Walk In As Strangers, Walk Out As Friends: Cold Spring Community Day Offers a Transformation

CIMG4823“Getting outside, detaching from devices, and reconnecting with people and nature….it doesn’t get any better than that”. Those are the words of someone who merely saw pictures taken at last Saturday’s Cold Spring Community Day (CSCD), our favorite WAC event of all! This eagerly-anticipated “Party on the Hudson” was conceived of last summer as an opportunity to show appreciation to both our NYC-based women’s advancement community and our suburban community of shopkeepers and restaurateurs in this charming Putnam County village. Michael and I were delighted and honored to observe as this 2nd-annual event grew significantly in attendance over last year’s, as did the enjoyment factor.

The Perfect Daycation Destination

If you were thinking of joining the WAC community, do it for CSCD alone! A 70-minute trip up Metro North’s HudsonNew to WAC Line landed many of our community members and guests in the middle of a picturesque setting right at the “gateway” to the Hudson Highlands. Cold Spring’s Dockside Park provided the meeting space and the scenic backdrop for what one attendee called “beautiful ambience”. This truly magical locale combined with perfectly-cooperative weather proved hard to resist, as a sizeable portion of our group kept the party rolling well past sunset. A spread of homemade food and beverage that “impressed lots of folks” didn’t hurt either. But from my own perspective, the gathering of more than 40 remarkable, genuine, cultured, smiling individuals and the inspired conversation that resulted was the true formula for the day’s success.

Telling storiesThe afternoon began with a Dockside check-in, where strangers acquainted and colleagues caught up. We welcomed each attendee with their very own WAC canvas bag and an improvised map indicating Cold Spring’s participating merchants who, once patronized, extended generous discounts to our group. This provided an opportunity for participants to feel the vibe of a special place that Michael and I called home for quite a few years.

Onward, Troops!

Michael led this year’s Community Day hike out to Little Stony Point, a small river peninsula immediately to the

Atop Mt Taurus, with West Point in the background.

Atop Mt Taurus, with West Point in the background.

north of the village. An unprecedented proportion of the attendees joined him, although four couples broke away near the start to tackle the more ambitious 1,400-foot climb to the summit of Mt Taurus. For the rest of the group, the 90-

Iron mine! You goin in?

Iron mine! You goin in?

minute tour demonstrated how diverse even a simple, non-strenuous hike can be in the region. The adventure included a modest climb to a cliffside viewpoint to spy a panoramic glimpse of Breakneck Ridge/Storm King Mountain/West Point, a stroll across one of the only natural river beaches on the lower Hudson, an encounter with the chilling entrance to an old iron mine, and the graceful liftoff of a perched grey heron with an enormous wingspan. Sunshine, a gentle breeze, pure bliss!

A Jam-Packed Afternoon

Upon everyone’s return to the village proper, a dining and shopping spree ensued. Attendees met many of our old

Even Brisket had a ball. And a treat!

Even Brisket had a ball. And a treat!

neighbors and friends, loaded up on discounted items both novel and practical, enjoyed lunch at various sidewalk cafés, caught some local art gallery exhibits, and devoured 2-for-1 scoops of delicious ice cream from Moo Moo’s Creamery. Then, with caramel cashew swirl dripping from their elbows, participants gravitated one-by-one back to our Dockside outpost for some more snacks, drinks and stories to share. The dramatic late afternoon sky encapsulated the scene as folks lounged out on blankets and lawn chairs, youngsters tossed a football and climbed an old tree, and Michael and I joked, snapped photos, and introduced people who hadn’t previously met. I like to call it “networking, minus the working”.

It’s Been Real!

CIMG4798In the days following our transformational event, I can just sense the buzz of electronic communication and new friendships cultivating. I would like to extend warm gratitude to the colleagues, friends and family who made the day possible, the valued Cold Spring merchants who signed on, and my esteemed co-hosts who rocked, rolled and rallied, many of whom hung in there with us until the headlights were shining. Cheers to you all! Here’s to future encounters….