The Mets came up short in the World Series last year, but Mets fans scored big this year with the announcement that Mike Piazza, their starting catcher from 1998-2005, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Induction weekend is July 22-24, and you can count on admirers of the Amazin’s to descend on upstate Cooperstown for the first induction of a player wearing a Mets cap on his plaque since Tom Seaver in 1992. While the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will naturally be the focal point of any visit, there are plenty of other attractions in town and in the scenic surrounding area. Here are eight; hours given are summer ones, effective through Labor Day.
Constructed in 1939 on what had once been Elihu Phinney’s cow pasture — putative site of baseball’s mythical first game — Doubleday Field’s covered brick grandstand, gray wooden benches and wooden outfield fence whisk fans back to the early days of the sport. These days, Doubleday is a for-hire venue for amateurs seeking the thrill of playing on the same diamond as so many baseball greats over the years. Games, which are free and open to the public, are played at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
WHERE 1 Doubleday Court
INFO 607-547-2270, doubledayfield.com
HEROES OF BASEBALL WAX MUSEUM
An unnaturally quiet George Steinbrenner lures prospective visitors into the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, an exhibit that includes more than 40 life-size likenesses of figures including Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Yogi Berra and even Pete Rose. As an added bonus, Mets fans can now pose with Piazza, the museum’s latest addition.
WHEN | WHERE 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, 99 Main St.
INFO $11.95 adults, $9.95 ages 5-12, free ages 4 and under; 607-547-1273, baseballwaxmuseum.com
THE FARMERS’ MUSEUM
While farm life and animals are certainly featured here, the Farmers’ Museum is about rural and village life in general, circa 1845. Knowledgeable costumed interpreters await your arrival in most of the 22 remarkably well-restored period buildings. In addition to a farmstead, there’s a tavern, church, school and general store. Children will enjoy taking a spin on the Empire State Carousel, while adults can marvel at the “Cardiff Giant,” a surprisingly successful hoax from 1869.
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, 5775 State Highway 80,
INFO $12 ages 13-64, $6 ages 7-12; 888-547-1450, farmersmuseum.org
FENIMORE ART MUSEUM
Housed in a gracious 1930s stone manor house overlooking Otsego Lake about a mile north of town, the Fenimore Art Museum is a surprisingly large facility most famous for its permanent collections of American folk and American Indian art. This summer’s special exhibits include “Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Bohemian Paris,” “Ansel Adams: Early Works” and “The Perfection of Harmony: The Art of James Abbott McNeill Whistler.”
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, 5798 State Highway 80,
INFO $12 ages 13-64, free ages 12 and under; 607-547-1400, fenimoreartmuseum.org
THE GLIMMERGLASS QUEEN TOUR BOAT
A large part of Cooperstown’s aesthetic charm comes from its location at the southern tip of 8-mile-long Otsego Lake. And the best way to fully appreciate it is to get out on the water yourself. For casual visitors, that means a one-hour narrated cruise on the Glimmerglass Queen pontoon boat. The boat itself isn’t fancy, but the views and ambience are sure to please as you motor past, among other things, 60-foot-tall Gothic Revival Kingfisher Tower and the Otesaga Resort Hotel.
WHEN | WERE Tours at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. daily; 10 Fair St.
INFO Adults $16, ages 12 and under $10; 607-547-9511, ext. 247, lakefrontmotelandrestaurant.com
Perched on a hilltop at the far (northern) end of Otsego Lake, Hyde Hall is a 50-room English-style country manor house and National Historic Landmark. Built of native limestone in the 1830s by George Clarke, the great-grandson of the area’s colonial British administrator, Hyde Hall features a succession of private and public rooms and a worthy collection of original Clarke family furniture, artwork and decorations.
WHEN | WHERE Guided tours 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, 267 Glimmerglass State Park
INFO $12 adults, $10 ages 6-17; 607-547-5098, hydehall.org
For something that will appeal to fans of the other Met, there’s the annual Glimmerglass Festival with its rotating lineup of classic opera, Broadway musicals and recitals. Performances take place in a contemporary opera house on parklike grounds along the northwestern shore of Otsego Lake. This summer’s lineup: Puccini’s “La Bohème,” Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” Rossini’s “The Thieving Magpie” and Robert Ward’s “The Crucible,” based on the Arthur Miller play.
WHEN | WHERE July 8–Aug. 27, 7300 State Hwy. 80
INFO Adult single ticket $26-144; 607-547-2255, glimmerglass.org
Built in 1997 on the grounds of a former hop farm 7 miles from town, Belgian-style Brewery Ommegang produces eight award-winning Belgian-style ales and a host of limited-edition special brews that can be enjoyed in its Old World-style cafe, on its terrace or taken home. En route, you can stop and sample more traditional American wares at the Cooperstown Brewing Company (cooperstownbrewing.com) in Milford, another one of eight stops on the Cooperstown Beverage Trail.
WHEN | WHERE Sunday–Wednesday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday–Saturday 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; 656 County Highway 33
INFO Tours free, tastings $5 per person (age 21 and over); 607-544-1800, ommegang.com
IF YOU GO
Cooperstown is located roughly 200 miles northwest of New York City in Otsego County.
NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME The main attraction in town is at 25 Main St. and is open daily 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Admission is $23 for adults; $12 ages 7-12, free ages 6 and younger. Organized youth groups, ages 7-12, can even sleep inside the gallery. 888-hall-of-fame (888-425-5633), baseballhall.org
2016 HALL OF FAME INDUCTION WEEKEND July 22-24. The induction ceremony takes place Sunday, July 25, at Clark Sports Center, 124 County Hwy. 52; lawn seating is free. For a complete list of activities, visit baseballhall.org/visit/hall-of-fame-weekend
GENERAL INFO Cooperstown/Otsego County Tourism, 607-322-4046, thisiscooperstown.com
GETTING AROUND During the summer, when Cooperstown can be standing room only and parking virtually impossible to find, consider relying on the Cooperstown Trolley ($2 for an all-day pass). It can be boarded at one of three free outlying parking lots, cooperstownny.org/trolley-system