An important component of this Retirement Trip, from its inception, was a stop in Cooperstown, New York, home of baseball’s Hall of Fame.
For reasons utterly unrelated to baseball, my one previous visit to Cooperstown was an iconic travel experience, the hard-to-top-this variety. I made that first baseball pilgrimage in the fall, by myself, and stayed in a cheap motel across the road from the beautiful Lake Otsego, known to millions of non-baseball fans as The Glimmerglass, written about by James Fennimore Cooper in The Deerslayer.
On a fine fall morning, over a decade ago, I walked up and over the small hill behind the motel, which was closing for the season the next day, to discover a Norman Rockwell painting in Real Life. Local residents were raking the fallen leaves and burning them, laughing and enjoying conversation. Sight, sound and smell all came together to create a perfect picture that is indelible in my mind to this day. Then I drove to downtown Cooperstown and ate a perfect pastry at the bakery on the corner of the village’s shopping district. That took care of “taste.” My senses were on overload. How do you improve on an experience like that?
First rule of travel is never attempt to duplicate a travel memory. You can’t do it. You will be disappointed. Enjoy the memory, but leave the happy thoughts of your previous experience in the past. If you return to the same site, do something new this time.
I did not have a room reserved in Cooperstown on this trip. I wasn’t sure where I was staying, or for how long. I considered staying at the place where the Hall of Famers stay, at the magnificent Otesaga Resort. The rates were over $300 per night, a far cry from the $25 per night I had paid at the Mom and Pop motel on my previous stay. That would be a different experience. Sometimes, I am willing to pay more for a five-star experience, but not that much more and not on this occasion. So, I had made no decision about where to stay.