When you’re ready to get out of Brooklyn for a day, nothing beats a leisurely stroll along the main street of a small town. Cold Spring, just 50 miles north of New York City, is a quaint town on the banks of the Hudson River. Its many well-preserved 19th-century buildings have earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places as the Cold Spring Historic District. Whether you’re into antiquing, hiking, or just sitting at a café watching the world (or the river) pass by, Cold Spring is a refreshing antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life.


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The first of a series of posts about fun day trips from Brooklyn. Reserve a car now and get ready to explore!

View from the Cold Spring waterfront photo courtesy of Shinya Suzuki via Flickr.

~ Getting there ~

The Palisades Parkway | Anthony Quintano via Flickr

The two main approaches to Cold Spring from New York City are taking the Palisades Parkway from New Jersey, across the Bear Mountain Bridge to the Bear Mountain-Beacon Highway (9D) [GMAP]; or, if you want to avoid crossing the Hudson twice, taking the Bronx River Parkway to the Sprain Brook Parkway to Route 9 [GMAP]. Either way, it’s a pleasant drive.

Our recommendation: It seems counterintuitive, but the Palisades Parkway route is usually faster.

~ Main Street ~

Main Street | Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

Most of Cold Spring’s attractions can be found on Main Street, which runs uphill from the river. The eight blocks between the river and Route 9D have dozens of shops selling antiques, crafts, and prints — perfect for decorating your home or just ambling aimlessly with an ice cream cone in your hand.

If you (or your kid) is a fan of trains, Cold Spring Train Works is a comprehensive store for model train enthusiasts. It’s a stop that pairs well with a leisurely outdoor lunch at the Cold Spring Depot Restaurant, which sits along the railroad tracks and is a great spot for trainspotting.

Our recommendation: One place that’s particularly great for antique shopping is Downtown Gallery, a large space showcasing an ever-changing array of collectibles from over 30 antique dealers.

~ For the Adventurous ~

View from Bull Hill (Dog not included) | HikeTheHudsonValley.com

There’s a lot of good hiking to be found near Cold Spring, whether you’re a fan of strenuous hill climbs or tranquil walks through the woods. One of the most challenging hikes in the area is Breakneck Ridge, which involves some steep rock scrambling but also some spectacular views of the Hudson River.

For a shorter and slightly less strenuous hike, Bull Hill (a.k.a. Mt. Taurus) looms over Cold Spring and offers similarly gorgeous views. The trail also goes by the ruins of the Cornish Estate, built on land acquired by Edward Cornish, the President of the National Lead Company, in 1917. We recommend doing this hike in reverse, checking out the ruins before climbing Bull Hill on a more gradual slope, and then descending the steep path next to the abandoned quarry.

If you don’t fancy climbing any mountains, Cold Spring is a 10-minute drive from Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park, which offers miles and miles of relatively flat hiking trails (including a section of the Appalachian Trail!), along with picnic areas, campgrounds, and even a beach on Lake Canopus.

Forget something you need for your hike? Check out Old Souls, a camping and hiking store on Main Street.

Our recommendation: Do the Bull Hill/Cornish Estate hike for a great mix of exercise, views, and history. We suggest doing the hike in reverse, checking out the ruins before climbing Bull Hill on a more gradual slope, and then descending the steep path next to the abandoned quarry.

~ Get on the Water ~

The river’s right there, waiting for you to explore! Hudson River Expeditions rents kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats, in addition to offering guided tours and instruction for less experienced paddlers.

Our recommendation: If you’re an experienced kayaker, check out their Bannerman Castle tour. The “castle,” located on a small island in the Hudson, is actually the ruins of a 19th-century military surplus warehouse.

~ Where to Eat ~

The Hudson House Inn | Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

The Hudson House Inn, which has been operating as a hotel since it was built in 1832, sits along the waterfront just 100 feet from the river. Fine dining is available in the River Room, as well as pub fare in the Tavern Room.

Cold Spring has a wide variety of types of cuisine for such a small town, including Northern Italian (Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill), and French (Brasserie Le Bouchon). For more casual fare, there are pizzerias, delis, and pubs up and down Main Street.

Our recommendation: If it’s a nice day, have a delicious breakfast at Hudson Hil’s Cafe & Market, have them pack a lunch for you, and take it on your hike up Bull Hill.

A version of this post originally appeared on Carpingo.