Fall Getaways 2009
The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, the nights are getting longer — it’s the ideal time to hit the road. Check out our local action-packed fall foliage routes or opt for a weekend getaway just a little farther from home
The Otesaga, located upstate in Cooperstown, offers beautiful surroundings and 135 recently refurbished rooms. The resort is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year
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Otesaga Resort, Cooperstown
Old-world charm awaits
By Jennifer Leba
New York has the Plaza, Paris has the Ritz, the Hudson Valley is home to the grand old Mohonk Mountain House — and upstate New York? Well, luckily there is the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown. Perched on the southern shore of Lake Otsego in this genteel old town, this three-story brick masterpiece with its telltale cupola — which could easily be mistaken as the centerpiece of a New England college — is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.
But it’s almost as though time has stood still. Well, yes, the rooms have been updated — there are currently 135 newly decorated rooms or suites that would make Martha Stewart proud. But the same quiet, old-world charm can still be found in every corner of the resort.
Besides offering spectacular views of Lake Otsego, the Otesaga in Cooperstown provides guests with five-course dinners, tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course
When you first pull up to the Federal-style structure you can’t help but be awed by the grand front portico, complete with massive 30-foot columns. But from here, you can’t even see the real draw. And that, my friends, is the lakefront. So, the thing to do is to parade yourself through this grand old lobby and right out to the curved porch at the back where you can sit in an old-fashioned rocker, iced tea in hand, and gaze out over the perfectly coiffed lawn, the heated swimming pool, and out to the oh-so-pretty lake.
Here, life remains slow-paced and the kind of place where old college pals meet up for big anniversaries. Well-dressed men and women still spend the morning playing tennis or golfing at the famous 72-par Leatherstocking Golf Course (**** ½ stars by Golf Digest) and then happily don dinner jackets and finery to head to the Main Dining Room where piano music accompanies the day’s final meal. Of course, there may well have been a quick stop at the Lobby Bar for a cocktail. Although it’s rare, one almost expects to see the ladies in their finest millinery. And the famous Sunday brunch? As magnificent as to be expected.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The holiest of American sports sanctuaries, the Hall of Fame isn’t just where the game’s most legendary players are enshrined — it’s a tribute to baseball itself, with an ever-changing mix of exhibits. From Sept. 26-27, the museum hosts Vintage Baseball Weekend, an in-depth look at how the game was played in the 19th century. The following weekend (Oct. 2-4) brings the Baseball Film Festival, a cinematic study of America’s pastime.
Fenimore Art Museum
The museum, located on the former property of celebrated novelist James Fenimore Cooper, is known for its American folk art, Native American art, and 19th-century works. Its current exhibitions include America’s Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900, a look at 19th-century American artists’ depictions of the Eternal City, and Bits of Home, a display of selections from the museum’s extensive artifact collection.
Located 30 miles east of Cooperstown, this underground attraction is worth the drive, especially if you have kids in tow. Visitors take an 80-minute walking tour and boat ride through the cave’s unique formations. There’s also a museum, gift shop, and water sluice for gemstone mining.
Howes Cave; 518-296-8900
This hip, Belgian-style brewery offers daily tours and free tastings of their five award-winning ales. Ommefest, a festival featuring local beers, foods, and crafts, takes place Sept. 12. On Oct. 10, the brewery throws itself a birthday bash. With a tagline like “Waffles and puppets and beer — oh my!” the event promises to be equal parts wacky and jovial.
» Next stop: Inn at Millrace Pond, Hope, NJ