As you drive up to the hotel, the massive portico with 30 foot tall columns greets you. Bellboys immediately spill from the front door to help with your luggage and valet your car. The lobby is lavishly decorated with potted plants and Victorian-inspired furnishings. Large windows overlook the veranda and the shimmering lake.
The Otesaga is known for its oversized and beautifully appointed rooms. Many of the bathrooms are nearly as large as the rooms themselves, with a dressing table and lavish fixtures. Complimentary toiletry items include shoe polish, a sewing kit, a packet of Woolite and a full complement of shampoos, soaps and lotions. Many of the rooms and suites overlook the manicured grounds surrounding the lakeshore.
Designed by architect Percy Griffin, the hotel opened for its first season of guests in 1909. The name “Otesaga” is Iroquois for “A Place of Meetings.” Each evening’s turndown service includes a chocolate placed upon a small card featuring historic tidbits about the hotel. Every night reveals a new story from the hotel’s 100+ year history. The housekeeping staff also draws the curtains and lays out a plush Otesaga bathrobe on the bed.
The Otesaga is also well-known for its challenging Leatherstocking Golf Course, situated along the shore of the lake. PGA member and instructor Ron Philo, Sr. teaches a 3-day golf playing school and is available for private instruction by appointment.
Dining at the Otesaga is top-notch. The Main Dining Room features a nightly five-course dinner menu including local Central New York specialties. Guests may choose a table inside accompanied by live piano music, or you may choose to dine al fresco on the veranda overlooking the lawn and the lake. Men are required to wear jackets for dinner in the Main Dining Room.
Other dining options include the less formal Hawkeye Bar & Grill and the Leatherstocking Pro Shop Grill. The Otesaga operates on the Modified American Plan, which means dinner and breakfast are included in the room rate.
Cooperstown has many world-class museums to visit, all within walking distance of the hotel. They include the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum. The Glimmerglass Opera is just a short drive away.
The Otesaga is a member of Historic Hotels of America, a distinction bestowed on just over 200 hotels by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Otesaga opens for the season in mid-April and closes after Thanksgiving. As of 2010, room rates started at $350 per night.
The author stayed at the Otesaga as a conference participant. Her room was paid for by her employer.
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The Samuel Durfee House B&B
The Otesaga's Official Website
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