Autumn in Cooperstown

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

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Points of interest if you plan to visit Cooperstown, NY:

The National Baseball Hall of Fame

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.

The Farmers’ Museum

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.

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5 comments on “Autumn in Cooperstown

  1. The Letter C says:

    Amazing pics—-how beautiful!

    Hey, C, thanks…and it’s nice to have you back at the ‘Spin! Still waiting for you to put up your blog 🙂 –DHS

  2. Candace says:

    Wow Daf, what beautiful pictures and eloquent words to go along with them!! Miss you!

    Thanks, Candace. I might find myself a-visitin’ NC this December. I’ll keep you posted. –DHS

  3. I have been to almost every state and major and minor city in our nation including PA. However Cooperstown was never one of my stays.Fun to see what it is all about. Isn’t digital wonderful? Low cost for those of us who enjoying shooting so much. I use to shoot professionally , now I just do it for pleasures sake.It is far more personally fulfilling for me. Thxs for sharing your trip.

    Digital is great! –DHS

  4. ccyager says:

    David, thanks so much for this post and all the photos! I grew up near Cooperstown and remember it fondly. My ancestors knew old Judge Cooper (Fenimore’s father) who owned tons of land at the time and was the person to see to negotiate the founding of a new town which became my hometown about 150 years later when I was born. I remember going on drives around Glimmerglass past the Cooper estate which sits back from the lake and road, hidden by trees, of course. I wonder if any descendants are still living in the area? They were when I was a kid. I thought Hawkeye and Chingagook were real people when I was a kid because of the way people talked about them — not like fictional characters. There also used to be a museum — Natty Bumpo’s or something like that — which was like following Hawkeye’s trail in the woods. Fun. Anyway, thanks for the photos and my walk down memory lane. I haven’t been back since 1988….
    Cinda

    P.S. There’s a good opera company based on one side of Glimmerglass, can’t remember which side, but worth checking out in the future.

    Cinda, I’m jealous you grew up in the area! I am trying to make it a yearly destination. So much writerly inspiration to be found up there…plus it’s a baseball fan’s heaven. I passed by the Opera house…I’ve heard great things about it, but have not been able to take in a show yet. –DHS

  5. ccyager says:

    David, another interesting place to visit: Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. It’s not too far from Cooperstown, if I remember correctly, and is a stunning example of Russian Orthodox architecture. Oh, I found a map — you’d take Rt. 28 out of Cooperstown and to Richfield Springs where you take 167 north to Jordanville. The monastery is north of town on Robinson Road. I love this place — a large Russian Orthodox church out in the middle of nowhere in upstate NY! (smile)

    I miss the hills….

    Cinda, that sounds like a great photo op! You’ve given me even more of a reason to go back next year and do some more exploring. Thanks! –DHS

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