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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Cooperstown, New York

A Picturesque Village with an Idyllic Lakeside Setting, Cooperstown Charms Nearly Everyone

In Upstate New York's lush Catskill Mountains, Cooperstown (population 1,900) is a picture-perfect village in an idyllic setting along 4,000-acre Otsego Lake. Immaculately kept, the village dates from 1786 and is the kind of place where residents do not lock their front doors at night. It is also home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Each year, more than 300,000 baseball fans and nearly 1,000 youth baseball teams come to visit and spend money. They are Cooperstown's lifeblood.

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Morse Code inventor Samuel F. B. Morse and baseball inventor Abner Doubleday both maintained summer homes here. To ensure that the village retains its historic integrity and remains as quaint as it was in the days of Morse and Doubleday, strict zoning laws are in place for both residential and commercial buildings.

The median home price is $475,000, reflecting an 11% increase from a year ago, and many homes are meticulously restored gems. The cost of living is 12% above the national average, and 50% of residents are age 45 or better. The crime rate is below the national average, and politics lean to the right. Twenty-two percent of locals have a four year college degree. The population started to decline in 2016 but began to rebound in 2020.

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Aside from the baseball museum, Cooperstown boasts the Farmer's Museum, an inviting living history museum that recreates 19th century farm life. The Fenimore Museum has a rich collection of American folk art. The renowned, lakeside Glimmerglass Festival, which mounts the second largest summer opera season in the country, is here, too. Residents enjoy rotating exhibits at several art galleries, including the Smithy-Pioneer Gallery and the Leatherstocking Brush and Palette Club.

Thanks to zoning laws, the downtown is completely charming, overflowing with fun shops, cozy cafes, great eateries and wonderful galleries (prices tend to be inflated when baseball fans are in town). For non-boutiques shopping, many locals travel to Oneonta, 20 miles away, or in Albany, 70 miles away.

Two golf courses have a Cooperstown address. The championship 18-hole Leatherstocking Golf Course and the Otsego Golf Club, one of the oldest courses in the U.S., both offer challenging play and are located along the shores of Otsego Lake.

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Lake Front Park and Glimmerglass State Park both offer beautiful lake views and abundant opportunities for canoeing, fishing, swimming, picnicking, boating and jet-skiing.

Oneonta Public Transit provides limited bus service around the village. There is also a trolley.

The hospital, Bassett Medical Center, is affiliated with Columbia University and enjoys an excellent reputation. It is accredited by the Joint Commission and accepts Medicare patients.

Otsego County's Agency for Aging offers a number of programs for the village's mature residents. These include wellness programs, a nutrition program, home delivered meals and more.

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The public library is in a white columned building and has a lecture series, poetry readings and computer stations.

Summers are cool with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and, on average, 40 inches of rain. Winters have temperatures in the teens and 20s, and, on average, 80 inches of snow. As one resident described it, during the winter, Cooperstown is a "bleak, frozen tundra," and many people who live here head south during cold months.

Retirement in Cooperstown has some drawbacks. While it is very quiet in the winter, summer crowds sometimes test residents' patience. Long time locals are very protective of their village, and newcomers sometimes have a tough time fitting in.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although... | Is New York Tax-Friendly at Retirement? No

An idyllic setting, abundant charm, well maintained historic buildings, beautiful homes, a low crime rate and a top-notch health care facility are pluses, but hundreds of thousands of baseball tourists are something to keep in mind if considering Cooperstown as a retirement spot.

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