Cold Spring, New York : A Breath of Fresh Air

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

This will be my last Fall blog of places of interest in and around New York City. Our beautiful Fall weather propels me to enjoy the great outdoors. Unlike the winter when I hide at home as much as possible, or the summer when I’m content to stay outside in the shade or inside with the air conditioner and a cool drink, Fall in New York City makes me want to go, go, go!

My focus today is on the village of Cold Spring (not to be confused with Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island), located in the town of Philipstown in Putnam County in upstate New York. According to the 2010 census, the population was less than 2,000 – only five hundred more than the number of students at my high school! The central area of this village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as evidenced by its well-preserved 19th century buildings.

Cold Spring is bordered by the Hudson River to the west and Hudson Highland Park to the north with Mount Taurus and Breakneck Ridge popular sites for hiking, camping, fly fishing and boating and kayaking in nearby towns. Cold Spring is an outdoor, daytime town. Don’t look for night life here, you’ll be disappointed.

One of the best things about this town is its proximity to New York City. It’s less than one and a half hour drive from Queens up the Taconic Parkway to the Cold Spring/ Rte. 301 West exit. There are no exit numbers, but the exit immediately before is Carmel/ Rte. 301 East. The Cold Spring exit is about 10 feet after the Carmel exit, so  you must s-l-o-w  down. I slam on my brakes every time. If you prefer to take the Metro-North from Grand Central Station, it’s one hour ten minutes to the Cold Spring stop. Definitely day trip material.

Driving into town on Rte. 301 West, you’ll pass Stonecrop Gardens which is opened from late March until the end of October. It will be on your right when traveling west.

Just before you get into town, if you turn left going south on Rte. 9D, it’s a five minute drive to Boscobel with its beautiful house and gardens tour. The house was built in the very early 1800’s and is one of the finest examples of federal-syle architecture. If you choose not to tour the house, you can walk the grounds and gardens free of charge for a beautiful view of the Hudson River. Look for West Point on the other side of the river. By the way, if you decide to go to Boscobel for the Shakespeare Festival , concerts or Christmas festivities and performances, you can do a round-trip cab special from the Cold Spring station to Boscobel.

Let’s get back in the car, head north on Rte. 9D and turn left going west onto Rte. 301 right into Cold Spring. Just follow the road, now called Main Street. If you turn right at the French restaurant (Bright blue with red trim) at         Street, you can ride along the Hudson where you’ll see loads of hikers roadside and emerging from the trails. This is a good vantage point to get your bearings. Head back to town, make a right back on Main St., left at Lunn Terrace, left at Market St. where you will see Our Lady Chapel on the right. This is across from the train station. You can park your car there and walk up the path for another view of the river. The tiny chapel has historical significance and is a venue for concerts, some of them free of charge.

Head back north on Market St. which leads to the lower level of the town. You can park your car on the street, and later walk up the stairs through the train underpass to get back to Main St. and the shops and restaurants or just go back to Main St., park, then walk down the stairs to get to this part of the town which should not be missed. The lower part of Main St. has a beautiful gazebo, great views of the Hudson, bed and breakfasts, condos, small hotels, restaurants and Moo Moo Creamery across from the train tracks for delicious ice cream. You can also take a ferry ride to Bannerman Island which very well may be haunted by the tribes of Native Americans that inhabited this region.

Get back upstairs to upper Main St. where you can visit shops and restaurants.

You’ll find antique stores, my favorite being Fountain Square Antiques. This store is small and dust-free with things you may actually want to buy. I bought a prototype miniature Singer sewing machine here a few years ago as a gift for my daughter. It came with a paper of authenticity and she was thrilled. Some of the other antique places carry what looks like garage sale leftovers, dust and all. You might find something worthwhile here, but you’ll have to search.

Make sure to visit Cold Spring Apothecary for natural skin, hair and home products. I love their bug spray which is made from witch hazel, glycerin, organic apple cider vinegar and essential oils like lavender. It smells good and kept the mosquitoes off me when I was in the rainforest in Peru. It works.

The Country Touch carries great wooden clever signs that make great gifts. This store has a saying for everything.

There are so many little shops, it’s hard to remember them all. Go in and browse. Many of them carry things you won’t find elsewhere.

Let’s take a look at some restaurants. There are so many for every taste and budget. I like Hudson Hil’s Cafe ( not a typo) for their fish tacos. They’re only opened for breakfast and lunch so go before 3:00pm. Le Bouchon (painted bright blue with red trim) has very good continental and french food. Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill has very good reviews for its Italian food. I haven’t eaten there yet, but that’s my next visit.

It’s fun to ride the trolley through the town, then on to Boscobel and/or Garrison train station. Check the trolley schedule since it only runs in the daytime and it doesn’t run through winter months.

Want to veg out without elaborate plans? Don’t want to deal with hours and hours of traffic? Tired of commercial towns that pretend to be historical?  Easy. Relaxing. This is the place for you.

© 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this content may be reprinted or used in any form without express permission from Elaine Donadio Writes.

Take a look at the town’s website for more information. Click on the box “Tour Main Street”  on the upper left. You’ll see the facades of the buildings.

To stroll through the streets of Cold Spring, watch this video.

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