The Charm of Cooperstown: Baseball, History, Spirits, & Beer

When April hits, you may notice the smell of hotdogs, beer, and peanuts in the air. That means baseball season has arrived. Going to a game is a fun social outing, even if you aren’t that into the sport.

When I was growing up, I didn’t really like baseball. I thought it was slow and boring. I acquired a taste for it due to the New York Yankees while living in San Francisco, California. The irony is now I live in walking distance to Yankee Stadium.

When tourists come to Gotham they tend to make their way to Yankee Stadium to take pictures even during off season. If baseball is your thing, there’s another destination in New York that you should make your way to: Cooperstown.

You may have heard of the town, because it’s the location for The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s a must for baseball fans and history buffs. It’s well thought out with a lot of insight on America’s favorite game. It will take you a nice amount of time to see all of it so be prepared to be there a few hours. There are tour guides that can lead you through the museum which is also a fabulous way to experience it because they can add historical context to the information. We had a father and son team take us through. They are huge baseball fans and have been volunteering with the museum for year simply, because they love baseball.

When we made our way to the African-American Experience, I wasn’t ready for the emotional ride that it took me on. I pretty much cried during the whole thing. The museum has done a wonderful job with documenting what black players experienced when they first entered the league as well as the racism that was going on in the country. To give you some perspective on this,  baseball was integrated before the civil rights movement and the school system. There is a little section about the Negro League. Unfortunately, the museum has only been able to find a limited amount of photos and posters from the league.

When you get to the room for the plagues of players who has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, it will give you chills. History is covering the walls. You can feel the blood, sweat, and tears from all the players.

While the Baseball Hall of Fame is the main reason you will want to go to Cooperstown, there’s more worth checking out like the Farmer’s Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Brewery Ommegang, and Cooperstown Distillery.

I had the pleasure of staying at The Otesaga Resort Hotel. It’s a luxury hotel that has a rather genteel feel with a modern day twist. The food was buffet style and so delicious. Did I mention the big ‘ole comfy bed? Personally, I didn’t want to leave.

A few steps from the Baseball Hall of Fame is the Cooperstown Distillery Tasting Room & Lounge. They are the first and only distillery in Oswego County. The tasting room which has a nice bar where you can sit and relax with your craft cocktail. They produce a nice selection of vodka, whiskey, rum and gin. If spirits isn’t your jam and you are into to beer, stop by Ommegang Brewery. They make some great Belgian-style brew. Plus they have a huge concert space where you can chill while listening to live music and sipping beer.

I fell in love with Cooperstown. While it doesn’t have the pace of NYC, it has old school charm. Think small town like in the Hallmark movies, but with a little more spice. The architecture is absolutely stunning. People who have affluence and money live in the town, yet didn’t feel to stuffy.  It’s just people living their best lives. The town is trying to attach younger people into moving to the area. I have a feeling that one day it’s going to a town that everyone wants to live in or at least go for a visit. Play ball!


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