Things To Do In Cold Spring, NY: Top 23 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn
The Hudson Highland hills are a paradise for a nature lover, one of the best things to do in Cold Spring, NY

Things to Do in Cold Spring, NY: 18 Must-Visit Spots

Wandering along Main Street is one of the top things to do in Cold Spring, NY

Cold Spring is a charming historic village enveloped in the scenic beauty of the Hudson River in upstate New York. It’s a place where the rhythm of nature and the echoes of history harmoniously blend, creating a unique and captivating experience. Its close proximity to Manhattan has made it perennially popular. And yet Cold Spring is still a tranquil sanctuary for city dwellers seeking a peaceful retreat.

 

Visiting Cold Spring makes a perfect weekend getaway or a refreshing day trip. Its activities and attractions only add to the allure it’s had for centuries. The main street is a picturesque slice of Americana, adorned with attractive boutiques, delightful restaurants, and specialty stores. The numerous hiking trails offer an enticing challenge to see the same views as the Hudson River School artists. They’re arguably some of the most beautiful in the world.

 

Ready to start exploring the best things to do in Cold Spring, NY? Let’s get into it:

 

Quick hits

  • Considering a trip through the enchanting hamlet of Cold Spring, NY? The history alone here makes a visit worth making.
  • Are you an outdoors enthusiast? Cold Spring has got the cure! Here, you can hike, sail, and explore – the world is your oyster.
  • Love shopping? Cold Spring’s eclectic boutiques won’t disappoint. Foodies can satiate their hunger with delectable eateries on Main Street.
  • Plus, don’t forget to visit the surrounding Hudson Valley towns.

A Brief History of Cold Spring, New York

Old sketch of Hudson highlands: from the Peekskill and Cold Spring Road, near Garrison's Landing

Cold Spring, a quaint spot in the Hudson River Valley, has a rich history. It emerged as an industrial hub during the American Revolution, attracting New York’s wealthiest citizens in the 19th century. Its prime location on the Hudson River and the mid-19th century arrival of the Hudson River Railroad increased its appeal. And its popularity has stayed strong ever since.

 

Colonial Era

In 1680, Dutchmen Lambert Dorlandt and Jan Roelof Sybrandt applied for a license to purchase a 15,000-acre piece of real estate along the eastern shore of the Hudson River in Putnam County. They were granted a license in 1687. Only then could they purchase a deed from Native American tribes. In 1691, they secured a deed from Wappinger chieftains, acquiring 17,480 acres along the Hudson River. This transaction was legitimate, with the Wappinger’s, and even Wappinger leader Daniel Nimham consent.

 

Permanent Settlement

Cold Spring, New York, was first claimed by Merrick Williams in 1730. It was initially just a small hamlet with a post for traffic between New York City and Albany, NY. It rose to prominence by 1846. The West Point Foundry, established in 1818, produced artillery for the military based in West Point. The Foundry attracted plenty of workers to the area until its closure in 1911.

 

Country estates

Cold Spring attracted creative individuals and notable families to the Hudson Highlands in the late 19th century. The town’s stunning views attracted architects like George Pope Morris and Julia and General Daniel Butterfield, who built grand buildings along Morris Avenue.

 

Today, Cold Spring is a living museum, showcasing the architectural prowess of the past.

 

The Best Things to do in Cold Spring, NY

From the charming Main Street to the challenging hiking trails and captivating events, Cold Spring, NY is a hub of excitement. So, go ahead, put on those walking boots, unleash your inner explorer, and let the winds of adventure guide you.

things to do in Cold Spring, NY, map
Map design by Stanton House Inn with elements from Flaticon

Main Street

Main Street Cold Spring

Main Street in Cold Spring is a lively place. It’s a dance of stores filled with antiques, unique boutiques, cozy coffee houses, and eateries offering a culinary waltz. The best direction to start is at the top of the hill, walking down to the water from Route 9 and the Episcopal Church of St Mary in the Highlands. That’s also the outer edge of town, though you can’t tell based on the construction. As you stroll down this enchanting boulevard, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a time warp. Historic buildings line the street, leading down to breathtaking views of the Hudson River. Whether you’re hunting for relics of yesteryears or seeking a mouth-watering feast, Main Street is an experience you won’t soon forget.

 

Dockside Park

Ship sailing back Dockside Park and the Hudson Highlands

The walk downhill will take you under the train tracks and a bit further to Dockside Park. Positioned right on the waterfront, this peaceful spot offers a majestic view of the Hudson River. The mountains stand tall against the sky, creating a picturesque backdrop. You can also see the towers of West Point, across the Hudson River Valley.

 

Bring a blanket and some food for a picnic, or grab some homemade ice cream at Moo Moo’s Creamery.

 

Historic Places, Impressive Art & Design Sites

This writer gained his first appreciation for this area when I visited a local artist’s workshop. To this day, the region inspires artists. So, you won’t just appreciate stuffy works from the 1800s on a visit. Even if that’s for which it’s more well known.

 

West Point Foundry Preserve

Historic buildings at the West Point Foundry Preserve

One of the most peaceful historic places here was once a hub for manufacturing steam engines, artillery, and ships during the Industrial Revolution. The site produced Parrott riffle artillery and other weapons during the Civil War. The West Point Foundry Preserve is now a 90-acre outdoor museum and National Historic Landmark. It boasts hiking trails along the old rail beds, interpretive displays, and historical buildings. Additionally, this open air museum is also home to two waterfalls along Foundry Brook and impressive abandoned buildings. The site also serves as a starting point for numerous hikes, for more preserved ruins hidden among the Hudson woodlands. Open to visitors all year round, it offers an audiovisual tour that brings the past to life.

 

The nearby Putnam History Museum houses artifacts and stories about the Foundry’s history, if you’d like to learn more.

 

The Chapel Restoration

River's edge trail back to town from the old foundry

After the Foundry, make your way to The Chapel Restoration. This beautifully restored venue hosts a variety of musical performances and storytelling events. Whether you’re swept away by a concert, entranced by a master storyteller, or exchanging vows, this place will leave a lasting impression.

 

Personally, I’ve only swung by the Chapel Restoration to admire the view. It’s gorgeous.

 

Magazzino Italian Art

Magazzino Italian Art Museum is the place to be with an eye for the artistic and an appreciation for the raw and real. This sanctuary for the postwar and contemporary Italian art scene is a short drive from Main Street Cold Spring. This art museum and research center focuses on the Arte Povera Movement. The museum houses a cornucopia of original pieces of art, many making their debut on American soil. A permanent exhibition at its core pays homage to the 12 artists who championed the Arte Povera movement.

 

And for the animal lovers, a corral of Sardinian donkeys awaits, hailing from the same island as the museum’s co-founder.

 

Boscobel House and Gardens

View from Boscobel House

The Boscobel House and Gardens is a Georgian mansion from the 19th century, along the Hudson Valley south of Cold Spring. Its gardens are a lush spectacle, boasting a thriving herb potager and proud apple trees. The lawns offers a stunning view of the Hudson River Valley. You can also enjoy peaceful hikes on the property. That said, check their online schedule, as the mansion has its days off.

 

Manitoga | The Russel Wright Design Center

Fans of mid-century American design should make a stop at Russel Wright’s experimental House and Studio. Set on the rock ledge of an abandoned quarry, this 20th-century modern home is a local example of daring modern design. The original landscaping adds to Manitoga’s status as a National Historic Landmark. Covering 75 acres, the property invites exploration with four miles of public hikes.

 

Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve

Breakneck Ridge view

Outdoor enthusiast will find the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve irresistible. This sprawling 8,000-acre park is packed with outdoor activities. Options include challenging trails like the Breakneck Ridge Trail or paddling on the Hudson River.

 

Breakneck Ridge Trail

Breakneck Ridge Trail is a popular adventure destination with four paths leading to the summit. There, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island and Storm King Mountain, across the river. The Breakneck Ridge hike has a short but steep scramble at the beginning, but the breathtaking views at the top make it worth the effort.

 

View from Bull Hill

The trail is especially popular in the fall thanks to the changing foliage.

 

Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) Trail

The Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) Trail is another place where the Hudson Highlands show off stunning views of the Hudson River and surrounding mountains.

 

Cornish Estate Trail Loop

If you’re up for a hike that’s not too demanding, the Cornish Estate Trail Loop is your perfect match. Winding through the woods, it welcomes hikers of all skill levels.

 

Cornish Estate ruins

Along the path, you’ll stumble upon the ghostly remains of the Cornish Estate. The sight of its jagged stone structures, towering fireplaces, and cascading waterfalls is nothing short of mesmerizing. Overgrown with time, the Cornish Estate ruins have a unique charm. Trust me, this is an experience you’ll want to remember.

 

Little Stony Point

Little Stony Point offers a stunning beach on the river’s edge and commanding clifftop views of the Hudson River. The hike to the top is a breeze. But don’t stop there. Follow the trail that skirts the beach and river, looping back to the parking lot. Located just a 1-minute drive or a 15-minute walk from downtown, it’s easily accessible. It’s an ideal spot for beginners or those who wish to relax and take in the scenery without the challenge of a strenuous hike.

 

That said, come during less busy times, like mornings. The fact that it’s so accessible means that it’ll be packed (and loud) on a summer afternoon.

 

Anthony’s Nose

Anthony’s Nose is a trail near Cold Spring that’s part of the Appalachian Trail. It’s a short, steep climb, but it rewards you with an impressive view of Westchester County and the Hudson River’s mountain ranges. Directly across the river, you can see Bear Mountain. Many hikers award this the title of being one of the best hikes in Upstate New York. That said, it can get crowded on weekends and in the afternoon hours. Be prepared, as parking is limited!

 

Stonecrop Gardens

Once the private home of Anne and Frank Cabot, Stonecrop Gardens became a public garden in 1992. The 15-acre expanse features:

 

  • A woodland garden
  • Water garden
  • Grass garden
  • And cliff rock gardens

 

Stonecrop Gardens also hosts conservatories. The garden opens on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and one Sunday each month from April through October. While weekends require a reservation, weekday visits do not.

 

There's plenty of street parking along Main Street Cold Spring

Unique Shopping in Cold Spring, NY

Cold Spring is a trove of unique shopping experiences. You’ll find yourself lost in a labyrinth of antique stores and discover quirky boutique stores by the dozen.

 

Antique Shopping

Hudson Valley towns like Hudson, NY, hold the title of the best places to go antiquing in New York State. But if you’re a fan of all things vintage, Cold Spring is still a dream destination.

 

Antique shopping in Cold Spring, NY

Antique shop after antique store line Main Street. As is always the case, some vendors appear to have hoarding tendencies. But they are well met with plenty of great antique stores.

 

The antique shops of Cold Spring, including:

 

Are like museums waiting to be explored. With the added benefit that you can take parts of their history home with you.

 

Boutique Stores

Clothing boutique

As is the case with most Hudson Valley towns, Cold Spring hosts plenty of unique boutique shops.

 

 

Cold Spring Farmers’ Market

Farmers market

If you find yourself in Cold Spring on a Saturday, you’ll have another chance to shop local! The Cold Spring Farmers market operates only on this day, from 8:30 am to 1 pm.

 

The market boasts fresh produce, seasonal vegetables, baked goods, meat, and dairy at the Boscobel House and Gardens.

 

Restaurants in Cold Spring, New York

Brunch juice at a local brasserie

Get ready for a culinary journey through a charming hamlet teeming with enticing eateries. So, take a seat, unfold your napkin, and let the gastronomic adventure begin.

 

Brunch in Cold Spring

Hudson Hil’s Cafe was an ideal spot for brunch. It was one of the few establishments that open before noon in Cold Spring.

 

The restaurant prided itself on sourcing local and organic food. This commitment to quality earned it a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Cold Spring, NY.

 

But, it recently closed. The owners decided to simplify their lives. So, cheers to them, and feel free to mourn the spot’s loss and head to the next stop on the list.

 

Brasserie Le Bouchon

Brasserie Le Bouchon serves classic French cuisine on Main Street, with outdoor seating. The menu’s highlight? Authentic escargot. These delicacies drown in a sea of garlic and butter. And the Brasserie serves them with a crusty baguette to mop up the flavorful remnants. If escargot isn’t to your taste, the steak au poivre is a worthy contender. Drenched in cream, butter and Cognac, it’s a decadent indulgence.

 

Cold Spring Depot

Stepping into Cold Spring Depot is stepping back in time. This joint sits in a train depot dating back to 1893, serving up good old American comfort food in a rustic tavern setting. And the outdoor patio is a nice touch for outdoor dining.

 

Hotels, Inns, and Places to Stay in Cold Spring, NY

Pig Hill Inn sign

If you’re planning a day trip from our Greenwich, CT, bed and breakfast, the drive would take about 50 minutes. If you’d rather spend longer than a day trip on your visit to Cold Spring, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation.

 

West Point Foundry Bed and Breakfast

Set on a picturesque 9-acre estate, the West Point Foundry Bed & Breakfast is a National Historic Landmark. It boasts a swimming pool and breathtaking views of the Hudson River and West Point Military Academy. This romantic inn in the Hudson Valley offers two exclusive rooms: the French Room and the Napoleon. Each room has a hot tub and an in-room fireplace. And the inn’s prime location provides easy access to the Cold Spring Train Station.

 

Pig Hill Inn

Built in 1825, this Cold Spring, NY, Bed & Breakfast is a charming retreat featuring in-room fireplaces, a Victorian conservatory, and a garden terrace. The Pig Hill Inn is conveniently located on Main Street, just a three-minute stroll from Dockside Park. It also houses Barber and Brew, one of the only breweries in New York with a barbershop inside.

 

Hudson House River Inn

This charming hotel, built in 1832, graces the National Register of Historic Places. Situated near the waterfront of Cold Spring, the Hudson House River Inn steeps in antique charm. It’s the perfect sanctuary after a day of exploration. The in-house restaurant serves seafood chowders and entrees, a delight to any palate. With view of the Hudson River, it’s ideally located for exploring Cold Spring, including Little Stony Point.

 

The Bird and Bottle Inn

This newly updated inn is a time capsule dating back 260 years. Each room is a blend of old and new, boasting modern luxuries such as world-class mattresses, fluffy duvets, and crisp white sheets. Bathe in style with the well-appointed bathtubs and heavenly scented bath products.

 

This Dutch Colonial style structure, known as ‘The Bird’, has a rich history dating back to 1761. It served as Warren’s Tavern, a stagecoach stop on the Old Albany Post Road in nearby Garrison, NY. It catered to travelers journeying between NYC and Albany.

 

In 1832, the Nelson family transformed the property into a farm, gristmill, and sawmill. It also served as the ancestral home of Emily Warren Roebling, the woman behind the Brooklyn Bridge. Today, the Bird and Bottle Inn is a meeting point of history and present.

 

Directions to Cold Spring, New York

Front lights of a car in the rain

Getting to Cold Spring is straightforward, whether you’re coming from the bustling city of New York or the charming town of Greenwich, CT. Take advantage of the convenience of the Metro-North Hudson Line. Or relish scenic drives through the Hudson Valley.

 

Before you know it, you’ll be exploring the charming streets of Cold Spring.

 

How to get to Cold Spring from NYC

Grand Central Station

If you’re seeking a quick escape from New York City’s concrete jungle, Cold Spring is the perfect destination. Hop aboard the Metro-North Hudson Line at the Grand Central Terminal. You’ll find yourself in Cold Spring’s downtown in just over an hour. Beautiful landscapes will be an added treat on your journey. So, purchase a ticket, sit back, and enjoy a leisurely train ride to a place where life moves at a slower pace.

 

Directions from Greenwich, CT, to Cold Spring, NY

Hudson Valley road

Are you planning a trip from Greenwich, CT, to Cold Spring, NY? The most straightforward route is by car. Take the NY 9A N route. It’s approximately 43 miles and should take about 50 minutes.

 

More Towns and Cities to Explore Near Cold Spring, New York

Hudson Valley view

If you’re looking to explore beyond Cold Spring, the Hudson Valley has plenty to offer. Nearby towns and cities are waiting to be discovered. Each host their own unique attractions and experiences in the Hudson Valley. The adventure doesn’t have to end in Cold Spring; it can only be the beginning for you.

 

Beacon, NY

Not far from Cold Spring, you’ll find the gritty, artsy city of Beacon, NY. This city buzzes with life. Some of the best attractions that Beacon, NY, has to offer include:

 

  • Dia Beacon
  • Hudson Beach Glass
  • Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park
  • Denning’s Point Distillery
  • Beacon Flea Market

 

So, why not add a detour to your trip and immerse yourself in the lively charm of Beacon?

 

West Point, New York

US Army Chapel

Home to the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, has been an important spot in American history for generations.

 

The West Point Museum houses a remarkable collection of military artifacts. Nearby, Constitution Island is a preserved slice of history, unaltered and pristine.

 

The West Point Band’s performances are electrifying, stirring the soul with their music. If you’re looking for an adventure, the town is definitely worth the trip.

 

Newburgh, NY

Newburgh waterfront

Newburhg, NY, has a reputation, but it is up and coming. You can visit the Pride of the Hudson, immerse yourself in the vast collection of the Motorcyclepedia Museum, or embark on a journey on the Hudson River with River Rose Cruises. Newburgh is a city that never fails to excite, and usually in a good way.

 

Carmel Hamlet, New York

There’s not much here, except for the largest statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere.

 

I bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?

 

The grounds of the Chuang Yen Monastery are a peaceful place to visit, on your way to or heading home from Cold Spring, New York.

 

Tl;dr

Train passing through the Hudson Valley

Cold Spring, NY, is a captivating place that will enchant you. Its rich history and its natural beauty will leave you charmed, and maybe a little breathless, depending on the hiking trail you choose. The town boasts unique shops and delectable food that will have you coming back for more. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant Main Street or conquering the wild hiking trails, this charming hamlet is a great day trip. So, don’t wait! Tie your boots, and embark on an unforgettable adventure in Cold Spring, New York.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do you spend a day in Cold Spring NY?

Looking to spend a day in Cold Spring, NY? Start with a hike that offers breathtaking views. Then, fill your mind with wonder at the Storm King Art Center. Next, charm your senses at Manitoga and Stonecrop Gardens. As the day ends, head to Hudson Hil’s Café for a satisfying meal. In essence, a day in Cold Spring, NY, is a tale worth living.

 

What is Cold Springs NY known for?

Cold Spring is a town that proudly displays its history. It’s a place where the past lives on in antique shops, each one a treasure chest of stories. The historic buildings stand as tall and proud testaments to the 19th century, each one a chapter etched in bricks and mortar. If you’re drawn to the allure of the past and the charm of the Hudson Valley, Cold Spring is the place for you.

 

Is Cold Spring NY a nice town?

Cold Spring is a charming town nestled in the heart of the Hudson River. It’s a place where time seems to slow down, providing a tranquil escape from the world’s hustle and bustle. The town’s shops are as charming as a well-aged whiskey, offering a variety of unique finds. The local eateries will tantalize your taste buds with their diverse offerings. Nestled in Putnam County, a comforting corner of New York, Cold Spring stands out as a jewel. It’s a haven for those seeking respite from city life, attracting both families and retirees. Cold Spring offers a cozy, homely atmosphere, akin to a cat curled up by the fire. Here, owning your own slice of heaven is not just a dream, but a reality.

 

Is Cold Spring walkable?

Yes, indeed, Cold Spring is a highly walkable town. It’s as simple as catching a train and, before you know it, you’re there. Once you arrive, all you need are your boots to explore the charming Main Street. It’s a delightful experience!

 

Is Cold Spring NY worth visiting?

Indeed, Cold Spring, NY, is a gem worth beholding. Nestled by the Hudson River, this town exudes charm akin to well-aged whiskey. Its quaint Main Street shops remind one of a Parisian café. The array of eateries is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Truly, Cold Spring is a slice of the Hudson Valley that will make your heart sing!

 

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