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Cooperstown's Magnificent Otesaga Resort Hotel: A Mostly Photo Essay


Though there are other places that you can choose to stay when you wander over to Cooperstown to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame or The Farmer's Museum or perhaps to take in an evening of music at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival, if you really want to make it a memorable trip then you owe it to yourself to spend some time at The Otesaga Resort Hotel.  Even if it's not in your budget to be able to stay there - and what a shame if you can't! - at least go for a drink or dinner or something as it's an experience you simply don't want to miss while you're in that part of New York State. 


Designed in a classic neo-Georgian style of architecture and named for the Iroquois word meaning "a place of meetings," the Otesaga Resort Hotel is one of America's original grand lakeside resort hotels. With massive 30-foot tall columns supporting the hotel's impressive front portico beneath a cone-capped cupola, the Otesaga has been welcoming guests since 1909 proudly standing as the completed vision of brothers Edward Severin Clark and Stephen Carlton Clark, grandsons of Edward Clark who was Cooperstown's most benevolent benefactor who made his fortune as a partner of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. 


Praised for its sumptuous appointments and modern engineering when it opened, The Otesaga boasted such modern marvels as a refrigerator that was cooled with 30 tons of ice, telephones in each room, and central heating that could be individually adjusted. Today The Otesaga still exudes the same charm and hospitality that first delighted guests over 100 years ago in an atmosphere that seems to take you back a little bit somewhere in time but now it's equipped with the modern amenities that today's travelers have come to expect like high-speed WiFi, a fitness area, and state-of-the-art business center.


I had the extreme pleasure to enjoy a two-night stay at The Otesaga when my cousin and I wandered from Connecticut to Cooperstown to check out the area and naturally I took a lot of photos so in a definite change of pace for me, I'm going to try to let the photos speak for themselves here as nothing I write could possibly come close to how absolutely magnificent The Otesaga Resort Hotel is. I will let you know what you're looking at but for the most part, I'm going to try to keep the commentary to a minimum which as most folks know, is a real feat for me!  


Buttercup, one of the horses from The Empire State Carousel at The Farmer's Museum is on display in the Main Lobby greetings guests as they arrive. 


As for that Main Lobby ... It exudes gracious charm heralding back to long-ago days when - let's face it - folks were more gentile and is complete with lots of potted plants and a cozy fireplace just in case there's a slight chill coming off of the lake just outside the glass doors.


There's also a restful area off of the lobby with gleaming wood paneling and comfy chairs in case you'd like to have a seat in a more private area to enjoy a book or just relax. 


The hallways are bright, airy, and very wide with lots of comfy chairs just in case you need to take a seat along the way or need to wait for someone who isn't quite ready to emerge from their room.

My cousin and I spent our two nights in Room 212 which - upon opening the door - was found to be a little piece of heaven with magnificent views of Otsego Lake. Oh, and I should also point out that the hotel's key cards are pretty darned awesome too! 


Come on in and let me show you around our sweet suite! 


Our living room was very nicely appointed with comfortable furnishings, artwork that complimented the Cooperstown area, complimentary bottled water, a rather large flat-screen TV, and a view that I just couldn't
get enough of! The view below is from the living room window overlooking the Leatherstocking Golf Course  (more on that later) and Otsego Lake.


The roomy bathroom not only had every amenity and toiletry item that we might need during our stay  along with signature bath products and plush, soft Egyptian cotton towels but it also had a gorgeous view from a shuttered window that opened wide to let in the fresh air and view. 


Then there was the bedroom with its own flat-screen TV, more complimentary bottled water along with a Keurig coffeemaker with plenty of coffee & tea, an in-room safe, plush robes in the closet, black-out drapes on the windows, and luxurious triple-sheeted bedding on a very comfortable bed.  The bedroom and living room were both painted in lovely colors that were obviously designed to soothe the senses as Amy and I were both quite soothed whenever we were in the room. 


In addition to the view of Otsego Lake from the front window, there were also views from the side window that were quite nice overlooking the hotel's back veranda and cupola as well as the Cooperstown Marina Lighthouse in the distance. Any view with a lighthouse is a great view in my opinion! 


When we came back to our room in the evening after making an easy walk to the downtown area (the Baseball Hall of Fame is only an 8-minute walk away) to explore a bit, Turndown Service had left us chocolates as well as a bit of history along with a copy of the Otesaga Outlook that outlined a few things going on the next day that we might be interested in. 


The next morning brought a gorgeous sunrise through my bedroom windows (cousin Amy slept in the living room and said she was quite cozy) along with a nice relaxing cup of fresh-brewed coffee sipped in bed while I enjoyed the view. What a great way to wake up and start the day! 


Loathe though we were to leave the comfort our suite, we were getting a bit hungry so we wandered down to the Glimmerglass dining room where a breakfast buffet is served from 7 am to 10 am daily and oh, what a breakfast buffet it is! 


That's chipped beef gravy to the left of the sausage gravy up there and it was gooooddd ... Trust me, I had it both mornings for breakfast and it was really gooooddd. I also had a made-to-order omelet, corned beef hash, sausage, bacon, and some fruit for good measure though I didn't take a photo of every plate I brought back to our table with the lovely view of the lake otherwise there'd be a lot more food photos!  


The next morning we decided to have our breakfast out on the veranda rather than in the dining room as it was a gorgeous day so why not eat outside when you can? As you can see from the photo above that I took from our room, other people had the same good idea. 


I just have to say that I absolutely loved that the waitstaff in Glimmerglass wore the old-fashioned sort of uniforms from years ago, it really added to that "I've stepped back to a more gentile era" feel for me. 


The breakfast buffet was once again phenomenal and I'm sure I ate way too much but it was really hard not to given the multitude of choices that were available. I think that Amy had the same problem but it doesn't look like she was complaining, does it?


Above, a couple of views from our breakfast table as another gorgeous day was in the making in Cooperstown. 


One of the favorite features of many guests at The Otesaga - and with good reason - are the white wooden rockers on the veranda with their view of Otsego Lake with the Sleeping Lion (Mount Wellington which is said to resemble a lion at rest when viewed from the south) in the far distance on the eastern shore of the lake. 


Back inside, I took a peek at the ballroom where the night before a prom had been enjoyed by lots of happy teenagers and which is also available for weddings in a most elegant setting. 


I also took a walk up to the porch overlooking the hotel's Boating Dock and Lake Swimming Area on Otsego Lake. I was rather surprised that there weren't a few rocking chairs there as it would be the perfect place to relax while enjoying more wonderful views. 


Back downstairs and outside, I took a walk out on the Boating Dock to take a look around. While I was there Otsego Lake was certainly living up to the nickname "Glimmerglass" that was given to it by author James Fenimore Cooper who set his Leatherstocking Tales in the Cooperstown area. 


Guests of The Otesaga Resort Hotel are invited to swim in the lake from the Boating Dock however there are some rules to be followed for safety's sake which is always a good idea.


Kingfisher Tower Castle, built by Cooperstown's benevolent benefactor Edward Clark in 1876 to "beautify the lake," can be seen in the distance.  Still owned by the Clark Family, the 60-foot tall Gothic Revival-style tower is on private property so the only way to get a good view of it is via boat which I didn't have at my disposal so alas, the best I could manage were very distant photos that don't show how very nice it is. Trust me, I tried every zoom lens I had on that one!


View from the Boating Dock towards Glimmerglass State Park and the Sleeping Lion in the
distance which is located at the opposite end of Otsego Lake from Cooperstown on the
eastern shore.  Should you be a hiker, you might like to try the Sleeping Lion Trail which is a
moderate 2.5-mile loop trail that steps off in Glimmerglass State Park .


The back of The Otesaga Resort Hotel is just as impressive as the front is with its multitude of windows (when the hotel opened it had 400 of them!) and full-length veranda. Just for edification, our suite was located in the wing to the right directly above the Glimmerglass dining room making 
it the second row of windows from the top. 


See that open window in the photo below? That was my bedroom part of the suite. 


In addition to the Glimmerglass dining room, The Otesaga Resort Hotel offers a more relaxed dining atmosphere in the Hawkeye Bar & Grill which is open year-round while the rest of the hotel is seasonal.  During the warmer months you can choose to dine inside or out on the patio which is what Amy and I did our second night there. 



Folks can also enjoy pre-meal drinks or an after-dinner cordial in a relaxed atmosphere at The Otesaga's Lobby Bar, located adjacent to Glimmerglass where we had breakfast and 
which is, of course, the resort's most elegant dining choice offering classic American cuisine. 


The Fire Bar (below) offers a variety of cocktails, beer, wine, and a small plates menu though you won't see anyone sitting around it during the earlier parts of the day as it doesn't fire up until 4 pm but then, like moths to a flame, guests gather around it for drinks and conversation. 


Though I don't have any photos of it, I should also mention that there's live music and dancing Thursday through Saturday from 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm in The Templeton Lounge located on the Lower Lobby Level of The Otesaga; light snacks and drinks are available.

Back outside - more photos of the beautiful grounds. 


In addition to being able to take a dip in Otsego Lake, guests can also enjoy the heated outdoor swimming pool at The Otesaga. I took these photos fairly early in the morning hence the reason no one was out lounging around the pool. 


Then there's that gorgeous golf course that I mentioned briefly above that we could see 
from our room ...


The 18-hole championship Leatherstocking Golf Course was designed in 1909 by Devereux Emmet, who is reported to have designed over 150 golf courses, and is considered one of the East's most scenic and challenging resort golf courses. With a natural contour terrain that sweeps along the western shoreline of
Lake Otsego, the par 72 course offers gorgeous views from varying elevations and a par-5 finishing hole that hugs the lake the entire way playing from a tee box that was built out into the water - it's the hole that we could see from our room and the veranda.


With a Clubhouse Pro Shop and Golf Grill that's open seasonally from 11:30 am to 3 pm, The Leatherstocking Golf Course is open to the public as well as guests of The Otesaga who can take advantage of special Golf Packages that offer discounted rounds of golf as well as unlimited balls at the driving range along with deluxe accommodations in the hotel.


No special reason for the photos above, I tossed them in here just because I like them! 


A repeat winner of the coveted AAA 4-Diamond Award each year, The Otesaga Resort Hotel is also a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America and still owned by the Clark Family who brought it to life on the shore of Otsego Lake all those years ago. 


Finally, to tie things up with a few details:  The Otesaga Resort Hotel is open from mid-April through Thanksgiving weekend and has 132 luxurious rooms ranging from Traditional Rooms to their 
Grand View Lake Suite with lots of choices in between. Yes, it's pricey but it's worth the cost not just for the wonderful accommodations with more amenities than you can shake a Louisville Slugger at but also for the gracious staff who are sure to put a smile on your face much like the one 
cousin Amy is wearing in the photo below. 


The only bad thing about a stay at The Otesaga Resort Hotel is when you have to pack up and leave to head back out through their welcoming front gates and return to reality leaving behind the comfortable elegance and luxury of a truly grand hotel. Trust me, a visit to The Otesaga is a memorable experience that you should definitely put on your list of "Must Do's" when you go to visit Cooperstown - it's truly that awesome! 


For more about Cooperstown, please take a look at my companion post about things to do,
 places to see, etc. here


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