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Play ball! A guide to Cooperstown, New York

Shayla Martin is a freelance writer specializing in travel, food, arts and culture. She is the founder of YourLandMyLand, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to exploring the people, cultures and landscapes that make up the United Stat...

Discovering "America's Most Perfect Village"

Baseball fans, rejoice! The next season of America's favorite pastime kicks off on March 31, so why not visit the town where the sport was created?
Otesaga Resort Hotel

Cooperstown may be known to most as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but many who make the journey to "America's Most Perfect Village" discover a land rich in art, natural beauty and American tradition.

Where to stay

The Otesaga Resort Hotel is the grande dame of Cooperstown village. A member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Otesaga will celebrate its 104th season this spring as the premier resort in upstate New York. Occupying 700 feet of lakefront on the southern shore of Lake Otsego, The Otesaga is a magnificent, Federal-style resort with a front portico supported by massive 30-foot columns. Everything about the Otesaga calls to mind an era of style and grace, from the jacket-required, formal main dining room, to the white rocking chairs on the hotel's veranda overlooking the lake.

For travelers looking for a more intimate lodging experience, the 15-room Cooper Inn is the perfect alternative. Located steps from Main Street, the elegant inn features an original spiral staircase, period fireplaces and cozy guestrooms. Guests of the Cooper Inn are also invited to use the recreation options at The Otesaga, including golf, tennis, and swimming in the heated outdoor pool.

What to do

Welcome to the baseball mecca. One of the best-known sports shrines in the world, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a living collection of the game's treasures, as well as a symbol of the most profound honors bestowed on an athlete. The museum’s collections contain more than 35,000 three-dimensional artifacts including bats, baseballs, uniforms, player equipment, ballpark artifacts, awards, artwork, textiles, tickets, collectibles and assorted memorabilia.

Fenimore Art Museum
Fenimore Art Museum

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum may initially draw tourists to Cooperstown, but it's the town's other attractions that make it hard to leave. The Fenimore Art Museum is an unassuming world-class, fine art museum that features a wide-ranging collection of American folk art; American 18th- and 19th-century landscape, genre, and portrait paintings; domestic artifacts; more than 125,000 historical photographs and the renowned Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art.

Families also love The Farmers' Museum, a re-created 19th century village and working farmstead that gives visitors the opportunity to experience historic rural and village life first-hand through authentic demonstrations and interactive exhibits. Finally, make sure to stop by the Ommegang Brewery for a tour and tasting of a wide variety of Belgian beers.

The Farmers' Museum
The Farmers' Museum

Where to eat

Guests of the Otesaga Resort Hotel dine using an "American Plan," which includes breakfast and dinner at the resort's restaurants as a part of their reservation. That said, both the formal Main Dining Room and the more informal Hawkeye Bar & Grill are open to the public and offer gourmet cuisine that highlights the bounty of the region. The five-course dinner menu at the Main Dining Room changes daily, while the Hawkeye Bar & Grill operates with a seasonal menu. On Main Street, Alex & Ika offers innovative cuisine unheard of for a small town restaurant, with menu items including Thai coconut curried clams and honey cider cherry pork tenderloin.

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