Traditionally, most Cooperstown NY tourists are there to visit The Baseball Hall of Fame, but what if baseball isn’t your thing? Many of the small town’s shops and experiences are indeed baseball-centric, but that’s not all it offers.
Fun Cooperstown NY Experiences Besides Baseball
Cooperstown, NY, is known for its breweries, art galleries, and family-friendly adventures. The heart of the area, where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located, does slow down at the end of October. Autumn is the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for a less crowded, slower pace. Some businesses are seasonal, but Cooperstown is usually abuzz with art, culture, delicious local beer, and hard cider year-round.
Sip Local Beer at Red Shed Brewery
Those looking to travel like a local should check out Cooperstown’s Red Shed Brewery. This favorite brewery has three locations, and the one in Cooperstown features its namesake red shed, the Fresh Eats food trailer, and lots of live music. The taps flow with their beer and other regional beers and ciders. The outdoor beer garden is a warm weather bonus, but you can easily while away the afternoon inside, year-round, with one of the many board games on hand.
Experience Luxury at the Otesaga Resort Hotel
Sometimes, a hotel is so iconic that it’s synonymous with the destination itself, and that’s the case with The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, NY. The grand hotel sits on the banks of the Otsego Lake, and guests can grab a kayak or canoe and row over to one of the area’s most curious landmarks. Kingfisher Tower—a mini castle on the lake—was built in 1876 by the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The Otesaga is within walking distance of the main village area. Plus, its spa, Hawkeye Bar & Grill, and 1909 fine dining restaurant are not to be missed.
Leave Time for Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
One of Cooperstown’s happiest places is Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, where you can feed ducks, mine for gemstones, or bike their surrounding trails. The large Mill Store Market is stocked with jams and sauces of every flavor imaginable, but the tasting room has been getting the spotlight lately. It’s officially a licensed New York State Farm Winery, so you can order flights of their proprietary hard ciders and apple wines and buy some to bring home. The owner, Bill Michaels, is often buzzing around, showing folks the inner mill workings and making everyone feel right at home.
Zoom Down the Track at Rail Explorers
With travel by train so popular right now, it makes sense that one of the most popular experiences in the Cooperstown, NY, area is Rail Explorers. Each guest is assigned a pedal-powered vehicle for two or four people, and you zoom along the tracks for an hour-and-a-half or two-hour tour, through the Portlandville Trestle and alongside the Susquehanna River. Imagine a metal platform with comfy seats on rails. You technically pedal, but it’s powered and requests almost no effort, making it perfect for all ages and levels of athleticism. Choose from various daytime or evening outings, including a pitstop at a campfire.
Pet Cute Animals at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown
The village-like setting of The Farmers’ Museum allows visitors to meander the grounds at a leisurely pace. There are demonstrations of things like broom-making, and if you wander into one of the houses, you can chat with a costume-clad woman making bread over the open fireplace. A small shop sells small pottery items and DIY spinning kits, which include a tuft of raw wool you can spin into yarn. It’s no surprise that the animals often steal the show—goats, turkeys, pigs, and more await, making it one of the best attractions to visit with kids in Cooperstown.
Enjoy the Unique Collections at Fenimore Art Museum
Across the street from The Farmer’s Museum, you’ll find the beloved Fenimore Art Museum. Housed in a spectacular 1933 mansion once owned by an heir to the Singer Manufacturing Company wealth, the museum features extensive fine and folk art selections from the family’s collection and beyond. You’ll find a vast array of art, including The American Indian Art collection and folk art that spotlights early makers-turned-entrepreneurs such as traveling portrait painters. Visitors are grateful to the Singer family for the magnificent art and for that short walk over from The Farmers’ Museum, which was originally part of the mansion’s estate as well.
Eat Inside a Greenhouse at Origins Café
Farm-to-table takes on a new look at Origins Café, one of the most popular restaurants in Cooperstown. Although it’s usually farm to table, Origins flips the script by putting the tables in the farm—or the greenhouse, most specifically. Dine among the edible flowers and cherry tomatoes in a working greenhouse with a cozy, boho-chic aesthetic. The seasonal restaurant changes its menu as the local produce ripens each week, so there’s always something new and creative to taste, and there’s a bar serving up tasty cocktails.
Dig Deeper at the Baseball Hall of Fame
There are so many layers to The Baseball Hall of Fame that you don’t need to be a sports super fan to enjoy it. It’s a far cry from a collection of vintage baseball gloves; the multi-level museum has near-endless curated collections showing how baseball overlaps with American life—from theater to Civil Rights and beyond. Whether you’re a history buff or an advocate for women’s rights, there are curated collections that will pique your interest.
Find Bliss at Wood Bull Antiques
Prepare for an afternoon of global treasure hunting in a mammoth old barn. Displays of sculptures and curiosities welcome you as you drive up to Wood Bull Antiques—one of the best-known antique shops in Cooperstown NY. Inside, scour the different barn floors, each brimming with antiques, oddities, and handmade goods. There are plenty of farm tables and Americana, but you might find footstools from Morocco and jewelry from almost anywhere on the map. It’s entirely overwhelming, in the best possible way—a visual kaleidoscope of antiquities and one-of-a-kind, artisanal handiwork.
Eat in a Dungeon at Beardslee Castle
Yes, some of the restaurant’s tables are in the dungeon. Beardslee Castle is one of the most unique experiences in Cooperstown, NY. It was built in 1860 and is now a murder mystery-style and fine dining restaurant. Private events are popular here, so it’s best to call ahead to make reservations and ensure the restaurant is open to the public on your preferred day. If you’re looking for a romantic spot or even a rainy-day activity in Cooperstown, this is the one.
Melanie is a travel and adventure writer who grew up in the woods of New England. Her passion for riding UTVs on defunct train tracks as a child gave way to a lifelong passion for hiking. Moving to Alaska, on her own at age 19, set the wheels in motion for a life of travel and adventure. Even when she tackled a seven-year passion project as a private chef, she kept traveling, and has now visited over twenty countries. In her ’20s, Mel began traveling solo, including diving with tiger sharks in the Bahamas and whale tracking in Baja, Mexico. Along the way, her interest in the National Parks led her to explore them in the less-traveled winter months, yielding lifelong memories of snowmobiling in Yosemite and wintery hikes in Yosemite. Whether it’s the challenge of winter or being a January baby, she adores snowy adventures like dogsledding. She even took a day-long survivalist course with Mark D’Ambrosio from the History Channel’s survivor-style show, “Alone.” If there’s an opportunity to explore a winery in Austria, a snorkeling cove in the Galapagos, or a seaside Airstream camp in Cape Cod, you can be sure she’ll always be ready—with the only luggage she ever travels with—a single backpack.
In 2017, Mel returned to college with a concentration in food and culture journalism, which included foraging and herbalism courses. During her tenure at UMass Amherst, Mel was a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor’s Society. She won the UMass Presidential Jack Wilson Scholarship and the Amherst Alumni Association Senior Leadership Award. She graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA.