Cooperstown, NY is the kind of quintessential small town that just happens to be perfect for great weekend getaways from NYC. I have spoken before about wanting to travel more through the United States, and I am really glad we discovered this picturesque town so close to home.
We spent 3 days here but the truth is we could have spent far longer, there are a lot of things to do in Cooperstown NY and I definitely plan on coming back with my children for an unforgettable New York family vacation.
As any true New Yorker knows, the key to properly starting weekend getaways from NYC is beating the traffic. We strategically left at 10 am on a Friday morning for a traffic free, 3 ½ hour scenic drive.
I always suggest leaving at this hour when driving, as it is early enough to have the entire day in front of you and late enough to avoid the morning rush hour.
Part of the fun in driving to one of your getaways is, of course, getting there, and we couldn’t have picked a better day to go. Watching the beautifully changing foliage line the highways accented by the bright fall sun rays was the perfect way to start our trip.
Any great vacation must start with a hearty meal, and a Cooperstown vacation is no different. Upon our arrival in Cooperstown, we decided it was time for lunch; so, we stopped by the Upstate Bar and Grill – a big local eatery, famous for serving craft beer and the perfect food to accompany it.
There is a wide variety of meat options here and this Cooperstown favorite is famous for their burgers. If you are looking for a smaller lunch spot and are visiting anytime from May to September, be sure to check out Origins at Carefree Garden.
It is a lovely restaurant dedicated to serving seasonal local dishes and tons of vegetarian options.
The Landmark Inn is considered to be one of the best lodging choices for those looking for romantic weekend getaways from NYC. Originally built in the 1850s, it was the home of a town doctor and the town medical office.
Interestingly, after 30 years it was passed down to the next town doctor. The doctor who owned the house wasn’t just the town physician but was also a philanthropist.
He used to host a big party here on Mayday (May 1st) and invited the entire Cooperstown orphanage for the festivities, including all staff and orphans.
Eventually, he sold the home to another couple who turned it into a boarding house. The house passed down from owner to owner, serving multiple purposes until in 1999 a couple purchased it.
They lovingly restored the old Victorian home while preserving much of its original detailing. Today, he Landmark welcomes guests and is almost always full.
Some tourists have noticed a pale green light on the stairs, and legend says this light can only be seen in the presence of a benevolent spirit of a healer.
After checking into our gorgeous suite at the Landmark we took a walk over to the pier, easily accessible since Cooperstown is located on the Otsego lake. Otsego Lake, known as one of the great weekend getaways from NYC, is boating central in the summer, but in the fall when I visited we got to have the pier all to ourselves.
There is much to be said for a life of unexpected adventure, but I must admit – kicking my shoes off on that pier, watching the leaves slowly (very slowly) change from green to red to yellow all while listening to the silence was therapeutic.
I often forget to slow down every once in a while. Cooperstown is the perfect place to do just that.
There are dozens of great dinner options in Cooperstown, making it one of the foodie’s favorite weekend getaways from NYC. We ended up at the Toscana, a cool upscale Italian restaurant.
It’s the perfect place to spend the evening with friends or a partner. Another well-reviewed Italian eatery in the area is Nicoletta’s Italian café. Even though it was off-season when I was there, they were too busy to seat us, a true testament to their popularity. If you do decide to eat here, be sure to make reservations beforehand, I wish I had!
After dinner, check out the Cooperstown Distillery bar, the hippest bar in town. There is a great live band that plays here Friday and Saturday nights all year round which is why the place gets pretty packed on weekends.
They also have some awesome seasonal drinks. If you are here in the fall be sure to try the apple cider margarita. How can you go wrong with an apple cider and alcohol?
I capped off my day in Cooperstown with a short walk down to the Landmark Inn. Enjoy the quiet streets, crisp air, and roaring, ever-present silence and leave the hectic life behind, if only for a weekend.
Sometimes I spend days or months forgetting to breathe, and then just when I need it most I find myself in a place with air; in this case Cooperstown.
If you have been following me for a while you know I am an early morning person. Immediately after waking up we made our way to the Landmark’s dining room, wherein true B&B fashion a great breakfast and fresh coffee were being served.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway for two, nothing can beat a quaint and gorgeous bed and breakfast like this one.
For my first adventure of the day, I drove a few miles to the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard. Although technically located outside of Cooperstown, the store is only a few short minutes away by car.
This marketplace offers more than eighty different types of samples – everything from sauces to donuts, seasonal fudge, and wine, cider, cheese and more are available to taste. Being here made me think of my little one, who like many other young boys is like a vacuum cleaner and would absolutely love this place.
He’d probably refuse to leave premises until he got to try everything in sight! After spending some time walking around and tasting in the shop, I made my way up to the second story to watch the working cider mill production in action.
A bonus for those with little ones is the lovely lake outside with the opportunity to feed the local ducks. It’s this kind of attraction that makes Cooperstown the perfect choice for weekend getaways from NYC.
Next, I made my way over to the Fenimore Art Museum. Situated on manicured grounds just a few minutes away from Main Street in Cooperstown, this museum holds one of the best collections of American art in the world.
As I wandered through its huge rooms I came upon the “Humanist Photographs of Lewis Hine.” As an early 20th-century photographer Hine painstakingly documented the immigrant experience – from Ellis Island to the boarding houses where immigrants often spent years of their lives.
Staring back at me as I take in the photos are faces of men and women, hopeful and concerned, not so different than my own face only 25 years ago as I landed in JFK.
It is unfortunate that the photographer, Lewis Hine was not recognized for his brilliant work in his lifetime- he died, penniless and alone while his house was in foreclosure. But now, 70 years later, the work he created is a testament to a lifetime of talent and vision.
The Farmer’s Museum is another great spot to visit and is located just across the street from the art museum. It is an awesome activity for the history buffs or those looking for fun things to do in Cooperstown NY besides baseball.
The living village at the Farmer’s Museum is staffed by actors in period wear who all practice arts and trades as they were practiced over a hundred years ago.
There is an antique carousel for the little ones and a store stocked with goods produced on premises. The farmer’s museum is open from April through October.
For lunch, we stopped by the little eatery on main street – Danny’s Market. In this little diner that looks like it has been here for no less than a hundred years, you can get high-quality sandwiches, soups and of course, a great grasp of the local scene.
I must confess, of all the things I got to do on one of my favorite weekend getaways from NYC in Cooperstown, Brookwood Point was probably my favorite.
Few people come here in the fall, and the land trust (spread over 22 acres) is a nature lover’s paradise, preserved for everyone to share.
We took a leisurely stroll down to the lake, with the birds as our only companions and the trees in their fall finest making the scenery look and feel like it came straight out of a fairy tale.
This walk is exactly why Cooperstown makes one of the best weekend getaways from NYC. Brookwood point is accessible from April through November.
For our last adventure of the day, we visited the Ommegang Brewery, a huge operating brewery and restaurant complex. Here you can sign up for a tour that will take you inside an actual beer production facility (tours operate every hour from 10 to 4 and are free, but they fill up an hour in advance so show up early).
Afterwards, we got to taste some of the local brews at the great bargain price of just 6 bucks!! ($6). For just those six dollars, you get to try six beer samples and even get to keep the famous Ommegang glass after your tasting. There is an on-premise restaurant as well.
We didn’t stop for our meal at Ommegang and instead proceeded to the Hawkeye Bar and Grill, located in the famous Otesaga Resort Hotel. If the Landmark Inn is one of the best small hotels in town, the Otesaga Resort with its huge grounds is probably one of the best big hotels in Cooperstown.
As this region is famous for beer, the Hawkeye serves some of the finest food to go with the beverage – locally grown produce and burgers. There are fireplaces on the terrace, so grab a seat by one with a glass of beer or apple cider.
Enjoying the peaceful view of the lake in the moonlight became one of the best memories from Cooperstown, one of our favorite weekend getaways from NYC.
As usual, we left the best for last. The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown, NY. In my mind, it is fitting for this museum of a major American institution to have been established in such a quaint, all American place like Cooperstown.
Whether you are here for a romantic getaway for two or a New York family vacation this stop is a must during your visit to Cooperstown. We walked the hallowed hallways celebrating the best players and teams all while gaining an understanding of the incredible contribution baseball has made to American culture.
If you plan on visiting be sure to leave plenty of time to wander through because the museum is spread over three floors with the first floor hosting the famous Hall of Fame gallery.
There is a legend around these parts that says baseball was invented in Cooperstown by an American civil war hero – Abner Doubleday. Historians will continue to debate, but walking these friendly, small-town streets, it’s not hard to believe the heart of American sport would be born here.
Either way, it was this very story that led to the establishment of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. And it was that very moment when the Baseball Hall of Fame was established here, that Cooperstown started its transformation from a gorgeous, sleepy small town USA to one of the great weekend getaways from NYC it is today.
That’s all for our visit to Cooperstown! I hope you have found this Traveltipster blog post helpful. Please leave a comment, I love reading them!