As not only the birthplace of baseball but also the birthplace of the American novel, Cooperstown, New York (named for the family that spawned America’s first great novelist, James Fenimore Cooper) is an endless source of inspiration. After last year’s visit in early Spring, I decided I wanted to make a yearly pilgrimage to the place of Glimmerglass and Doubleday, leaves and lakes, ballplayers and writers, Coopers and Mohicans. Mid-Autumn is an intoxicating sight to behold in Cooperstown and around Lake Otsego. It’s the time of year when the “off season” is just beginning, part-time locals are enjoying a less crowded hamlet before retiring to warmer climates, year-round natives are still enjoying the nicer weather, the last shot of selective tourists leisurely ascends into town for fall foliage or in honor of the baseball playoff season, the few remaining sailboats glide over Glimmerglass, and the wildlife still roams freely but sleepily as they settle in for their upcoming long winter’s nap. Hibernation, ice and loneliness await as the leaves slowly dance down from the treetops and cover the sidewalks as a colorful precursor to the white snow that will blanket the area all too soon.
Naturally, one can’t help but snap as many pictures as possible. It took close to 200 snapshots, and here’s a sample:
Written and photographed by David H. Schleicher
Points of interest if you plan to visit Cooperstown, NY:
The Fenimore Art Museum – currently showcasing an astounding exhibit called “America’s Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900” and houses a collection of black-and-white Walker Evans photography that is a Shangri-La for those interested in Great Depression-era photographs.
Hyde Hall – about 9 miles outside of Cooperstown at the top of Lake Otsego. This is near impossible to find without a GPS, though well worth the effort for the highly personalized tours given by the most friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Otesaga Resort – a great photo op with killer views of the lake.
The Tunnicliff Inn – the oldest inn in town, just a block from the Hall of Fame, a perfect place to stay.
Nicoletta’s Italian Cafe – a shockingly good place for dinner right on Main Street.
Bear Pond Winery – five dollar tastings and damn good wine.
Cooperstown Brewery – two dollar tastings and damn good beer. Actually located in Milford, the friendly owner doesn’t skimp on the samples and will wax bitterly about the new tax laws or any other topic if you engage him.