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Sunday, July 17, 2011

City Sunday: Cooperstown, NY

Thinking about going on a vacation at some point during this summer? Possibly with the family?

Why not take a trip up to:
Cooperstown, New York

The birth place and hometown of yours truly. With a population of less than 2,000 people (nope, that's not a typo. It really has under 2,000 residents), this little town is, as the locals say, "a drinking town with a baseball problem."
If you're ever in town, definitely stop by
the Doubleday Cafe (a staple from my
Of course, you can get a t-shirt from Doubleday Cafe, which only cost around $20.

Home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and argued to be the birthplace of the game itself, this little town is located in Upstate New York, in the middle of the country side, surrounded by other small towns just like itself. In the summer time, it is busy as heck (as it IS a tourist town), and in the winter you will find all of the locals out and about on the snow-covered roads and sidewalks.

So, what is there to do in this ho bunk, little redneck town? A good few things, and a good few restaurants, are all within driving distance of the town, or even in town itself. Here are just a few of the activities and restaurants that you can do:

-Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
  Obviously, while visiting the place where Abner Doubleday is argued to have started the game, you must visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. It's a family friendly atmosphere, and even has a room where the history of the Women's Baseball League is placed. It is interesting, educational, and is fun for everyone in the family.

-Take a dip in Otsego Lake
Cooperstown is located on what is called Otsego Lake. 9 miles long, the lake has Glimmerglass Opera on the western shore of the lake, Council Rock at the mouth of the Susquehanna River, and Glimmerglass State Park on the northeastern shore. Named by the Native Americans that inhabited the area before settlement, Glimmerglass was given its name because, when the lake sits still, the sun shines off the surface as if the water were glass. Hence, the name. Also referred to in many of James Fenimore Cooper's novels (The Last of the Mohicans is based on the area), you can swim, fish, boat, tube, or kayak on the lake. Something the whole family can enjoy. 

   Yes, that's right. There is a small town within 5 minutes of Main Street, Cooperstown called Fly Creek. Again, named by the Native Americans that inhabited the area, Fly Creek is home to a water-powered mill that grows apples, and presses its own cider. It is EXTREMELY tasty. Think Simply Apple juice, only a little cloudier, and you've got what this cider is. You can walk through the mill and see how the press works, feed ducks or chickens next to the pond out back, shop around the gift shop, or enjoy one of the many delicious treats that are offered by the mill (including free samples locally made cheese and the fresh pressed cider). Definitely something the entire family will enjoy.

And now, for the 2 restaurants I think are must visits while in this little town. And when I say must, I mean MUST. They're always on my list of "go to's" when I'm back in my hometown.

Schneider's Bakery
It's not a huge restaurant, or a restaurant at all if you think about it, but this little bakery makes these old-fashioned cake donuts that are to DIE for. Not to mention the dozen or so cookie types that they have, fresh rolls and cakes that you can special order, and chili and soup that they serve at lunch time. They also have day-old donuts and breads that they sell at half price, and are still just as good. You know it's fresh, because the whole town will smell of donuts every morning around 6. Stop by when you're in town. You won't be disappointed.

That sign lights up, and was hilarious to me as a little kid.
Anyone who lives within 2 counties of Otsego County will tell you that the best place to get barbeque in Upstate New York is most definitely this place. Though it's located in the "city" (I say this because it is just under 10,000 people IF that many) of Oneonta (about a 20 minute drive from Cooperstown, and means "City of the Hills". Named by, you guessed it: the Native Americans that inhabited the area), people come near and far to enjoy the chicken, ribs, pulled pork, and fresh bread that this restaurant offers. I usually had my birthday dinners here when I was growing up, and my family and I have to make a pit stop here whenever we are in town. You can smell the chicken cooking from the interstate that just happens to drive right behind the restaurant (SOOOOOO torturous). This is definitely a restaurant that is worth the extra mileage to try.

So next time you're in the Upstate New York area, just west of the Catskills and south of the Adirondack Mountains, stop by Cooperstown and see that small town Americana still exists (and don't forget the cloths pins, for there are farms EVERYWHERE).

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