A lake with two names

Sandcastles and lifeguard at Glimmerglass State Park
We are standing knee-high in the lake feeling slightly embarrassed. "Can we swim further?", I ask two lifeguards in a rowboat. "When I get up on that chair you can," says one, motioning to an elevated viewing seat out in the lake. We are at Glimmerglass State Park (entrance $7) on Otsego Lake (never Lake Otsego as a local pointed out) near Cooperstown in central New York State. The lifeguard takes his seat and gives us the thumbs up. We swim out into the lake.

Oldest covered bridge in the States
Determined to find different things to do than on our visit last year - this park is a real find. The lake, real name - Otsego, fictionalised name by James Fenimore Cooper - Glimmerglass, has a lot of seaweed it turns out, as we emerge from our swim. Glimmerglass State Park has hiking trails, kayak hire, safe swimming and the oldest covered bridge in the US, built in 1828. You can walk through it on a hiking trail through forests and fields of golden rod. When we did it we didn't see a soul other a deer who we stopped to watch.
Golden rod on a Glimmerglass trail
Later we had dinner at the highly-recommended Blue Mingo Grill at Sam's Boatyard. It has been raining so diners out on the waterfront had been relocated to the gift shop and look a bit peeved. The rain has stopped so we get a table right down by the water. Lucky us. Beautiful location looking out over the green waters as ducks swim by. But then they stop swimming and waddle up on the restaurant floor. I feed them bread roll with my fingers and some diners look unimpressed. It's OK, we're tourists, I say with a smile.

Not China, New York
The restaurant did not disappoint. I spotted about a dozen things on the menu I was dying to try and had to settle for  Clam Chowder and Crabcakes. My friend had Potstickers (dumplings to you) and a steak. I was intrigued by the tuna nachos and homemade chips (crisps) with melted blue cheese. I could go on. Maybe next year.
Baseball teams come here to play
The Blue Mingo is obviously the restaurant of choice for the opera set. We spotted tenor Wynn Harmon from that afternoon's wonderful Lost in the Stars, having his dinner and talking to fans. Earlier he had made us cry with a very moving performance. Now I was too interested in my crab cakes to tell him. (luckily for him)

Fabulous resto
Today was our last day and we saw two operas as well as swimming and dining out. That's what I call a real Glimmerglass day. Not only that.  Bass-baritone Eric Owens has the most beautiful voice which fills the hall and makes you feel you are in the presence of greatness. When he sang the song, Lost in the Stars, I felt I would always remember the moment. Tonight was our grand finale and fresh from the Blue Mingo we saw for the first time an opera many will tell you is among the best ever written, Aida.

Skies over Glimmerglass
We loved it, especially fabulous tenor Noah Stewart as Radamès and Daveda Karanas as Amneris. Aida ends as all good operas should with the two lovers dying. We could not have been happier.


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