Five Things I Love – Cooperstown

I’m not baseball’s biggest fan. I do have fond memories of watching the Yankees on TV with my grandfather while eating salted cucumbers from Grandma’s garden. Later, when he started to lose his vision, we would listen to the action on the radio. My dad would take me to games, but I was more excited about eating than watching the players. As I got older, I lost touch with baseball. Then I met the man that would be my husband. He LOVES baseball. When we started dating, he would take me to games; I’d bring a book. I’m such a distracted spectator that my butt ended up on an ESPN highlight reel because I was turned around during a home run by Robinson Cano, right towards our section. Go figure.

For our first wedding anniversary, I thought it would be nice to do something he would love. I suggested Cooperstown. I figured he would really enjoy himself and I would enjoy watching him have have fun. Little did I know that I would have just as much fun as him. Here are the highlights of the trip:

5. The Charm

Cooperstown is a small village of about 2000 residents. It has a wonderful small-town feel. Even if you don’t like baseball, there are plenty of things to do in the area. The village is well-known for its beautiful bed-and-breakfasts, including The Inn at Cooperstown (more on that later). There is the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, where you can take a tour of the mill and sample hard ciders and apple wines. They also make fudge and have a bakery. The mill is a great place to take the family, especially young children. They’re going to love the rustic playground and the duck pond, where you can feed the water fowl. If you head over, say hi to Ruth – she’s a sweetheart.

For those of you in pursuit of more adult endeavors, there are two breweries in the area (more on one later). One of the greatest non-baseball attractions in the Alice Busch Opera Theater, home of the Glimmerglass Festival – a premier opera company. This summer’s performances include Madame Butterfly and Carousel.

4.The People

The people who work and live in Cooperstown and the surrounding areas are genuinely nice. Sue at The Inn at Cooperstown was so great. She gave us a wonderful tour of the B&B and regaled us with stories of life in and around Cooperstown. James at the Doubleday Café was funny and kept us company during our meal. According to Sue, we could “paint the town red”, so we asked James if that was actually possible. He pointed us towards the nightlife – Cooley’s Stone House Tavern and Taproom Restaurant & Bar. I even have a running joke with the wonderful lady at Where It All Began Bat Co. [Liberate your bat!]

3. The Inn at Cooperstown

There were SO many options for places to stay in Cooperstown. There are as many as 63 B&Bs and inns. I chose The Inn at Cooperstown because it was a block and a half away from the Hall of Fame, and it had a wonderful package: Ultimate Baseball Hall of Fame Getaway Package. It was a great experience to have special access to the museum and its collections as a VIP.

2. The Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum

I never thought I would have such a good time at a museum dedicated to “The National Pastime”. I realized that my love for history and information trumps my ambivalence about the topics. I loved that my hometown has a place in baseball history. It was exciting to see that there was a baseball World Tour in 1913. I really liked the ticket booth from Yankee stadium 1970s, where countless fans (maybe my family included?) purchased tickets to see their favorite team.

What I loved most about the whole experience is that it’s not just a place to celebrate the game’s greatest or stash “memorabilia”, and it’s more than just the Hall of Fame. It isa place of learning where people are committed to preserving artifacts and writings, chronicling the roots and changes in the game that make it what it is today.

1. The Food!

Sweet Heavens! I love food – good food, great food, ok food. If it’s edible, I’ll probably eat it. I surely didn’t think I would have such a culinary experience. Our first night in Cooperstown, we ate at the Doubleday Café, where the show-stoppers were the burgers (so juicy and flavorful) and the best damn bread pudding I’ve ever tasted – no raisin, no chocolate, nothing fancy – just quality bread in a great bourbon sauce and whipped cream. Mmmmm.

Nicoletta’s Italian Café has good lobster ravioli, but the real star of the meal was the pink cream sauce with fresh tomato and basil. Delicious! It was too wonderful, I’m trying my hand at it in my own kitchen this week.

 

Bonus: Ommegang Brewery

Spurred by my loved of GoT and the urgings of my boss, I surprised my husband with a beer tasting, tour, and lunch at the Belgian-style brewery just 17 minutes from Downtown Cooperstown. Our time there began with a trip to the tasting room to sample the 6 main beers, as well as cheese spreads and dips made using their beers. The Three Philosophers, my favorite, was described as a “beer-flavored beer”, since they use a raspberry Belgian beer to brew this one. The Café is the newest addition and serves far more than your typical bar fare. We split a wonderful duck, spinach, and goat cheese crepe, frites with spicy ketchup and truffle aioli. It’s a great place for lunch and there are cabs available from Cooperstown.

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