|Lake Front Hotel|
|View from our room|
|King Fisher Tower on Lake Ostego|
|Indian hunter statue|
|There's no crying in baseball!|
Welcome to the epitome of true Americana. Apple pie, stars & stripes and most important of all...baseball. I come from a baseball family. My father brainwashed me at a very young age to love baseball, to be specific, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Seriously, at about age five I could tell you all of the starting players, the positions they played, and their jersey numbers. Or so I have been told. I turned my husband into a baseball fan and now it's truly a part of life. A game is on the TV every night, for most months of the year.
So, when Dad's 60th birthday came around it was time to celebrate big. We decided to head to upstate New York to the iconic town of Cooperstown; home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cooperstown is situated about equal distance from Albany and Syracuse in the beautiful green landscape that was the backdrop to the novel Last of the Mohicans written by James Fenimore Cooper.
We flew into Syracuse Airport and drove about 90 minutes in the pouring rain to Cooperstown. By the time we pulled into town, it was reduced to a light drizzle and gave us the opportunity to check in to the appropriately named Lake Front Motel. Our rooms faced the gorgeous Lake Otsego and was the perfect accommodation for a stay in which we would be spending very little time in the room. It happened to be Memorial Day weekend and the rooms were filled with boaters prepping for an annual canoe race. For a more luxurious stay, it would be safe to book the Otesaga Resort Hotel. But beware. Rumor is, it's haunted.
That first day included wandering along Main Street, which is exactly what you would picture as the main drag of the most picturesque town in America. Big store front windows, quaint eateries and perfectly manicured lamppost planters. We dipped into the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, which I have to say, was a bit creepy but is defiantly a "must-do." They captured great moments in baseball history and entertainment (think Marilyn & Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth's home run "call"). We also took the afternoon to explore the vast open parks of the city, which included impressive statues of Mr. Cooper and an Indian hunter with his trusty dog.
Saturday came early and we headed to the museum as soon as we could, decked out in Dodger Blue. It was truly impressive and more than we could have expected. The rich history of the greatest game on earth (my apologies soccer fans) was put on display in such a beautiful and touching way. There were entire sections dedicated to the fans and memorabilia, tributes to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and the Negro Leagues of Baseball and an entire section highlighting all of the art inspired by baseball. We made the decision to break up the day by grabbing a light lunch and taking a lake cruise on the Glimmerglass Queen. We had a baby blue skies to take in the views of the stunning greenery that surrounds the lake and tiny town.
And then came The Hall. It was very quiet in the actual Hall of Fame. It was as if each fan was paying their humble respects to the giants of the game that hung frozen on those golden plaques. I loved watching my dad take in each and every one. That was the best part of the trip. Listening to him point out the no-hitters he saw in person and the retelling of stories about players he looked up to when he was a kid. It solidified a bond that we had always shared and one that would run deep with my own family. That night we had a lovely meal at Nicoletta's Italian Cafe on Main Street and then wandered back to our motel. To our delight, we were treated to a fireworks show over the lake for the holiday.
It's been a part of my travel bucket list to catch a game at as many major league stadiums as possible and I have barely started chipping away at that. I'm fortunate to have two teams here in Southern California, but I think it's time to start some serious planning to catch some games in some of the greatest cities in the country.
What "themed" travel bucket lists do you guys have?