Cooperstown NY, Quebec City - what to do?
August 21, 2017 12:58 PM   Subscribe

We're leaving Chicago Sunday for a much-anticipated roadtrip, and would love your input toward making it a memorable occasion. Our rough plans are to visit Cooperstown NY for the baseball hall of fame, then push on to Quebec City. Aside from having reservations at a B&B in Cooperstown for Tuesday and Wednesday nights, we have no firm notions about where to go or what to do.

We've allowed plenty of time to get to Cooperstown, so suggestions about things to see and do along the way, even if they are quite a distance off the most direct route, are very welcome. (Meandering along on federal and state/provincial highways is our favorite way to travel.) Towns with interesting galleries and shops, pretty drives, funky/quirky venues, short hikes to wonderful views, are all things that appeal to us.

I gather that the hall of fame will absorb only part of our time in Cooperstown. Ideas for others things to do in town or in the area? Also, I'd love a recommendation of a nice restaurant for our 20th wedding anniversary our second night in town. (I expect we'll dine at Brooks House of BBQ the first night.)

From Cooperstown, the plans are even hazier. We think we'd like to end up in Quebec City (I've never been) but are completely open to suggestions of things to see and do along the way as well as what we shouldn't miss in Quebec City. I've read old questions about dining options there and have noted both L'Affaire est Ketchup and Table Restaurant. (Note: neither of us speak any French.)
posted by DrGail to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you enjoy cycling, I booked a leisurely bike tour from Quebec City to the waterfalls outside of the city and really enjoyed the experience. You can also easily reach Montmorency Falls by car :)
posted by icaicaer at 1:19 PM on August 21, 2017

The Arkell museum at the Canajoharie library is about 40 minutes away.
posted by brujita at 1:32 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cooperstown is beautiful, with a big beautiful lake! You should be able to rent canoes or kayaks.

You'll want to see Fenimore House, the Farmers' Museum. You could check out the Brewery Ommegang, Hyde Hall, Glimmerglass State Park, and hit the Fly Creek Cider Mill. Here's a list.

Sharon Springs, home of the Fabulous Beekman Boys and their Beekman 1802 Mercantile, is an easy drive from Coop. Howe Caverns is not far in Howes Cave. Both are in beautiful and historic Schoharie County. You could hike up Vromans Nose in Middleburgh and see the big flat rock with names and dates carved in that go back to the mid 1800s. Buy and eat lots of Schoharie Valley produce on the way to Quebec City!

You will love Brooks (I grew up going there before it got famous). For the second night in town, The Farmhouse Restaurant is long-established and loved by my family, although amazingly I have not ever been. It is near Brooks on Route 7. Then there is the restaurant at the Otesaga Hotel.

Oneonta also has The Artisans' Guild shop at 148 Main Street.

Have a good time! I am very envious! I miss the area so much.
posted by jgirl at 1:38 PM on August 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I googled to see if this restaurant Alex & Ika that was in nearby Cherry Valley 15+ years ago when I spent a summer there was still around, and it's not, but the chef has a place in Cooperstown now called Alex's Bistro. We all loved Alex & Ika so I'd this is a tangential recommendation for Alex's Bistro without direct knowledge!

It looks like you'll just miss the end of the season at Glimmerglass, which is too bad if you like opera.
posted by Smearcase at 1:47 PM on August 21, 2017

Seconding the Farmers' Museum!
posted by mareli at 2:08 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

We were just in Quebec City and really, really enjoyed doing a food tour. The one we went on is in St Roch, a formerly working class, now art focused neighbourhood in lower Quebec. We had cheese and artisanal beer and the only Poutine I've ever really liked. The company was called Quebec City Food Tours. Food tours are my new favourite thing.
posted by TORunner at 2:18 PM on August 21, 2017

Go whale watching in QC.

Buses take you 2 hours up the saint Lawrence, then you go out on large zodiacs.

My wife and I did it a couple summers ago and saw 5 species of whales in a couple hours, including blue whales, THE LARGEST ANIMALS ON EARTH.

Weather permitting of course.
posted by bricksNmortar at 3:54 PM on August 21, 2017

Please don't add to the hassling of our whales. They're having a hard time these days.

Go to Quebec City and don't worry about French. People serving the tourist trade can all manage English.

Get outside of Quebec and drive around the Île d'Orléans, ready to stop to pick up goodies from farm stands as you go. And/or check out Montmorency Falls. Anywhere you stay in Quebec City will have some info on these places.
posted by zadcat at 4:01 PM on August 21, 2017

There's also a museum in Fort Plain that has a lot of Revolutionary War material. The area is rich in Revolutionary War history. Schoharie County was called "the breadbasket of the Revolution."
posted by jgirl at 4:09 PM on August 21, 2017

There are some good suggestions in these previous Asks for Buffalo, which is about halfway along what would be your standard route:
- What's a family w/teens to do in/near Buffalo this Friday & Saturday?
- Dining suggestions in Buffalo, NY
Just south of Buffalo is Chautauqua County, which is generally pretty lovely and is home to the Chautauqua Institution (beautiful setting & good summer arts programming) and Lily Dale Assembly (a Spiritualist community populated by psychics, mediums... and ghosts?).

Or, if you want to meander southward and add a couple of hours to your drive time, you could check out Pittsburgh. Previous Asks for that:
- What should I be doing in Pittsburgh this weekend?
- Who knows what about Pittsburgh?

Have a great trip!
posted by D.Billy at 4:25 PM on August 21, 2017

Get outside of Quebec and drive around the Île d'Orléans, ready to stop to pick up goodies from farm stands as you go. And/or check out Montmorency Falls. Anywhere you stay in Quebec City will have some info on these places.
2nding Montmorency Falls, and adding the Basilica of Sainte Anne de Beaupré which is about 25 minutes further. And while you're out that way, you have to stop at Chez Marie (warning: website auto plays music) for fresh baked bread and maple butter. Chez Marie is arguably the thing I remember best about the few times I visited Quebec city 20+ years ago.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 6:55 PM on August 21, 2017

Get off the highway a little early and drop by Cazenovia NY which has a super weird library (with a cat!) attached to a museum (with a mummy!) and is also a cute as hell little town. You can continue to Cooperstown on Route 20 which is the longest highway in the US.
posted by jessamyn at 7:21 PM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Between Buffalo and Cooperstown, hop on either highway 20 or route 104 for great views. 20 will take you through the northern end of the Finger Lakes: wineries, Seneca Falls, Canandaigua, and Skaneateles are all easy to get to

And, yes, go to Brooks.
posted by knile at 9:24 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I lived in Quebec City for six years (and still go there 2-3 times a year). Obviously walking in Old Quebec is a must. We also really liked to hang out/walk around the Chateau Frontenac, Plaines d'Abraham and the Grande Allée.

Our favorite bar (I don't like clubs, but I like bar with live music) is definately Les Voutes de Napoleon on the Grande Allée. It's a small bar in a basement... it's crowded, humid, but the energy is just amazing.

The other major attractions have been mentionned before.
posted by kag at 7:09 AM on August 22, 2017

When you leave Cooperstown take NY 28 north through the Adirondacks. It ends at the Northway (I-87) but you can go further east to NY 22 and drive north along Lake Champlain until you come to the border. Or take one of the ferries to Vermont and head northeast through New Hampshire. Have fun!
posted by leaper at 10:04 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just a few thoughts to add for Route 20 from Buffalo to Cooperstown... Letchworth State Park has fabulous views, you can take a lunch cruise or mailboat cruise in Skaneateles (Mid-Lakes Navigation), and Seneca Falls and Auburn are great for history.

Also as suggested above Route 28 thru the Adirondacks is a beautiful drive (I just did it this weekend!) but it will add some time to your travel to QC so may not fit into your itinerary. The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake is excellent and you'll pass thru Old Forge which is a fun little vacation town. Hope you have a great trip!
posted by cilla at 6:32 PM on August 22, 2017

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