Cooperstown, New York is tucked away in the Mohawk Valley Region and sits on the edges of Lake Otsego. This is the perfect road trip destination, as it is a short 3 1/2 hour drive from NYC, 4 1/2 hours from Philly and 5 1/2 hours from Metro Baltimore. The drive is really easy, and you are surrounded by beautiful mountains, as you make your way through New York state.
Those who make the trip are inspired during a journey filled with rolling hills, breathtaking views and sparkling lakes, then rewarded with authentic small-town America.
I was recently hosted in Cooperstown to see how this charming town is handling reopening after a lengthy shut-down.
Cooperstown, NY: Luxury and Americana
When you think of Cooperstown I am sure you instantly think of baseball, and sure, that is a very prominent part, but it’s not all there is. Did you know that Cooperstown was home to America’s first known novelist, James Fenimore Cooper? With fine dining, quaint shops, museums and a luxury lake front resort this is the perfect road trip destination.
Where to Stay in Cooperstown
If you are in Cooperstown you must stay at The Otesaga Resort Hotel! Situated directly on Lake Otsego, this luxury resort offers accommodations in the heart of Cooperstown. The Otesaga exudes the charm and gracious hospitality of a bygone era, while also providing modern amenities.
During my stay they had just reopened, and have paired down their amenities so they can safely and slowly open back up. It didn’t take away from my experience at all. If you are traveling right now you need to be open minded and know that resorts are not fully operational.
When you check-in, there is plexi-glass between you and the reception area. Be sure to wear your mask inside, as they are required in all public areas inside the resort. Check-in is very fast, they screen your temperature and have you fill out a general health form, you are also given a bag with waters, and hand sanitizer.
I was in a beautiful Lake Suite, and it is perfect for couples or families. The suite is framed with large windows overlooking the stunning lake. These suites are well appointed and offer a King bedroom, a full bathroom, a parlor with a full sized pull out sofa, 2 closets, and 2 televisions. There is also a safe in the closet as well as bath robes for your use.
Right now due to the ongoing health situation your room will be cleaned and then sealed, nobody will enter your room once it is sealed. Also, there are no extras in the rooms such as coffee maker, or telephone. This is all to keep things at a minimum in the room. If you would like clean towels during your stay you can get them at the front desk. Remember, these are not permanent changes!
I cannot wait to return to The Otesaga when it is fully operational to enjoy the spa, the outdoor pool and the lake! It really is a stunning resort, and reminds you of an era long gone.
Where To Dine In cooperstown
The Hawkeye Bar and Grill- Located in The Otesaga Resort this casual restaurant offers lunch and dinner. If you would like to visit for dinner be sure to call and make a reservation. You do not need to be a resort guest to dine here. If you do not want to eat in the restaurant you can also order your meal to-go and they will bring it directly to your car.
Dinner was absolutely amazing! It began with a gorgeous lake front table on the patio, and ended with a perfect creme brulee’. The house sangria was one of the best I have ever had. I wished I had asked the bartender what was in it.
I also enjoyed breakfast here before exploring Cooperstown for the day. When you are a resort guest, daily breakfast is included and there is a large variety of options from pancakes to omelettes.
Mels at 22- Located a short walk from The Otesaga, in the heart of Cooperstown, Mels offers lunch and dinner daily. I forgot to make a reservation so I actually got carry out and enjoyed it at the resort. The Asian Pork Belly over Tater Tots is a recipe I want to create at home, it is a sweet and salty plate of perfection. My entree’ was the Lobster Rissotto and it was absolutely divine, topped with 4 large scallops it paired well with my white wine.
Tip– Due to capacity limitations, you will need reservations for most dining in the village for dinner.
What To Do In Cooperstown
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum- If you love baseball, like I do, this MUST BE on your bucket list. This non-profit museum has preserved America’s Pastime, and recognizes all who have contributed to the love of the game. You can spend an entire day reading all of the archives and seeing the amazing memorabilia. The tour of the museum is self guided, so take all the time you need.
If you want to dig a little deeper, you can get a private tour for up to four people. Participants will enjoy a private tour focused on their favorite team. During this time they will be able to ask questions with their guide, and learn more about their team, the all-time greats and the history of baseball.
If you are visiting in 2020 you will need to reserve tickets in advance as there are staggered arrival times so the museum stays under capacity, and allows for social distancing. With the museum being indoors there are many safety protocols in place, so that you can still enjoy. You must wear a mask inside at all times, follow the arrows on the ground to keep distance between parties, use a stylus (given at entrance) for any touch screen exhibits, and sanitize hands frequently.
Doubleday Field – In the center of this small village is the place widely recognized as the birthplace of America’s pastime, Doubleday Field. In 1839 Abner Doubleday reportedly used Phinney’s field for the first baseball game, and the rest is history!
In 1939, as part of the dedication of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, current and former major league players representing the 16 clubs played a ballgame at Doubleday Field, captained by Honus Wagner and Eddie Collins.
The next year, major league team owners agreed to send two teams each summer to Cooperstown to play a benefit game. It was the beginning of an annual tradition that stretched out through the decades. Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and many other greats came to Cooperstown to play in the game and honor those being inducted into the Hall. That’s a lot of baseball history in one amazing place!
Fly Creek Cider Mill- Located 3 miles outside of Cooperstown the historic cider mill is a must visit. This water-powered cider mill on the banks of Fly Creek has been pressing fresh, sweet cider for 163 years. Tour the Mill’s Learning Center and Cider Gallery to experience how cider is made the old-fashioned way with interactive exhibits, videos and live in-season demonstrations. The marketplace shop has everything from sauces, to jams, and all kinds of tasty snacks. When you finish inside the market, head out to the snack bar and enjoy a frozen cider slush or a hot apple cider donut.
Brewery Ommegang- While tours and tastings are currently on hold, you can still stop by and pick up fantastic craft brews from this local brewery. When we aren’t in national health crisis, you can enjoy the radically renovated Tap House with a 20 tap bar, 10 tap tasting room, café and kitchen, covered patio and expanded store. Currently you can enjoy the tap house patio, and there is a food truck available. I was lucky enough to find some amazing brews waiting for me in my hotel, I absolutely loved the Rose Cider and the Solera Golden Ale. I cannot wait to go back and try more of their brews!
I feel as though I barely scratched the surface during my two nights in Cooperstown and look forward to going back so I can explore more of this fascinating small town in Upstate NY. They have done a fantastic job of reopening the village and surrounding areas to not only visitors, but locals, and are ready to get back to business.