Many associate Cooperstown with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Not often do people equate Cooperstown with one of the cleanest and most crystal clear lakes. Located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, the glacially-formed Otsego Lake serves as a giant water basin for the Village of Cooperstown and the source of the mighty Susquehanna River. Its 7.8 miles of clean, drinkable water is available to swimmers, kayakers, and boaters alike.
Writer James Fenimore Cooper nicknamed the lake Glimmerglass in his famous Leatherstocking Tales as a reflection of its pristine waters. It’s true name originated from the Iroquois Indian word for “place of the rock” which refers to what is now called Council Rock, a large rock located at the southern tip of the lake near the mouth of the river which previously served as a meeting place for the five Iroquois or Haudenosaunee Nations.
New York’s Glimmerglass State Park occupies the northern end of Otsego Lake, boasting campsites, pavilions, a sandy lifeguarded swimming area, hiking trails and Hyde Hall Covered Bridge, notably the oldest wooden covered bridge in America. Much of the lake’s eastern shore is undeveloped and owned by a private entity, which aids in the preservation of much of its watershed.
Also adorning the eastern shoreline is Kingfisher Tower, a 60-foot fall Gothic Revival built by Edward Clark to beautify the lake and to provide economic stimulus to community stonemasons. The tower remains on private property and is only viewable from the lake, but is quite possibly one of the most “Instagrammable” spots in the area. Otsego Lake is accessible from multiple public parks as well as the majestic Otesaga Resort Hotel.
It’s walking distance from Main Street Cooperstown and serves as a vacation destination for many.
(Photo Credit : Hotel & Lake Aerial - Otesage Resort Hotel. Ice Fishing photo - Wer-On-Um Guide Service)