To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon the verdant green hills is the most perfect refreshment.
Two months ago, the weather was in the mid-sixties; fall was setting in; and my mother decided the weekend was the ideal time to find a hiking trail an hour out of the city. We went through various web sites and researched small towns along the Hudson, finally arriving at the best choice (“oh, man, we should have gone up to Sleepy Hollow on Halloween,” I lamented): Cold Spring. The best way to get there for those without the ability to drive (yet) was by train from Grand Central. It didn’t take too long: we set out in the morning, returning in the late afternoon.
Taking the train was also taking the scenic route. We traveled past New Jersey and up through the Hudson Valley, seeing busy towns, docked sailing boats, bridges, and even West Point when we got close enough to Cold Spring. We arrived a bit after ten in the morning, the tourists really making their mark a couple of hours after us.
West Point Foundry Preserve – our first stop on our walk around town was the West Point Foundry Preserve, which you can read more about here. It’s a short walk from the train station, offering historical glimpses of an abandoned ironworks site which at the time it was open helped produce canons during the Civil War as well as pipes, steam ships, and more. There are guides along the paths and ruins informing visitors about the historical significance of the site.
Putnam History Museum – You can reach the museum after walking through the Foundry. (Tip: if you check in on Facebook, you’ll be able to get in for free.) Inside are historical documents, artifacts, and other works that celebrate and highlight the significance of the area, Foundry included, during the Industrial Revolution.
Breakneck Ridge – There are quite a number of ways to reach the trails that lead you through Breakneck Ridge. I’ll say this: it’s very popular, so do not be surprised to see people (families included) walking along the same paths you are. As someone who isn’t a hiker, the trails were easy enough to navigate. You don’t have to reach the highest peak (that takes a long while) to get great glimpses of the Hudson Valley.
Hudson Hil’s Cafe and Market – our lunch time pick. Warning: it gets very crowded, so there’s a good chance there will be a 40 minute wait, particularly if you come at peak hours. The wait is definitely worth it: I had a delicious quiche and tea that satisfied me after a long walk through the Foundry.
Rincon Argentino – run, don’t walk to the best cafe in Cold Spring. It’s located on the corner of a street that you’ll find going through the underpass after you arrive at the train station. It’s very homey; friendly; warm; and decorated beautifully. There is lemonade outside the cafe; we bought homemade empanadas (spinach and beef) and alfajores, which are dulce de leche cookie sammies that are soft and sweet. Yelp reviews here. As a Spurs fan and more importantly, a Manu Ginobili fan, I was so pleased to see my favorite basketball player from my fave team posted (twice!) on the front door (as were other Argentinian athletes).
The train ride back to the city took the same time it did going in. Again, quite busy on weekends, but worth the trip if you go early enough (leave NYC at 9:30 AM, get there by 10:30 AM). My 4G worked; I pulled out Google Maps to navigate through town (and find the path we needed to reach the hiking trail); and I had great food. I don’t own hiking boots and wore my NB sneakers and a light backpack. Bring water, as it’s always valuable especially when you get tired after walking for hours, and snacks for the trail.