On The Road: Cooperstown

We are back from a series of fantastic trips to places both new and unfamiliar.  Here are the highlights from the first leg:

Cooperstown, NY:

  • I traveled alone for NYS Bar Association business.  Although I was unable to book a room in the big, swanky Otesaga hotel in town, I scored a great billet at a small Bed & Breakfast called The White House InnI had the carriage house all to myself.
  • Upon arrival, I had several hours of alone time.  I immediately went to Doubleday Field to view the commemorative stone we commissioned in my father-in-law’s honor marking his life and his love of baseball.  It’s comforting to know it’s there.
  • The Baseball Hall of Fame has changed in the seven or so years since my last visit there.  I particularly liked the new introductory film, The Baseball Experience, shown in a theater resembling a stadium.  It was very cool.

    The Mick

    The Babe

    The Temple

  • Souvenir shopping in town.  Yes, it’s kitschy.  But, it’s Cooperstown.
  • Cooperstown has preserved and presented itself as a true Americana town.  And the town’s efforts in the regard come off as entirely genuine.  It is the anti-Disney.
  • The best part of the Cooperstown experience is watching the joy on the faces of both kids and adults as they make wonderful discoveries.  If there is a temporary fountain of youth in this country, it surely exists here.
  • After drinks with newly-met colleagues at the Otesaga, we took a trolley to the Farmer’s Museum which I last visited with my grandparents in 1978.  Upon arrival, I asked a museum greeter if The Cardiff Giant was still there.  She stepped aside and…there he was — the giant was lying right behind her.  It was like seeing an old friend.
  • Steaks and fish and chicken and all sorts of good food in a barn at the Farmers Museum.  The best part was meeting wonderful people, all of whom are officers, Executive Committee members or delegates to the NYSBA.   I am a newcomer and they made me feel wonderfully welcome.  I re-encountered a woman with whom I attended Fordham Law School 20 years ago.  She is now a judge in Westchester County.
  • Drinks on the porch and a quiet evening overlooking the pool at the B&B.  I was reading a fascinating book entitled Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.  It is a nonfiction account of injustices perpetrated on a man following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  I stayed up late reading.  There’s no feeling like being unable to put down a good read.
  • Breakfast at The White House Inn: fresh fruit and banana bread, followed by lemon pancakes made with sour cream.  I slathered them in berry jam.  Thick slabs of bacon.  Hot coffee.
  • I addressed the Executive Committee of the NYSBA in my role as Co-chair of the newly-formed Special Committee on Veterans’ Legal Issues.  My counterpart had been called to duty in the Air Force, and I gave the presentation myself.  The Execs were very supportive, but asked tough questions.  All-in-all, a success.
  • More souvenir hunting.  I brought home goodies for everyone.
  • A pilgrimage to Brewery Ommegang, outside of Cooperstown.  I skipped the tour and went straight to the tasting.  Friends have been raving about Ommegang’s brews.  I wanted to try them for the first time at the source.  It was a life-altering experience.  As a lager man, I have never been partial to ale.  However, Ommegang’s products have changed all of that for me.  My favorites were the Rare Vos and the Abbey Ale.  I ended up buying a case of all of their brews to take on my trip to the Smokies (new post to follow).
  • Hours of private car time.  Sometimes there’s nothing like uninterrupted time alone whizzing down the highway.

Upon arriving home and dispensing gifts to loved ones, we began packing for our trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.  We left early the next morning.

— The Major

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