The Saratoga Farmstead B&B sits on the last 10 acres of a prosperous farm built during the Civil War by staunch abolitionists Benjamin and Clarissa Dyer. The Dyers, natives of Vermont, had both been reared on farms and chose to settle on one of the most productive farms they could find in beautiful upstate New York. The farm was named “The Vermont Farm” in honor of their home state.
Shortly thereafter, they began building a boarding house in downtown Saratoga Springs and named it “The Vermont House”. It was at the site of the present day civic center. Here, “visitors were accommodated with simple and genial sociality in a quiet and homelike retreat”.
Although in the political minority at that time, both the Dyers were reformers and firm believers in the evils of slavery. They held strong beliefs and spoke fervently for the abolition of war and the settlement of all national and international disputes by diplomacy or arbitration.
The Dyers were rumored to have harbored escaped slaves at the farmstead as part of the Underground Railroad. Mr. Dyer also traveled throughout New England lecturing on the abolition of slavery. Upon her husband’s death, Mrs. Dyer continued to run the hotel and the farm. She is known to have funded the building of the first church in Saratoga for people of African decent, many who had been in Saratoga Springs with their wealthy Southern masters prior to the Civil War and then gravitated to the city after escaping or being freed.
After their passing, the Dyers’ former home and farm fell into great disrepair, the pastureland divided into lots and sold. Along with the 10 remaining acres, the home and outbuildings were purchased in the early 1960’s by Dr. Vincent and Kathleen Lombardi. It was in a state of complete collapse and ruin. The Lombardi’s and their family lovingly commenced the repair and restoration of the farmhouse, eventually opening what was one of the first bed & breakfasts in the Saratoga area.
The restoration project has been in the hands of owners Mariana DiToro and Rosemary Jensen since 2002. They decided to offer what the farm’s founders had offered “….simple and genial sociality in a quiet and homelike setting”. Mariana and Rosemary continue to make improvements to the property. Most recently they added 1200 square feet to the house allowing them to transform their old living space into a new guest room. As each year passes by they think of more ways to improve the property for their guests while keeping the history and charm of the property intact.