Weddings in New York's Leatherstocking Region
One of the many joys of a destination wedding is creating an event which allows the far-flung loved ones in your life to get to know each other over the course of several days. Guests get to know a new area, as well as each other. Who knows...a romance or great friendship may spark from your wedding!
New York offers many choices of romantic wedding locations from the Big Apple down to the Hudson Valley, up to the Adirondacks or Catskills and over to the Finger Lakes or the Thousand Islands. When looking for a wedding destination, central New York might not instantly spring to mind, but there are many reasons to visit Leatherstocking Country, and all of them can provide your wedding guests with an experience to remember. Everyone from sports buffs to the history-minded to literary aficionados will find plenty to be entertained by and delight in. If you are lucky enough to have a wedding week or even just a few days, the area provides a wide variety of activities for your guests to get to know each other during and simply to relax and enjoy. Central New York is affectionately called the Leatherstocking Region after James Fenimore Cooper's "Pioneer Tales" written in the early 1800's.
Your hardest task may be narrowing down the choices to a manageable level. Perhaps one day you might like to organize a leisurely hike up Vromans Nose in Schoharie County for a great view of the Schoharie Valley, (note the rock carved graffiti dating back to the Civil War era). After the hike, there are plenty of nearby sites to visit, including Howe Caverns, Secret Caverns, the Iroquois Indian Museum, the Old Stone Fort, or even the Gilboa Dam. Later that evening, enjoy a picnic at one of the area state parks with fresh local corn bought at a farm stands found on roadways throughout central New York.
Another day might find members of your group golfing at one of the many area golf courses, wandering through antique stores, or following in James Fenimore Cooper's path from the Fenimore Art Museum or searching for Natty Bumpo's cave, to Fenimore's final resting place. For an unusual twist, why not organize a group of guests to go geo-caching or letterboxing. Keep the group together and charter a bus from Oneonta Travel to transport you from one location to another.
If you still have time, cruise Lake Otsego on the Glimmerglass Queen. If you need to cool off, swim at Gilbert Lake State Park or the Glimmerglass State Park. If you choose to have a wedding on the Fourth of July weekend, enjoy the local area events from the Hometown Fourth of July in Oneonta, to fireworks over Lake Otsego, to homemade ice cream from the Hanford Mills Museum, made from ice harvested from the mill pond back in February.
The beer lovers in your group might enjoy touring the Belgian Style Ommegang brewery or partaking in a tasting at the Cooperstown Brewing Company. Wine lovers won't get left out with the Bear Pond Winery or Charlotte's Vineyards only a short distance away.
The fall foliage in the foothills of the Catskills is a well kept secret and the region is well worth a visit from marriage minded leaf peepers. If you plan an autumn wedding, be sure to feature fresh apple cider from the Fly Creek Cider Mill in Fly Creek. You can purchase dried corn stalks and hay bales from local farmers to add a country feel to your wedding day. And since central New York State is truly a destination for all seasons, why not consider a wedding at one of the ski resorts in the area? What could be more romantic than getting married in front of a roaring fire after a day of downhill or cross country skiing, ice skating or snowshoeing? Plattekill, Windham, Hunter and Belleayre mountains are all within the area.
Wedding venues abound, from the unusual to the elegant. Baseball lovers can get married at the National Baseball Hall of Fame or at baseball's birthplace, Doubleday Field. If soccer is more your style, The National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta offers a stunning setting for weddings. If you and your fiancÃƒÂ© love history, why not consider getting married at the Farmer's Museum, a re-created 19th Century village? Opera buffs might consider a wedding at the world renowned Glimmerglass Opera House. (Opera Season is July and August, and Glimmerglass is not available for events during those months.) Glimmerglass will even rent out sets or costumes from some of the operas performed there. The elegant Otesaga Hotel is a popular choice for weddings with a large veranda facing Otsego Lake. Aviation enthusiasts might like to rent the barn or large hangar at Cooperstown-Westville Airport. Add a spectacular aspect to your wedding by having the Elk Creek Skydivers jump into the reception. Arrive at your reception or wedding in true Cinderella Style by renting a horse-drawn carriage from Fly Creek Friesens, or chauffer the wedding party in a trolley.
The choices of venues and themes for a country wedding are endless. If you decide on the Leatherstocking region, keep in mind that the closest airports for commercial flights will be Albany, Binghamton, Utica or Syracuse and these range from a half hour to 2 hours away. Oneonta Airport and Cooperstown Westville airports are available for general aviation users. Utica and Albany both have regular Amtrak service, and major bus lines service the entire region. If your heart is set on a summer wedding in Cooperstown or environs, keep in mind that summertime is baseball season, and thus a very busy time. Reservations for venues and accommodations will need to be made well in advance. Major hotel chains such as Holiday Inn, Hampton Inns, Best Western, Clarion and Howard Johnson's all service the area. There are multitudes of houses to rent, quaint inns, charming bed and breakfasts and a world class resort. Area Chambers of Commerce can be a significant help in finding accommodations for your guests.
Whatever your heart might be set on, from an elegant, black tie wedding featuring a string quartet to a simple country wedding complete with Klezmer band, from a brunch reception to a formal sit down dinner, all your dreams can come true in Leatherstocking country.