With its picturesque Main Street of mom-and-pop shops housed in buildings from the 19th century, Cold Spring has a cozy atmosphere that epitomizes Small Town, USA.
Nestled in the Hudson Highlands and sitting at the deepest point of the Hudson River, the Putnam County village grew into a thriving riverside community in large part due to the West Point Foundry, an ironworks that produced arms in the Civil War.
Even though the foundry is closed for renovations (and scheduled to reopen this fall as a historic site), there is still plenty to see and experience. From antiquing and fine dining to hiking and kayaking, Cold Spring is an ideal destination for day-trippers.
"It's a gourmet, amphibious, history-filled, quirky, fun town that's filled with laidback people," said Dar Williams, a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and longtime Cold Spring resident. "It's a really unfussy town, and at the same time it has a lot of history and nature and great food."
If you decide to take a day trip or weekend jaunt to Cold Spring, here's where to eat, drink, play and stay during your visit.
EAT | DRINK
With its colorful, flower-filled brick courtyard, Cathryn's Tuscan Grill is easy to spot from the street and an ideal spot for summer dining (91 Main St.; 845-265-5582; www.tuscangrill.com). The restaurant offers northern Italian dishes such as fresh basil-parsley linguini and sauteed guinea hen.
Another option on Main Street is the rustic French brasserie Le Bouchon, notable for its old wood-plank floors and dining porch (76 Main St.; 845-265-7676). Menu items include classic French fare such as duck confit and steak frites.
Although not a restaurant, a perfect place for a summer treat is Go-Go Pops (64 Main St.; 845-809-5600). The store serves a variety of beverages, including its signature fresh-fruit ice pops in flavors ranging from banana-strawberry to cucumber-chili.
Learn about the area's vibrant history at the Putnam History Museum (63 Chestnut St.; 845-265-4010; www.putnamhistorymuseum.org). Housed in a 19th century schoolhouse attended by the foundry's young apprentices, the institution features exhibits about the region's history.
Cold Spring is home to more than 20 antique shops, with many lining Main Street. Downtown Gallery is a former Studebaker dealership that houses a maze of furnishings, artwork, clothing and collectibles (40 Main St.; 845-265-4866; www.artantiquegallery.com). For a mix of the modern and antique, Archipelago at Home has a wide variety of home decor and furnishings (119 Main St.; 845-265-3992).
On Saturday nights, the Cold Spring Film Society, a nonprofit arts organization, screens classic movies at Dockside Park every other week through Aug. 31 (www.coldspringfilm.org). Upcoming films include "Jaws" (June 22), "Bonnie and Clyde" (July 20) and "Back to the Future" (Aug. 3). Admission is free, and the movies start around dusk.
If you're looking for a more active outing, Hudson Valley Outfitters runs kayak tours geared toward varied skill sets and interests (63 Main St.; 845-265-0221; www.hudsonvalleyoutfitters.com). These include the Constitution Marsh Tour ($110), which takes paddlers through the Audubon Sanctuary marsh, a Bannerman's Castle tour ($130) and a yoga and kayak tour ($130).
WORTH A DRIVE
For a cultured evening, take the Cold Spring Trolley (running Fridays to Sundays through December, click here for schedule) to the Boscobel estate in Garrison for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. The annual event, which begins its 27th season June 22, stages the Bard's plays in an outdoor tent theater on the scenic grounds of the estate.
If you want to spend more time outdoors but also want to get in a good workout, head out to Breakneck Ridge, a hiking trail that is two miles north of Cold Spring. (Metro-North also offers a limited weekend-only schedule to the location). While the hike can be demanding -- and includes a fair amount of rock climbing -- those who make the trek will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Hudson Valley.
On a majestic stretch of the river is the 13-room hostelry Hudson House River Inn (2 Main St.; 845-265-9355; www.hudsonhouseinn.com). The hotel, which dates to the 1830s, offers stunning river views. Enjoy a drink or meal on the veranda and walk to the riverfront gazebo to take in the full majesty of the view.
Another option on Main Street is the Pig Hill Inn (73 Main St.; 845-265-9247; www.pighillinn.com). Housed in a three-story brick building, the bed and breakfast has nine rooms and prides itself on serving a "full country-style breakfast."
For an even more intimate experience, visit the Plumbush Inn at the Parrott House (1656 Route 9D, 845-265-3904; plumbushinn.com). Built in 1867 as a private residence, the inn has a restaurant with fine dining and three rooms for overnight stays.
Cold Spring might owe its name to in the first president of the United States. According to legend, George Washington drank from a local spring and described it as "refreshingly cold."
Cold Spring is located on the Hudson line of the Metro-North Railroad. Trips to and from Grand Central take approximately 80 minutes.