Cooperstown, New York, and come back home with lifetime memories
Article and photos by Eric H.
There are probably hundreds of reasons to visit Cooperstown, New York. The editors at VisitingCooperstown.com have made it easy for you by providing an overview to illustrate the highlights of visiting Cooperstown. After reading this summary, we recommend visiting our travel library to read about all the details of all that is mentioned below and the Cooperstown photo gallery, which is what we like to call "the next best thing to being there."
The unspoiled, pure, pristine land with 10-mile Otsego Lake, gentle rolling hills, tree-lined streets and the toy-like-village look of Main Street result in Cooperstown, New York, being one of the most appealing places to visit in the Northeast United States. It's almost as if everywhere you look creates lifetime memories! You can see Cooperstown in its year-round glory at the CooperstownForKids.com Photo Gallery
How rare it is to be in the rural countryside and have such a high level of culture. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmer's Museum, Glimmerglass Opera, Hyde Hall (a stunning mansion) and the Cooperstown Art Association are just the tip of the iceberg on the cultural opportunities in a Village with a population of just over 2,000. It's simply remarkable how efforts have been made to create a cultural quaity of life that surpass many of the highly populated towns and cities that we live in.
In a day where many vacation destinations are far too overdeveloped and hectic, Cooperstown remains one of the best places to relax and unwind from the daily stresses of modern life. The beautiful views of Otsego Lake, the fresh air and gentle people who live here create a place that seems to be missing from our very own communities. A few days in Cooperstown and you have no choice but to relax.
Boating, baseball, biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, tennis snow tubing, ice skating, cross country skiing, golf, miniature golf, batting ranges and more await you when visiting Cooperstown. Kid's City at the Cooperstown Elementary School provides a wonderful playground for the kids, while the Clark's Sports Center offers indoor swimming, a fitness center, running track, basketball court, bowling and more.
While many perceive Cooperstown to be full of baseball shops and nothing else, the truth is there is something for every family member. Boutiques, arts and crafts, toys, women's clothing, books, quilts, jewelry, home furnishings and a seasonal Farmer's Market are just a few of the retail opportunities to be found in Cooperstown. There's even a place to get a massage!
Cooperstown is a tourist destination, but never in an obnoxious way. Attractions are well integrated into the town's look, feel and vision. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Farmer's Museum, Glimmerglass Opera, Cooperstown Art Association, Sam Smith's Boatyard, Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown Funland, the Fly Creek Cider Mill, Doubleday Batting Ranges, Abner Doubleday Field (three baseball games a day, free admission, during the baseball season) and Cooperstown Dreams Park are just a few of the opportunities that require an extended stay in this special area.
From the inexpensive Cooperstown Diner and Doubleday Cafe to the more upscale but unpretentious Hawkeye Bar and Grille and Blue Mingo Grill, there is something on the menu for everyone in the Village of Cooperstown and surrounding areas. DiMaggio's and T.J.'s Grille are fun, family places, great for a burger or special dessert. In nearby Cherry Valley is the Rose "n Kettle, one of the best restaurants anywhere -- they tap into local farming resources, whenever possible, for the freshest meats and produce.
From the basic, clean motel or cottage to the charming bed and breakfast, hotel and inn, Cooperstown has the perfect lodging destination for all tastes. Some are by the lake and offer swimming, boating and other recreational opportunities while others stand tall and proud in the form of a Victorian and Colonial in the heart of the Village.
While summer is synonymous with a Cooperstown visit, the other seasons provide wonderful travel opportunities. The fall sports some of the best (and most underrated) fall foliage in the northeast. Winter is active with the February Winter Carnival (Feb. 10 and 11, 2007) and the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce Snowfest 2007 (Feb. 17/18) with snow sculpture competitions, horse drawn rides sledding, cross country skiing and more. Spring is a beautiful time when all the plant life blossoms, the warm feel of the air marries the warm feeling in the Village and maple sugar is to savor.
No matter what time of year, Cooperstown, NY, beams with community pride, as evidenced by one of the cleanest and visually attractive Main Streets in the northeast United States. Fine tree-lined neighborhoods with beautiful Victorian homes, the shores of Otsego Lake and landmarks like the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmer's Museum and Otesega Resort make the Village of Cooperstown a sure-fire way to enjoy a great vacation at any age.
Cooperstown's old-fashioned charm, family values, high fun quotient, and a commitment to locally-owned businesses make the community a model place to raise a family, start a business, or vacation in grand style. Cooperstown is simply a wonderful place to be.
Here's a sample of "best picks" in Cooperstown, New York. Please check back in often, as we will be adding new "best of" choices to this list!
Best place to have a picnic Lakefront Park, foot of Lower Pioneer Street
With a million dollar view of Otsego Lake and a sprawling, multi-level stretch of green grass, this is the ultimate picnic place. Bring a blanket, some great food from Danny's Main St. Market and enjoy the scenery!
Best place to grab a burger
Cooley's Stonehouse Tavern, Cooperstown, NY. Tel. (607)544-1311
Cooley's Stonehouse Tavern used to be a dive when it was the slightly dangerous looking Bold Dragoon. Now renovated, family-friendly and with a nice bar menu, this cozy restaurant/bar on a Cooperstown side street offers mouthwatering burgers that rank as the best in Cooperstown. The prices are slightly better than many restaurants on Main Street that serve similar food, always a plus for the budget-minded Cooperstown visitor.
Best place for coffee
Stagecoach Deli, 31 Pioneer St., Cooperstown, NY. Tel. 607-547-6629
This small coffeehouse is a local favorite for visitors, local working professionals and artists who enjoy the great coffee aromas, great wraps and paninis, and, in the warmer weather, a nice little outdoor dining patio. Inside, the hardwood floors and coffeehouse look create a comfortable feel. The Stagecoach also offers what some feel is the best ice cream in Cooperstown.
Best place for ice cream
Carmen Esposito's Italian Ices, 69 Main St., Cooperstown, NY. Tel. (607) 547-9366
Carmen Esposito's Italian Ices serves addictive flavored ices, homemade ice cream and gelati -- root beer (when they have it) with vanilla gelati is the recommended choice. Be prepared for crowds and making a second trip back in the same day -- it's that good!
Best place to find anything
The Cooperstown General Store, 42-51 Main St., Cooperstown, NY. Tel. (607) 547-6196
From malted milk balls to home furniture and furnishings, the Cooperstown General Store has something for everyone. We recently bought socks, toys, a high end thank-you gift, and a small souvenir Cooperstown baseball bat from this friendly, extremely large, old-fashioned store that used to be McCrory's, but is now even better.
Nicest view of Otsego Lake:
The veranda at the Otesaga Resort Hotel, Lake Rd., Cooperstown, NY. Tel. (800)348-6222
The veranda at the Otesaga Resort Hotel affords some spectacular views of Otsego Lake, one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the state. Framed by gentle rolling hills and sleeping lion mountain in the distance, the lake gets a great look this special location in the back of a large, old world hotel that looks like a high society place out of a 1930s movie where people come to dance, dine and dress up. All that may be true, but parts of the hotel, like the veranda, are open to the public (unless otherwise noted or posted) and there's a friendly, welcoming aura to all types who come to marvel at the lake while watching a live band concert or as a treat after eating downstairs at the wonderful Hawkeye Bar and Grille.
Best bed and breakfast owners
John and Linda Smirk, Cooperstown Bed and Breakfast, 88 Chestnut St., Cooperstown, NY, Tel. (607) 547-2532
Penny Gentile, Nelson Avenue Pines, 20 Nelson Ave., Cooperstown, N.Y. Tel. (607 547-7118
John and Linda Smirk, of the Cooperstown Bed and Breakfast, always go the extra mile to provide comfort and cleanliness for the Cooperstown visitor. They are both down-to-earth, real people that will make you feel good about staying at their bed and breakfast. The Cooperstown Bed and Breakfast is indeed a special place, a 1902 Victorian with beautiful furnishings, a fire placed living room, upstairs and downstairs porches and rooms with private baths, air conditioning and ceiling fans. The breakfast buffet offers delicious food and the smell of baked goods being made is pure heaven. Penny Gentile, owner of the Nelson Avenue Pines, is a special person who takes great pride in welcoming guests to stay at her beautiful 1870s Victorian located on Nelson Ave., one of the greatest displays of proud, old homes we've seen in this part of the country. Across, the street from Otsego Lake and the Leatherstocking Golf Course, the Nelson Avenue Pines has bright, well-kept French-style rooms, air conditioning, color cable television and private baths. All this would mean nothing if the owner wasn't pleasant. Penny is gracious and a genuinely warm person that makes staying at the Nelson Avenue Pines a delight.
Best real estate agent
Dottie Gebbia, Lamb Realty, 20 Chestnut St., Cooperstown, NY. Tel. (607) 547-8145
Cooperstown has many fine real estate agents, but Dottie Gebbia, of Lamb Realty, is our favorite. A native to the area, Dottie is knowledgeable, punctual, follows up on questions if she doesn't have the answer, and comes across as a real person as opposed to a sales weasel. She always works for you, instead of for her own agenda. Dottie's a great person and a joy to work with.
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Unless otherwise stated, all VisitingCooperstown.com articles written and photos taken by Eric H.