Cold Spring is one our favorite daytrips from NYC. Just an hour and a half on the MetroNorth puts you in the heart of town, whose Main Street is lined with cute boutiques and restaurants. Aside from the usual suspect antique shops, there’s also a wealth of specialty stores like outdoor shops, a general store, and a stunningly gorgeous apothecary/salon. You can easily kill the day just shopping, but Cold Spring is also home to one of the best and probably the most famous Hudson Valley hike, called Breakneck Ridge.
To get here, take the Hudson Line on the MetroNorth. To go directly to town, get off at Cold Spring; hikers can take MetroNorth directly to the Breakneck Ridge stop, which is just steps from the trailhead. (Note that you have to catch the 7:47 or 8:47 trains for this stop, which only runs on weekends and holidays. If not, you can walk from town, rent a bike, or take a cab.)
What to Do in Cold Spring: Hike a Mountain, Visit a Design Legend’s Home
As you might surmise from the MetroNorth trains full of hikers, Cold Spring is most often visited to hike Breakneck Ridge. It’s a very popular trail, due to its short (but steep!) scramble at the beginning, giving way to some really incredible views of the Hudson Valley. Despite its difficulty rating of a 10 out of 10, the trail always crowded, though if you continue past the overlook it clears out considerably. Take the time to continue the hike instead of heading back down, which will take a good chunk of your day–the views are totally worth it.
For a more leisurely way to take in Mother Nature, we just recently visited Manitoga, the home, studio, and woodland garden of design legend Russel Wright. After the 90-minute tour of the property, you’re free to roam the three trails on the 75-acre property. What’s so fascinating about the outdoor spaces here are that Russel completely designed them–from the tree and boulder placement to the mossy forest floor carpeting. It’s a ten minute cab-ride from Cold Spring, and tours are $20.
With its many speciality shops lining Main Street, we could just as easily spend an afternoon shopping. We’re big fans of Old Souls, an outdoor-themed shop carrying products for field, stream, camp and home. They carry their own affordable graphic tees alongside high-end brands like Filson and Topo; taxidermy and historic flags line its walls. Next up, Cold Spring General Store is just that–a store with a little bit of everything. The shop focuses on handmade, American goods that have a story behind them and work with many of the regions local artisans. They also operate The Barn at the General Store, a little pop-up space which serves as a farm stand. New in town is Burkelman, a high-end design boutique carrying home goods like furniture, textiles and fine art. The giant taxidermied head above their cash register is just as eye-catching as its surrounding modern art pieces. Last, perhaps one of the most Instagram-worthy spaces we’ve ever visited is Cold Spring Apothecary, stocked with lovely beauty products but also serving as a salon. Book a facial to add a little luxury to your daytrip, or stop in to fill your medicine cabinet with the best of the best.
Where to Eat & Drink in Cold Spring
Hudson Hil’s is a breakfast/lunch joint, using fresh local (!) ingredients in their menus and probably the most popular in town; sometimes there’s a line out the door. The good news is that if it’s packed, you can duck in to their “market” (on the left side of the restaurant) and take a sandwich or coffee to go. (They even sell “hikers lunches” with a sandwich, fruit, a cookie and bottle of water to-go.) The Foundry is another solid breakfast option, who is famous for their pancakes, though the weekend rush can get a little crazy with their small staff. We save it for the weekdays when we know we can walk right in. You can also head over to the Barn at the General Store to pick up some produce, and head inside and make a meal from their small grocery. Don’t pass up the switchel, which they make on-site!
For dinner, check out Brasserie Le Bouchon, which has both outdoor and indoor seating. Though it’s a bit on the pricier side, it’s pretty much the only game in town if you’re looking for ambiance. On the other end of the spectrum is Cold Spring Depot and Whistling Willies, both of which serve your standard pub fare. While Whistling Willies has better beer selection (and won best beer and burger from Hudson Valley Magazine several times), Cold Spring Depot is just steps from the train station.