By Brien O’Donal
Yesterday, Cooperstown was back to normal; sort of. There were still some tourists left and some autographs to be signed. James and I returned for autographs and to visit the museum to see the new plaques hung on the wall. As soon as we got near Main Street I felt a completely different vibe. It was a very small town, yet still very baseball. It made me realize how much that place really is baseball. Walking up and down and around the town you could still feel what had just occurred the day before. All the memorabilia shops and Cooperstown clothing shops were still there. All the purely home grown restaurants were still there. We really felt what it meant to be there when there wasn’t such a big event going on.
It’s what I saw that day that compelled me to write one more article about my trip. This is one without the debauchery and daily idiocy of two buddies making a trip to see their favorite players. I want to really compel everyone to go there as soon as they are ready. Don’t wait for induction weekend just because you think that’s the only time the magic happens. After today, I know the magic is always there and you should witness it as soon as you can.
Of course, there is the amazing history of the museum. But did you know that just a few blocks down toward the water there are 1 hour lake tours. There is also a beautiful grassy park that overlooks the lake? Did you know that the tiny Cooperstown Diner, opened in 1921, has amazing breakfast? And that is just one of the great local restaurants. I should definitely mention Sal’s Pizzeria & Restaurant just a few doors down. It was my first New York pizza. It may not have been NYC, but it tasted good enough for me.
In previous articles about my trip I mentioned the great taverns we visited while taking a break from the hoopla; I feel like I must mention them again. Cooley’s and Sherman’s were really great for our entertainment needs. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. If we were so inclined, we might have also enjoyed the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum on Main Street. In a small weekend trip, anyone visiting there can find themselves with plenty to do and see and plenty of good food to keep them satisfied.
For me, the most amazing thing was the seemingly limitless memorabilia. There were so many autographs and pictures and reproductions of more than a century of baseball that I felt a little overwhelmed trying to remember all of what I had seen in the shops. For any baseball lover, it really is the crown jewel of memories. If you are a collector bring plenty of money, if you just want to remember bring plenty of time.
As I bring this to a close I am already considering when I will go back. I hope one day my son will be interested in baseball and I can bring him to see what I have seen. If you don’t yet have baseball aged kids, do like I did and grab a friend for a fun trip. If your kids are old enough to appreciate it all then I highly suggest you plan a trip, you won’t regret it. I have officially returned to the real world but I am a man filled with enough great memories to last a lifetime.
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