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Haunting beauty

Yaddo Garden Association hosts ghost tours of Spa City grounds

Many visitors of the gardens at the Yaddo Artist’s Retreat in Saratoga Springs say there is a “mysteriousness” to the place and that they sometimes don’t feel quite alone there. The Yadoo Garden Association is holding tours this fall to tell the ghostly tales. Submitted photo.

Many visitors of the gardens at the Yaddo Artist’s Retreat in Saratoga Springs say there is a “mysteriousness” to the place and that they sometimes don’t feel quite alone there. The Yadoo Garden Association is holding tours this fall to tell the ghostly tales. Submitted photo.

— As October evening falls cool and dark and the bewitching hour approaches, scare hunters traditionally make their way to haunted grounds like cemeteries, decrepit farmhouses and — the Yaddo gardens?

The rose-laden, manicured grounds of the Yaddo Artist’s Retreat in Saratoga Springs might not seem very ghostly, but apparently there are a few guests who won’t leave.

“I think Yaddo carries this air of mystery about it,” said Barbara Hefter, publicity chairperson and member the Yaddo Garden Association. “Yaddo is the hidden gem of Saratoga, people just don’t know about it, which adds to the mysteriousness about it.”

The Garden Association is hosting a tour titled Ghosts in the Yaddo Gardens every Friday at 5 p.m. through Oct. 28. This is the second year of spirited strolls. Hefter said that they’ve been kicking the idea around for a few years, and it finally took off last year with about 150 guests.

“It was very successful, people were very intrigued about all of it,” said Hefter. She added she visits the gardens for the peace and serenity and has not encountered any ghosts, though other association members say they have had the sense that they’re not by themselves there.

“Unfortunately, I have not had any encounters in the garden. The only thing that I felt while there is peace and tranquility. I have been there by myself a few times and I never feel like I am alone. I will say that I find myself looking around to catch a glimpse of my surroundings,” said Yvonne Bastian, a member of the association.

The association started in 1991, though the estate with its mansion was founded as a second home of the Trask family of Brooklyn in 1900. Today, it harbors visiting artists of all genres who apply to the Yaddo Foundation to spend time at the secluded estate to work on their craft. The retreat can accommodate around 30 artists who live at Yaddo for various amounts of time throughout the year depending on their artistic endeavor.

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