Road Trip! Destination: Cooperstown, N.Y.
Cooperstown is not the easiest place to get to, but is worth the effort.
Nowhere near an interstate highway, a visit to Cooperstown requires winding through farm-lined roads of New York state. It is not difficult, but the trip can feel longer than it is.
Besides being the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the village of about 2,000 is a charming town sitting alongside Otsego Lake, which offers a resortlike atmosphere.
The town bears the name of William Cooper, who purchased 10,000 acres in 1785. He was the father of novelist James Fenimore Cooper, creator of “The Last of the Mohicans” and the other novels of the books known as the Leatherstocking Tales.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.
Give yourself plenty of time at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Like a day. Or a weekend. The museum has 38,000 artifacts spread over three floors. Of course, the Plaque Gallery of the 295 Hall of Fame honorees probably is the jewel of the venue, but images and interactive displays bring the game and its history to life.
If you are looking to spend a weekend at the hall of fame, consider the days surrounding May 24 when the Hall of Fame Classic will be played on the cozy ballfield at the site. That ballfield is so cute, it makes PNC Park look like a sterile, multiuse stadium.
Details: 888-425-5633 or www.baseballhall.org
Another kind of big hit
The Glimmerglass Festival is a world-class presentation of opera and musical theater each summer on the shores of Lake Otsego, better known as Glimmerglass in the James Fenimore Cooper books.
The Alice Busch Opera Theater is the home of the productions, which, this year, begin July 11 with Giacomo Puccini's “Madame Butterfly.” The next day sees the opening of “Carousel” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
Besides music, Glimmerglass also features master classes such as one Aug. 8 with singer Jessye Norman and a talk July 19 by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Details: 607-547-0700 or www.glimmerglass.org
Planting an idea
Farming is the heart of central New York.
The Farmers' Museum provides a look at the work in the fields and how it develops homesteads and villages.
Founded in 1943, the museum has a working farm, a re-created historic village and a stone barn that is on the National Register for Historic Places. It even has the Empire State Carousel, which has 25 hand-carved stations representing various features of the state. There are 23,000 items on display, ranging from butter churns to carriages.
Details: 607-547-1450 or www.farmersmuseum.org
A good place to Hyde
Whether your interests are architecture, decoration or ghosts, Hyde Hall along Otsego Lake might be too tempting to pass up.
Completed in 1834, Hyde Hall is one of the finest examples of neoclassic mansions in the United States and is a reminder of when powerful English families had huge estates in their former colonies.
It was built by George Clarke (1768-1835) whose family had amassed 120,000 acres in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys.
The hall has lured some other-worldly visitors as well as tourists. Tales of a widow's curse, mysterious deaths and secret tunnels are examined in evening programs in the spooky times around Halloween.
Details: 607-547-5098 or www.hydehall.org
It could get you hoppin'
The crew at Ommegang Brewery just south of Cooperstown have brewed up a problem.
They are having a hard time keeping up with demand for the Belgian-style ales, which are sold in 43 states. Founded in 1997 on a hop farm, the brewery bottles six Old World-like ales from its highly hoppy Belgian-style Pale Ale to its richer Three Philosophers.
Besides tours and tastings every day, the site also is the home of a cafe. Every summer, it has a “Belgium Comes to Cooperstown” event with four hours of unlimited tastings of its beer and other brews.
Details: 607-544-1800 or www.ommegang.com
An artistic look at history
The Fenimore Art Museum has its genesis in the New York State Historical Association's desire to tell the story of the early days of the state.
Stephen Carlton Clark, from the family involved in the Singer Sewing Machine Co., shared that interest and, in 1939, offered the association a home — the Fenimore House — in Cooperstown. The house also became the home of Clark's collection of American masters, featuring the work of the likes of Benjamin West and Gilbert Stuart.
It has added the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art to go along with its collection of national and regional artists and American folk art.
It also has a great collection of the belongings of novelist James Fenimore Cooper, the town's most famous son, and 120,000 works by amateur and professional photographers of the 19th century.
Details: 607-547-1400 or www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
A mill town, too
The Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard uses water as more than simply an ingredient.
The 157-year-old cider- and food-production site is powered by the water-driven mill on Fly Creek a short ways outside of Cooperstown.
Besides touring the production area, visitors can stop by the market place, which offers 40 kinds of foods, including fudge, cheese, salsa, wines and ciders, some hard.
The mill also offers a collection of vintage John Deere equipment and sponsors a variety of activities throughout the year. The Cider Run 5K and 10K are coming up April 26, for instance, but don't forget about Grilling 101 the weekend of May 24, the Engine Show and Tent Sale the weekend of Aug. 23, or the CiderFest, Oct. 11 and 12.
Details: 800-505-6455 or www.flycreekcidermill.com.