One of the best secrets is the New York Historical Association's annual conference always held the first weekend in June. I attended this past weekend and as usual, was not disappointed. The conference is always held near a college campus for both conference space and for dormitory rooms. For $70 registration fee, you can attend two and a half days of pure New York State history. It's wonderful!!
Speakers from both academia and the public sector present papers organized by subject. Examples this year included Demystifying Digitization, new directions in New York History, a talk on cemeteries about Harlem African Burial Ground and Westchester cemeteries. One of the most fascinating was a talk about the Rochester Riots delivered by Alexander Aldrich, first cousin to Governor Nelson Rockfeller and his deputy assistant. His recall of the activities during those riots was outstanding.
The conference was held at the association's home turf of Cooperstown at the Fenimore Art Museum and library. I was able to attend the library research tour. For those who have family ties in Otsego County and surrounding counties, you should visit this outstanding library, a wonder to historians and genealogists. The library does not limit its scope to the area and reflects materials from the entire state. One good example is it has early atlases from all the counties in the state. To visit their online catalog type in www.library.nysha.org . I hiighly recommend a visit to this state treasure.