Groups that love baseball and just about everything that represents old-time America will want to make their way to the 132-room Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, N.Y. The resort opened in 1909 in the historic town where baseball was allegedly born at Doubleday Field, and the property staff works with meeting planners to bring that history to life for groups.
Bob Faller, the property’s director of sales and marketing, says that the resort rents Doubleday Field about 15 times a year for groups to play baseball in the same spot that for 68 years hosted the Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame game, a tribute to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum only two blocks away.
Depending on the group’s budget, the hotel staff can bring in a “Hall of Famer” to attend the event. For instance, the staff brought in Phil Niekro, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, for a recent event for Norwalk, Ct.-based Tauck Tours. Niekro pitched on the field and even attended the company’s dinner as the keynote speaker. Faller says there were even T-shirts for guests to take home that said “I got a hit off Phil Niekro” or “Phil Niekro struck me out.” Other creative takeaways from similar events included a signed ball.
With its location so close by, planning something at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum helps round out a multiday event. Faller says the Tauck Tours group held a dinner there in the Hall of Plaques the night before their day at Doubleday Field.
While the baseball attractions are certainly the “jewels” of the city’s tourism, as Faller puts it, Cooperstown also has The Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum for groups to check out. The Farmers’ Museum takes attendees back in time, where they can visit a historic village that provides an example of how a farming community in Central New York would have looked like in the mid-19th century. For instance, they run a newspaper with an old printing press, and they grow heirloom tomatoes and hops — a nod to the city’s previous title as the “Hops Capital of the U.S.” The Fenimore Art Museum is equally as historic with its collection of American folk and American Indian art.
The resort, itself, represents a slice of American history as being one of the oldest in the area. Plus, it overlooks Otsego Lake or the “Glimmerglass” from James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel, Deerslayer. Meeting planners can plan smaller receptions at the Fire Bar, which opened last year, where attendees can cheers to Classic Americana while overlooking the famous lake.