May 11, 2023
By: Rachel Nigh
Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET) had the opportunity to bring guests to the heart of baseball country and experience the rich history of American Baseball. The tour brought guests through the Northeast and provided exclusive access to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Our five-night tour started in Boston with a welcome event and introduction to our tour by trip host, Professor Michael Raycraft. The following morning brought a private guided tour of the oldest active ballpark in the major league, Fenway Park. Guests were able to take in the magnificent view from the top of the Green Monster, the press box, and their new addition, Fenway Farms. That evening guests experienced Fenway Park come to life with a match-up against the Minnesota Twins. You can’t go to Fenway without the classic Fenway Frank or clam chowder.
Friday morning guests departed for Cooperstown, NY, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On the journey through New England, travelers had lunch in the Berkshires at the Red Lion Inn. This American classic Inn has been a landmark for hospitality for over 250 years. As guests continued toward Cooperstown, NY they took in the breathtaking views of Otsego Lake. We had an exquisite dinner with oysters, crab legs, and tenderloin with presentations on Cooperstown significance to baseball from Professor Raycraft and National Baseball Hall of Fame Sales Manager, June Dolhun.
The next morning guests had the opportunity to take in all the National Baseball Hall of Fame and explore the quaint nature of the Village of Cooperstown. In the afternoon our guests enjoy swapping stories and asking questions regarding the history of baseball on the Otesaga Resort’s famed back porch and rocking chairs. This provided the opportunity for travelers to mingle amongst the group over an afternoon beverage.
The group woke up the next morning and departed for New York City. Upon arrival in The Big Apple guests were given an in-depth tour of Yankee Stadium. The group was taken through “The House That George Built” in reference to owner George Steinbrenner. After concluding the tour, the group grabbed some Yankee Stadium staple food and sat down for a gorgeous Saturday afternoon game. The group watched the Yankees take a victory over Toronto Blue Jays and conclude the game with Frank Sinatra’s classic “New York, New York.” After the conclusion of the game, the group took the Subway home from the Bronx to the Midtown Refinery Hotel. That evening we said a final farewell to each other at the Refinery Rooftop over cocktails and appetizers.
We had the pleasure of having Michael Raycraft lead our group for this tour. Dr. Raycraft is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Illinois Department of Recreation,
Sport and Tourism, and the recipient of multiple teaching awards at the College and Campus levels. Dr. Raycraft has been actively engaged with the Baseball Hall of Fame for over three decades, published two books on baseball memorabilia, and lectured extensively on the sport’s historical roots, business models, and tourism opportunities. For the last five years, he has led tours of this region and will provide our guests with a unique insider’s perspective of our high-profile baseball sights and locations.
The travelers primarily walked in the specific cities on this tour or were using motor coach transportation from city to city in the New England area.
In the Big Apple, there were plenty of transportation options from taxis to the intricate NYC subway system. All guests were given a Metro Card, offering them easy access to the entire city. If you are looking for directions, don’t fret, the app, CityMapper, is your public transportation mapping go-to.
Fanwise, you can’t do better than the official hotel of the Boston Red Sox, the ultra-praised Hotel Commonwealth. This unique property has a baseball-dedicated elevator with signatures from some of the greatest players in the major league. The location in the Kenmore neighborhood allows for a less than five-minute walk to Fenway Park.
The Otesaga iconic luxury resort provided historic elegance and charm along the shore of Otsego Lake. This hotel has been open since 1909 and has remained a staple of upstate New York. This hotel is not only breathtaking in its 700 feet of shorefront but also within walking distance of the Baseball Hall of Fame. This made it convenient for guests to leisurely stroll through town and relax at the lakeside.
Located only a few blocks from Bryant Park and Times Square, Refinery Hotel provides the NYC modern and luxurious feel. This hotel is trendsetting with stylish loft rooms and a popular rooftop bar. This location allows guests to easily take a stroll through Central Park, see a Broadway show and much more.
The Bleacher bar is a go-to spot situated beneath the bleachers of Fenway Park’s center field. A huge garage window looks directly into Fenway and has been noted as one of the best sports bars in the country.
In Cooperstown, Mel’s at 22 is in a historic spot along the downtown area. The American classic eatery offers delicious staples and great daily specials. This is an easy walk from the National Hall of Fame following shopping and touring local sites.
Refinery Rooftop Restaurant and Bar has not only great drinks but some of the best views in New York City. You can see through the glass ceiling the top of the Empire State Building and a majority of the fashion district.
When you aren’t watching baseball games, we recommend a walk/run through downtown Boston, along Lake Otsego, or through Central Park. All of these cities live up to their historical significance and more.