Special guest blog by Ray Dorey
It seems that every summer, the familiar itch returns.
No, not the itch from mosquito bites or sunburn. I’m talking about the itch I feel for a road trip to visit Cooperstown, New York.
Cooperstown is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and not surprisingly, my love of the area is rooted in a deep passion of the sport.
The Montreal Expos were my team growing up. My baseball heroes included the likes of Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Steve Rogers, Ellis Valentine, and my all-time favourite, the late, great, Gary Carter.
I still ache from that dreadful day in 1981, when the Dodgers’ Rick Monday smacked a late homerun abruptly torpedoing the Expos’ playoff drive.
Fortunately, Cooperstown is only about a three-hour trip from where I live. A relaxing, scenic drive through rural Upstate New York towards Otsego Lake.
Entering Cooperstown, you get the feeling that you’ve been vaulted into the past, especially in the neighbourhoods nearest the Hall of Fame. Majestic older homes line the streets. American flags hang proudly everywhere. In my many visits, it seems that the town had never changed, and that in itself might help explain part of the allure. When everything around us seems to be spinning off its axis, it’s comforting to have an escape destination seemingly frozen in time.
Main Street alone is worth the trip to Cooperstown. A genuine feast for the senses, as they say. The sight of so many baseball-themed storefronts, the smell of fresh popcorn, and the sound of organ music from stadiums long since demolished. The sidewalks are typically filled with bright, smiling faces, especially families. One generation passing-on their love of the game to the next.
So many old, creaky-floored collectible shops to get lost in, each brimming with treasures from days gone by. How I’ve been tempted at times to take a piece of history home with me. If only my wallet would cooperate. If your preference is for something more present-day, you won’t have to look far to discover row upon row of baseball caps, balls, jerseys and t-shirts.
And then of course is the Baseball Hall of Fame itself. A shrine to the game’s history and players. Whenever I visit the Hall, I always feel surrounded by ghosts, the deceased greats of the game, watching along-side as I enjoy the exhibits. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Hall outside of normal business hours. I remember visiting the room dedicated to fabled Yankees slugger, Babe Ruth. His bats, trophies, and even locker from the old Yankee Stadium on display. It was eerie enough being alone, but I’m sure I could feel his presence there with me.
This week’s #HappyAct is to visit Cooperstown, New York. Certainly a paradise for any baseball-enthusiast, but also a relaxing sojourn back in time that everyone will enjoy.
Ray is a mostly harmless goofball who lives in Mallorytown, Ontario with his canine sidekick Abby. Visit Ray’s blog at www.storiesfromdoreyville.wordpress.com.
Ed. note: Thanks Ray for this great guest post. I’m sad to admit I haven’t visited Cooperstown yet–it’s now on my list!