We aren't exactly high society folks but last night we had a pleasant taste of Saratoga Springs in the gilded age.
The Handsome Husband and I attended a fundraiser for the Friends of Grant Cottage, a place dear to the HH's heart.
General Grant himself was at the party (as portrayed by Steve Trimm.) The general asked me to note that his drink was non-alcoholic.
Also in attendance last night were Grant's daughter, Nellie (as portrayed by the lovely Trinity) and Nellie's husband, Algernon Sartoris ( as portrayed by Joe.)
The party was held at the historic Canfield Casino in Congress Park. We know that the real General Grant liked Saratoga Springs and its horse racing season, visiting the city at least three times beginning in 1865.
The Canfield Casino hasn't been used as a place for gambling since about 1907, but it remains a popular venue for parties and weddings. It's an elegant space. Behind the large chandelier, you can just glimpse the huge portrait of Napoleon III. Why Napoleon's portrait is there, I have no idea.
The guest of honor last night was Ulysses Grant Dietz, the real-life great- great-grandson of Ulysses S. Grant. That is Mr. Dietz, above on the left, standing with the Handsome Husband (AKA Bob Conner) on the right.
Mr. Dietz was the guest speaker, who was also promoting his book, Dream House: The White House as an American Home.
Musical entertainment last night was provided by two local favorites of ours, Sonny and Perley.
Through my husband's interest in General Grant over many years, I have absorbed bits and pieces of the real story of Grant's life. I am now convinced that Grant has been misrepresented and misunderstood by popular culture. Grant's real life story is both poignant and dramatic. He was a faithful and loving husband, albeit no good with money, but a great writer. Grant's memoirs are still in print and are still on the U.S. Army Chief of Staff's Professional Reading List.
Do visit Grant Cottage if you've never been. It's just north of Saratoga Springs and the story of Grant's last days there is deeply moving.