Go For: History, Nature
Photo by richard walker
From White Plains: 2.5 hours
Cooperstown is the “Birthplace of Baseball,” but once you’ve toured the hotspots of America’s pastime, there’s a lot more to do in this bucolic village on the shore of Otsego Lake. After breakfast at The Cooperstown Diner, a vintage blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot with 26 seats and the village’s best early eats, indulge your inner Babe Ruth at Doubleday Field, the 19th-century stadium where the game of baseball is rumored to have begun. Spring for a hand-turned bat at Cooperstown Bat Company (the same place that makes bats for big-leaguers); immerse yourself in all things baseball at the National Baseball Hall of Fame; and don’t miss lunch at Doubleday Cafe on Main Street, with its diverse menu and TVs tuned to MLB games.
Break away from baseball at 593-acre Glimmerglass State Park (named “Glimmerglass” by The Last of the Mohicans author James Fenimore Cooper) on the northeast shore of Otsego Lake. Hyde Hall, on the park grounds, is a National Historic Landmark with a mansion and its surrounding buildings to tour, as well as a picturesque covered bridge. (In October, come for the property’s candlelight “Hyde & Shriek!” tour in hopes of stirring up spirits made famous by Ghosthunters.)
Getting thirsty? Head to Belgian-style Brewery Ommegang, where you can tour the brewing and bottling rooms and taste the latest suds seven days a week. Then, drink in some culture at Fenimore Art Museum, where the Cooper family’s home once stood. Across the street, experience 19th-century farm life at the Farmers’ Museum.
STAY: The Otesaga
Built in 1909, this grand, 132-room brick hotel maintains the air of a fine lakeside resort, from its three-story porte-cochere to the elegant ballroom with ornate moldings and a fireplace. Rocking chairs on the rear veranda invite relaxation and leaf peeping while overlooking Otsego Lake’s 4,000 acres. Rooms are a blend charming décor and modern conveniences, including free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, and bathrooms sporting rainfall showers and claw-foot tubs. But don’t linger inside: Outdoor activities include canoeing and rowing, strolling the grounds, birdwatching, and swinging a club at the Leatherstocking Golf Course, with its 18th tee built over the water. Even if you’re not staying here, drop by for dinner at the year-round Hawkeye Bar & Grill and hope it’s not too chilly to dine on the outdoor patio (don’t miss an opportunity to snag a seat at the 24-seat Fire Bar, either). From $372/night; www.otesaga.com