The best view in Cooperstown comes with dinner at the Otesaga, a 115-year-old hotel (2024)

Cooperstown, N.Y. — At first glance, it’s hard not to feel intimidated by the stunning Otesaga Resort Hotel.

The historic Cooperstown mansion emanates luxury, from the soaring 30-foot columns that hold up its towering front entrance to the wrought-iron fence that lines the lush property perched on the shore of the glimmering Otsego Lake.

All that old-world charm left me worried I was underdressed when I pulled up to The Otesaga on a sunny June night.

I made reservations at the Hawkeye Bar & Grill, the most casual of the resort’s main restaurants, where the dress code welcomes “casual attire”. And yet, the stately Otesaga — with its window-filled brick walls and waterside golf course — made me question if my decidedly casual summer dress was enough.

But when I spotted a group of kids playing a pickup game of baseball on the back lawn of the Otesaga, I knew dinner would be a home run.

The best view in Cooperstown comes with dinner at the Otesaga, a 115-year-old hotel (1)

The Otesaga has been welcoming guests into its lush halls for 115 years.

The hotel opened its grand doors in 1909, boasting uncommon amenities for the turn of the 20th century — from telephones in each guest room to central heating, according to the Otesaga’s website. A golf course was added to its lakeside property shortly after the Otesaga’s debut, offering golfers a great view of Otsego Lake from the resort’s 700 feet of waterfront.

Many of the hotel’s original features remain today, including the 400 windows that wrap around the mansion.

And dinner at the Hawkeye Bar & Grill comes with something The Otesaga has always offered: the best view in charming Cooperstown.

Housed in the lower lobby of the Otesaga, the Hawkeye’s windows look out on the glorious Otsego Lake. Diners can even enjoy an uninterrupted view of the “Glimmerglass”, the nickname famous Cooperstown author James Fenimore Cooper bestowed on the lake, by eating outside on the restaurant’s patio.

The best view in Cooperstown comes with dinner at the Otesaga, a 115-year-old hotel (2)

On the sunny evening we dined at the Otesaga, we arrived early to give ourselves time to explore.

With a blackberry basil bourbon co*cktail (complete with a drink stirrer topped by a miniature baseball) and a Brewery Ommegang draft from the Hawkeye bar in hand, we wandered onto the lawn and perched on a bench overlooking Otsego Lake. Sailboats and fishing boats dotted the water, cutting quiet paths through the calm, surreally blue lake.

A team of boys in town to play at the Cooperstown Dream Park played baseball on the resort’s soft grass, filling the air with the echo of bats cracking into balls — a very Cooperstown sound. A three-piece band played a soft jazz set on the patio, entertaining guests circling the ever-burning Fire Bar fire pit.

When it was time for dinner, we opted to eat outside and enjoy the unbeatable view. The diners at our neighboring tables included families with young children, a couple on a date and a group of men fueling up after finishing a round of golf at the Otesaga’s Leatherstocking Golf Course.

The meal started with a complimentary bread basket filled with slices of a cranberry orange loaf that paired perfectly with dollops of whipped butter topped with black lava salt. We then used the bread to soak up a mouth-watering bowl of French onion soup.

For the main course, we tried the burger — which the Otesaga promised was the best in Cooperstown — and roasted Peruvian chicken drizzled with cilantro mint yogurt. Both were delicious and thoughtfully plated. (The chicken tasted even better cold when we brought leftovers back to our lakeside cabin.)

The best view in Cooperstown comes with dinner at the Otesaga, a 115-year-old hotel (3)

When dinner was finished, the bill tallied up to about $50 before tip — a surprisingly affordable tab for an appetizer and two meals. We thanked our friendly server and headed out onto the lawn to watch the sunset paint the sky into a watercolor portrait above Otsego Lake.

The moral of this dining story? You don’t have to book a room to experience the luxurious Otesaga Resort Hotel.

But a hearty dinner with an Instagram-worthy view will make it hard to leave.

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The best view in Cooperstown comes with dinner at the Otesaga, a 115-year-old hotel (2024)

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