Cooperstown–Baseball Hall of Fame and Much More
As someone who does not follow, or even like baseball, I was not that excited about spending a few days in Cooperstown, New York. Sue loves baseball and as a kid dreamed of playing third base for the New York Yankees. I thought I would be bored during our Cooperstown stay and that Sue would spend hours at the Baseball Hall of Fame. I was wrong. Our Cooperstown stay was very interesting and enjoyable. In fact, I could have spent several more days in the area.
Art, Culture, History, Antiques and Breweries
There is so much more to Cooperstown than the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The Fenimore Art Museum, the wineries, Otsego Lake (aka Glimmerglass Lake), the Farmer’s Museum, the Cooperstown Distillery, Brewery Omegang, the Red Shed Brewery and the delightful Wood Bull Antiques were more than enough to keep me occupied. And, we were only able to try a few of the restaurants that piqued our interest. We also enjoyed getting to know our host Patti at the Rose and Thistle.
Here’s our guide to the top thing to do and see during your Cooperstown stay.
Top 11 Attractions in Cooperstown
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Of course, you’ll need to go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It is the top attraction in Cooperstown. And, it is very comprehensive and showcased many great baseball paraphernalia.
For the non-baseball fans like Reggie
Make sure to see the movie. It is a well documented and concise look at baseball’s best moments. The 15 min movie shows every hour on the hour. I also liked the locker room display. I’d never seen one before. The Women’s in Baseball Exhibit (Diamond Dreams) was among my favorites. The Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery was historical and paid tribute especially to those players that served in the armed forces. 60-90 minutes in the museum is probably fine for you.
For the Baseball Fan like Sue
I could have easily spent 4-5 hours in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The good thing is that you can leave the Hall of fame for lunch and come back (make sure they stamp your hand). After you see the movie, I recommend that you take the tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Plaque Gallery that takes place at 10:30 and 1:30 every day.
It was fun to search for my favorite players–Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig (yes, I am a Yankee fan). I also enjoyed the Diamond Dreams-Women in Baseball, African Americans and Baseball and Viva Baseball is about Latin American players.
Experience the Museum
The museum does a very good job of bringing you right into the experience of baseball history through audio and video presentations. I liked the history of the baseball presentation. Did you know in the 1800s version of the rule that catching a ball on the fly or a one-hop was an out? Watching Lou Gehrig’s Luckiest Man Alive speech brought tears to my eyes. I’d never heard Babe Ruth speak. And, the chase to set a new home run season record made me feel that I was right there.
As Reggie said, I could have spent the whole day there. I might have even forgotten to go out for lunch.
History of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The Baseball Hall of Fame is actually two entities–the Hall of Fame and the Museum. Stephen C. Clark, philanthropist started the museum from his personal collection of baseball memorabilia. It includes artifacts from Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson and others that have been banned from the Hall of Fame. Clark was also the impetus behind starting the Hall of Fame with the first class in 1936 (Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and others)
Address: 25 Main St., Cooperstown
Hours: Daily from 9am-5pm. Hours are extended in the summer (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day)
Website: Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Admission: $23 (13-64); $15 (over 65); $12 (7-12 & Veterans) & free for under 6 & active military duty
There is a discount if you purchase tickets to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers Museum ($40 for 3 museums or $31 for 2 museums)
We went to the Baseball Hall of Fame during the week in early October. If you go in late August or early September when school has started, the Museum is much less crowded. The population of the village is 2,000 people. More than 300,000 visit the Museum every year. As you can imagine the area gets very crowded in the summer, and in particular during the induction ceremonies.
Cooperstown Main Street
Cooperstown Main Street is full of baseball paraphernalia, souvenirs and clothing stores. There are some places for lunch and dinner detailed below. You might also like to go into the Wax Museum to see full sized versions of your favorite players.
The Glimmerglass Opera (now re-named the Glimmerglass Festival) is a world class opera festival located in Cooperstown. Founded in 1975, the Glimmerglass does 4 productions every summer. Unfortunately, it was closed for the season when we visited.
In 2019, they will be doing Showboat, La Traviata, The Ghosts of Versailles, Blue, Queen of Spades and Noah’s Flood. The season runs from early July to the end of August.
Address: 7300 SR 80
Website: Glimmerglass Festival
Otsego Lake (also known as Glimmerglass Lake) is a 9 mile lake that extends from downtown Cooperstown to Glimmerglass State Park. There is plenty to do on the lake–fishing, kayaking and stand up paddling and boat tours. We took an hour sunset cruise on the Glimmerglass Queen. The Glimmerglass Queens circles the lake in an hour with a narration of the history of Otsego Lake, James Fenimore Cooper and the Leatherstocking tales.
The Glimmerglass Queen on Otsego Lake meeting in front of the Lake Front Hotel– 10 Fair Street, Cooperstown, 607.547.9511 ext 247
Website: Glimmerglass Queen Boat Tour
Tickets: $16.50 Adults/$10.00 children (cash only). Tickets available 15 mins prior to boat launch. The boat tour lasts one hour.
Hours: From June 20 – Sept 3, open daily and boat tours are every 2 hours starting from 11am – 5pm. After Labor Day, closed Monday & Tuesday (check for times as boat tour will only operate with a minimum of 10 passengers), Sat & Sun 11am/1pm/3pm/5pm. The tour stops after Columbus Day.
There is free parking on River St for the boat tour.
The boat has a bar serving drinks and liquor (cold and hot) and snacks. There is no bathroom for customers on the boat. Use the bathroom at the pier.
The Farmers Museum
The Farmer’s Museum is an experience of a working farm from the 1800s. In fact, the site of the Museum was a working farm originally owned by James Fenimore Cooper in 1813. It then became a sheep farm and was acquired by the Clark Family in the 1870s. The Farmer’s Museum opened its doors in 1944. Many of the buildings on the site are original buildings (pharmacy, doctors office) that were in use in the 1800s and then re-located to the Farmer’s Museum.
The Farmer’s Museum is a wonderful experience for children and families. There are demonstration of trades and crafts from the 1800s, including Todd’s General Store, Print Shop, Doctor and Pharmacy, church, school house and, of course, a tavern.
The Museum also has barns with goats, calves, chickens. They grow hops that are sold to local breweries for beer making.
We had fun riding the Empire State Carousel which costs $1 to ride and has 25 hand carved animals all representative of New York State.
The Farmer’s Museum has weekly events. During our visit, there was a fabulous fibre festival with wonderful quilts and demonstrations of yarn making, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and rope making.
Address: 5775 SR 80 (Lake Road), Cooperstown, 607.547.1450
Website: Farmer’s Museum
Hours: 10am-5pm daily
Tips: Best during good weather as there is a lot of walking between buildings and outdoor activities. Allow 2 hours to experience the whole museum.
Fenimore Art Museum
The Fenimore has one of the most extensive collections of American Indian art in the US and was featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There was an interesting exhibit of the Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr correspondence that lead up to the duel that ended Hamilton’s life and Burr’s career. There was also a exhibition of photographs by Imogen Cunningham. The grounds are also beautiful (right on Glimmerglass Lake) and contain Mohawk and Iroquois structures. During summer, there are often performances on the lawn. The museum has a tour that you can listen to on your phone.
Address: 5798 SR 80, Cooperstown, 607.547.1400
Website: Fenimore Art Museum
The Museum is just past the Farmers Museum about 2 miles outside of village
Hours: daily from 10am-5pm except winter from January 1 – March 30 (check website for events)
Admission: $12 (13-64); $10.50 (over 65) & free for under 12
Tip: allow 2-3 hours for seeing the exhibits and collection
Glimmerglass State Park and Hyde Hall
Glimmerglass is a good park for hiking and seeing the spring and fall foliage. It is 600 acres with camping and BBQ pits. There are walking and hiking trails, fishing and for the winter, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice skating and cross country skiing. The Park also has the oldest covered bridge in the United States, built in 1825. Hyde Hall is also in the park, a country house built in the early 1880s.
Address: 1527 CR 31 (about 8 miles outside of Cooperstown Village)
Website: Glimmerglass State Park
Tips: You need a car to get around the park.
The Cooperstown Distillery is a 5 year old micro distillery that has won many awards for its handcrafted, artisanal spirits (Fenimore Gin, Whiskey, Vodka, Bourbon). We had a very informative tour with Eugene Marra, Owner and Distiller. He invented a baseball bottle, complete with a baseball field bottom for his bourbon that you need to take a look at. The cork for the bottle uses the same ash wood as a baseball bat. He has a store on Main Street, Cooperstown Beverage Exchange, and the distillery is about 4-5 blocks away.
If you’ve never tasted handcrafted, artisanal spirits, you are in for a treat. The spirits were the smoothest and best that I have ever tasted. I am mostly a wine drinker, but I couldn’t leave without buying a few bottles.
If we haven’t convinced you yet, here’s Why You Need to go to Cooperstown Distillery
Address: 11 Railroad Ave, Cooperstown, 607.282.4246
Website: Cooperstown Distillery
Hours: Monday-Saturday from 11am-6pm. Sunday 12pm-5pm. 1 hour tours on Saturdays at 2pm (need reservation).
Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard, on the banks of Fly Creek, is a water-powered cider mill where you can see cider being pressed as it was in the 1800s. There’s a mill pond with observation deck and picnic tables and live entertainment on the weekends. There is plenty for children to do-feeding animals and wooden tractor toy structures for kids to play on.
Cider pressing only happens on the weekend before 2 pm. This draws a crowd. We arrived at 12:30 pm on a Sunday and waited 20 minutes to get in. There are free cider tasting stations positioned along the line with quizzes & general info about apples and bees.
Once you get in, you walk through the marketplace with free samples of fudge, salsa, apples, apple wine, cheese, dips and other sauces. You will need to go upstairs to see the pressing.
The cider press dates back to 1800s and is powered by turbine water wheel. Apples are ground into pomace inside drums with little knives. It is then piped up into the pressing area, the pomace is then layered onto the cider press cloths and wrapped. Different types of pomace (depending on the season) are layered and stacked 10 layers tall and then pressed together before being collected into the huge containers for filling.
There is a snack barn serving sandwiches (you can also get as a meal with pie, a beverage and chips), drinks, pies, ice cream and anything cider including their famous floats. There are also kid meal options. We had the pot roast sandwich which was excellent along with strawberry rhubarb pie, a side order of mac and cheese and a plain cider donut.
Address: Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard – 288 Goose St, Fly Creek, 607.547.9692 (4 miles from Cooperstown)
Website: Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
Hours: Opens all year round from 9am-6pm, Cider Pressing only on weekends (usually between 10am-2pm)
Currently owned by the Michaels family (been in the Michaels family since 1962)
Tips: Go there for lunch on your way into Cooperstown. Allow 1-2 hours
Pail Shop Vineyard
We stumbled upon Pail Shop Vineyards after leaving Fly Creek. It is a lovely little vineyard that started as a pail making shop. They have 6 signature wines, many of which are blended whites dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet. It was one of the most interesting wine tasting that we have done. We enjoy blends and some of the white blends were unusual. We left with bottles.
Pail Shop has performances in the summer with sangria sunset wine tastings.
Address: 126 Goose Street, Fly Creek (down the street from Fly Creek Cider Mill), 607.282.4035
Website: Pail Shop Vineyard
Hours: 12pm-5pm (check for hours after Columbus Day)
Wine tasting $6 for 8 wines
Wood Bull Antiques
Wood Bull Antiques is an experience. Where else can you find a baseball player weather vane next to a mermaid next a buddha head with some display pigs and cows thrown in. The grounds are extensive and full of interesting finds. We were not able to go inside but were told that the inside is just as eclectic.And, there are 4 stories to explore. You could spend hours there enjoying the exploration.
Address: 3920 NY-28, Milford (about 7 miles from Cooperstown), 607.286.9021
Website: Wood Bull Antiques
The Cooperstown area is home to a number of artisanal breweries. Ommegang and Red Shed are two of them.
Brewery Ommegang is a Belgium-style artisanal brewery. Its name in Belgian is to “walk about”. Their products are shipped to 35 states and Canada. You can take a 30 min tour that shows the brewing and bottling process. They have 8 kinds of beers, including a new Game of Thrones themed beer that just launched.
Lunch in the café has flat bread offerings, soups, salads and beers (of course)
656 County Highway 33, (6 miles from Cooperstown), 607.544.1800
Website: Brewery Ommegang
Hours: Open Daily (check hours vary)
Tours: $5 tours with single beer tasting in the café or $10 tasting of beers of the day
The Red Shed is a family owned craft brewery with 20 taps of local and hand crafted beers from regional hops. They have beer tastings and live entertainment on the weekends (Check website for hours & events).
Address: Cooperstown Taproom is 709 County Highway 33, (down the road from Ommegang), 607.282.4380
Brewery is located at 817 Butterbowl Road, Cherry Valley, 607.731.6454 (by appointment outside of Saturday and Sunday)
Website: Red Shed Brewing
There are many excellent restaurants in Cooperstown. below are some of our favorites:
Alex’s Bistro (149 Main St) features an Asian fusion menu ranging from Vietnamese to Indian to Jamaican. We had steak satay (a little overcooked), calamari and edamame dumplings (interesting take on dumplings) and pork belly ramen which was excellent for a cool evening.
Cooperstown Diner (136.1/2 Main St) is spot that locals eat. No nonsense diner food. Right on Main Street, not far from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mel’s on 22 (22 Chestnut St) Mel’s at 22 is a local hotspot. They put Brie in the macaroni and cheese, so you really have to try it. we had lobster risotto with scallops and the duck. The scallops were exquisite and the risotto heavenly.
Blue Mingo Grill (closes Columbus Day) is another lakeside hotspot with good food.
Schneiders Bakery (donuts) has donuts and pastries for when you take a break from the Baseball Hall of fame.
Hawkeye Bar & Grill at Lake Otesaga Resort is also lakefront dining.
Rose and Thistle
We were hosted by Patti, owner of the Rose and Thistle. The beautiful Victorian B&B has a wrap around porch with places to sit and enjoy the evening. We stayed in the largest room in the house located on the top floor. The room comfortably sleeps 5. There are a number of loungers and armchairs for sprawling around. Patti serves a huge breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits at 8:30 am and the menu changes daily. There’s also snacks, drinks (cold or hot) during the day.
Staying at the Rose & Thistle was like staying with family. Originally from the NY area, Patti is funny and warm. She even offered to drop us off and picked us up for dinner when it was raining. Patti shared stories about driving her guest around town when needed. She gave us a thorough introduction to Cooperstown, activities and restaurants.
The Rose and Thistle is located across the street from one of the Cooperstown Trolley stops. We advise you to leave your car at the Rose and Thistle when it is crowded and take the Trolley around town. The Cooperstown Trolley runs mainly in the summer. It goes to all of the sites within the town and is very helpful when the Cooperstown is most crowded. It costs $2 to ride all day.
Note: We were given a complementary stay at the Rose and Thistle.
Click here to check out the Rose and Thistle
Note: We receive a small commission if you use our Booking.com link. There is no extra cost to you.
Itineraries for 1, 2 or 3 Days
Baseball Hall of Fame (2 hours)
Fenimore Art Museum (2 hours)
Cooperstown Distillery or a Brewery
Do Day 1 as above
Farmer’s Museum (2 hours)
Glimmerglass Lake Tour
Do Days 1 and 2 as above (spend more time in Baseball Hall of Fame if desired)
Fly Creek Cider Mill
Glimmerglass State Park
Wood Bull Antiques
Another Brewery or the Distillery
How to Get to Cooperstown
Cooperstown is accessible by car or bus. Once you’re there, you can take the trolley or walk all over town. There are a few spots you need a car or taxi for: Glimmerglass Park, the breweries and the sites outside of town.
Trailway buses leave from the Port Authority daily at 12.30pm and takes 5 hours and 40 minutes. It stops at 72 Elm St, Cooperstown. The one way bus ticket costs $55.25 ($110 round trip). The return trip takes 6 hours and leaves at 8:35am and arrives in NYC around 2.45pm.
Cooperstown is very family-friendly. From the Baseball Hall of Fame to the Farmers Museum to Glimmerglass Lake and Park, there is plenty to do with children.
Cooperstown is mixed relative to accessibility. The Baseball Hall of Fame, Fenimore Art Museum, the Opera, Distillery and Breweries are accessible for people in wheel chairs. The main building at the Farmer’s Museum is accessible, but the historic houses all have stairs. Fly Creek is accessible down stairs, but the press operations are up a flight of stairs. Some of the restaurants are accessible, but not all. The Cooperstown Trolley is ADA compliant.
Cooperstown Stay 6 Travel Tips
- Our number one top tip: stay for several days. There is a lot to do. Some of it is baseball, but most of it is not.
- Avoid the crowds by going in September or October. Mid- to Late-October is good for fall foliage.
- If you are going as a mix group of baseball and non-baseball fans, make a decision ahead of time about how to allow everyone to do what they want. For instance, you can do what we did. Go to the Baseball Hall of Fame together for the first hour or so and then leave the the baseball fan at the museum. Go do something else and come back later.
- In the summer, parking is a challenge. Park in one of the lots and take the Cooperstown Trolley. In the fall, there is free parking on River Street and Pine Blvd. In the summer it will be too crowded to get a spot.
- Stay at a B&B and get to know the locals.
- Cell phone coverage can be a challenge. Download offline maps before you come, especially for the drive to Cooperstown which is gorgeous but has intermittent cell phone coverage. This is particularly important if you are relying on your phone for navigation.
If you are touring New York State and planning to go to New York City, check out these posts:
Have You Been to Cooperstown? Think it’s only the Baseball Hall of Fame? Planning to go? Leave a Comment or Question.
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