July 30, 2012

The Ash Grove Inn

The Ash Grove Inn
Before and After
The Ash Grove Inn, Saratoga Springs New York. 
I pass the Ash Grove many times a week and it hurts each time I do. There are many places throughout Saratoga that have wilted away and turned to dust. I have spent over a half century going past this once beautiful establishment and I felt a need to quick squeeze in a few final words before it is erased completely.
"Your Dining Paradise" - 1973
"The Greenwoods"
Helen, Frances, Elmer, Ralph
This was my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary dinner at the Ash Grove Inn

When I was very young the Ash Grove would be our family's destination for holidays and special Sunday dinners. It was a gorgeous place, full of light and joyful laughter. As a young teenager I sold the August Pink Sheet to the patrons at the bar; running back to Mr. Shay's Plymouth wagon with my arms empty and my tip pocket full.

As the owner of Prices Dairy from 1979-1989 I was able to witness the final years of this gem from the back door where I would make my deliveries of milk and sour cream. As downtown Saratoga thrived in the 80's, the jewels on the outskirts began to weaken. 

I met the current owner one day many years ago and he spoke of possible resurrection, but I think that dream has passed by. For now the queen of Church Street lay weak, overgrown, and gasping.


She will be missed. She has been missed for nearly a decade. Maybe just maybe she could be saved. For now I will just close my eyes and breathe in the smell of sizzling steaks on the grill. I will listen carefully to the sounds of clinking cocktail glasses full of friendship and good cheer. I will drive on by one more day, watching...

Ash Grove Inn
by John R. Greenwood
hardwood floors well worn with age
soaked with years of parties and dance
large open windows to the fields behind 
where cows once grazed and milk was born
panes of pain now cracked and sore 
shattered in dreams of what once was
those who remember in numbers declining
they too sit restless
waiting for another order to be placed

I found this simple video that I felt exemplified the spirit of this aging beauty: The Ash Grove


  1. Always tough to experience the demise of structures filled with memories. I have seen many fall to the wayside with regrets. But having photos and other memorabilia does sooth the soul somewhat. It seems that our nation's mentality encourages down with the old up with the new. Too bad. -- barbara

  2. Thank you for your lyrical words that breathe life into the soul of this aging Queen of ours John! Perhaps when we least expect it, in the brink of time, a wise investor will magically make the decaying Queen rise like the Phoenix!

  3. Oh John..how right you are. I remember "Gumpsy" - what a wonderful man. My parents would take us here for Sunday dinner and we would get dressed up. My brother and I loved watching the fish in the indoor pond. You owned Price's Dairy? Did you deliver to Grasso's Grocery? My parents were Joe and Marion.

  4. I delivered there later in the 80's. I did spend much of my lunch money at Grasso's in the early 70's. I've been eating cold sliced pizza off the counter ever since.

  5. Stumbled upon this site reminiscing about my wedding in 1985 and how my
    then husband & I & our maid of honor had such a beautiful post reception dinner there. Fitting for a once in
    a lifetime memory! We loved Saratoga
    Springs. Miracles happen, and maybe one day this beautiful place will
    be resurrected,,,

  6. My dad used to work for the track, and every August we would spend the summer at Hillman's cabins. At least once a year my Uncle Lenny would bring us to the Ash Grove Inn for dinner. It was always a high point of the trip. As a child, I was in awe of the place, and I remember the food smelled and tasted great. There was a fountain in the rotunda at the end, if I remember. I wish someone could bring it back to life, but we still have the memories. Thank you for making this web page!
    - Steve R.

  7. I waitressed there in late seventies. Wonderful food and people. But oh, whoever got the waitress station in the far end of the dining room had SO much walking to do that night! LOL. Nice to see others have good memories of that beautiful place.

  8. It’s so sad about this place. Been thinking about the Ash Grove a lot lately, and not sure why? We went there a great deal in the 60’s - 80’s and remember the hostess Charlotte quite vividly. The bar was cozy and so cool, but the fountain at the end of the dining room was my favorite thing. Yes, sizzling steaks cooked on that grill area in the middle of the dining room and that great salad bar. I actually have some Merry Christmas cocktail glasses from the Ash Grove. Go figure. Maybe someday it will be alive again.
    Thanks for the memories John.
    Barry Potoker

  9. We had dinner there after our 1956 St Peter’s academy graduation. First time I ever had squab! And only time.
    C Callahan