An exclamation of surprise broke from the lips of Deerslayer …when on reaching the lake, he beheld the view that unexpectedly met his gaze. On a level with the point lay a broad sheet of water, so placid and limpid that it resembled a bed of the pure mountain atmosphere, compressed into a setting of hills and woods.
– From “The Deerslayer” by James Fenimore Cooper
Forward, stroke. We’re counting the days till our return to Glimmerglass—the lake AND the summer opera festival—in Cooperstown, NY. Called “Glimmerglass” in James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, pristine Otsego Lake is the source for the Susqhehanna River and one of the finest deep-water fisheries (and kayakeries!) in Central New York. It also provides a magical setting for The Glimmerglass Festival, “a major destination for opera lovers from around the world” and certain opera-and-paddling fanatics from Westchester. Tickets are on sale now. Go get some.
Nine-mile-long Otsego Lake is bounded by The Glimmerglass Festival campus and Glimmerglass State Park on the northern end and the village of Cooperstown (over yonder, behind Alex) on the southern end
Interior of Glimmerglass Festival’s Alice Busch Opera Theater. Photo: Peyton Lea. Photo at left: Claire McAdams.
This summer, we’re especially looking forward to Wagner’s fourth opera, The Flying Dutchman, the story of a ghostly vessel doomed to traverse the seas for eternity. (Wait, where’s the “doom” part…?) Story aside, for us it’s all “about” tenor Jay Hunter Morris, a true hero of the Metropolitan Opera in more ways than one, who’ll sing the role of Erik.
OK, this post is supposed to be all about looking forward, but if you watch the Jay Hunter Morris link above, you may experience some déjà vu. Specifically, a “Jim Nabors talking vs. Jim Nabors singing” thing.
Ah, incongruity. Love that. Perhaps that’s why we like Cooperstown so much: It’s a place of such wonderful contrasts.
Ready to do a little trip planning? Consider the wonderfully disparate options:
You could stay at the grande dame of historic lakeside hotels, the 1909 Otesaga Resort Hotel.
Or, you could stay here:
The perfectly lovely Glimmerglass State Park also overlooks the lake. All campsites have a picnic table, grill, and fire ring (how Wagnerian!) Warm showers are available and appreciated.
You could dine at excellent area restaurants, including one of the top 10 restaurants in NY State, Alex and Ika.
Or… just plain Alex.
Tonight’s special: quinoa over bunsen burner. THIS summer, we plan to make an ACTUAL CAMPFIRE. Ooooo!
You could paddle an orange 54-lb. kayak…
…or, you can paddle a 550-lb. one! (Check out the launch at 4:00 in… hilarious!)
You could go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But everybody does that. This summer, we’re adding these to our must-see list:
The Cooperstown Beverage Trail How’d we miss this one?! Once the hops-growing capital of North America, Cooperstown now boasts two breweries, a farm winery and an historic cider mill, each making world-class beverages. These establishmentscomprise New York State’s very first official cuisine trail: Fly Creek Cider Mill, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Bear Pond Winery, Butternuts Beer & Ale, and Rustic Ridge Winery.
The Fenimore Art Museum Houses some of the nation’s finest examples of American landscape, history and genre paintings, American folk art, photography and American Indian art.
The Farmers’ Museum Experience 19th-century rural and village life firsthand through demonstrations and interpretive exhibits at one of the oldest rural life museums in the country.
Some outtakes from our visit last summer. Full-screen slideshow begins by clicking.
Kayak transportation vehicle with toys
We can always find our car in a parking lot
Launch right from your campsite
Creek launch opens onto the lake
The lake is pristine
Cutest lake house ever
Alex has found a friend
Swimming area at Glimmerglass State Park
Day at the beach?
Whoa! What happened to the glimmerglass??
Hyde Hall Mansion tour perfect for windy days
America’s oldest existing covered bridge sits quietly on Hyde Hall estate