Cooperstown, NY - Where History, Literature and Tourism Meet

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rain.....softly falling, much needed rain!  Hallelujah!  Normally I hate rain.  My mom laughs at me because I hate it, especially going out in it.  I'm not one of those low maintenance, wash 'n go gals so I am not a big fan of rain......except for today.  I'm so happy to see the rain - not just for my lawn and the poor dehydrated trees with their crispy leaves, but because I need an excuse to stay home and get caught up.  I hate staying home when the weather is nice.  The sun beckons me to give in to my wanderlust, camera-in-hand and as much fun as that is, it doesn't really allow time for things like household chores, or even things I enjoy, like blogging.  When browsing through photos from the past couple of months, I was reminded of one such day when we surrendered to our wanderlust, a day I planned to blog about....but life happened, and that post was never written - until now.  So, without further delay, come along with me as I take you on a little trip to the historic village of Cooperstown, NY.

LifeAsISeeItPhotography.netAlmost everyone is familiar with Cooperstown.  It is well known, especially for its famous Baseball Hall of Fame, which opened in 1938,  and where my third cousin, Leo Durocher was inducted in 1994.   Cooperstown is also the home of author, James Fenimore Cooper and Abner Doubleday, civil war officer and supposed inventor of baseball.



Nothing against the institution of baseball, but the Hall of Fame is not what brings me to Cooperstown.  On this particular day we had two things on our agenda....1) lunch at the Otesaga Resort and 2) a boat ride on the Glimmerglass Queen.  It was a beautiful day. The sky full of big, puffy clouds.  We arrived just in time for an early lunch and we easily got a table on the veranda of the Otesaga's Hawkeye Grill.  This was our second time dining at the Hawkeye and since our visit last year, I was anxious to return. 


I ordered the Dark Truth Stout Bacon Burger and opted for fresh fruit over fries.  Considering the burger was bigger than my face, that was probably a wise decision.  It was just as amazing as it looks, even though I ate it with a knife and fork and left most of the roll behind.  

John ordered the Adult Grilled Cheese which was packed with cheese and arugula and came with a side soup.  The soup, which looks more like stew, was minestrone and John says it was delicious.  Two for two, it seems one can't go wrong with a meal at the Hawkeye and the view isn't too shabby either.........
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After lunch we moseyed on down the road to the Cooperstown's Lakefront Hotel where the Glimmerglass Queen is docked.  Because it was a weekday, there were plenty of spaces left on the 1:00pm cruise!   We purchased our tickets ($16 each) for the narrated, hour-long cruise.  The boat was immaculate and nicely furnished with canvas director chairs and tables inside, but I opted to stand outside where I could enjoy the view, unobstructed by glass, and take photos.
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Cooperstown NY
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I should have asked our female Captain why the water in Lake Otsego looks so green....anybody know?
From the boat, we had great views of the Otesaga Resort ....
And the Fenimore Art Museum...
Cooperstown NY
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Hard to read, but notice that the Glimmerglass Queen was built right here in Albany, NY.
It was still early in the day when we finished our cruise, so we decided to check out the Fenimore Art Museum.  In order to best describe what you'll find inside the Fenimore Museum, let me quote Wikipedia...."
The Fenimore Art Museum (formerly known as Fenimore House Museum) is a museum located in Cooperstown, New York, USA, operating under the auspices of the New York State Historical Association. It presents changing and permanent exhibitions of American Folk Art, North American Indian art and artifacts, Hudson River School and 19th-century genre paintings, and American photography.
The Museum was moved to its present location — Cooperstown, New York overlooking Lake Otsego — in 1939 due to a gift from Stephen Carlton Clark. Much of the American Fine Art Collection was donated by Clark, a generous art connoisseur.
The museum also has a great deal of material associated with James Fenimore Cooper, Cooperstown's most famous native son, and his family. This includes furniture, portraits and paintings, personal effects and books owned by Cooper, as well as manuscripts and first editions of his writings."
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I have to confess I am not a big history buff, but the museum is really beautiful as are the exhibits.  My favorite part of the Fenimore (call me shallow) was the back veranda and the view it offered.  Meticulously manicured and stunningly landscaped, all one can imagine when standing there is how awesome an event on these grounds must be!
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Cooperstown NY

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Cooperstown NY
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Visible far out on Otsego Lake , you can see the Glimmerglass Queen sailing by.
A visit to Cooperstown is never disappointing.  If you're thinking of taking a trip, the Glimmerglass Queen sails until Columbus Day.  While you're in the area, check out the Farmers' Museum - another beautiful and educational stop for young and old.  Check out my post featuring them last year, as well as the fascinating history behind the hand-carved carousel animals....links provided below.  There are so many fine places to visit just a short drive from the Capital District.  You just have to walk out your door and surrender to your wanderlust!  Happy Travels.  Come back soon to Life As I See It!
To read earlier Cooperstown posts:

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Everything Wonderful for Your Home and Appetite at the Main Street Ristorante and Gift Shoppe

Friday, September 25, 2015

Continuing on my quest to bring you autumn.....John and I set out Wednesday on the first day of Autumn to visit a most unique and wonderful shop.  Not only was this shop full of everything warm and wonderful for your home, it also had wonderful things for satisfying your tummy too.  I am so excited to introduce you to the Main Street Ristorante and Gift Shoppe.

Nestled in the Kuyahoora Valley on scenic Route 28, Main Street Ristorante and Gift Shoppe is owned and operated by Kim and Ryan Defaria.  Kim attended Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI.  She met Ryan while working in the same restaurant in a coastal New England town and later married.  They moved to Newport, NY where Kim grew up with a dream of opening their own restaurant with casual dining in a country setting.  Kim, also a talented crafter, decorated the restaurant and did it so well that customers would inquire about purchasing the primitive country accessories.  So Kim began selling her crafts in a small section of the shop.  Kim says she always loved the warm and inviting decor.  That small section grew and grew and eventually, with Ryan's help, the primitive country store was created.  With each passing year, they added to their offerings.  Olde Century Colors Paint, hand-crafted furniture made in the USA, lighting, textiles and linens, barn stars, signs, candles and so much more fills every nook and cranny.  The gift shop changes with the seasons and the restaurant is their pallet to reveal their decorating ideas.  Sitting in the restaurant you are sitting in the midst of the same beautiful merchandise that is for sale in the shop, in fact, everything that decorates the restaurant is for sale (as long as it has a tag).
There is also a Red Barn out back that holds vintage items to reclaim and much more. 
 Red Barn Primitives is open Memorial Day through Columbus Day Weekend.
Here's a peak at what's waiting when you step inside the shop....

 Don't forget to click on any photo to view it larger....

Kim says they aren't sure where the years have gone but they feel very blessed to have each other and all of their loyal patrons.  They are celebrating their 20th year in business this December.  As a visitor, it's easy to see how they have reached this milestone.  Kim and Ryan are as warm and welcoming as the business they have created. And as wonderful as the shop is, the restaurant is so fabulous, it's really worthy of its own blog post.  But since I've already got your attention......let's talk about it now.  There's only one thing Kim does better than decorate and that is COOK!   Man oh man, can she cook!!  I had pretty high expectations of a Johnson & Wales graduate, but Kim blew my expectations out of the water.  First let me apologize for forgetting to take photos of the restaurant.  I was on sensory overload after photographing the shop and once our lunch arrived, well, by then I totally forgot I came with a camera.  I ordered one of the day's specials - a seafood salad wrap for $8.95.  It came with fries or a side salad and I chose the salad with the homemade house Honey Mustard dressing.  My seafood salad wrap was fresh, light and seasoned perfectly, not swimming in the usual mayo that you'd expect.  Even the wrap was soft and tender and fresh.  The honey mustard dressing was so delicious, I could have eaten it with a spoon.  I told Ryan, who was our server, that they should be bottling it.  John ordered the steak sandwich......which came out nothing like he expected.  Normally a steak sandwich is shaved steak on a roll.....not this.  It was an 8 oz. Ribeye Steak topped with beer battered onion rings on a roll, cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth.  I could barely finish 1/2 of my wrap, so John cleaned my plate (and his) and normally we wouldn't have considered dessert, but after this meal and knowing desserts are made by Kim, we couldn't resist.  So we ordered the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, today's special for $3.95.  That is NOT a typo and this was not a small sliver of cheesecake.  It was a 3" high x 3" wide slice of heaven.....without a doubt the best cheesecake I've ever eaten....ever!  We planned on splitting it and it's a good thing!  I did manage to stop eating long enough for some cell phone shots....


Half eaten Vanilla Bean Cheesecake - it started out pretty!
I was so excited about the dessert, I almost forgot to take a photo.  I'm just happy this place is not in in my hometown or anywhere close because I'd be there every week.  Obviously I'm not the only one to feel this way because on a quiet Wednesday out in the middle of the country in the tiny village of Newport, the place was hopping with several tables of customers.  Even if you are not a collector of country primitive decor....you have to visit just to enjoy a mouth-watering meal. Kim says her Dad picks all the berries and makes their pies in-house with Kim's mom's help, of course.  Rich and Marleen Asaro, Kim's parents, have been invaluable in helping to make this business a reality.

Mark your calendar and plan to visit on Saturday, October 10, 2015 when they are having their 1st Annual Backyard/Tent Sale, 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. - Rain or Shine (hoping for shine).  If you can't make it then, you can visit any Wednesday-Saturday from 11:30am-8:00pm.  Call before visiting 315-845-8835.   They are located at 7431 Main Street (Route 28). December 5th is their Primitive Christmas Open House from 11:30-4:00 with complimentary refreshments and door prizes.  Links to their Facebook page and website will be provided below.   For those who are not familiar with Newport, NY (like me), it is located just a short drive from Little Falls, NY - about 90 minutes from Clifton Park and surrounding locales.  It's an easy drive on the thruway to Little Falls and then a short drive from there.  The scenery is truly beautiful farm land for as far as the eye can see.....plan a ride soon.  You won't be disappointed.   If you're hesitant to make the long trip just for this, I suggest making it a day and taking a boat cruise down the Erie Canal on the 'Lil Diamond.  You can read all about this scenic, narrated cruise through the locks on the Erie Canal Cruises out of Herkimer.  To read more about them and see photos of what you'll see along your cruise, check out my post at: http://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/2014/04/erie-canal-cruise_7.html
I can't think of a better way to spend a beautiful autumn day......a cruise down the river, a delicious lunch at the Main Street Ristorante and a little leisurely shopping to round out the day!  
Thanks for reading and if you know someone who would love the Main Street Ristorante & Gift Shoppe, share this post with them using the links below.  Happy Autumn!

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