Jeff Katz is a diehard baseball fan, so it makes sense that in his younger days, he was a faithful visitor to Cooperstown, New York.
For 20 years, he’d come for a day trip to check in at the Baseball Hall of Fame and visit Doubleday Field. Jeff parked near the town offices and spent most of a day at the Hall of Fame, with stops for pizza and treats before he’d head home.
Now, Jeff lives and breathes Cooperstown, where he’s lived with wife and three sons since 2003. He’s even the Cooperstown mayor, starting his fourth year on the job in April, and every day, he parks near the spot he once occupied once a year.
Jeff says all baseball fans should come to Cooperstown at least once in their lifetimes, but further than that, he says everyone should visit because, in addition to being a great sports draw, the village is a cultural mecca.
“There’s so much to Cooperstown that it’s impossible to cover it all in a few days,” Jeff says. “That’s the part that is mostly missed by the average tourist. It’s not just a baseball town. Everyone who visits feels connected to Cooperstown for varying reasons. We offer a classic old view of small town America.”
In association with an organization called Tourism Cares, Sports Travel and Tours will plan a day’s worth of activities at Doubleday Field—a work party of sorts for fans. Participants will also have a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and spend a day sprucing up the stadium as well (volunteers can help paint the outfield fence or maybe do some landscaping).
While you’re visiting, Jeff guarantees you’ll fall in love with his slice of Americana: Cooperstown.
“The village is beautiful. Otsego Lake is near the Hall of Fame. We are always happy to have tour groups visit,” Jeff said. “They are our audience.”
In addition to the Hall of Fame, Doubleday and Cooperstown’s many restaurants and shops, Jeff also recommends that sports fans check out these key draws in his village as well:
- The Farmers’ Museum. Founded in 1943, one of the oldest rural life museums in the country. The atmosphere of the museum is designed to allow visitors a real life 19th century village experience complete with a working farmstead and early agricultural tools and equipment.
- Fenimore Art Museum. Located on Otsego Lake, this 1930s neo-Georgian mansion showcases American history through art, specifically American folk art and American Indian art.
- Glimmerglass Festival. Traditionally the festival has four productions, three operas and one American musical accompanied by a full orchestra.
- Brewery Ommegang. Opened in 1997, Brewery Ommegang began brewing Belgian-style ales on its 136-acre plot of land that was originally a hop farm.
Jeff says Cooperstown is a village with roughly 1,850 residents. Each year, roughly 750,000 to a million visitors pass through its various sports-related and cultural offerings.
“We get hundreds of thousands of people here, and then, when everyone leaves, we still have these things,” Jeff says. “There’s almost a theme park element to it for some people—the Land of Yesterday. But we’re a real village with real people.”
Would you like to volunteer at Doubleday Field on June 12?
Click here to join Tourism Cares, Sports Travel and Tours and travel and tourism industry professionals in giving back to the iconic Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY.