Cold Spring makes a great weekend getaway from NY only an hour north of the city by train. Since its close many people flock here for hiking and biking but mostly as day trippers. Stay the night and you have the place to yourself, and you’ll feel miles, and years, away from home.
We stayed at the Hudson House Inn which is an old homely place right on the water. It is very tranquil as everything else in the town is on the other side of the train tracks. The Inn could be straight out of a historical adaptation with its period wallpaper, freshly baked chocolate cookies in the hall and stacks of local charm. Breakfast was another plus, setting us up for the day ahead.
An advantage of having stayed the night is you can get a jump start on the trails before the day hikers arrive. Pick up a trail map before you leave so you don’t have to rely on the free ones at the trail head. Though the trails are wide and well marked you still need to know which color to take! There are a number of different hikes you can do which range in difficulty. Breakneck Ridge is the most arduous but it does offer the best views of the Hudson as reward. Bull Hill is an easier climb, even though you end up higher. A 3-4 hour hike will leave you with plenty of time, and hopefully energy, to explore the town.
The real treat of the town is in its troves of antiques. Main street is littered with a dozen antique shops and many an hour can be spent perusing the treasure on offer. Its a village of grandmas’ attics which offers a window into past times. To absorb it all you will need to go to each place more than once.
For dining, our favorite meal was at the French bistro Le Bouchon. A relaxed place serving good inexpensive french fare. The old rail depot which is now a converted restaurant is another good option so long as you avoid the long uninteresting menu and opt instead for the fresh clams which they pile straight into the steamer. Afternoon snacks are best supplied at the Moo Moo creamery or the fresh fruit ice lollies at Go Go Pops. Skip the crowded cafes.
If you have more time visit the Julia Butterfield Library, a living example of that village library you wished you had grown up with. It has a planted garden while inside is filled with old wooden stacks and high windows which the light streams through. Cold Spring is also home to the first church founded north of 14th street Manhattan. The Chapel of our Lady Restoration is a modest place right on the water and the perfect spot to soak in the quiet.
In the summer months check the town website for seasonal events. There is a summer film series, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and many a firework display. We were lucky enough to catch the Labor Day celebrations which impressed. Cold spring may make a nice day trip out of the city but it makes for an even more wonderful weekend retreat.