James Fenimore Cooper statueOtsego County’s most iconic destination is the pretty village of Cooperstown, dubbed “America’s Hometown.” The name “Cooperstown” is often used as a metaphor for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but Otsego County is a multi-season destination that also lures the opera, art, nature, and history lovers. The gentle rolling, tree-covered hills make it a destination for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of more populated areas. Located in the heart of New York’s Leatherstocking area, it is the county’s pastoral land that inspired, favorite son, James Fenimore Cooper to pen his belovednovels of the American frontier.

Cooperstown1. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: It no longer matters that baseball was not “invented” in Cooperstown because it is still a pilgrimage site for baseball lovers young and old. Central to the many baseball-related exhibits and artifacts on display is their Baseball Hall of Fame Gallery and the multimedia presentation in the Grandstand Theater. A variety of activities and presentations honor the all-American sport. Shops along the Main Street offer an amazing array of baseball souvenirs and memorabilia. Try to catch a game at the nearby Doubleday Field.

 

DSC093202. Dreams Park: Dreams Park is home of the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame where each week nearly 100 youth teams from around the United States take part in a National Invitational Tournament at the end of which participants are inducted into the Hall of Fame and receive their own Hall of Fame Ring. For one week youths 12 and younger live, sleep and eat baseball.

 

 

Farmers-blacksmith3. Farmers’ Museum: The 19th-century comes alive in the historic village where visitors can chat with the blacksmith, pharmacist, school teacher and other historic interpreters to learn what life was like in rural New York before technology became an integral part of everyday life. At the Lippitt Farmstead visitors can pet the animals in the Children’s Barnyard. There are many seasonal activities such as sheep shearing and harvesting hops, the most important local crop at that time. Besides viewing the Cardiff Giant, one of America’s greatest hoaxes, and riding the beautiful Empire State Carousel, there are a variety of programs and workshops.

Fenimore Thaw collection.4. Fenimore Art Museum: Across from the Farmer’s Museum, on beautiful Otsego Lake, is one of America’s premier art destinations. The elegant neo-Georgian house built on the site of James Fenimore Cooper’s 19th-century farmhouse is home to a collection of American folk art and the famed Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. On site is a 1750s Seneca log house and a reproduction of a Mohawk bark House. There is a café with a panoramic view of the lake and an auditorium that presents Weekend Flicks twice a month. The seasonal exhibits often compliment presentations at the Glimmerglass Opera and other local happenings.

Glimmerglass Opera5. Glimmerglass Festival: Located on Otsego Lake north of Cooperstown is the internationally renowned summer opera theater offering familiar and rarely performed operas along with previews, backstage tours, and a variety of other events. Each season they stage four major productions, along with literary talks and a Children’s Theater. Theatrical professionals share their expertise via the Glimmerglass Festival’s apprenticeship program. Once a week during July and August their young artists present a baseball-themed concert at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fly Creek36. Fly Creek Cider Mill: A great family-friendly place to learn about a historic, water-powered cider mill that first started pressing in the 1850s. Gone are the days when farmer’s trucks would line up to have their apples pressed, now families line up for the cider and ice cream. Their Marketplace has daily tastings of over 40 specialty items, many produced on site, including cheese, fudge and cider – hard and sweet. Enjoy lunch and ice cream on the deck by the mill pond. Riding the child-size tractors in Tractorland and feeding the ducks and geese will keep youngsters happily occupied. Fly Creek is part of the area’s Beverage Trail.

Ommergang7. Ommergang Brewery: The brewery is another multi-purpose destination. On the tour learn what they mean by “there is a reason for everything” in the process of creating their famous Belgium-style beer. Afterwards, while enjoying a tasting session learn the effect ginger, star anise, coriander and other ingredients have on the flavor. Enjoy a meal at their café and check their schedule of events. “Ommergang” means “walking around” in Old Flemish and visitors are invited to do just that.

???????????????????????????????8. Cherry Valley: Watching the 30-minute video at the Cherry Valley Museum is the best way to learn about the area’s beginnings as a land grant in 1739 and grew only to be decimated during what is called “The Cherry Valley Massacre” in 1778. In 1780 another massacre followed. It is a story of survival. The museum is chock-a-block full of artifacts and stories that bring to life the good times and bad times.

 

???????????????????????????????9. Glimmerglass Lake: Glimmerglass was J. F. Cooper’s name for beautiful 9-mile long Otsego Lake which is the headwaters of the 464-mile long Susquehanna River that empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Today people can ride the “Queen’ for an informative lake tour, catch the wind on their sail boat, or enjoy a serene paddle of the lake and river. There is swimming and camping at Glimmerglass State Park. Golfers can tee off on a course with great lake views. Or, just take a scenic drive around the lake.
Otesaga310. Unique: Visitors will never run out of things to see and do. Watch a bat turning demonstration at the Cooperstown Bat Company, take a haunted tour of the Federal-style Otesaga Hotel and neo-classic Hyde Hall, enjoy the great outdoors while hiking one of the many trails, visit Oneonta to shop on their classic all-American Main Street, hop aboard the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad, explore the countryside on their 37-mile Beverage Trail, or visit during one of the area’s great events. The Cooperstown Trolley connects major attractions and parking lots.

There are great places to stay from the historic Otesaga to a wonderful vacation rental call Cider House to a rustic cabin on a small lake to campground. Something for everyone.