Cold Spring, NY, is one of the most well known easy to access village that dots the Hudson Valley; a mere hour from the city by train it attracts people young and old in search of antique and novelty stores, farm-to-table restaurants and other food joints. Main Street has all the charm of historic houses and is the perfect starting point for adventures of all types.
- Hiking the Highlands to the North - By the end of the day, you will always notice the hikers back from Breakneck ridge, or Mt Taurus, with a grim on their face that says "we did it".
- Bucolic landscape along route 301 to the East - Easy hiking and xcountry skiing in Fahnestock park make it a very popular destination, while Stonecrop gardens and the Farm at Glynwood offer a bucolic countryside landscape.
- Hudson views in the West - From West Point Academy to Storm King, the views of the river are grandiose and massive, especially in winter when the ice creates unique moving sculptures and the snow powders the hills.
- History and waterfalls toward Garrison on 9D to the South - From Boscobel to the Audubon Constitution Marsh Center and Sanctuary, 9D south is dotted with best kept secrets we want you to discover.
Best done by car, you can hike to the spots south of town, but beware that 9D is a high traffic and narrow embarquement road - once you have discovered West Point Foundry preserve use the shuttle to Boscobel to make it easier on yourself.
West Point Foundry Preserve
Get out on the back of the train coming from New York and you will find the trail to the preserve. The archeological site created by Scenic Hudson reminds us of the industrial past of the area; at its peak, in the middle of the XIX century, the foundry has over 1,000 employees to manufacture the cannons used during the Civil war, the first US locomotive, the pipes of the Croton aqueduct, or the machinery used in the Puerto Rican sugar plantations. Close to the iron ore, and the forest to supply charcoal, the location offered the brook's water for power and easy access to the Hudson for transportation.
In addition to the explanation panels doting the place, the audio Foundry Tour will let you get immersed in the buzzing activity of the foundry at individual markers.
From the park entrance, follow the trail by the brook to discover the dam now located under the 9D bridge. If you are on foot, use the red trail up the hill, passing marker 15, to reach 9D and be on your way. A few steps away, on Chestnut Street, The Putnam Historic Museum displays the painting byJohn Ferguson Weir, “The Gun Foundry” that will round your understanding of the site and offers great books about the area.
It would be a shame to just talk about Boscobel, this perfect example of Federal style architecture in just a paragraph; it deserves a visit by itself. From the view of the river, to the gardens and its greenhouse, the museum is a must.
Another reason to make a stop there, without entering the museum, is the Cold Spring Farmers' market they host on summer Saturday's. On our last trip, we found great cheese from Chaseholm Farm Creamery, cider from Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill, and soppressata from Jacüterie, we were all set.
Audubon Constitution Marsh Center & Sanctuary
From Boscobel, a 15 minute walk mainly on Indian Brook Road will take you to the Audubon Constitution Marsh Center & Sanctuary. You see it from the train between Garrison and Cold Spring, you notice the kayakers (that's the other way to explore it), and you can walk through it.
The little visitor center let you know more about the Sanctuary. From the aerial picture showing you how big the marsh is, to the aquarium with local fishes and crabs, to the map explaining the tides (still in the estuary of the Hudson), you will know it all before exploring. The easy (but rocky) hiking trails will take you to the boardwalk where you are surrounded by the 270 acres of tidal marshland.
Nature around you comes in all its forms, from fish to birds, from flowers to cattails; our "coup de coeur" is the flowerbed behind the visitor center - it offers the perfect pitstop for butterflies. Each season is a different world, and we can't wait to see it in Fall and Winter.
Indian Brook waterfall
The Indian Brook waterfall is a less than 10 minutes walk up the hill from the Audubon center parking lot. You will pass under the bright red bridge (never notice it's red when you drive over it on 9D); enter the state park walking around the rickety old gate. You will first get over a massive stone bridge, where you will turn left, upstream.
Most of the time, Nature is enough in itself; there is not much to say about the falls, except that they are one of the best undiscovered waterfall according to New York magazine. It's such a gem, be respectful, always carry in carry out and beware, the ranger is around (officially no swimming aloud).
Philipstown Park waterfall
This last stop is a little further down the road, and best enjoyed if you have a car (the GPS would be set to 1239 Route 9D, Garrison, NY 10524) but it's so worth it, we can't not talk about it. The Philips brook ends in the marsh, so you can reach the falls by kayak as well - not to miss it, take the "Destination Waterfall Tour" by Hudson River expeditions. The waterfalls are really the best kept secret, essentially because the trail is not blazed and the park is more known for its soccer fields. Nonetheless, you shouldn't miss it.
Once at the parking lot take the "Trail of Trees" to the left, it will take you to the basketball court; don't miss the trail at the opposite corner of the field. Follow the very well maintained trail, hop through the wood stairs, go down the rope, and the falls will be all yours.
Within a ten minutes walk, you are at this amazing waterfall, all for yourself. It's even possible to top it off; following the trail that starts on the right of the falls, goes over the boulder, you reach the top of the falls, and its retaining pool. The music of the water if mesmerizing.
No matter the season, all those stops are a must to discover. Get back in the car and go back to Main Street, enjoy a Go-Go pop, a hot drink at Foundry Cafe, or show knows, or some shopping at the Cold Spring General Store, and look at those hikers who did not realize that Cold Spring has waterfalls, a mile away.