A Weekend in Cooperstown

(Thank you Go Cooperstown for hosting NY Foodie Family!  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Cooperstown is a small village in central New York, most well-known for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  After a recent visit to Cooperstown, we can tell you that there’s a lot more to see and do after visiting the iconic museum.

Stay:

Lake ‘N Pines Motel kindly hosted our two night stay in Cooperstown.  This motel offers a variety of accommodations from rooms with one double bed to rooms with two queen beds and even 2 bedroom mini suites.  We stayed in Cottage 120, a 2 bedroom suite that is adjacent to the game room.  The decor is cozy with a look and feel reminiscent of our college apartments.

With a full kitchen and living room, there was plenty of space for the four of us.  For those staying in Cooperstown for more than a day or two, this suite is great to cook some meals, as dining out when traveling can get expensive.  The Motel has an indoor and an outdoor pool, sauna, hot tub, as well as a game room.  A complimentary Continental breakfast is served here.

On nice days, you can eat outside with beautiful views of Lake Otsego.  The village of Cooperstown is a short, approximately, ten-minute drive.

Visit:

The National Baseball Hall of Fame – People flock to Cooperstown from all over the world to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Even non-baseball fans will enjoy a visit to this museum.  Read about our visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame!

Fenimore Art Museum –  The Fenimore Art Museum is well-known for its collection of folk art and the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art.  Read more about our visit to this museum.

The Farmer’s Museum – Across from the Fenimore Art Museum is The Farmer’s Museum.  Step back in time to 19th century rural life where you can visit historic buildings, see demonstrations and speak with interpreters.  Taking a ride on the Empire State Carousel is a must! Read about our visit to this fun and educational family experience.

Fly Creek Cider Mill – Fly Creek Cider Mill is a short drive from Cooperstown.  Enjoy lots of tasty food and cider samples, eat a delicious meal at the Snack Barn and watch apple cider being made. That’s just some of the fun you can have here.  Read about our tasty visit!

Cooperstown Beverage Exchange – Down the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame is the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange.  This space, owned and operated by the Cooperstown Distillery, is both a tasting room and retail space.  You can sample and purchase their spirits, including vodka, bourbon, whiskey and gin.  You can purchase full drinks or cocktails to enjoy in the sitting area that they have.  In the evening, the space turns into a bar/cocktail lounge, with live music on many nights.

Eat: 

Doubleday Cafe – We asked an employee at the National Baseball Hall of Fame where he recommended we get lunch.  For a sit-down lunch, he recommended the Doubleday Cafe.  This cafe is a short walk from the Hall of Fame.  It was packed during our visit and rightly so.  The cafe offers a variety of soups, burgers, sandwiches and more.  They also have daily lunch specials – two of which we ordered including the Grilled Pastrami, Bacon & Provolone on Rye (pictured above) and the “Cafe” Burger with caramelized onions, blue cheese and bacon.

My husband was even able to enjoy “A Taste of Cooperstown Beer Flight” with his lunch here!

Fly Creek Cider Mill – If you plan to visit Fly Creek Cider Mill, which I recommend, make sure you eat lunch or an early dinner at the Snack Barn Restaurant.  They have a variety of value combo meals that include chips, beverage and a slice of pie.  Everything we ate here was delicious!

New York Pizzeria – We have plenty of amazing pizza places near us in Westchester County and all of the ones in NYC.  So, we had high expectations going into a place called New York Pizzeria.  We weren’t wowed by the pizza but it was decent.  The restaurant has plenty of seating, including an upstairs dining area.  They serve a variety of Italian dishes including different kinds of pasta, chicken and eggplant parmigiana, appetizers, salads and more.

As you can see, there’s lots to see, do, and eat in Cooperstown!  The village is about a 3 hour drive from Northern Westchester County, making it a perfect weekend getaway!

 

 

A Tasty Time at Fly Creek Cider Mill

 

When you are visiting Cooperstown, NY, you must take the short 15-minute drive to the Fly Creek Cider Mill.  The mill was established in 1856 and is currently owned and run by the Michaels family.

I recommend arriving to Fly Creek Cider Mill early, especially in the autumn peak season.  You might want to first visit the Mill Store Marketplace.  Depending on the time of day and season of your visit, you may be waiting on line to enter the store.  There’s a good reason for this: they want your in-store experience to be a good one and limiting the number of guests inside minimizes crowding. Rest assured, though, the line moves quickly and cider samples and fun facts entertain you while you wait.

The Marketplace is a foodie’s dream.  There are over 40 different samples that you can try from salsas and dips to doughnuts and cheese.  The apple room is stocked with up to 12 different varieties of apples that you can sample.

The kids especially loved sampling the many different types of fudge they make including Rocky Road, Carrot Cake, Toll House Cookie and more.

Fly Creek Cider Mill is a licensed New York State Farm Winery and bottles apple wines and hard ciders.  Samples of their wines and ciders are available in the marketplace.  I am a big fan of hard ciders and enjoyed both their Original and Apple-Raspberry varieties.

As you make your way through the Cider Mill you get to see the apple cider production up close on the second floor.  Apple pressing only takes place on weekends and the frequency of pressing is based on apple cider sales.  Over 20,000 gallons of cider are made each fall!  While we were visiting, the apples were in the process of being pressed and the juice collected. A gift shop that sells all kinds of items from mugs and decorative items to soaps, dishes and more is also on the top floor of the marketplace.  They have a large Christmas ornament selection as well.  If you run out of your favorite Fly Creek Cider Mill snacks and condiments after you return home, they have an online store where you can purchase more.

Make sure you leave room after all that sampling for lunch or an early dinner at the Snack Barn.  There are so many tasty meal and treat options available.  Our family enjoyed a late lunch and split the Pot Roast Sandwich ($13.99) and BBQ Pork Sandwich ($12.99) Value Combo Meal.  Both of these sandwiches were delicious and I highly recommend.

Each value meal comes with kettle-cooked chips, a beverage and a full-sized slice of pie.  We opted for the Apple Caramel Nut and Fruits of the Farm pie.  I’m not a big pie eater and I was devouring these!

We opted to upgrade our soft drink to a cider slush with one of our meals.  I had never seen or heard of a cider slush until our visit.  It was so good and I highly recommend.  It was sweet and refreshing, a perfect fall treat!

We enjoyed some live music while eating our lunch then we walked around the rest of the property.  Behind the mill is Millpond, home to lots of swans.  There are feed stands where you can purchase food for the swans and ducks.  Next to the Snack Barn is Tractor Land, a play area for younger kids.  For $1 you can purchase a rubber duck and participate in duck races.

A large collection of John Deere tractors and vintage equipment is on display throughout the property.  Make sure you take the short trip to Fly Creek Cider Mill when visiting Cooperstown, NY.  You are in for a tasty good time!

The Details:
Fly Creek Cider Mill
288 Goose Street
Fly Creek, NY 13337
(607) 547-9692
website

Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM every day

Parking:  Plenty of free parking is available in the lot across the street from the Mill

Tips:
*Tour the Cider Mill and visit the marketplace first.  When we visited, we received a coupon for the Snack Barn, but we had already eaten.

*Check the Fly Creek Cider Mill website before you visit for additional coupons.

*Arrive early!  We arrived around 1:30 PM and it was super crowded.  We waited on line to enter the mill and marketplace for about 10 minutes.

*We spent about 2 hours during our visit here, including eating a late lunch.

Experiencing 19th-Century Rural Life at The Farmer’s Museum {Cooperstown, NY}

(Thank you to The Farmer’s Museum and Go Cooperstown for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Founded in 1943, The Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, New York is one of the oldest rural life museums in the United States.  When visiting Cooperstown, a trip to this museum will be a fun and educational experience. Visitors get an opportunity to experience rural life of the 19th-century through exhibitions, interpreters, demonstrations and more.  Be sure to check out the Daily Activities schedule on the day of your visit, to enjoy special demonstrations, tours and hands-on activities.

You enter the museum through the Main Barn.  The exhibitions change in this space, but currently on view is Barns: Cathedrals of the Countryside and Grow: An Exhibit to Get You Gardening.  There are hands-on activities in the Grow exhibit for young children to interact with.

After you exit the Barn you will see the Empire State Carousel.  Our family visited and rode on many carousels last summer, traveling around New York State.  The Empire State Carousel is, by far, my favorite carousel of all time.

The Empire State Carousel was opened in 2006.  Known as the “museum you can ride on”, this carousel pays tribute to everything New York State.  Almost 1,000 volunteer artists and artisans contributed to this carousel, which includes canopy murals, hand-carved mirror frames, quilted banners and over 25 hand-carved carousel creatures to ride. You can literally spend hours just walking around the carousel and taking in all the intricate art that details the people and places important to our state.  Each of the unique carousel figures also portrays a state significance. for example, the rabbit my daughter rode on represents the NYC Easter Parade.  Carousel rides are $1 per rider.

After visiting the carousel, we walked through the Historic Village.  The Village is comprised of over 20 different buildings, including a blacksmith shop, a tavern, a printing shop, a general store, pharmacy and more. More detailed information about each building and its provenance can be found on the museum’s website. Each building has been relocated from rural areas throughout New York and has been restored.

Many of the buildings have historic interpreters that will answer questions and demonstrate their crafts.  We enjoyed watching the blacksmith make needles the day of our visit.  We also got to see the printer make a flyer at the print shop.

The kid’s favorite part of the Farmer’s Museum was the Lippitt Farmstead.  This living farm includes two barns, six outbuildings, a smokehouse and the family house.  My kids LOVE animals and visiting the Children’s Barnyard was such a treat.  They got to meet Bear, a calf who wasn’t quite two weeks old the day of our visit.

They also loved seeing the chickens, turkeys, sheep, pigs and horses that live on the farm.

The weekend of our visit was Fiber Arts Weekend at the Farmer’s Museum.  This weekend is focused on exploring the world of natural fibers through demonstrations, mini-exhibits and hands-on activities.  The kids had a fun time making felt balls, which would have been a toy for young children in the 19th century.  Throughout the year, the Farmer’s Museum has seasonal events for an additional charge. Upcoming programs include Ghost Tours, Thanksgiving at the Farm, Candlelight  Evening and a theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol”.

The Details:

The Farmer’s Museum
5775 State Highway 80
Cooperstown, NY
website

Hours:

March 31 – May 7
Open Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed Mondays. Limited buildings open.

May 8 – October 8 (Columbus Day)
Open Daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

October 9 – October 30 
Open Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Closed Mondays. Limited buildings open.

October 31 – March 31
Closed for winter except for special programs and events.

Admission:
$12/Adults and Juniors (13-64), $10.50/Seniors (65+), $6.00/Juniors (7-12): $6.00, Free/Children (6 and under) Admission is also free for active military and retired career military personnel.

Parking: 
Free parking is available in the lot on the property.

Tips:
*Food is available for purchase at the Crossroads Cafe.  Soup, chili, drinks, baked goods and more are sold here.  You an also opt to walk across the street to the Fenimore Art Museum and have a meal, while enjoying beautiful views of Otsego Lake, at the Fenimore Cafe.

*Our family spent approximately 2 1/2 hours here during our visit, which included making felt balls during Fiber Arts Weekend.

National Baseball Hall of Fame {Cooperstown}

Most people automatically associate Cooperstown, NY with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and rightly so.  The little town attracts big crowds of baseball fans from all over the country.  Since 1939, the Hall of Fame has been showcasing its extensive collection baseball memorabilia and housing stories of baseball’s greatest legends.  But, as you will see, you don’t have to be a die-hard baseball fan to get caught up in the excitement!

Full disclosure: I’m not a mega baseball fan but I’ve been to my fair share of games.  I was raised as a Yankees fan and it was fun to see so much historic Yankee memorabilia on display.  My parents and in-laws are on opposing sides for a Subway Series (Yankees vs. Mets fans) and my kids aren’t really loyal to either team.

But what do you do when you visit the museum with two tweens who also aren’t big baseball fans, but you have a husband who is?  You split up.

We arrived right before the 11 AM guided tour of the Plaque Gallery, which my husband joined, and met up with him in the gallery at the end of the tour so we could walk around.  This is really a sight to see, where plaques featuring the greatest baseball players of all time, hang on the walls.

While my husband was taking the tour, the kids and I were working on completing the scavenger hunt.  I love it when museums have these for kids to do.  It helps them focus on some of the major exhibits and forces them to stop and read some information.  It also helped that there’s a prize offered once it’s completed.

Beginning with the exhibit Taking the Field:  The 19th Century, visitors are led through a timeline of baseball’s history.  Other major exhibits in the timeline include: Babe Ruth: His Life and Legacy, Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball, Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience, Viva Baseball! (focused on baseball in the Caribbean Basin countries) and ending with Whole New Ballgame, which details baseball from the 1970’s to present day.

It was fun to walk through The Locker Room and see all the Major League Baseball teams’ recent uniforms and equipment.

Fans of all ages will enjoy testing their baseball knowledge with the baseball quiz kiosks located on the third floor.

Families with young kids will enjoy making a stop at the The Sandlot Kids’ Clubhouse.  This room has books, television shows playing (including a Dora the Explorer baseball-themed episode) and other fun activities for little ones.  Even my older kids loved the baseball mitt seats!

You must be sure to watch the film Generations of the Game.  Located on the second floor of the museum, the film plays every hour, on the hour.  Did I mention that I’m not really a baseball fan?  This film had me tearing up!  You get to see some of the highlight moments of some of the Hall of Famers.  Their love and passion for baseball is truly inspiring.

Every July, during Hall of Fame Weekend, new members are inducted into the Hall in a special ceremony.  The special weekend also includes an awards ceremony and a Parade of Legends, among other festivities.  This past July, new inductees included Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.  It was interesting to learn that there’s not a set number of inductees each year.  From a ballot of recently retired players, four different voting panels choose the inductees.

I’m glad that our family was finally able to make a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  As a New Yorker, it seems only fitting to visit this iconic museum that’s really not too far from home.

The Details:

National Baseball Hall of Fame
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
1-888-HALL-OF-FAME

Hours:  Open 7 days a week (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day)
Labor Day – Memorial Day:  9 AM – 5 PM  Extended Hours Memorial Day – Labor Day

Admission: $23/adults, $15/seniors, $12/children (7-12) & veterans, Free/children (6 and under) & active/career retired military

Parking:
  Paid parking in nearby lot.  Free parking available in three lots throughout Cooperstown with Trolley service ($2/per rider per day).

Tips:

*Food is not served at the museum.  There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along Main Street, where you can go for lunch or dinner. When you leave you can get your hand stamped so you can return during the day.

*Expect to spend a minimum of 3 hours at the museum. Baseball fans will probably spend a lot more time!