Once touted as the birthplace of baseball, Cooperstown is thick with history beyond the diamond.
James Fenimore Cooper dreamed up the “Leatherstocking Tales” near Otsego Lake. The Glimmerglass of Leatherstocking lore – a nine-mile lake nestled among the hills – still offers breathtaking views from a historic resort or one of the parks that dot its pristine shores.
What Cooperstown has to offer is as varied as its visitors. Unique museums, world-class arts and a wide array of craft beverages all come together in this Upstate oasis of Americana and adventure.
So plan a vacation, but leave plenty of room for the unexpected. While Cooperstown may be synonymous with baseball, it is also as exciting and unpredictable as the game itself.
So, pack up the car, truck, van or SUV and plan to tack an extra hour or two onto your journey. It'll be time well spent.
Here's a short list of the scenic byways you can take to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame that will make the trip a memorable experience.
You can't truly appreciate the Village of Cooperstown without a stint on the two main routes leading in and out of the village.
"New York's Adventure Route," State Route 28, connects the New York State Thruway (I-90) to the north and I-88 from the south to Cooperstown, winding through the rolling farmland and offering stunning views of pristine lakes along the way. Keep your eyes peeled and you just might catch a glimpse of the majestic bald eagles who call the region home in the summer months.
Hudson Valley (New York)
Just 90 minutes north of New York City, the Hudson Valley region was identified by National Geographic Traveler as one of the Top 20 must-see locales on its "Best of the World" list. Blanketed in some of New York State's most beautiful natural views and charming small towns, it is a photographer's paradise.
A drive through the Hudson Valley is the stuff of legends, as a trip up U.S. Route 9 and 9W can lead you through Hyde Park, home to the FDR House and Presidential Library. It is just one of numerous attractions and landmarks along the way.
Viaduct Valley Way (Pennsylvania)
The Endless Mountain region of the Quaker State is something to behold for history buffs. Routes 92 and 171 take travelers past two historic and critical rail bridges in northern PA.
Constructed in 1848, the Starrucca Viaduct is the oldest still in use in the commonwealth. The Tunkhannock Viaduct, aka Nicholson Bridge, built in 1915, remains the largest concrete structure of its kind in the world.
The Viaduct Valley Way is accompanied by numerous historic villages and attractions as well as endless outdoor adventure.
Lakes to Locks Passage (New York)
This scenic byway connects all points north to the Erie Canal and Thruway by way of the awe-inspiring twists and turns of New York's legendary Adirondack Park.
The I-87 alternative's 200 miles of blacktop is cut through the heart of Vermont's Green Mountains and the Adirondacks on a trip that includes historic and gorgeous waterways like the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain, Lake George and the many canals that connect them all.
Following North America's first interconnected waterway, "The Great Northeast Journey" is filled with history that's documented in museums and sites in the many towns and villages that dot the Lakes to Locks Passage.
Route 20 Scenic Byway and Route 80
"America's Main Street" stretches 3,365 miles coast to coast. About 100 of them make up the Route 20 Scenic Byway of New York State.
Adventurous motorists can take the long way for as long as they want with U.S. Route 20, which is arguably the best way to get to Cooperstown from the east or west, or if your travels take you through New York’s capital city of Albany. Rolling hills, small towns and tons of history populate this popular roadway that harkens back to simpler times and the pleasure of a long drive.
From quirky roadside attractions to amazing views, the former Cherry Valley Turnpike of the 1800s fast became a destination for drivers when it was converted to a cross-country highway in 1926. It remains a favorite today.
Route 80 connects Cooperstown to Route 20, and those last few miles into town will treat you with breathtaking views of Otsego Lake.
If you're headed to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, be sure to grab a map and experience the roads less travelled. In any time of year, from any direction, your exploration of two of America's favorite pastimes – baseball and road trips – will be rewarded.