Read Part One (Lake George, Saratoga Springs) here.
Read Part Two (Saratoga Springs) here.
It was a rainy, windy drive to Cooperstown from Saratoga Springs. We arrived at the Otesaga Resort Hotel just long enough to put our bags down before heading back out to Hyde Hall, so no time to explore yet. (First impression—what a gorgeous property!)
Hyde Hall is another haunted location with a rich, intricate, EXTENSIVE history. It was the home to four generations of George Clarkes and their families from 1817 to 1943.
The house itself took almost 20 years to complete. The architecture, as described on the Hyde Hall website, is “one of the finest representations of romantic classicism in America.” The three sections of the house were built with three different visions and architectural influences, giving the house a very interesting look—from the outside, in.
The “central” ghost story, according to Gary, who was kind enough to give us a ghost tour rather than just a regular guided tour, comes from James Fenimore Cooper II, a good friend of George Clarke III. Cooper claims to have been falling asleep when he felt the sheet being pulled off of him. Startled awake, he heard footsteps walking away, but when he got up to check, no one was there. He wrote about this experience in “Legends and Traditions of a Northern County,” a memoir of Otsego. (Listen to Gary read an excerpt here.) “Ghost Hunters” got a lot of activity in that room when they were there and a servant supposedly saw someone in a yellow or green housecoat (like George I used to wear) in that same hallway.
As we walked through the house, Gary pointed out where “Ghost Hunters” caught most of their evidence, in addition to telling us the history of the house (so many names to remember!). The house is beautiful; very open and wonderfully restored. The paint on the walls looks fresh against the antique furnishings. My personal favorite was the dining room. You could just imagine sitting down for an elegant dinner.
The huge portrait in the dining room is that of Jane Storrs Cooper Worthington, also known as Jenny. She was the granddaughter of Ann Low Cary Cooper Clarke, who was married to the first George Clarke. Jenny’s husband had the portrait commissioned after she died at age 20, two months after she was married. The post-humous portrait has a very spooky, haunting look to it. Evidently, whenever it has been moved, strange things have happened.
Ann Low Cary Cooper Clarke is the woman who really ties the Clarkes and the Coopers together. She was the daughter of Colonel Richard Cary, aid to General George Washington. Widowed by James Fenimore Cooper’s eldest brother, she then remarried George Clarke II. She is said to haunt the cemetery where she is buried, as well as the house. (Legend has it that her children made her leave the house and she vowed no woman would ever be happy there.)
Mary Gale Carter Clarke, wife of the third George Clark, was close friends with Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. Carter lost her father, brother, and son to suicide and led a very depressed life at Hyde Hall. She was occasionally institutionalized and when she was at home, she was kept company at Hyde Hall by Low. Psychics and mediums who have visited get a very depressed feeling in her room.
Other paranormal activity: a bright light has been seen above the bassinet in the nursery and a wardrobe on the second floor is consistently moved away from the wall. Seven people were known to have died at Hyde Hall, one of which was Phillip Sherwood, who died suddenly of heart disease while visiting. The man responsible for a large amount of the most recent renovations (15 years of work!) turned off his radio one night and heard static, then, “Mayday! Mayday!” … Two of the Clarke children (one of which was the fourth George) were pilots in World War II.
Although it had started raining by the end of our tour, the view of Otesaga Lake was no less spectacular than if it was a bright and sunny day.
We found a wonderful Italian bistro on our way back to the Otesaga called Bocca Osteria. They had amazing gluten-free pasta and super fast service. (Which we were thankful for, both starved!)
The Federal-style Otesaga was built in the early 1900s by another Clark family of Cooperstown, the grandsons of Edward Clark. Built for wealthy guests visiting, there were modern amenities such as telephones in each room and central heating that could be adjusted room by room. The Leatherstocking Golf Course, adjacent to the hotel, has been rated one of the “Top 50 U.S. Golf Resorts” by Condè Nast Traveler.
With more time to explore our two-room suite, we felt like those super rich kids you hear about on Instagram. The suite was BEAUTIFUL with absolutely breathtaking views of the lake and the property. It was elegant but comfortable and we had a quiet, restful night.
… Little did we know that that was because we were on the fourth floor, and apparently the third and fifth floors are where most of the paranormal activity occurs.
After an amazing (and I do mean amazing) breakfast spread downstairs in the formal dining room, we spoke with Tjibbe Lambers, director of digital marketing and analytics, and Bob Faller, director of sales and marketing, about the ghostly activities in the hotel. Tjibbe said he’s never had anything really happen to him, but Bob told us he’s heard children running in the halls when none are staying there and that “Ghost Hunters” caught a ton of orbs in the formal dining room.
It was unfortunately a quick conversation, between us needing to get back on the road and morning hotel business for them. After thanking them for their time and hospitality, we sped over to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum—Cooperstown’s biggest draw!
We arrived a few minutes after it opened and it was already packed! Although neither of us are huge baseball-watchers, it’s magnificent to see such memorabilia of America’s favorite pastime all in one place. I of course recognized the bigger names in baseball and we snagged a picture with a few of the “greats.”
Our grandpa recently passed away from ALS, sometimes better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and they had the letter from the Mayo Clinic saying he would no longer be able to continue playing baseball. It’s odd how a shared suffering can make you feel a connection to someone you never knew.
We tried to find Kelly’s cousin, Katie Brownell, who was inducted into the Softball Hall of Fame, but weren’t able to find her!
We jumped back in the car and drove to Sylvan Beach. We were to have lunch at Eddie’s Restaurant, within walking distance of the Sylvan Beach Amusement Park. Little did we know, there were some details left unmentioned about this visit …