After a year of shutdowns, restrictions and virtual events, our area is again opening for in-person activities.
We encourage everyone to take some time to support our local businesses, nonprofits, artists, musicians and the like by being a local tourist this season.
What the summer will bring for outside tourists is not yet known. We expect that while some people will be jumping at the chance to travel, others are still hesitant because of continued concerns over COVID.
The pandemic isn’t over yet. Our numbers are promising, with only a dozen or so new cases a week in the four-county area, but the delta variant is becoming more prevalent, and we still are lagging on overall vaccination numbers.
So if you aren’t vaccinated yet, make that your first stop. And until you are fully vaccinated, make sure you bring a mask — most locations require those who aren’t vaccinated to wear one.
Masked or not, this year is the perfect year to discover, or rediscover, all our area has to offer.
There are the big attractions, or course. Who doesn’t think of The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum when Cooperstown is mentioned? But there is much more. The Fenimore Art Museum is just a stone’s throw away from the baseball mecca. And just up the road is Glimmerglass Festival, which brings world-class opera to the region each summer.
In Schoharie, the wide draw is Howe Caverns. It offers a cool (literally, it is 52 degrees all year round) way to spend a summer day. But nearby is the less-touted Secret Caverns, as well as the Iroquois Museum, which offers programming all summer long. Across the county, in Gilboa, is the Gilboa Museum, which highlights one of the oldest known petrified forests in the world, as well as local history.
Norwich, in Chenango County, is home to the annual Chenango Blues Fest and Colorscape Chenango, which draw musicians and artists, respectively, from near and far. And car lovers can go to the Northeast Classic Car Museum.
Delaware County is the perfect place for outdoor activities. It is home to numerous hiking trails, boating opportunities on the two New York City reservoirs and scenic outlooks, such as Mount Utsayantha in Stamford.
Each county is home to several arts organizations that present exhibits, theater, performances, concerts, workshops and more, often featuring nationally or internationally known talent.
Many communities also have weekly summer concert series, where local musicians show off their skills.
If you like living history, there are Hanford Mills in East Meredith and The Farmers’ Museum near Cooperstown. There are also numerous local historical societies and groups, including the Greater Oneonta History Center, the Delaware County Historical Association and the Chenango County Historical Association, that are open to the public and offer programs throughout the year. Many villages and towns also have their own local history museums and rooms.
While you are out being a tourist, we also encourage you to visit the local diners and restaurants, and stop by a shop and maybe get a souvenir.
Go ahead and explore our region. There is something for everyone. You never know, maybe you’ll find your new favorite place to be.