Cooperstown, NY: A Drinking Town with a Baseball Problem

Two months ago my wife and I celebrated a family friend’s wedding at the Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. Amanda and I were pumped to not only go to a place we had never been but also to attend a wedding at a brewery! This would be a first for the both of us. We figured we knew what to expect for an upstate NY adventure. Backcountry roads, rolling hills, silos dotting the landscape, and plenty of cows roaming rolling fields. We also knew that Cooperstown was the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. We figured, sweet, maybe we will check it out if we have some extra time. Outside of that we really didn’t have too many expectations for our trip.

Discovering Cooperstown

What I didn’t know before driving into the downtown area of Cooperstown was how special and unique the town that lay ahead actually was. Driving into Cooperstown from the west we passed a handful of BBQ joints all smelling of mouth watering smoked deliciousness. As we turned the corner onto Main Street in this adorable one light town I fell in love.  The historic district of Cooperstown consists of a few blocks of beautiful old buildings that line the streets. Giving it that quaint small town charm that I have found in so many other places before. What makes this place different from any other beautiful old downtown  is that EVERYTHING is all about America’s favorite past time… BASEBALL! The hall of fame is at the end of the main drag and every store, restaurant, and coffee shop leading up to it is baseball themed.

Now, I am not the biggest baseball fan but even I could appreciate how incredible this place really was. So, what did we do? We explored.

Getting Started

The Birthplace of Baseball

We started by parking the car in a lot off of Main Street which conveniently put us right in front of Doubleday Field. This is rumored to be the birthplace of baseball where the field’s namesake etched the rules of the game into the dirt with a stick. Whether or not this is where the game was originally created it’s a great place to start your Cooperstown adventure.

Fill the Tank

If you’re hungry stop by the Doubleday Cafe just around the corner on Main Street for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks. The friendly waitstaffs t-shirts encompass the essence of the town stating “A drinking town with a baseball problem.” The restaurant is in the theme of, what else, baseball and serves some outstanding homemade meals. If the bacon mac and cheese is on the specials board GET IT! It is out of this world, but really, everything here is delicious.

Discover Some History

Baseball everything… everywhere

From there head down to the iconic Baseball Hall of Fame that has three floors of baseball memorabilia commemorating the history of the sport as well as plaques of the hall of famers themselves. Admission is a little on the expensive side (adults $23) but, in my opinion, worth the money to see this piece of history that the town is built around.

Be sure to walk a block back from Main Street to check out the waterfront park overlooking the southern portion of Otsego Lake. The view is beautiful so if you have a kayak or paddle board bring it for the trip because you will be so tempted to get on the water.

Wet Your Whistle

After you’ve checked out the town’s main claim to fame it’s time to get to it’s secondary hobby… drinking. The region is saturated with countless breweries, wineries and distilleries so if you’re a fan of any of those three you are in luck. Right in the village of Cooperstown you can find the Cooperstown Beverage Exchange to wet your whistle between your baseball themed activities. If you’re willing to venture outside of the village and take a little bit of a drive you can find yourself within range of the Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Bear Pond Winery, Fly Creek Cider Mill, Rustic Ridge Winery and Butternut’s Beer and Ale. Needless to say, you have options.

On the Road Again

Roadside kitsch at its finest

Heading back to Boston we took the scenic route. We started out driving along Ostego Lake on County Highway 31 until we hooked up with U.S. Route 20 all the way to Albany.  Once on route 20 we stumbled across The Teepee souvenir shop in Cherry Valley, NY. I obviously had to pull over to take a picture. In my opinion kitschy roadside charm is a must for any good road trip.

A little further down the road in Duanesburg, NY we stopped at the Chuck Wagon Diner for a bite to eat. It is my favorite diner to date and for a few reasons. First, the food was delicious. Second, we were greeted with a free cup of minestrone soup from  the owner when we sat down. Third, all of the wait staff and customers seemed to be old friends. It was incredibly endearing. Oh, and it was done in the ole Americana style that I am in love with.

Anywhoser, the trip overall far exceeded my expectations. From a happy couple saying I do whilst drinking a beer to an all American town with great charm. And plenty of good roadside kitsch.  Everything was perfect. Cooperstown, until we meet again…

 

Spring Skiing: 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Put Those Skis in Storage Just Yet

The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up and the snow is starting to disappear from the yard. You guessed it, spring has arrived in New England. Now, all we can think about is putting another long winter behind us and getting back into warm weather activities. With hiking, biking, and watersport activities quickly moving to the forefront of our focus its easy to forget about springs best outdoor activity. SPRING SKIING/ SNOWBOARDING!

I have been guilty of putting away my snowboard too soon on so many occasions. I always say I’m going to keep riding until the snow is gone. But, I get distracted by day drinking dates, trips into the city, and early season hiking. Before I know it if I’ve let go of the seasons last opportunities for some amazing play time in the snow. As well as some of the season’s BEST ski days.

This year I decided I’m going to do spring skiing right. I spent 2017’s first day of spring riding at Mount Snow in Vermont and what a kickoff to Spring it was. Temperatures hit 50 degrees, the crowds were small, and conditions were great. Also, we had sunlight for the whole 3 hour ride home which is a plus.

With a day like that I decided I have to write a post about the wonders of spring ski time and why we shouldn’t put away the snow gear just yet. Here’s what I came up with.


Spring Skiing Weather

Monday Sunday at Mount Snow

First off, It’s not that cold! If it’s a perfect spring ski day it’s actually pretty warm. Instead of running back to the lodge to add another layer your stopping in to shed some gear. And, the closer to naked you can get when doing just about anything… the better. Who likes feeling like the Michelin man when they’re trying to tear up the mountain. Not me.

Also, when you stop at the lodge to grab a beverage there’s no need to cuddle up inside. If it’s warm enough you’ll want to get right out onto the deck and  into an Adirondack chair to soak up some of that sunshine. This is a great time to work on that goggle tan.


Long Days

After Day Light Savings you are going to get longer days! Now most of the resorts are still going to shut down the lifts at four, but, you won’t be fighting the late afternoon shadows covering your favorite trails. Anyone who stays out until the end of the day in the dead of winter knows how the changing light conditions can make those last few runs pretty sketchy. Especially, if you’re tired. No need to worry now with all of that extra sunlight.

Also, Amanda and I tend to drive home right after a day of skiing. In mid winter we’re usually driving home in complete darkness which is never fun. But in the spring, we get those few extra hours of daylight to get home, which, basically means drinking less Red Bulls to get us through those long drives.

Now, if you’re staying over for the night grab your bathing suit and get into the outdoor hot tub and heated pool. This is important: Always stay somewhere with outdoor heated pools and hot tubs. It usually costs a little more but is well worth it after a long day of skiing.


Less Ice

New England is well known for its icy and often hostile skiing conditions. With warm weather comes softer snow and less ice luging. It definitely makes for a different kind of challenge especially when the snow is so soft that it turns to mashed potatoes. But, like most of you,  I’d take a pile of mashed potatoes over ice skating any day. And it makes for a way better leg work out. Bikini season here we come!


Smaller Crowds

From the Bullwheel Tavern at the Summit of Mount Snow

This may be the biggest benefit to spring skiing in my opinion. Personally, I can’t stand trying to ride when there’s a ton of people at the resorts. In fact, if it’s a busy holiday week or weekend I usually don’t even bother going.

During the spring the closer you get to the close date of the mountains the less people you have to deal with. And, if you’re a weirdo like me and love having midweek days off then you will find that the lifts lines are almost non-existent. You’ll feel like you have the mountain to yourself! Keep in mind, more space on the trails also means more seats at the bar.


Cheaper Tickets/ Lodging

With the dwindling crowds also comes dwindling lift ticket and hotel price tags. This is HUGE for most people as the extremely high cost of skiing/ riding often deters people from getting out as much as they would like to.

After the last big holiday week you can often find excellent deals on lift tickets and hotels. The ticket windows at the mountains usually take the longest to drop their prices so check out discount websites like https://www.liftopia.com for awesome deals. This is something you should also check out throughout the season even at high times. If you’re paying full price for a lift ticket ever, you’re doing it wrong.


Big Parties

A ton of the big resorts will end their seasons with a BIG party. A lot of these come in the forms of concert weekends. Some other cool stuff going on would be fun spring skiing events like 80’s day, pond skimming, and various forms of races (not necessarily on skis).

For some of the world’s best spring ski festivals check out http://xgames.espn.com/xgames/gallery/9126219/image/1/12-best-spring-festivals-ski-areas

Sugarloaf’s Raggae Fest is mentioned in a lot of articles I’ve read about popular ski parties. For more info on the Loaf’s Raggae Festival check out http://sugarloaf.com/activities-and-nightlife/events. Way to represent the East Coast Sugarloaf!


Bring Your Friends!

Spring Ski Vibes

Spring is an awesome time to get your buddy who has never skied before out for their first day. He/ she will get cheaper tickets and get to learn in a more forgiving environment. There will be less people on the slopes to crash into. And, they won’t  be immediately turned off by some of the things us seasoned skiers and riders put up with on a regular basis. You know, big crowds, freezing bitter temperatures and high mid season prices.

What more do I need to say? Grab your stuff and get out there! And if you want the ultimate spring skiing adventure head up to Mount Washington’s infamous Tuckerman’s Ravine for some backcountry fun. More on that to come!