Travel Journal: Cold Spring

A babymoon didn’t seem like my cup ‘o tea. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my hubs (thanks to the panny) so it’s not like we needed a special trip to get some couple-y time. And since my doc said no to plane travel, alcohol, and other fun things, I found it hard to get excited about a trip. But this little getaway was actually the most perfect weekend, and I’m so glad we did it. We chose a town that was so close we didn’t lose any relaxation time due to travel so it really felt like a vacation. It also happened to be somewhat sleepy town. By that I mean plenty of daytime activities but everything shuts down early so I didn’t have FOMO hearing people stumble out of the bars. This magical babymoon spot is Cold Spring, New York – and I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 22nd

We got on the road around 1:15 so we could still get work done and eat lunch before getting into vacation mode. I actually still worked in the afternoon but made sure all my calls were scheduled for the morning so I could do everything remote once we left. We drove (about an hour and 15 minutes), but it’s a very easy hour and a half train ride directly into the heart of town. Once you’re in Cold Spring, there’s actually no need for a car – especially if you’re just doing a day or two – so feel free to train it from the city, not problem. We had a feeling we’d want to do a day trip so we drove just in case.

We checked into our hotel and went out to explore the town. It was my first time staying at a traditional b&b in the US and it was perfect. It felt very New England-y; in fact, it felt a bit British. There are only eight rooms and no children allowed so it felt a bit like stepping back in time. There were wood burning stoves in the rooms, ivy covering the exterior, and a lovely communal living room area where guests congregated for drinks and mingling. There are no tvs in the rooms so you can really disconnect. (Don’t worry, they’ve got a strong wifi signal so you’re not totally cut off.) It’s also located right on Main Street so location-wise it can’t be beat.

After dropping our things in the room we went out to check out Main Street. This street is basically just antique shop, vintage store, antique shop, vintage store – I was in heaven. We didn’t want to blow through all of the stores in one day (plus they all close at 5 or 6 anyway) so we went through at a leisurely pace and scoped things out.

Most importantly, we made not one but two snackie stops. The first was Cold Spring Pizza, which served a legit New York slice. The crust was just the right thickness.

After popping into some other stores like Split Rock Books (a great store with a very good children’s section) we were ready for another snack. This time we hit up Cold Spring Cheese Shop, a small but mighty shop that specializes in New York-based cheeses and accoutrements. For $25 you can get a cheese box to go, which includes 3 cheeses, 1 meat, some nuts/fruit, and crackers. You can give the cheesemonger a heads up of things you definitely love/hate but best to just let him do his thing. They also make larger platters for events and honestly the pricing was pretty good.

After strolling Main Street, I went back to the inn to relax with a book for an hour or two before dinner and Albert went to the pub across the street. The pub is called – no joke – Doug’s Pretty Good Pub. And it’s exactly what it says: a pretty good pub. It’s a standard watering hole with a nice bartender, a friendly owner, and a laissez fair attitude. Pretty much exactly what my beau looks for in a bar.

For dinner, we went to Bouchon Brasserie. There aren’t a tonnn of restaurants in Cold Spring and this one was highly recommended as a nice date night spot. What I learned about Cold Spring is that just because something may have the market cornered doesn’t mean they rest on their laurels. Bouchon was a perfect example. They were churning out great French bistro food in ultra homey digs. We started by splitting some moules frites (the poulette flavor with bacon, cream, white wine, and shallots) and then Albert got steak au poivre and I got a soupe à l’onion as my main. It was a very good French onion soup.

After dinner we went back to Doug’s Pretty Good Pub for a nightcap so I could see what it was all about. We learned that they stay open til 10 pm…unless it’s quiet and the owner just decides to close up early. That chillness pretty much describes Cold Spring to a T.

When we got back to the inn I decided to take advantage of the jacuzzi. I knew the room had a big spacious tub so I brought some bath salts I received in one of my Bump Boxes. I chilled in there with my book til it was time to turn in. I was determined to take full advantage of the bed and breakfast experience and it was perfect.

Saturday, October 23rd

By far the most recommended/blogged about restaurant was Hudson Hil’s so it was the one place I really had on my itinerary in advance. It opens at 8 am so we made sure to get there early because I was worried about a line. Between the rain and the fact that most tourists don’t arrive til 11 we walked right in, but I scoped it out the next day and there was a line around the block. Everything on the menu looked amazing so we went a little crazy. I’m normally a savory breakfast person but the pancakes sounded so good and I always love when I see people ordering pancakes for the table at brunch. In our case, the table was just the two of us, but I decided to do it anyway – vacay, amirite?! We got a short stack of lemon ricotta pancakes with berries to share and they were absolutely incredible. Albert then got the shirred eggs with turkey bacon and a side of fruit and I got the breakfast burrito, which may have been the largest breakfast burrito I’ve ever seen. It was topped with some ridiculously tasty homemade chili.

After breakfast we grabbed another coffee at Cold Spring Coffee House and checked out the art on the walls.

With caffeine fueling us, we did some more strolling Main Street. This time, though, I was prepared to try on clothes and get serious about buying things. I walked away with a couple necklaces (one new, one vintage), a wick trimmer, a 1970s cardigan in perfect condition and a 90s era blouse, two vintage Whiting & Davis bags (which I collect), and a candy dish. Quite the haul.

Everyone in town warned us of the influx of tourists from the ferry. At 11 am the ferry docks and lets out several hundred tourists who are ready to take on Main Street. It worked out perfectly that we split up our Main Street time so we could leisurely shop without as many people. Once it started getting crowded, we were ready for our next move.

That next move was one town up in Beacon, a more famous Hudson Valley town (I’d previously heard of Beacon but not Cold Spring) thanks to their Roundhouse venue (lots of stunning weddings) and vibrant Main Street. This Main Street was similar to that of Cold Spring but felt a bit more modern/developed and was much longer. There are also several bars that stay open late so I’m told this is where you go if you live in Cold Spring but want some nightlife. We thought we’d eat lunch there, but honestly our breakfast kept us full til supper time so we just popped into stores and the arcade bar.

From Beacon it was about a 35 minute to Storm King Arts Center. Storm King is a 500 acre outdoor museum of large-scale sculptures. It’s been around since 1960 and there are still a lot of hippie vibes going on. You simply walk around and look at art without much background on what you’re looking at. It’s just about enjoying the space and spending time on the grass. There were parents with kids who could run out their energy, fashionable city types picnicking with champagne in their curated outfits, and of course plenty of hipsters who were probably on shrooms. You need to buy entry tickets in advance so this was the only part of our weekend that we truly pre-planned. This was actually an item on my NYC Bucket List and I was thrilled to cross it off. It was cool to just walk around and enjoy being outside. Next time, I’d recommend a picnic.

When we got back to the inn at around 5:30, they had set out a homemade apple pie so I brought a little snack up to the room. This is exactly why you stay at a bed and breakfast.

While I relaxed with pie and my book, Albert got a shave at Barber and Brew. Similar to Blind Barber speakeasy in the city, this place is a barber shop in the front and a bar in the back. Albert mentioned liking the vibe so I got changed and we went right back there for a pre-dinner drink, which I actually got to enjoy as well since they had some non-alcoholic options on hand.

Dinner was at Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill, another winner. We started with a scallop appetizer, served with pancetta and fava beans. For entrées, we decided to split a pasta and filet mignon special and then rounded everything out with crème caramel for dessert. Everything was wonderful. After dinner we watched the Braves and Notre Dame games on our phones in the room and enjoyed a lovely sleep in our canopy bed.

Sunday, October 24th

There are one or two other cafés in Cold Spring, but we wanted to take advantage of the b&b experience so we signed up for breakfast at the inn. I’m so glad we did because it was wonderful. Fresh fruit and a bread basket to start, coffee and tea, and our choice of the day’s specials. We both went with the scrambled egg option and it was a meal to fortify us for our upcoming hike.

One reason Cold Spring jumped out as an ideal destination for a babymoon is the proximity to great hiking. I love activities and if wine tasting isn’t an option, I like to plan trips around activities that can take up a chunk of time. Breakneck Ridge is probably the most popular in the area, but we were worried that it might not be a good idea for a 7.5 month pregnant chick to do what is considered the most strenuous hike in the East Hudson Highlands with steep rock ledges. Instead, we did the Bull Hill Short Loop. The loop is about 4.5 miles, with the first mile being the toughest/steepest. I was huffin and puffin a bit, if I’m being honest. The last bit is flat and takes you to the Cornish Estate ruins, which was a pretty cool site.

After the hike, we made a quick stop back in Cold Spring for a snack at Rincon Argentino. One side of this little spot is coffee and the other is fresh empanadas. I tried one beef and one chicken (both great, especially the chicken) and strolled the waterfront, the one area we hadn’t checked out.

Cold Spring Details
  • Accommodations: We loved Pig Hill Inn but there’s also the Cold Spring Hotel and Hudson House River Inn if you’re traveling with kiddos.
  • Food: There aren’t a ton of restaurants and don’t expect a big web or social media presence for the food scene – that’s not Cold Spring’s style. My main restaurant recommendations are:
    • Breakfast:
      • Hudson Hil’s Café is an absolute must
      • Foundry Café for some great breakfast sandwiches and eclectic vibes
      • Cold Spring Coffee House for your caffeine fix and great pastries
      • Whatever your b&b is serving
    • Lunch:
      • B&L Deli for low key sandwiches to take on a hike
      • Cold Spring Depot for burgers with the sound of the train whizzing by
      • Cold Spring Pizza might be the most casual, but it’s great pizza
      • Foundry Café – not just for breakfast!
    • Dinner:
      • Bouchon or Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill
      • Riverview was also recommended and has some nice scenery, but I preferred the more intimate vibe of the other spots
      • J Murphy’s on Main for pub food and a good beer list
    • Snacks:
      • Charcuterie-to-go from Cold Spring Cheese Shop
      • Empanadas from Rincon Argentino
  • Shops: Honestly, every single store on Main Street is great so plan to pop into all of them. If I had to pick favorites, I’d say…
    • Split Rock Books – I will always find a bookstore when I’m on a trip
    • Cold Spring Antiques Center – several vendors in one place
    • Solomon’s Mine – absolutely packed with antiques
    • Old Souls – mostly an outdoors store (so it’s a good place to stop if you’re planning a hike), but they have some great Cold Spring tshirts and hats
    • Damn Aged Vintage – great selection of vintage clothing, all in perfect condition with great descriptions on the tags
    • Poor George – mix of new and old
    • General Store – pantry of fancy snacks, gorgeous blankets/housewares, and lots of Barbour apparel
    • Specialty Stores:
  • Activities:
    • Storm King – The outdoor sculpture park we went to and highly recommend. It’s great to combine this with the town of Beacon. You can drive or take the train right into Beacon and there’s a shuttle from the train to Storm King.
    • West Point Foundry Preserve – This outdoor museum includes trails, a ravine, and ruins of the only remaining artillery supplier to the US military selected by President James Madison. Learn about the foundry’s contributions to the Industrial Revolution and its role in the Civil War in a scenic space.
    • Boscobel House and Gardens – This mansion was built between 1804 and 1808 but fell into disrepair by the 1950s, after falling into disrepair. It has since been reassembled to show off its grandeur.
    • Manitoga – The home, studio, and woodland garden of design legend Russel Wright. (90 min. tour, $20)
    • Hiking and kayaking – This is a great area to explore the great outdoors so you should take advantage and peep that foliage.
  • Tips
    • Things shut down EARLY. It’s not a bad idea to stock your room with some wine or bottles of water.
    • Avoid the ferry crowds. Do your Main Street shopping on Friday afternoon and from 10-11am on weekends. It’s not a huge town so you’ll be able to squeeze it all in. Or, if you’re just looking for a day trip to stroll Main Street, the ferry is a great option.
    • The train takes you right into the center of town so if you’re planning to stay just one night and not taking excursions to neighboring towns, don’t bother with renting a car.
    • There’s a great art scene in the Hudson Valley so be sure to check out the galleries here or in neighboring towns if you’re venturing elsewhere in the area.