The Sidewalk Taken (or, Sidewalks of Cooperstown)
Warning: This is probably one of the most boring posts ever. I walk around town and take pictures of the sidewalks.
“Now this is a sidewalk,” Bud said to me as we started our walk the other day.
We parked at the Clark Sports Center and headed out on the route I usually go around the perimeter of Cooperstown.
The sidewalk on Susquehanna is wide and new. Little kids ride their bikes on it, with plenty of room for mom or dad to walk beside them. The fellow in the distance was on his skateboard. It’s not unusual to see friends walking 3 or 4 abreast on it.
This sidewalk used to look like this:
On the east side of the street, this sidewalk reminds me of what we used to walk on.
I always turn up Walnut Street. There are shorter ways to get downtown, but when I’m going for a walk, I’m not looking for shortcuts. I’m looking for the long-cuts, to prolong the experience.
From Walnut, I turn onto Delaware Street. One of the joys of living in a small town is that so many of the houses also contain memories — friends I went to high school with, kids I’ve coached on swim team. The house represents a person or a family, and I treasure them as I walk past.
Delaware to Beaver. Beaver Street is a direct shot between Rte 28 (aka Chestnut) and the hospital. At the juncture of those two roads, it’s really hopping with two gas stations, Price Chopper (the only grocery store in the village) and the new location for a giant CVS.
I take a little jig-jag on Chestnut, quickly turning off it onto West Beaver.
West Beaver kind of turns into Maple Street.
At the end of Maple Street, I cross Route 28 again — except now it’s Glen Ave. Oh, the joy of small older villages! Streets take twists and turns and change names — just because they can.
I have to cut through a parking lot here. In the summer, it’s busy, but the rest of the year only a handful of cars park there.
On the other side of the parking lot is the top of Main Street. It’s a nice walk down, but tourists don’t know that. They shell out their $2 per person to ride the trolley, which actually is pretty cheap entertainment. The trolley makes a circuit around Cooperstown, and some trolley drivers give spiels about the village which are often full of alternative facts.
Just past the ugliest office building in the history of beautiful small villages, I turn onto Nelson Ave, a street of beautiful homes. It’s another stretch of homes that I identify with people I know or knew.
From Nelson, I turn onto Lake Street.
Oh, look! There’s the Otesaga! That’s where the Hall-of-Famers stay for induction weekend.
I walk a long stretch of Lake Street, all the way to where it ends at the Susquehanna River and River Street.
One block on River, and I reach Main Street again — but this is lower Main.
The sidewalk ends just after crossing the bridge, but that’s okay. I’m heading to “The Path” — no sidewalk at all, but one of my favorite places to walk.
The Path goes along the river, past where Cooperstown’s hanging tree was in the early 1800s (or so I’m told), past the stone bridge (gosh, it’s lovely), past the Sugar Shack (where I suppose someone used to make maple syrup), past a colorful pile of kayaks and canoes, all the way to Mill Street/Brooklyn Ave.
I choose Brooklyn Ave. We used to live here. It is a wonderful street.
The sidewalk doesn’t go all the way down Brooklyn Ave. It ends as I leave the village. The condition of the road changes, too. It’s easy to tell where the demarcation between Village of Cooperstown and Town of Middlefield falls.
I walk all the way to the end, back to Susquehanna Ave, but now I’m at the end of Susquehanna that doesn’t have wide new sidewalks. In fact, it has no sidewalk at all, but that doesn’t stop me from walking along the shoulder, back to the gym, and back to my car.
The road taken by me is usually a sidewalk. I love walking.
I love it even more when my husband can join me.