Any fan of baseball has heard the name “Cooperstown.” But they may not know of its reputation as being America’s Perfect Village. This upper state New York retreat is home to peaceful views of Lake Otsego, lush New England Foliage, and a quaint small town appearance. Despite having been founded in 1786, the village has retained much of its original charm. Visitors can look forward to many interesting landmarks, as well as plenty of opportunities for their favorite outdoor recreational activities.
Birthplace of Baseball
Our country has entrenched the game of baseball in our spirits that sometimes it feels as if it has always existed. However, the exact story of how baseball came to be remains disputed. One thing that most historians and fans of the game can agree on is that Cooperstown is the birthplace of our favorite pastime.
Whether you plan on catching a game, participating in the annual youth tournament at Dreams Park, or simply want to spend the day at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, baseball is everywhere here.
Doubleday Field, named for Abner Doubleday, the celebrated general and oft-praised inventor of baseball (despite historians proving this wrong) is home to Cooperstown’s minor league. This stadium is a popular choice for many athletic groups. And chances are someone is battling it out on this classic grass field during your visit. Local amateur leagues, the American Legion leagues, and the Cooperstown Hawkeyes all call Doubleday Field home.
Baseball Hall of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum features an in-depth look at the sport’s past with unique exhibits, legendary jerseys, sculptures, and more. Whether you’re the type of fan who obsessively learns baseball stats or a casual fan of the game, chances are you will enjoy your day here. The Art of Baseball exhibit is especially interesting and offers a nice break from the drier traditional offerings and player biographies.
Thriving Art Centers
In addition to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, there are several other key points of interest to explore as you make your way through the arts and culture of Cooperstown. Fenimore Art Museum is among the best facilities around for American folk art, North American Indian art, and artifacts, and permanent and rotating exhibits. There are many special events, guest speakers, and other limited time engagements to enjoy.
The Farmers’ Museum
The Farmers’ Museum provides a fun and educational look at early life in New York. Guests will be able to walk through the Historic Village, a recreation of a traditional village from the 19th century. In addition, guests will get a chance to talk to reenactment actors. The Empire State Carousel is a real labor of love, having been conceived in the 1980s. It was then later introduced in 2006. Several local artists and volunteers designed this local piece of art. In addition, it draws on the local culture and history to produce a “museum you can ride.”
Lippitt Farmstead is not just an operational farm, but one that operates the way that it would have in the mid-19th century. In addition, the location features a children’s petting zoo. The main barn is where visitors can find the brunt of the more traditional museum exhibits. Also, it contains exhibits teaching the importance of agriculture and sustainability.
The Alice Busch Opera Theater
The Alice Busch Opera Theater is home to the summer annual Glimmerglass Festival. While Broadway in New York City is the go-to destination for traditional popular theater offerings, the Glimmerglass Festival is where theater aficionados can enjoy rare or even never-before-seen plays. Many of these plays have been developed with the New York Opera in the past. Most of the operas performed are in English instead of the traditional Italian. However, there are some plays offered in the native tongue of their original counterparts.
The historic downtown has been renovated several times, but it still retains its classic red brick buildings and architecture. Main Street is where visitors will find the majority of local dining, shopping, and area attractions; however, due to the small population of full-time residents, finding a grocery store may be a challenge.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of art galleries, cafes, and the Shoeless Joe’s All-Star Hall of Shame store to explore. About a block away from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, guests can find the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum. This museum depicts some of the biggest names in the history of the game and bringing them to life.
Finally, for a taste of the local farming community, the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday morning. At the market, you will find some of the best produce from 30 vendors. As you walk about, you will have access to fresh eggs, honey, milk, crafts, and much more.
Obvious, as the baseball capital of the country, the residents of Cooperstown enjoy outdoor sporting and recreational activities. Golf can be played at Leatherstocking Golf Course, featuring a challenging round overlooking the lake. Leatherstocking is also a popular local destination for weddings. The idyllic scenery is sure to be superb for any ceremony.
Tennis can be played all year round with outdoor and indoor courts at Cooperstown Tennis. This community center offers youth summer camps, training classes, afterschool programs, and Squash facilities.
Walking and hiking are popular, especially around the nearby Glimmerglass State Park. Just north of the village, this nearly 600-acre state park offers excellent opportunities for hiking trails, as well as swimming, fishing, and watching the local wildlife.
Have you visited Cooperstown before? If so we’d love to hear about your visit in the comments below. However, if you haven’t had a chance to visit this charming town, you can start planning your trip here.