Looking for the perfect daytrip from New York City? Hop aboard one of multiple daily Metro-North Railroad trains departing from Grand Central Terminal for the trip to Cold Spring, a charming riverside village in the Hudson Valley. The route itself is relaxing, following the banks of the Hudson as it winds through forested rural areas and just past the West Point complex.
You’ll get off at the historic Cold Spring train depot, where the small town’s Main Street spills from the riverfront in a northeasterly direction. The historic town originally developed as a community for West Point’s foundry’s workers and families. It was at the foundry where ironworks including artillery and munitions were produced during the American Civil War, including the Parrott Rifle Cannon invented by West Point’s Captain Robert Parker Parrott in 1860. What’s left behind is a town filled with gorgeous 19th-century homes and buildings, and a village core that’s earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Seasonal day activities include tours of West Point, hiking, boat rentals or guided canoe and kayaking tours. Hudson Highlands Cruises offers both sightseeing and themed music cruises along the river. Depending upon your visit dates, you may find live music at the riverside park and gazebo, or a performance by the talented troupe from the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. A spring, summer or fall visit to the town’s Stonecrop Gardens allows for leisurely wandering among the water and woodland gardens, through an English cottage garden, or along the paths leading through the cliff rock gardens.
Take a lunch break at the historic Cold Spring Depot Restaurant next to the railroad tracks, where you can try a delicious Depot 2.0 made with smoked turkey, rosemary mayonnaise, pear chutney and cranberry Brussels sprouts slaw. Order truffle fries on the side, but save room for dessert. Moo Moo’s Creamery is directly across the street, and offers a fabulous selection of homemade ice creams, with daily special flavors such as Mexican Chocolate, Caramel Cashew, Honey Cinnamon Walnut and Maple Bacon.
Central Main Street is lined with a delightful blend of cafés, antique shops and both quirky and elegant shopping choices. You can walk off that second scoop of ice cream on a shopping or browsing expedition for antiques at the Cold Springs Antiques Center, perusing maps and antiquarian books at Antipodean Books, or enjoying an art exhibition at Buster Levi Gallery and home goods at Burkelman.
Base yourself at one of Cold Spring’s lovely hotels so your kids can explore nearby great summer opportunities such as the Black Rock Forest Consortium summer science day camp July 15–19. Perfect for middle and high school-aged kids with an interest in science, nature and conservation, the curriculum includes fieldwork led by scientists from such institutions as the American Museum of Natural History, Barnard College, Columbia University and New York University. Cold Spring lodging choices include the Pig Hill Inn, Cold Spring Bed & Breakfast and the Hudson House River Inn.