Hudson Valley is every hiker’s dream destination, and Cold Spring is its charming oasis. This natty village — located around 50-60 miles north of Manhattan — was incorporated in 1846 and retains much of that 19th century character. You can’t truly experience the Hudson Valley without visiting this old iron-mining village. These days, its industry is tourism rather than iron, and for excellent reasons. Its lush trees and river-lined downtown area have it all: old hilltop churches, blissful spas, and neoclassical mansions. Now you can even rent a kayak or do a spot of bird watching at the tidal marsh. Let’s make sure you extract as much pleasure from your trip as you can.
As you putter into the historic Hudson Line Station, you’ll notice the old-world antique shops and restaurants in the middle of the village. From here, you can take a leisurely stroll through the entire village. It’s tiny enough for even the laziest of tourists. You can’t truly appreciate Cold Spring until you know its past, though
Ghosts wander through these alleys, and it’s time to find out more about them. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is a 20-minute drive due south of Cold Spring. It’s been training heroes since its founding in 1802 with the flourish of Thomas Jefferson’s pen, so it’s the perfect start to a historic tour. This historic and still operating installation welcomes visitors, so consider doing a guided tour.
If you’re like most Cold Spring visitors, you’re here for the hiking, and if it’s history you’re looking for, Bull Hill is the perfect area for it. This 4.3-mile stretch passes the ruins of a 1900s Cornish estate. From there, you can reach bucolic Mount Taurus with its exquisite views over the quarry.
Getting to Know the Village
Cold Spring Coffee House is one of Cold Spring’s latest crazes. The trendy Albany roastery was founded by a baking-obsessed native, so get ready to experience some sugary delicacies. Its brews are steeped for 24 hours, so this is a destination for the connoisseur. Hudson Hil’s Cafe is just as delicious. Once you’ve had your caffeine fix, it’s time for some retail therapy at Cold Spring Antiques Center. The corridor leading through Main Street has a series of stores that are every bit as sophisticated as those in Manhattan.
If you’re an architecture buff, keep your eyes peeled for Colonial and Victorian architecture. This is a perfectly preserved example of 19th-century life, so a single walk will introduce you to centuries of Cold Spring’s history.
Every Sunday, Waterfront Park in Cold Spring breaks into a bustling celebration as musicians gather for live shows in the twilight. Arrive early to experience the waterfront at its quietest. Foundry Dock Park is a kayaker’s paradise, but its vistas are striking enough to entertain you over a lazy picnic before the music starts. The view is one of many reasons people love Cold Spring. Alternatively, pick up an ice cream at the legendary Moo Moo’s before popping to Dockside Park.
Brewed Masterpieces at Cold Spring Depot
Cold Spring Depot is perched on the edge of a forest a short stroll from the Metro-North Train stop. The clatter of trains adds plenty of charm to the experience. This laid-back spot is a must-see for craft beer enthusiasts. It has several beers on tap, including Belgian wheat beer and Guinness. Cold Spring Depot has been serving thirsty locals since 1893, so call it a historic tour when you write home.
You simply can’t visit the Hudson without putting on those old hiking boots, so pack a picnic, and head to Breakneck Ridge. You can take in the vistas on a two-hour hike or extend your trip by taking the classic loop. Be warned, though: it’s not called Breakneck Ridge without reason. It has an elevation gain of 1,250 feet. In the mood for a more sedate experience? Then take in a spot of swimming or kayaking.
Sites off the Beaten Path
Cold Spring has an ethereal side that’s best experienced through its Apothecary and Wellness House. Soothe away your anxieties with a feast of elixirs, scents, and salves, or enjoy a day of luxury at its full-service spa. After that, Poor George is a must-see spot that began as an Etsy vintage boutique. These days, it fills its shelves with adorable country outfits and charming décor.
Cold Spring is a cultural melting pot with something for every traveler. It’s quaint, hip, and sophisticated in equal measure, but it’s known for its old-time charm. It has developed a reputation as a day tripper’s paradise, so pack some boots and hop onto a train. You won’t regret it.