Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saturday done right

It wasn't the gloriously sunny day we wanted, but we made the best of it. Cooperstown, NY, is just an hour and a half away. It's best known as the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame-- there's Doubleday Field, a baseball greats wax museum, and a plethora of little shops on Main Street otherwise devoted to the Great American Pastime. We politely ignore all that. We know Cooperstown mainly as a town of spectacular old stone buildings, brew pubs, and beautiful lakefront. Our afternoon started off with a hike at Glimmerglass State Park.

Maidenhair ferns, a favorite.

Witch hazel.
We spotted lots of deer on the hike. These guys (or rather, girls) were posing like Upstate New York poster deer.

This is one of those aforementioned spectacular old stone buildings. I love how the orange mums set off the gray sky and the gray stones. One thing about this town: they have strict zoning laws. Sometimes I think they even regulate what color flowers you can plant in your pots. Plant the wrong shade of mums, they make you move away.

After our hike, we went to visit our other favorite place in Cooperstown: The Farmers Museum. I hands down love this place. It started out as just some old farmland with a pretty impressive stone barn (built by one James Fenimore Cooper), and has expanded steadily, building by building, into an entire recreated early American village. In places where historic buildings were threatened, the Farmers Museum would set about raising the money to have them lifted, moved to Cooperstown, settled on the property, and then restored. When the restoration is finished, the house is open to the public, often complete with knowledgable interpreters in period dress.

This house used to be in Norwich. It was lifted up and trucked here in 2006. Imagine driving down the highway and seeing an 1840 farmhouse go by!

There's a real diversity of buildings: a forge, a schoolhouse, a church (available for private weddings), a pharmacist, a lawyer's office, tavern, and a number of farmsteads. Inside the Moore house, a woman was cooking bubble and squeak over an open hearth, while another sat by the window mending a sock. After a minute (I was chatting with them about food preservation) a young man brought in a bucket from the heirloom cattle who'd just been milked, out in the barn. Outside, their woodshed is full, their bins are full of potatoes. Chickens peck in the dooryard. Walk down the lane, there's turkeys and a horse, pigs and sheep. Say hello!

The place is like a time capsule. It's also a tribute to those things I love best-- handwork, resourcefulness, ingenuity, independence.

We met up with my parents in Oneonta for an early dinner, (mom gave me another infusion of canning jars and recipes), and rounded out the day sitting with some friends out in Endicott. And that, folks, is my kind of Saturday.


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