Thursday, July 12, 2012

Home

I was a bit surprised at how happy I was to arrive home last night.  Normally it's a relief to come back from vacation, but considering this was a short one, I didn't expect to be quite so ecstatic upon our return.  The last couple days of the trip were mostly spent in Cooperstown, which is pretty much as all-American as it gets.  It's a quintissential small town that revolves around baseball...how much Americana can you handle?

I'm actually getting ahead of myself.  We actually had a decent but still cough-disturbed night of sleep on Monday night, but slept in until about 8am, which was nice.  Jacob and I got up and running relatively quickly so we could check out the pool at the resort.  It was indoor-outdoor and I figured he'd get a kick out of swimming between the two, so we headed down for a brief swim.  It was a cool morning and the pool wasn't particularly warm (but still swimmable), and the best part was that it was only three feet deep in most parts, so Jacob could touch the bottom!  He really liked that, and so did I--even if I had to crouch awkwardly in order to keep myself warm under the water.  We had fun but eventually had to head back to the room to get ready for a farewell breakfast with the whole family.

We ate a delicious breakfast at a typical greasy-spoon sort of place.  I have decided that I love breakfast foods maybe more than anything else.  I don't know what it is, but eggs and toast are just a classic and they're extra good in a restaurant (probably because they use real butter!).  This time I actually opted for something different, an egg wrap.  It was eggs, cheese and veggies all rolled up in a wrap.  It was delicious.  Craig opted to go healthy--oatmeal and wheat toast--and Jacob had a Mickey Mouse pancake the size of his head.  We ate up, enjoyed each other's company, took a few last minute pictures, and it was time to say goodbye.  We were headed to Cooperstown, my parents were headed to Maine, and John and Kristin had a few more days in Massachusetts before heading back home to Portland, OR. 
Three grandkids together!
We took one minor detour before heading to Cooperstown.  We weren't in any rush, so I brought up nearby attractions on the GPS, and the first one was two miles away, called Balance Rock.  That sounded interesting, so off we went.  We drove down a road into a park, and I actually didn't see it until we were on our way back out.  But how cool is this?  
To give you some perspective, the rock is probably a good 15 ft. long.  From this angle it's probably about 10 ft. wide.
After indulging my need for randomness, we headed off to Cooperstown.  Lots of back roads later, we arrived.  As I said, Cooperstown is ALL about baseball.  We figured we'd spend the afternoon shopping in the countless baseball-themed shops along Main St.  We certainly did that, but we also found a speed pitch thing.  Jacob actually threw 24 miles per hour!
Craig threw after this and threw a little more than twice as fast...I did not throw.
Doubleday Field is a couple blocks down from the Hall of Fame, and coincidentally, there was a game that day.  A collegiate level amateur league team plays there, and tickets were cheap.  We got free water bottles out of the deal, and enjoyed some baseball in a classic old stadium. 
My favorite touch?  There are public bathrooms off to the right of this picture, and the players had to use those, too.  No locker rooms, apparently!

You can see a little of the old-school structure here.  The seats behind home plate were benches with seat numbers.  It all felt very "A League of their Own", for lack of a better comparison.
And yes, it's time for another popcorn picture of Jacob...

We grabbed some dinner in a cafe, then headed back to our hotel.  Along the way we stopped for gas and happened to witness an arrest in the mini-mart parking lot.  The cop came out with the perp in one hand and a footlong sub in the other.  Hmmm.  We got to our hotel, which was nice enough, and as I mentioned in my last post, Craig and I were both in catch-up mode so we were awake for quite a while and Jacob wouldn't go to sleep either.  He fell off the bed head-first once, and refused to sleep even long after we turned out the lights.  Brutal.

We headed back to Cooperstown in the morning...
Time for the Hall of Fame!
...and the trip was an interesting experience.  Some things were exactly as I remembered them--particularly the movie theater, which I loved the first time I was there...


But a lot had changed.  In fact, most of it was unrecognizable from the last time I was there, somewhere around 2003, let alone my trip there on my 8th grade class trip in 1992.  Some of it was better, but Craig and I both agreed that the Hockey Hall of Fame does it up right--lots of interactive exhibits, prime trophy displays, and kid-friendly exhibits.  The baseball hall is a little stiffer, but we still enjoyed ourselves.  That said, there's a reason kids under 7 get in free!

I unsuccessfully tried to get a picture with Jacob...
What is with that FACE?!
 And decided that we need to make it a priority to go see these guys next summer, hopefully as part of a trip to the midwest for my cousin's wedding...
We've seen racing pierogies and pork products--it's time to see some sausages!
 Craig is a huge Hank Aaron fan, so imagine his delight when he discovered that there's an entire wing dedicated to him.  The boys gladly got in Hammerin' Hank's locker for this shot...

The main hall where the player plaques are is truly beautiful, particularly the atrium at the end. 

We looked for the faces we wanted to see, then found a spot of the hall we didn't notice prior.  It had a kid's area, which Jacob loved.  Here he is in action...
Batting...
 And he finally listened for once, sitting in the baseball mitt chair...

Craig liked this photo op--partly because the guy had a Buffalo jersey, but also because he tried to do a classic baseball card pose. Oy.

We did some shopping and headed out.  We stopped in Syracuse for dinner with my college roommate (yay!  I seriously don't see her enough), and then headed home.  It was a fun but very trying trip.  More on that soon.  Once again, my priority right now is SLEEP.  Definitely still recovering!

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