Cooperstown is a village located in Otsego County in New York. It has been constantly referred to as “America’s Most Perfect Village”, which could be the result of its rich culture and heritage. Cooperstown also boasts several museums, including the Indian Museum. In fact, it was once known as the “Village of Museums”. It is also known for being “America’s baseball mecca”, housing the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Doubleday Field. The latter is said to be the birthplace of baseball and hosts many youth baseball tournaments.
Apart from baseball, Cooperstown is also home to many breweries, wineries, and notable attractions that prove that this little village has so much more to offer than what initially meets the eye. Recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and more can be enjoyed in the state parks.
The village of Cooperstown is a a great travel destination for every kind of traveller. For those who are not yet convinced, here’s a list of the best things to do in Cooperstown:
1. Visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Baseball has been a favourite sport, not just in Cooperstown, but in the whole of the USA, for over a century. It can be considered as a national pastime for many, although it continues to change and adapt to the ever-changing times. An early form of baseball was said to have started in the 18th century, in England. It was initially just referred to as a “bat-and-ball game”, or rounders. Eventually, the game was brought to North America by immigrants, and later adapted. By the late 19th century, it was already recognised as a National Sport. It has been referred to by writers and philosophers as “America’s national religion” and “a unique paragon of American culture”.
In Cooperstown you will find the 3-storey National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It was established in 1936 and houses exhibits, artefacts, and displays of the history of the well-loved American sport. It also honours notable individuals who have played, managed, coached, and otherwise served and developed the sport. The museum is probably the main attraction of this village, with reportedly over 300 thousand baseball fans from all over the country swarming the museum annually. People come to see the museum’s 38 thousand artefacts, 2.6 million newspaper clippings and photos, and over 130 thousand baseball cards. The museum recently launched a custom tour experience where they will bring you around the museum, but show you exhibits and artefacts related to your favourite team, including private artefacts that may not be currently displayed in the museum.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Address: 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326
Price: from 23 USD
Opening Hours: 9 am - 9 pm. Closed on public holidays
Duration: around 3 hours required
2. Go beer tasting at Ommegang
Ommegang Brewery is actually a Belgian brewery and it specialises in Belgian-style ales. It started in 1997, founded by the owners of Vanberg & Dewulf, a beer import company. The brewery opened in 2005, and became popular almost immediately. The popularity became so huge that the owners were unable to meet the demand and, in 2003, the owners sold their share of the brewery to Belgian brewer, Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat. They helped brew limited amounts of beer to meet the demand, however, the factory has not brewed since 2006.
Today, Ommegang distributes its beers to 44 states all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, and also to Canada and the Virgin Islands. The brewery also holds an annual summer beer-tasting event called “Belgium Comes to Cooperstown”, which consists of four hours of unlimited beer tasting of over 200 Belgian beers, food, and live music. The brewery has won multiple awards, including those from World Beer Cup and European Beer Star, from whom they were awarded a bronze medal for their Belgian-style Ale in 2010.
Ommegang holds tours that are limited to 20 people per tour, and only those over the age of 5 are allowed. As the tours are widely popular, it is highly advised to arrive at the premises early to avoid disappointment.
Address: 656 County Highway 33 Cooperstown NY 13326-9248
Opening Hours: Sun - Wed: 11 am - 6 pm Thurs - Sat: 11 am - 9 pm
Contact: (800) 544-1809
Website: Brewery Ommegang
3. Witness cider-making at the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
I really enjoyed coming to this authentic cider mill, plus I recommend this place to anyone who wants a unique experience for free www.igougo.com, Smithtown, NY
Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
Address: 288 Goose St, Fly Creek, NY 13337, United States
Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm
Contact: +1 607-547-9692
Website: Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
4. Attend the Glimmerglass Festival and enjoy amazing music
The Glimmerglass Festival happens annually at the Alice Busch Opera Theatre on Otsego Lake. The festival consists of mostly opera performances; indeed, the event was once known as the Glimmerglass Opera. The festival happens every summer, showcasing over 40 performances that are mainly co-produced by the New York City Opera.
The Alice Busch Opera Theatre was opened to the public in June 1987 and consists of a 914-seat theatre. It is also known for being the first opera house built in America since 1966. Before the theatre was built, performances were held at the Cooperstown High School auditorium, but many unfavourable factors made performances less than perfect. The building is also designed with natural ventilation, without the use of mechanical heating and cooling, for environmental purposes. The Glimmerglass Festival is the largest opera festival in the United States.
In 2016, the festival will consist of acts featuring Puccini’s “La Bohème”, Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd”, Rossini’s “La gazza ladra”, and more. There are also many attractions such as museums, galleries, and restaurants available around the area.
Address: 18 Chestnut Street
Price: Ticket prices vary according to dates and performances; the full list is available on their website
Website: Glimmerglass Festival
5. Go caving at the Howe Caverns
Howe Caverns is a popular tourist attraction that attracts of all kinds of adventurers and cave-goers. They offer cave activities without the use of advance equipment or training. It is also the second-most visited natural attraction in the USA, after Niagara Falls. The cave has a constant temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) all year round.
Howe Caverns was named after Lester Howe, the man who found the cave. He discovered the cave in May 1842 after noticing that his cows always gathered near the bushes at the bottom of the hill. He decided to investigate, finding the cave. Along with his neighbour, Henry Wetsel, he dug out the land to explore the cave further. In 1843, the cave hosted public tours. Eventually, as its popularity grew, a hotel was built over the entrance. The cave was then closed until the late 1920s, when an organisation was formed to reopen it. They also created an alternate route into the cave, building elevators, brick walkways, and handrails, as well as adding lighting.
Today, the cave hosts tours where visitors will explore the majority of the cave, including the Lake of Venus. There is also the two-hour long Signature Rock Discovery Tour where visitors will be taken to a section of the cave that is not open to the public. They will be equipped in appropriate attire as they explore the muddy area that has no artificial lighting. They can also see the remains of Howe’s original tourist boat, that has the signatures of cavern adventurers from more than 100 years ago.
The cave even hosts weddings too! Ceremonies are held on top of a heart-shaped calcite formation in the cave. How romantic!
Address: 255 Discovery Dr, Howes Cave, NY 12092, United States
Price: from 25 USD
Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm
Contact: +1 518-296-8900
Website: Howe Caverns
6. Enjoy scenic views at one of America’s finest houses, Hyde Hall
Hyde Hall is a neoclassical country mansion from 1834, located on Otsego Lake within Glimmerglass State Park. It is also near Hyde Hall Bridge. It was built for George Clarke, who was a wealthy landowner at that time. It was the largest private home in the United States, and it combined architectural traditions from both England and America. Hyde Hall is listed as a New York State Historic Site and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. In 1964, an organisation called The Friends of Hyde Hall was formed to help preserve the house for public use, as it was close to facing demolition and no funds were received to maintain the structure.
Today, Hyde Hall hosts mansion tours and events regularly, where visitors of all ages are welcomed to this historical mansion filled with a brilliant collection of furniture, paintings, and decorative arts. They also have concerts, plays, and lectures happening all year round.
Address: 267 Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown, NY 13326
Opening Hours (Office): 9 am - 5 pm. Closed on weekends
Mansion Tour Hours: 10 am - 3 pm (on the hour - daily, until October 31, 2018)
Contact: (607) 547-5098
Website: Hyde Hall
7. Cooperstown Dream Park
Welcome to the Disneyland of Baseball. Cooperstown Dream Park is a family baseball park where weekly baseball youth tournaments are held in the summer for children ages 12 and under. For 13 weeks from June to August, teams can sign up to play in the tournaments and stay on site at the campgrounds. This is also a good opportunity for your child to meet fellow baseball lovers from around the country, trade pins and hit home runs at this legendary location. All Cooperstown Dream Park’s participants will also receive the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame ring, just like the players in the major leagues.
This is what dreams are made of; this will be an experience to treasure for a lifetime. Fulfill your child’s baseball dreams of playing in a place so significant in the history of baseball; where so many legends were born. Even if your child is not playing in the tournament, it is well worth a visit to watch the talented kids light up the field with their excitement, especially if you are a fan of baseball.
Do note that there is a minimum team requirement of 11 players and 2 coaches should you wish to register a team for the tournament.
Cooperstown Dream Park
Address: 4550 State Highway 28, Milford, New York 13807
Price: from 895 USD, per player/coach; Admission for spectators is free.
Opening Hours: 8am - 6.30pm
Website: Cooperstown Dream Park
8. Cooperstown's Main Street
Cooperstown’s Main Street may be only 2 blocks long, but it captures the essence of this pristine village. Take a leisurely stroll down the tree-lined avenue and browse the many shops selling a range of interesting baseball memorabilia. For example at Seventh Inning Stretch, one can find baseball caps from different eras and baseball apparels. At Cooperstown Bat Company, you can learn how baseball bats are made and even order a custom-made personalized engraved bat. If you’re not a big baseball fan, Main Street offers a host of other shops and restaurants to suit your shopping and dining needs.
In October this year, Main Street Cooptoberfest, formerly known as Cooperstown Field Day, is an event not to be missed. It is a day to celebrate New York’s food and beverages, community, history and art. Family friendly activities and games begin from 10 am and in the evening: the inaugural Cooperstown on Tap event will feature sampling of New York craft beers and ciders. Enjoy a day of festivities, live music and good food on Main Street from Pioneer to Fair Street on 8 October 2016 (Saturday).
Fun fact: The only traffic light in the village is located here!
Seventh Inning Stretch
Address: 137 Main Street, Cooperstown, New York 13326
Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm daily.
Website: Seventh Inning Stretch
Cooperstown Bat Company
Address: 118 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326
Opening Hours: June to Aug Open Daily: 9am-9pm. Sep to Dec Monday - Friday, Sunday: 9am-5pm Saturday: 10am-6pm
Website: Cooperstown Bat Company
9. Otsego Lake
The Otsego Lake is perhaps one of Cooperstown most scenic place. A short walk from Main Street brings you to Lakefront Park with a lovely view of the clear glistening waters of the lake. It is no wonder that author James Fenimore Cooper, also the founder of Cooperstown, aptly named the lake Glimmerglass in his book – Leatherstocking Tales. One good way to appreciate all the beauty of Otsego Lake is to go on a 1 hour narrated tour on the Glimmerglass Queen Tour Boat. The lake also offers numerous recreational opportunities like pleasure boating, fishing and swimming. With the mountains in the background, blue skies surrounding you and the wide-open lake spread out before your eyes; you will fall deeper in love with Cooperstown.
Glimmer Glass Queen Tour Boat
Address: 10 Fair St, Cooperstown, NY 13326-1008
Price: from 16 USD (10 USD for children)
Duration: 1 hour.
Website: Glimmer Glass Queen Tour Boat
10. Glimmerglass State Park
Every season reveals different treasures in Cooperstown and there’s no better place than Glimmerglass State Park to witness its full beauty. Frolick in the calm waters by the beach in the summer, listen to the lilting melodies of songbirds in spring or admire fall’s masterful hand in painting the leaves hues of fiery reds, oranges and gold. Come winter, the land is blanketed with soft snow and visitors can go tubing, ice-skating, snowmobiling, ice fishing, among other activities.
If you are keen on exploring the surroundings, take the Sleeping Lion hiking loop trail which will lead you uphill through the majestic white pine trees and hardwoods and offers a panoramic view of Otsego Lake at the top. The trail is about 2.5 miles (4km) long.
Camping within the State Park grounds is available on a reservation basis from May to September. All campsites have everything you need for the perfect camping experience - picnic tables, grills, and fire rings. Warm showers are also available, making this the perfect idyllic location for a vacation surrounded by lush nature.
Glimmerglass State Park
Address: 1527 County Highway 31, Cooperstown, NY 13326
Price: Vehicle Entrance Fee: 7 USD (Cars)
Opening Hours: Open Year Round
Contact: (607) 547-8662
Website: Glimmerglass State Park
More than what meets the eye
America’s most perfect village has so much more to offer than just baseball-related activities. Cooperstown accommodations are also known for their perfect blend of historic designs and modern amenities. You can also make your way to the streets of Cooperstown village, where restaurants, cafes, and bars are waiting for you. Enjoy the charming and interesting Cooperstown on your next visit to New York.
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