Now you must be starving. Stop at Danny's Main Street Market [92 Main St.; 607/547-4053] to get wraps or big sandwiches on baguettes. The place for an ice cream cone is the Red Nugget [45 Pioneer St.; 607/547-8442], and I recommend the elephant ears at Schneider's Bakery [157 Main St.; 607/547-9631]. In summer the Blue Mingo Grill [6098 Rte. 80; 607/547-7496], at Sam Smith's Boatyard, is the best lunch spot. You sit on a porch and watch all the boats coming in. Or elbow your way to the counter in the Herder's Cottage [80 Lake Rd.; 607/547-1496] at the Farmers' Museum and order a Zweigle's Texas Red Hots hot dog (really good). For dinner, try the Hoffman Lane Bistro [2 Hoffman Lane; 607/547-7055; dinner for four $90] for unbelievably soothing meat loaf and chocolate mousse cake.
Before you leave, there's one more place you have to check out: Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard [288 Goose St., Fly Creek; 607/547-9692]. Have a chunk of local cheddar, a sticky candy apple, and cider—they press the apples right in front of you. It's so rustic and peaceful here, you might want to hang out awhile.
—Interviewed by Lin Smith Vincent
Where To Stay
The grandest place in Cooperstown is the Otesaga Resort Hotel (60 Lake St.; 800/348-6222 or 607/547-9931; www.otesaga.com; doubles from $185, plus $50 for children seven and up, including breakfast and dinner; open April-November), pronounced "oat-uh-saug-uh." Built in 1909, it was renovated last year. Its Leatherstocking Golf Course is first-rate.
There are several motels along Route 80. Among them: Lake 'N Pines Motel (7102 Rte. 80; 800/615-5253 or 607/547-2790; www.cooperstown.net/lake-n-pines; doubles from $65) and Lake View Motel & Marina (6805 Rte. 80; 888/452-5384 or 607/547-9740; www.lakeviewmotelny.com; doubles from $59). For a full list, see www.cooperstownchamber.org.
Cooperstown Coming To Your Town
Some 500 treasures from the National Baseball Hall of Fame are touring the country through mid-August 2005. "Baseball as America" is at the Florida International Museum, St. Petersburg, December 13 through March 6, and then in Washington, D.C., St. Louis, and Houston (see www.baseballhalloffame.org). Back in Cooperstown, new items on display include NYPD and FDNY caps worn by the Mets and the Yankees when baseball resumed after 9/11, and the bats Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa used to hit their 500th homers.