By Kim Taylor
Cooperstown is a scenic three to four-hour drive from downtown Manhattan, and well worth the trek due to rolling hills, expansive swaths of farm country, and jaw-dropping panoramas. Mostly known for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, this destination in rich in other cultural offerings as well. Once home to author James Fenimore Cooper, the town was founded by his father, William Cooper, in 1786. This lovely historic town is deeply wooded, abuts the enormous Lake Otesego, and is rife with entertainment. You can visit the Fenimore Art Museum and its American Indian Wing, the Farmer’s Museum with an outdoor rural life museum, shop in the quaint downtown area of Cooperstown and ride the town’s trolley. The Glimmerglass Opera’s summer festival is also in full swing, there is a Dinosaur museum in the area, and downtown Cooperstown is home to Doubleday Field, our nation’s first baseball field. The Baseball Hall of Fame, which showcases our American batting legends, certainly warrants a visit if you have little league players to inspire. Restaurants, historic homes, a wax museum, secret caverns, specialty shops and a French bakery are all part of downtown Cooperstown’s draw.
A trip to Cooperstown wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Otesaga Resort Hotel, a sprawling, elegant estate on Lake Otsego located within a few blocks of downtown Cooperstown. This Grand Dame of a hotel has been anticipating and providing for a guest’s every comfort since 1909 with flawless service and more amenities than can be imagined. Spacious suites, well-appointed with fine artwork and antiques, are stocked with fluffy robes, a box of chocolates, premium movies and cable offerings, a condensed version of the day’s New York Times, wireless Internet access, Otesaga-brand wine, and “pillow chocolates” delivered nightly along with a written bedtime poem. The Otesaga also offers a heated outdoor pool to delight children and adults alike, as well as the renowned championship Leatherstocking golf course, which overlooks the town’s scenic lake. The stately elegance and architecture of this friendly, comfortable estate are relaxing all around. Children roam the beautiful grounds, and can play board games or the piano in the expansive lobby if the weather is inclement. Rocking chairs line the back of the hotel and overlook the lake, and each candlelit meal is truly an event. The Otesaga has two restaurants, a outdoor patio cafe and an informal bar. Whether serving buffet style or menu, the food is decidedly gourmet, though children will find meals to suit their tastes too. Babysitting is available at a nominal charge, as well as box lunches for lakeside picnics, croquet, fishing, tennis, and canoeing. The concierge can tell you about walking tours and museum hours. The Clark Sports Center nearby is also available to Otesaga guests for a fee, offering squash, racquetball, and adventure climbing. Otesaga is an American Indian word that means “a place of meeting,” and this spectacular resort has rendered it an unforgettable place to meet as well. For more information or reservations, call 1-607-547-9931 or 1-800-348-6222, or visit www.otesaga.com and www.otesaga.com/reservations/rates.shtml