The special feeling of a summer vacation in Cooperstown, NY
The joy of spending a summer vacation in Cooperstown in Central New York state extends way beyond the accepted standard of 21st century cookie-cutter destinations.
A summer in Cooperstown transcends the typical tourist hum-drum by having the good fortune to be located in a truly spectacular setting of beautiful Lake Otsego, gentle green rolling hills and a toy-village like downtown that we all dream about but can't seem to find in this urban/suburban sprawl world.
Cooperstown is primarily known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, an incredibly enriching and yet fun experience for baseball and non-baseball fans alike. Visitors, however, are quick to learn that the Village of Cooperstown is more than a baseball town. It is an American way of life, a wonderfully close community blessed with a true rural beauty.
The beauty, however, would mean nothing if Cooperstown didn't have a sense of preservation and good taste. The incredibly well-maintained older homes, business district historic brick buildings, the "It's A Wonderful Life" streets and neighborhoods, historic Doubleday Field, and a sophisticated culture of myriad museums juxtaposed with the causal laid-back feeling of the Village make for a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience. Amidst the many baseball-oriented shops on and around Main Street are a great variety of charming specialty stores for the whole family to enjoy. Women can enjoy the boutiques, family clothing stores, jewelry and book shops, and a massage while children flock to where the ice cream, toys and baseball batting cages are located.
The attractions rival that of a larger community (see detailed list of attractions here), but thankfully through preservation, community vision and just sticking to its proud roots, Cooperstown, NY, expertly integrates those attractions into its village without losing its own specal charm. Some of the most memorable Village summer attractions are:
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, one of the great treasures in our country, resides proudly on Main Street in a stately large, brick building with a new, inviting outside entrance. The Hall of Fame's mission is to "relive the history of the National Pastime, through artifacts from historic records, to the plaques of the game's greatest players in the Hall of Fame Gallery," according to its literature. Once inside, that mission comes to life whether it be the incredible New York Yankees displays, an Abbott and Costello "Who's on First," movie clip, a wonderful baseball card display, or, of course, the memorable and historical Hall of Fame where one can read plaques all day on all the great players inducted into this illustrious museum. Hall of Fame induction weekend takes place every summer, this year from July 28-30 (details to come soon.) The Hall of Fame and Museum has a wonderful library and an appealing park area, perfect for a short stroll or yet another perspective on Otsego Lake. The Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-see for the baseball fan or anyone with an interest in history. It is, simply, one of life's great joys.
The Farmers' Museum and Fenimore Art Museum The Farmer's Museum which portrays rural life in early times. An herbal pharmacy, blacksmithing, weaving, printing, stickball games, music, farming, -- with many different animals -- and more make for a lively afternoon. Unlike other places of this ilk, it's not forced or hokey. Everything seems authentic. Virtually across the street is the Fenimore House Museum, "home to one of the country's premier folk art collections, and now the American Indian Wing with a dazzling collection and galleries 'any museum in the world would envy.'" (The New York Times). The Fenimore Museum also has wonderful children's activities.
The scenery in and around Cooperstow during the summer is an attraction by itself. The surroundings hills and mountains viewed from the outskirts of town make one realize the unspoiled beauty of the area. It's as nice a scene as anything you'll find in New Hampshire or Vermont, with the difference being these mountains and hills aren't marketed to the world. It's like your own secret discovery, courtesy of being in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains.
There's really nothing quite like Cooperstown, especially when the dark, cold winter gives way to several months of sun shining on a Village that already shines with American values, visions and vibrancy. Ask the people who live here, or those who moved to this special village after only the first or second time visiting.
Cooperstown is, first and foremost, a community that bursts with neighborly, community pride. People here are proud to live in Cooperstown, make you feel at home, and call you friend. This unconditional acceptance, combined with scenic discoveries every step of the wide Main Street and the attractive countryside, results in a place where you can feel good about yourself and be forced, in the most gentle way, to relax and unwind in the pleasant Upstate New York summer sun. For example, one day swimming at one of the beaches at nine-mile Otsego Lake, catching a free ball game at sunny Doubleday Field and touring the educational and entertaining National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum leaves you eagerly anticipating the next day.
That next day can result in visiting many other attractions like the Farmers' Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Glimmerglass Opera (world-class, in nature) and Fly Creek Cider Mill, or just strolling the wonderful downtown, having a picnic at nearby Lakefront Park, browsing the old-fashioned Village Library, going to a community church, having lunch at one of the many fine restaurants and then taking a nap. Whatever the decision, there's never enough time to do everything -- or nothing -- in Cooperstown. Perhaps that's the reason a three or four day trip can result in ensuing daily memories until your next return.
Cooperstown has the amazing gift of just being itself, which means you can be yourself in this splendid little village. It's almost like every step you take in Cooperstown creates an exciting new chapter in one's own inner "special places to visit" summer vacation guide.For more information on Cooperstown, NY, view the Cooperstown Travel Library, Attractions Resource Guide, Calendar of Events, Dining and Lodging
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Unless otherwise stated, all VisitingCooperstown.com articles written and photos taken by Eric H.