bore their first child who passed away a few years later, from meningitis. She fell into a deep depression and Spencer believed that finding a new home in a new place might prove to help them work through their profound grief.
The couple flourished under the sunny skies of Saratoga, having two more children, a girl and a boy. It was not long before fate took another ugly turn. Katrina contracted the acute bacterial infection known as Diphtheria. No one believed that she would survive the illness. The Doctors attending her, as well as her husband, decided to let the youngsters in to her bedroom. They stood by her side to say their goodbyes.
In the end, Katrina actually recovered, but both children fell ill from the same disease and died. The grief was overwhelming. Katrina gave birth to one more child, a girl, who also died as a youngster.
Every time I visit the gardens, I am overcome with many emotions. The rose gardens are beautiful, stunning in the color and variety that surround visitors and perfume lingers heavily in the open air around them. There are statues that line the borders and old stone benches for people to sit on and reflect in peace and quiet of the property.
In the rear of Yaddo's acreage - a wooded rock garden - with fountains and stone steps where one can wander and think about the lives of Katrina and Spencer Trask, their deep joy in being parents and their horrible sadness at losing four children from illnesses beyond their control. I am never sure how they got past the devastation.
In the distance there is a mansion, where artists have come in the past and still come today. A retreat of sorts, where artists,writers and poets can live,for a time, in peace and quiet while they work on their craft. You can almost see the spirits of the Trask children, playing on the grounds, encompassed by the love of their parents who watch over them, just beyond.
The garden's mood is haunting, showcasing a love story that has lasted through the highs and lows of the Trask family.
The Yaddo Garden Association works hard in both the preservation and restoration of the gardens. At any given time one gets to visit, you will often see their gloved hands and dirty knees, wheel barrels and shovels, working in the elements of weather to make sure the gardens are beautiful. They are a gorgeous display of the love Katrina and Spencer had while they lived here. Hopefully the volunteers know how deeply their labor of love is appreciated by all those who get to stroll through the property.
The Gardens are open daily, from 8am- dusk. Weddings can be booked here, and there are tours, leading groups through the mansion during specific times of the year. Ghost walks happen on Sunday evenings.
Yaddo is a beautiful place - a 'must see' for anyone interested in nature and it's haunting history while visiting Saratoga.