Paradise-On-Hudson: An Insider’s Guide To Cold Spring, New York

Cold Spring Dockside Park PicWith all the excitement surrounding DRIVEN’s August 15th Cold Spring Community Day and its participating merchants, it might be a nice idea to explain why we chose this location for our annual event in the first place. Well, it’s similar to the reasons why Deborah and I once chose to make Cold Spring our home. This clean, safe and cultured village on the river is the perfect family getaway for when you only have a weekend to spare. For us, that weekend stretched on for 11 years!

The aspects that drew us to Cold Spring still remain some of our favorite aspects of the village and its community and surroundings. But spending all those years living on Main Street revealed the hidden treasures this historic Hudson Valley locale held in store. If you haven’t yet decided whether or not to join us for the big day this Saturday, allow me to tempt you with a Cold Spring Top-Ten Attractions and Attributes List. These charming features will thicken the plot beyond the content of all the amusing merchant profiles we’ve been featuring on our blog. It’s enough to inspire you and the kids to take part in the festivities, and to return again and again. So, without any further delay, I give you Cold Spring, NY, in a nutshell.

#10: You Can See It All In One DayCS 5

Cold Spring is just the right size village for navigating on foot, all in a single day. Of course, if you like to browse slowly through all the antique shops and specialty stores, you can easily stretch your tour to 3 days. But either way, you’ll want to come back and do it all again!

#9: Ah, The History

Anyone interested in 18th and 19th century American history will feel a kinship with Cold Spring. Find out how the Parrott Gun, which was manufactured here, changed the course of the Civil War, and discover the connection between George Washington and Cold Spring’s name.

BigHike#8: Serious Hiking Starts Here

When you’re in Cold Spring, you’re smack in the middle of the Hudson Highlands. That means dramatic geological uprisings on both banks of the Hudson, providing unique, scenic, satisfying hiking for all experience levels, reachable on foot from the village center. Just give Mt Taurus a test run, and you be hooked!

#7: Art Galleries Galore

This village is quickly becoming Chelsea North when it comes to the local art scene. Main Street alone now houses 4 art galleries, each of which features exceptional works in a variety of media, rotating out about every month. Discover a new painter, sculptor, photographer or mixed-media artist, and if you wish, support their work.

#6: Mom-n-Pop Businesses Reign SupremeCS 2

Cold Springer’s take pride in the old-fashioned, small town-with-a-twist feel of their neighborhood. This includes the fact that the entirety of the Main Street business district is chain store and franchise-free (now by law), leaving opportunities wide open for artisanal purveyors and eclectic eateries to strut some independent, entrepreneurial knowhow.

CIMG4813#5: It’s A Dog Lover’s Delight

Breed-spotting has become a sport on the weekends along Main Street. Locals and visitors alike abundantly display exotic, classically-bred, and mixed-breed pooches just as confidently as New Yorkers flaunt high-end handbags. Feel free to be one of them. Conveniently, many local cafes with sidewalk seating are canine-friendly.

#4: Time Stands Still

Whether you’re strolling down Main Street or venturing along its neatly manicured side streets, Cold Spring will deliver the kind of time-capsule feel that the best Hudson Valley towns are coveted for. Historically maintained facades and period homes have preserved the 19th century for us with care and accuracy. Indulge your architectural curiosity!

#3: A Performance AwaitsCS 4

Time your visit strategically, and you’ll be in for quite a show. Particularly on the weekends, Cold Spring is a performance Mecca. From classical music performances at the nearly two-century-old Chapel of Our Lady Restoration, to free folk, rock and kids’ music performances on the peer gazebo, to all-day jams at Dockside Park, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take in some tunes. And don’t forget Shakespeare at Boscobel, the nighttime outdoor movie series at Dockside, periodic fireworks displays, and the world-famous Halloween Parade.

#2: From NYC….No Car Is Necessary!

No Zipcar, no traffic, no tolls, no looking for a parking space! Less than 80 minutes on Metro North from Grand Central lands you right in the heart of the village. From there, everything you’ll want to do or see is walk-able. What could be simpler?

CIMG2224#1: A Sunset Picnic Everyday

After you’ve finished shopping, hiking, kayaking, ruin hunting, and hearing all the stories that locals love to tell, take my best advice: Set down a blanket at Dockside Park, crack a bottle of vino with someone special, and stare through the valley to the northwest for dramatic, colorful sunset views. You’ll never want to leave!

To learn more about Cold Spring, NY, visit its gigantic tourism website Cold Spring Living.