If this month’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game has you in the mood to take yourself out to the ballgame, consider a trip to Cooperstown.
As the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates its 75th anniversary — its diamond anniversary, in fact — this summer, there’s never been a better time to visit Cooperstown, N.Y. The Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony on July 27 and a benefit concert with Paul Simon on Aug. 2 are among the special events planned to knock this milestone out of the park. But even if you don’t know a walk from a balk, this picturesque lakeside town in central New York state has a natural beauty and a rich cultural scene that are worth a visit in their own right.
DO: Ride the Cooperstown Trolley to hit several of the town’s attractions — starting with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Its nearly 40,000 objects include several locker rooms’ worth of gear from legendary players. But there’s much to learn from humbler objects, such as President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Green Light Letter” that insisted Major League Baseball should continue throughout World War II. Native son James Fenimore Cooper — whose family founded the town — memorialized this area in his Leatherstocking Tales. The collection at the Fenimore Art Museum captures the beauty of the region in art as majestically as Cooper did in words. Off the trolley circuit, the Glimmerglass Festival stages world-class opera at the Alice Busch Opera Theater every July and August. If you prefer the great outdoors, head to Glimmerglass State Park to hike the trails or swim at its beach on scenic Lake Otsego.
EAT: Come for the beer but stay for the food and fun at Brewery Ommegang. Café Ommegang delights foodies with dishes that perfectly incorporate Ommegang’s Belgian-style brews and feature artisanal meats, cheese and bread from local purveyors. The brewery’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival, Aug. 8-9, will serve up more than 300 Belgian-style ales. The eclectic dishes at Alex & Ika on Main Street span the globe, from chili con carne to pork dumplings to tuna niçoise. DiMaggio’s Cooperstown Hot Grill, across from Dreams Park, caters to Little League families with plenty of burgers and hot dogs. For dessert, stop by Cooperstown Penguin Ice Cream for generous portions of premium ice cream that you can custom-blend with more than 50 ingredients.
STAY: Opened in 1909, the 133-room Otesaga Resort Hotel on Lake Otsego is regarded as a “grande dame” that captures the splendor of days gone by. Hit the links at the resort’s 18-hole Leatherstocking Golf Course or enjoy Sunday brunch in the airy main dining room. Bayside Inn & Marina appeals to families with its moderately priced rooms and larger cottages overlooking Lake Otsego. The Inn at Cooperstown has carved out a niche with specialty packages that pair a room in the intimate historic inn with a bike tour, VIP visit to the Hall of Fame or paired tastings at Cooperstown Distillery or Brewery Ommegang.
SHOP: The Hall of Fame and Museum Shop can gear up fans in colors of virtually any team, past or present. For edible souvenirs, stop at Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, where you can sample your way through upstate New York’s finest condiments, baked goods, wines and, of course, apple cider.
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