News of Otsego County

Otsego Lake

Otsego Lake boat parade

“Float your boat’ in July 3 parade

The view from shore for the 2021 parade (picture by Debra Creedon, from OLA website)

Plan to float your boat – rain or shine – in the Otsego Lake Association’s Annual “We Love Our Lake” Decorated Boat Parade to begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 3.

The parade will form off Three Mile Point, then proceed slowly along the westerly side of the lake, and end at Lakefront Park in Cooperstown.  The lead boat will be decorated and marked with OLA banners.

After a two-year pandemic pause, the Otsego Lake Association will again judge boats, award prizes, and have candy for participants. The parade welcomes boats large and small — including antique or classic, human-powered, wind-powered, electric, jet, outboard, or inboard/outboard powered. OLA encourages boaters to decorate using the theme “Our Lake is a Treasure,” but welcomes decorations of any sort – unusual, humorous, patriotic, party-themed, sports, military, or no decoration at all – it’s up to the boater.

Boaters may join the parade at any time or place along the route, especially for non-motorized boaters who might not want to travel the full route.

January’s chill lures fishers to Otsego ice, but is it too early?

Two intrepid ice fishing fans venture out onto the southeastern corner of Otsego Lake after last weekend’s frigid temperatures covered portions of the shoreline. (Ted Potrikus/

January’s chill lures fishers to Otsego ice, but is it too early?

By Ted Potrikus

Mid-January’s cold snap invited winter sports enthusiasts onto the ice covering the southeastern corner of Otsego Lake last weekend, amazing a few passersby who wondered about their safety.

“That’s as risky a behavior as I’ve ever seen for this time of year,” said Matt Albright, Assistant to the Director of the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. “That ice couldn’t have been more than an inch thick.”

“It might be as early in the season as I’ve ever seen anyone out there,” he continued, noting he watched a pair of intrepid ice fishers as they stepped farther from the edge along the streets of the Lakeland Shores development. “I love ice fishing myself, but these guys must be really devoted to it!”

Gift shop Mingo Market’s debut defies pandemic pessimism

Carrie Carney and her fine and festive Christmas hat ready to greet shoppers and visitors to Coopers-
town’s Mingo Market.

Gift shop Mingo Market’s debut defies pandemic pessimism

Why not add a full-line, local-focus gift shop to an already bustling restaurant and boutique in the midst of a pandemic when even the most seasoned merchants can’t be sure of the next set of rules that might change the whole way they have to do business?

That’s indeed what Cory Moffat did in May of this year, when she opened the doors of The Mingo Market, on the grounds of Sam Smith’s Boatyard on Route 80, just outside of Cooperstown’s village limits. It’s the same Otsego Lake location that features the Blue Mingo Grill.

“This building has been a few things,” Mrs. Moffat said as she toured the shop, a structure that once housed the boat shop for her father, Sam Smith. “Cooperstown Christmas, then an antique shop, and a junk shop. When we decided to clear it out for The Mingo Market, we had three dumpsters full of things to throw out.”

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Dawn Photography on the Lake 09-04-21

Dawn Photography on the Lake


PHOTOGRAPHY EXCURSION – 7 – 8 a.m. Enjoy early morning walk and photo lesson all about how to photograph Otsego lake at sunrise. Presented by staff member Kevin Gray providing tips on composition, light & shadow, techniques and more. Cost, $17/non-member. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Art Festival by Otsego Lake 10-02-21

Art Festival by Otsego Lake


ART BY THE LAKE – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Join artists of upstate New York to celebrate the beauty of nature and Otsego Lake. On show will be pastels, watercolor, oil, acrylics, photography, and many more mediums with demonstrations throughout the day. On the lawn of the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit

Editorial: Missions possible

Missions possible

On its editorial page over the past few weeks, The Freeman’s Journal has commented on, among other important issues, the fog-like haze that was smoke from the western wildfires that fell on the lake and village, leaving the air heavily dangerous for long periods of time, and the latest COVID surge that is gnawing, for the most part, on our unvaccinated and younger residents — children — as well as causing new concern among our older population. None of this was any good and all of it is sad and, no doubt to some, depressing.

However, for us here in Otsego County, this distant, remote upstate almost-forgotten (or, perhaps, not yet discovered) place, there is a special glimmer; something that can bring a smile; something to lighten our load and keep us on a happier track. Otsego Lake.

Nine miles of clear, deep water that laps endlessly on steep tree-lined shores and often reflects the changing sky and clouds and forest, the lake is a home to myriad fish and feathered wildlife, a reservoir for the village of Cooperstown and a summer and winter playground for boaters, tubers, swimmers, sailors, rowers, paddlers, divers, fishermen and water, and snow-skiers. Glacier-created during the last great Ice Age, and spring-fed as well as stream-fed, this superb natural resource is the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. In the past it has played a variety of roles in the Leatherstocking novels of James Fenimore Cooper, who called his – and our – beautiful lake The Glimmerglass.

Hyde Hall holds history close to its heart, mission

Hyde Hall is 22,000 square feet and was built in the 19th century. (Kevin Limiti/

Hyde Hall holds history
close to its heart, mission

The haunted mansion exudes an atmosphere
that is unlike any other in Otsego County

Hyde Hall brings to mind Shirley Jackson’s famous opening for the Haunting of Hill House. Only in this case, the house stood for more than 200 years and will probably stand for 200 more.

Hyde Hall is something of an anomaly. It’s a relic of the past, which does not exist anymore and was unusual even for the time, at least in Otsego County.

The breathtaking scenery surrounding Hyde Hall is enough to warrant a visit. At the top, where the house stands, you can look down at Otsego Lake and see all the way to Cooperstown.

The limestone house has a cold, intimidating demeanor, which is why it is a surprise the interior of the house feels warmer and much more decorative. Marketing Manager John Aborn describes it as an oyster with a pearl inside.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: ‘Here Comes The Sun’ Boat Parade 07-03-21

‘Here Comes The Sun’ Boat Parade


BOAT PARADE – 3 p.m. Get out for the annual decorated boat parade. This years theme ‘Here Comes The Sun’ song by the beatles. All boats welcome from human powered to motor powered and all in between, decorated or undecorated. Covid protocols will be in effect. Parade assembles at 3 Mile Point and proceeds on West Side of the Lake to Lakefront Park, Cooperstown. Rain or Shine. 518-542-6630 or visit for info.

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

by PHOEBE SMITH • Special to

Former Olympic rower Andrea Thies demonstrates proper technique during a class Friday, June 18, on Otsego Lake. (Phoebe Smith/

Rowing opportunities have been expanding on Otsego Lake the past few years and a two-time Olympian has been a big part of bringing the sport to Cooperstown and Otsego County.

The Otsego Area Rowing program, under the guidance of Oneonta’s two-time Olympian, Andrea Thies, has been expanding for several summers now as people take up the water sport.

A rower from her collegiate years at Cornell University, Thies aims to offer access to the sport regardless of age, ability or experience.

OAR was established in 2017, in conjunction with the Otsego Land Trust and Brookwood Point, with an emphasis on adolescent rowing opportunities.

The not-for-profit offers classes and opportunities for all ages and abilities. Although many of OAR’s programs were restricted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, this summer’s rowing opportunities are in full swing with various adult and kid camps.

The return of the Old Badger: ‘The First of the Mohican’

The return of the Old Badger:
‘The First of the Mohican’

First published in The Freeman’s Journal on March 24, 1976:

“If at first you don’t succeed,” must have been mouthed by many Cooperstonians as they left the lakefront without having witnessed the scheduled launching of the Mohican. They did try again, and on the 4th of July, 1905, the good ship Mohican began its long career on Otsego Lake. The following reports from the Freeman’s Journal of that year tell the story:

June 29th 1905:
“Miss Marie Anheuser Busch to Christen Boat Thursday.”
“Thursday afternoon at 4 o’clock the new boat Mohican of the Otsego Lake Transit Co. will take her initial dip in the waters of Otsego Lake. As soon as the boat is free to move, Miss Marie Anheuser-Busch, daughter of August A. Busch and granddaughter of Adolphus Busch, will christen it with champagne and the words, “I christen thee Mohican.” The public is cordially invited to witness the ceremony, which will take place at the Corporation dock.”

Wind, Warm Weather Open Up Otsego Lake


Wind, Warm Weather

Open Up Otsego Lake

This week’s wind and temperatures in the low 60s broke up the ice block on Otsego Lake Tuesday, and Wednesday – with the lake open but the coves still iced up – folks, inset, headed down to Cooperstown’s Lakefront Park to take in the Sleeping Lion, considered by some to be among the most famous views in the world.   This afternoon, high winds pushed the remaining ice onto the beach at the village’s Three Mile Point Park, giving it the look of a giant icemaker.  Thad Wheeler and spouse Francesca Vanasco, Town of Middlefield, were up there checking it out.  (Tara Barnwell, Jim Kevlin/

Ice, Snow, Single-Digits Get Enthusiasts Outdoors


Ice, Snow, Single-Digits

Get Enthusiasts Outdoors

Mark and Wendy Brannigan of Richfield Springs had quite a fish dinner Sunday evening, after spending the afternoon ice fishing on Otsego Lake off Public Landing Road, Town of Springfield. You may have noticed, but the frigid and snowy weather of the past two weeks (that keeps some of us inside) have brought out snowmobilers, cross-country skiiers and all others interested in outdoor winter fun. The Brannigans had each set seven tip-ups. “They’re hammering it,” said a unsuccessful ice fisherman nearer the shore. (Jim Kevlin/

Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye

Rob Katz is back in Cooperstown for a visit, and is keeping his camera by his side for such sights at this one: a Bald Eagle at the north end of Otsego Lake. (Special to

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Photography At The Museums 10-05-20

Photography At The Museums


PHOTOGRAPHY – 6:45 a.m. Take a camera to explore Otsego Lake at sunrise with photographer Kevin Gray providing tips on composition, lighting, more. Registration required. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit

PHOTO EXCURSION – 5 p.m. Join photographer Kevin Gray for a walk through the historic village during the Golden Hour at sunset, after the museum is closed to take gorgeous photos. Gray will provide tips on composition, lighting, camera techniques, more. Cost, $17/non-member. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103