Cooperstown, New York: taking you away from the ballgame

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Looking past the blinding baseball aura of Cooperstown, New York reveals a destination rich in more than just America’s pastime. If you’ve ever ventured to Cooperstown, you’ve probably toured the National Baseball Hall of Fame or watched a game at Doubleday Field. But don’t get stuck thinking baseball’s the only thing Cooperstown has to offer. While the baseball fanatics in your family might be content watching game after game or ducking in-and-out of Main Street’s smorgasbord of baseball memorabilia stores, I’ve discovered the many non-baseball treasures Cooperstown has to offer.

Relax at Glimmerglass State Park

Enjoy taking in the serene scenery at Glimmerglass State Park. You can spend a day at the beach on Otsego Lake, nicknamed Glimmerglass by James Fenimore Cooper in his various Leatherstocking Tales for its exceptionally smooth surface.  The calmness of the lake provides a safe spot for kids to swim without parents having to worry about crashing waves. Apart from the beach the park also offers trails for hikes, picnic tables for lunch, and the Hyde Hall mansion. Glimmerglass offers a great place to get away from the hectic atmosphere of the town and enjoy a day on the lake.

Explore the Farmer’s Museum

The Farmer’s Museum allows visitors to travel back in time and explore a working town, similar to those in the mid-1800s. The museum provides a unique experience for families to see how life in upstate New York used to be. Each time I visit the Farmer’s Museum I find something new to explore; whether it’s watching the blacksmith make new horseshoes, listening to the apothecary’s new remedy, or touring the quaint but beautiful chapel.

An all-time favorite of many museum guests is the Empire State Carousel, a recent addition, which was, carefully hand crafted over a 20-year period by various New York state artisans. Your kids will enjoy receiving wooden tokens to use as their admission for a ride on the carousel. Once you’ve explored the town, pet some farm animals, and played checkers at Bump Tavern, stop by Todd’s General Store for a box of their delicious soft peppermint candy sticks.

Hike Natty Bumppo’s Cave

One of my favorite hidden spots in the Cooperstown area is Natty Bumppo’s Cave. A favorite childhood destination of James Fenimore Cooper, the cave is tucked into the mountainside running along the east side of Otsego Lake. The hike begins right outside the village off County Road 31 and winds its way up to Natty Bumppo’s Cave.

The hike isn’t long but can be steep and somewhat treacherous, which only adds to the adventure of the climb. The climb’s well worth it though for once you arrive at the cave you will enjoy a 360 birds eye view of the entire valley, truly a breathtaking sight.

For some other fun ideas check out the Fenimore Art museum, Smithy-Pioneer Gallery, Brewery Ommegang, or enjoy lunch on the back porch of the Otesaga Hotel.

Image by Susie B from


Lilly Tillapaugh is an intern at Mom Central Consulting.

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