Frozen winter fun in Cooperstown, NY!
by Joanie H.
Over Presidents' Day weekend 2005, our family visited our beloved Cooperstown with great anticipation. We knew that there were many family activities planned, many of which could be attended by adults and children of all ages.
Upon our arrival at one of our favorite bed and breakfasts, we were given an activity brochure provided by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce. This outlined times, dates and places. The only problem was figuring out what to do first! From sledding to a magic act, to a quilt show, a fashion show, beer tastings, guided tours of the Village, to a snow sculpture workshop, we studied the options and had our "family meeting" and took a vote.
First things first, we got a good night's sleep under cozy, warm comforters and awoke to the enticing aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, admixed with something sweet - could it be French toast, or pancakes? I smelled bacon (good-bye New Year's resolution - who could resist?), and fresh-baked scones... it is amazing just how quickly we could get ready for breakfast on vacation (we needed to borrow that recipe for work and/or school mornings). We were not disappointed, as the breakfast tasted as good as we imagined from our rooms. We also had the opportunity to catch up with old friends, who own the Cooperstown B+B, as well as meet new ones from various locations -- all drawn to Cooperstown that particular weekend. One couple from New York City planned a day of cross-country skiing and another couple from the snow-bound Cape Cod wanted tickets to the Hall of Fame Game to be played on May 23, 2005 -- featuring our home-town heroes, the Boston Red Sox.
We decided to attend the snow sculpture workshop. When we arrived, expecting to see the finished sculptures (an elephant and dancing bears pictured at the left), we were met by HUGE blocks of snow which were marked in a grid, along with many volunteers wielding tools and many families happily participating in creating these magnificent sculptures, under the guidence of amazing artisans. After watching awhile, an event organizer asked if we would like to create our own sculpture. We decided that a snow kitty would be fun. What was great was that the organizers had the foresight to make mounds of snow using trash barrels as a mold -- just the right size for us. Now what? Well, the artisan in our area drew a kitty on the snow mound and gave us some tools.Working in three-dimensions was very different than drawing on paper, as our kitty began to take shape ( with a tiny head and huge body). We all have a greater appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship of these snow artists. What fun!
Speaking of fun - it has been a long time that I sat upon a saucer and flew. I am not referring to an alien intervention, but rather, sledding. Right there at Lakefront Park, we could borrow saucers to glide down the triple hill, with snow flying up in the face, and it actually felt good(unlike shoveling in a blizzard). Thinking of everything, the Chamber and sponsors provided a warm wood stove, hot cider, coffee, hearty chili, hot dogs and other items.
We decided to go dry off at one of the great eating establishments on Main Street and then shop at the Cooperstown General Store for the few items that we forgot to pack. As usual, we saw many items that we just had to have, as they have practically everything you would ever "need". A trip to Cooperstown for me would not be complete, though, without stopping in Ellsworth and Sill for great fashion buys.... but, we had so much more fun to experience. First, though, a nap seemed like a (non)guilty pleasure, and boy, it sure felt great !
The next day, we needed to decide what to do. Again, the offers were many, but we just couldn't rush our breakfast ! And that extra cup of coffee as we chatted with our new and old friends. We finally decided to go the Clark Sports Center to go bowling. What fun that was! Although it has been a long time in the bowling alley, it was sort of like riding the preverbial bicycle, and it all came back ( along with the low score), but it still was fun!. The sports center has so much to offer for people of all ages. We purchased a day pass and could select any number or activities - swimming, squash, rock wall climbing, basketball, bowling, or working-out - it is open year-round and we will be sure to include it on our itenery for the next visit.!
On Monday, we were lucky because we didn't have to leave and sit in any traffic back home due to an extra vacation day . Also, it was snowing and so lovely and dream-like. This was an extra (non)guilty indulgence to sit and do nothing - and it felt great!!! I did bring along some crochet hooks and yarn and sat in the living room watching the snow gently fall, smelling more coffee brewing, and something else sweet baking in the oven.
While other guests said good-bye, we chatted with our friends and family, and then geared up for one more encounter with the saucer, strolled along the beautiful Main Street, (I visited Ellsworth and Sill, too!). We later dined at the delicious Nicoletta's Italian Cafe, walked along Main Street one joyful last time and then retreated to the cozy, warm comforters back at the bed and breakfast.
What is wonderful to me about traveling to Cooperstown is that there is always something to do - any time of year - which also, and most importantly, includes doing nothing - just taking in the pure beauty of the people and the Village and surrounding communities. Making new friends and visiting old friends - just like the frozen dancing bears!
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