Travel: The Other Cooperstown

When one mentions the town of Cooperstown, New York, it is likely that one thing comes to mind… baseball. That’s fair, considering that Cooperstown has been home to the world-famous National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum since 1939. Thousands of visitors flock to the small town nestled between the Adirondacks and the Catskills in central New York each year for the sole purpose of visiting the museum and getting a taste of baseball history. But those visitors may be surprised to find a lot more to do than just baseball in Cooperstown.

Cooperstown is set along a 9-mile stretch of Otsego Lake, allowing visitors to take boat tours, fish, swim, or picnic along its shores. Hiking also abounds, this is the Catskills, after all, and horseback riding or scenic drives along the mountains are an easy way to spend a day in the region.

And museums that celebrate art rather than the art of baseball are also plenty in Cooperstown. The Fenimore Art Museum takes it name for celebrated novelist James Fenimore Cooper, author of “The Last of the Mohicans.” The museum is built on the grounds of Cooper’s home and houses one of the nation’s largest collections of American folk art, including works by Grandma Moses, as well as 800-plus pieces of Native American art. The Farmers Museum, just across the street from the art museum, is a great family attraction, especially in the summertime, when it is home to The County Fair.

During July and August, musical productions and operas play out lakeside at the Alice Busch Opera Theater. And opportunities to dine on fine cuisine as well as traditional diner fare are also evident in the village.

Whether a trip to Cooperstown comes with a visit to that infamous museum or not, visitors will find plenty of ways to hit a homerun with or without baseball playing into their plans.

— by Molly Fellin Spence

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