A common mistake that might be made during a road trip is underestimating the amount of time it will take to reach a destination. That is probably the best way to summarize our second day of travel. If you go to Google Maps and type in Cleveland to Cooperstown Dreams Park, the estimated time is approximately 6.5 hours. We knew that our son was expected to check in at the barracks at 6 p.m., so we planned to sleep in and leave by 9 a.m., giving us plenty of time. Except that wasn’t the case.
We slept in and enjoyed a wonderful buffet breakfast at our the Holiday Inn Express, grabbed coffee and we were ready hit the road in the Chevy Tahoe, but by now we were getting a little bit anxious because it was after 9:00 and we really needed to head out of Cleveland.
Driving through the rest of Ohio and Pennsylvania was uneventful. The scenery was beautiful, there were a lot of trees, a few vineyards, and some really cool old barns. I would have stopped to take photos, but we were in a hurry!
Around lunch time we were approaching Buffalo, New York and the time issue went out the window (I mean stomachs overrule our brains, right?). Our thought was that when in Buffalo, we had to eat at the home of the original buffalo wing, the Anchor Bar.
The Anchor Bar is very kitschy, with motorcycles, memorabilia, and celebrity autographs serving as the decor. The service was good, the onion rings were pretty fabulous and we ordered two types of wings: BBQ for the kids and medium spicy buffalo wings for us. Yes, they were delicious and totally worth the stop.
After lunch with our full bellies, we realized it was close to 1 p.m. and our map was telling us we still had close to 4 hours of driving ahead of us. Panic started to set in because at this point we realized we didn’t have much room for error. No bathroom breaks, stops at the gas station, or roadside attractions. We had to be fast and focused.
We make haste and try to point out any roadside attractions the kids might find interesting (they were few and far between). We did have one an emergency bathroom break and a stop to fill up with gas. Around 4:30 we received a text that said “Barracks are now open for early check in”. What? No one ever told us this (that we remember) and now my son is panicking because he may miss out on the infamous “pin trading” that goes on between the teams.
Texts between the parents begin to fly back and forth about check-in times. Many, like ourselves, were under the impression it was 6:00. We hurry as fast as we can, but do try to point out the Erie Canal to the kids along the way.
With our son in the back seat encouraging us to “drive faster”, we tried to make up some time and arrived at the Cooperstown Dreams Park around 5:15 p.m. The place is spectacular and the entrance is beautiful, but of course I didn’t have time for a picture. In our rush to check in, we were disappointed to be told that we were going to have to wait for about 20 minutes (which is torture with a pin hungry pre-teen in the car).
Once we had him settled in the barracks and said our goodbyes (actually he ran off as fast as he could), we set off to find the farm where we would be staying about 20 miles away.
Words cannot explain the beauty of the farm. When we pulled up to the driveway, I instantly recognized the Italianate Villa from the pictures I had seen online. What was unexpected was the beautiful surrounding property. Situated on over 140 acres, the property has two barns, a three bedroom, three bath home built in 1869, and a private pond. The pond is positioned upon a hill overlooking a beautiful valley about 1/2 mile walking from the main house. I can truly say it was love at first sight.
Now that we have arrived in Cooperstown and are settled in for a fun week of baseball, we look forward to the exciting adventures ahead. We will have a chance to experience time as a family of four (instead of five), my parents will join us from Phoenix, and our oldest will have quality bonding time with his teammates. The first half of our road trip has come to an end, but our time in Cooperstown has just begun.