Cooperstown, New York, A One of Kind Experience
When initially invited to visit Cooperstown and told of all the experiences that the area offered, my instantaneous response was, “You had me at Baseball and Golf.” Is there more to life than that?” My two favorite pastimes, and with that the anticipation began.
I had heard plenty of great things from a friend about the Leatherstocking Golf Course, at the historic Otesaga Resort Hotel. All true and all came to life.
Sitting on the southern shore of Otsego Lake sine 1909, The Otesaga Resort
offers timeless elegance, historic charm along with spectacular lake and golf course views. Exceptional staff from the moment you approach stately doors of the hotel, at check in, to the first-class accommodations, memorable dinning, exceptional resort amenities and so much more. A Touch of Class resonates throughout.
A must do, and one of the first things we did after our 4-hour drive from Ontario, Canada, was to grab a rocking chair and a cocktail on the Resort veranda. Satisfying and relaxing, as we absorbed the mountain backdrop, the lake, and the 18th hole which would challenge us the next day!
The Leatherstocking Golf Course is a finely maintained, world class golf course moments from downtown Cooperstown. Boasting a 96%, 5-Star rating from Golf Pass. The original course was opened in 1909, a Devereux Emmet design. Following a remodel, overseen by golf course architect Bob Cupp, Leatherstocking GC has been voted No. 3 “Best Golf Course to Play in New York” by Golfweek Magazine, while GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest have both rated Leatherstocking among “Best Public Courses in New York.”
Shorter in total yardage by modern standards at 6,400 yards from the tips, but the contoured terrain, elevation changes and panoramic views more than make up for that. A very pleasant and fun golf experience.
From the first tee you get a glimpse of what the closing holes present. Sixteen through eighteen is an Amen corner in its own right, and a little prayer might be helpful as you descend from the 16th tee. Two delicate shots required to avoid water lining the fairway and protecting the green. Enjoy the lily pads from tee to green on the par 3, 17th. The 18th is a risk / reward, Pebble Beach like par 5, taking you around Otsego Lake to a veranda of spectators overlooking the 18th green.
From the first hole on you are gradually climbing the terrain and without out realizing it. A parkland style course with fun par 5’s, a fine mixture of par 4’s, wow factor par 3’s all leading to smallish slick greens that you don’t generally find at resort courses.
Two other par 3’s to love and hate. Hate……Elevation changes come into play big time starting with the uphill par 3, 9th, a pretty much blind 160-yard (white tees) shot, stay left as everything will generally come down to the right. A very tough par. Love the par 3, 12th, a 122 all downhill with everything in front of you. What goes up must come down.
Two fun and memorable par 5’s, the 11th 532 yard moving you downhill, your third shot drops dramatically to the green. Be very careful here, long, and disaster could loom large.
The 452-yard par 5, 15th a favorite, even I can almost get there in 2! The third shot here is another short pitch or wedge to a green that is well below the level of fairway. Delicacy is required to hold this green. And of course, then there is the 18th.
Golf Overview – Leatherstocking Golf Course
Baseball, Baseball, Baseball
It is a one of kind experience, The National Baseball Hall of Fame was top of mind from the moment we decided to make this trip. However, The Cooperstown Bat Company stole the show. Coming home with my own personalized bat, now, mounted outside my office is an everlasting memory.
Well worth the 10–15-minute drive to the Factory where you can witness the making of bats from the lathe stage to the finished product. Make it a point to meet the very personable owner, Tim Haney. Plenty of interesting facts about the history and making of bats with the local woods that are available and how nothing goes to waste.
From Pro Bats, (in fact while there and order came through for Toronto Blue Jays, Vladimir Gerrero Jr.) to custom engraved Personalized Bats as gifts, awards and trophies. Something for every fan.
Making bats in Cooperstown for almost 25 years now, it is the 3rd oldest bat company in the USA. Their Pro Model bats are made from hand split maple, ash, and yellow birch all from within a 350-mile radius of Cooperstown. Upstate New York hard woods, also known as “Route 20 Maple”, are known across the bat making industry as the best wood for baseball bats on the planet. Currently over 450 major and minor league players are using Cooperstown bats.
When Tim suggested that my buddy Brian and I should have bats with our name engraved, along with the baseball Hall of Fame logo on it to commemorate our visit, we couldn’t say YES, fast enough. And we got to watch Tim make it happen. Nice gold lettering on a black background. Amazing! Check it out Cooperstown Bat Company
If by chance you don’t make it to the Factory there is a retail outlet for the Cooperstown Bat Company on Cooperstown’s Main Street.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame – Every Baseball fan’s “Field of Dreams.”
Located on Main Street in the heart of picturesque Cooperstown, the National Hall of Fame which opened its doors in 1939, is one of the country’s premier tourist destinations. With its Mission to preserve history, honor excellence and connect generations, it does all that and so much more. Baseball Hall of Fame
Something for everyone! The Hall of Fame’s centerpiece is its historic Gallery where the plaques of all 342 Hall of Fame members line the oak walls. The Museum’s collection contains over 40,000 artifacts representing all facets of the game, from its inception in the mid 19th century, to the present. Included are; bats, baseballs, gloves, uniforms, equipment, ballpark artifacts, tickets collectibles, assorted memorabilia and more. When you think Museum and Hall of Fame, that is naturally what you expect.
As you move through the 3-story building what you will find is that you make the experience your own. History and for the many years before my time, I can only take so much. Going back in time to the players I can remember, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Ozzie Smith caught my attention and will tell you that I am a die-hard St. Louis Cardinal fan. From that time to the present is where my attention was, that is just me – you too will make it your own.
Visiting in 2023 was pretty special in consideration of this year’s inductees, former St. Louis Cardinal, 3rd baseman, Scott Rolen and former Toronto Blue Jay, 1st baseman, Fred McGriff. The Cardinals will always be #1 in my heart but Blue Jays are number 2 two.
The Museum Store: You know you are going to stop in! Can’t help it and you know it is going to cost you and you are going to be all the better for it. Unique gifts, hats, clothing, and keepsakes for not only yourself but the other special baseball fans in your life.
You certainly do not have to limit your shopping experience to The Museum Store, downtown Cooperstown is both a fan and a collector’s dream arena. I am pretty sure that we went into every store and yes, we could not help but pick up few things here and there.
With the walk to Downtown Cooperstown not more that 15-20 minutes, a few hours or more in the National Hall of Fame and strolling the downtown shops, a couple of guys can get really hungry and thirsty. Day 1, after our visit to the Hall of Fame we stumbled across what could be the “Cheers Bar” for Cooperstown. It certainly became a daily stop for us, the charming staff and a comfortable setting Cooley’s Stone House Tavern is highly recommended for wings and a few cold ones.
There are plenty of dining options in Cooperstown, with only 3 nights, our first night we made ourselves at home with pre dinner martinis at The Otesaga Resort, followed by a fine and memorable steak dinner, overlooking Otsego Lake at The Hawkeye Bar and Grill.
When in an All-American Town, you just need to check out one of New York’s premier American Restaurants, Mel’s at 22. 22 Chestnut Street at the corner of Main, you can’t miss it! The bar area was a happening place at Mel’s. Whether you choose from a decadent seafood dish or a classic burger, your taste buds won’t be disappointed. We certainly were not!
We could say that we saved the best for last, at least we both felt that way. Toscana is a family-run Italian restaurant, located across from The National Baseball Hall of Fame. A classy setting, service and staff second to none, good selection on the all-important wine list and to top it all off our meals were fairly priced and diecious.
For everything you could want to know about Cooperstown visit
Cooperstown, NY. Vacation Guide to Cooperstown