Situated at one of the narrowest and deepest parts of the Hudson, Cold Spring is the quintessential bucolic upstate New York town with an amazingly charming Main Street. From Cold Springs, you can easily walk to Garrison to visit Boscobel or to the West Point Foundry> You can also take the train to DIA: Beacon or take a ferry to Pollepel Island to visit Bannerman Castle.
Just one hour and fifteen minutes from New York City’s Grand Central via the Metro North, Cold Spring is the perfect getaway for a three day weekend.
When you arrive at the station, once you go through the exit, you are on Main Street, the town’s major street. From there, it was a simple walk to the Pig Hill Inn. This charming three-story inn was built in 1825 and “features nine individually decorated rooms with antiques and high-quality reproduction period pieces.”
For my weekend stay, I reserved the Danish Blue room. This second floor room was spacious and featured a queen-sized bed, two large windows overlooking Main Street, a wood burning stove, a comfortable reading chair and a small desk. The private bathroom was accessible inside the room (in some cases, the private bathrooms are accessible via the hallway) and it featured a shower/tub and was accentuated with an exposed brick wall and a lighted glass wall cabinet.
It was at the Inn where I met up with my two travel companions for the start of our girl’s weekend.
For dinner, we dined at Hudson House’s restaurant in the River Room. To get to the restaurant, we walked through an underpass which led directly to the waterfront. The restaurant sat directly across from a park on the waterfront.
The food was absolutely amazing.
Cold Springs, Day 1
Each morning the Inn keeper, Dave, would provide breakfast. It usually consisted of fresh-baked biscuits and/or toast, bacon, and an omelette.
It was delicious. The biscuits were amazing.
On the Road to the Farmer’s Market and Boscobel House and Garden
After our first breakfast, we decided that we were going to visit the Boscobel House and Garden in Garrison, NY. To get there, we thought that we could take the trolley, which only runs on the weekends. It never came. After waiting a while, we started walking along Main Street in the direction of Boscobel.
We passed many beautiful homes, a church and a group of mailboxes on the side of the road. Eventually, all of these things dropped away and we wound up walking along a stretch of highway with trees and steep ravines.
With cars whizzing by us and Main Street a distance away, we eventually spotted the gates that introduced that we have arrived at Boscobel House and Gardens.
Inside the gate was the tiniest farmer’s market I have ever seen.
Down a long road of trees, in the distance the Boscobel House could be seen.
Boscobel House and Gardens
The Boscobel estate is located overlooking the Hudson in Garrison, NY. Built in the 19th century, this Federal-style homestead was originally located in the village of Montrose. Construction of the home began in 1803 by States Dyckman, a descendant of the early Dutch settlers in Manhattan. It was completed by his wife in 1808, two years after States’ death. The home remained in the Dyckman’s family until 1920.
For the next 35 years, the house which was owned by others, eventually became in a state of disrepair and faced demolition. In 1955 the house was rescued by the non-profit group, Friends of Boscobel. To save this amazing piece of architecture from demolition, the home was moved 15 miles to its current location. In 1961, the home was rebuilt and re-opened. For a brief time in 1977, the home was closed and redecorated with period pieces based on information found in newly discovered papers written by the Dyckman’s. The house remains open today for tours.
Surrounding Boscobel is a well-planned garden and landscape designed by Richard K. Webel in the “country-style.” This style of gardening is largely defined by full brimming flower bed with pathways cutting a swathe through these bed. As we walked through the garden, we saw many pristine vegetable beds and fruit trees. There was even an herb garden.
After walking back to town from Boscobel, we stopped at Hudson Hill’s Cafe for lunch. The food was absolutely delicious and filling. As you can see from the pictures below, the portion sizes were significant and was totally worth the money we spent.
West Point Foundry
After lunch a late lunch, we decided to explore another area close to the town, the West Point Foundry. The Foundry was an ironworks initiated by James Madison after the War of 1812. Madison wanted to establish domestic foundries to produce artillery in the United States. Cold Springs was an ideal site due to the abundance of timber for charcoal, the many local iron mines, and a nearby brook with provided water to drive the machinery. Another added benefit was the protection provided by West Point from across the Hudson River. The Foundry operated from 1817 to 1911.
Currently, visitors to the Foundry can hike paths that are part of the preserve. Visitors can also view waterfowl and migratory birds, the ruins of the Foundry’s 1865 office building and ruins other key structures.
We only had the opportunity to see a small portion of the Foundry because by the time we walked there from the center of the town, the sun was setting and we had just made it to the entrance to one of the hiking paths.
After walking back to the Pig Hill Inn, we rested for a little while and then changed for dinner. For dinner, we dined at Hudson House’s restaurant in the River Room again. The food was so good there, we thought, why not go and try something different.
Cold Springs, Day 2
The next morning, we had a plan and tickets to tour Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island.
After fortifying ourselves with another delicious breakfast made by Dave at our B&B, we hoped in a taxi and made our way Newburg to catch our ferry to Bannerman Castle.
Pollepel Island was initially discovered by Dutch explorers and was used as part of the plan to prevent the British from going upriver during the Revolutionary War. American patriots places 106 upright logs tipped with iron points (chevaux de fries) between Pollepel and Plum Island across the river. The planned failed and the British breached and burned Kingston in 1777. Later General Washington planned to use the island as a prison, but there is no evidence that the island was used for this purpose. Instead the island would eventually be utilized as a military surplus warehouse. Today, Pollepel Island (aka Bannerman Island) is home to Bannerman Castle.
Bannerman Castle got its namesake from Francis Bannerman VI. The Bannerman’s were in the business of acquiring and selling military surplus arms and weaponry. In 1900 the Bannerman’s New York City shop was not big enough or secure enough to store his 30 million surplus munition cartridges. He purchased Pollepel Island to eventually store his ever expanding military inventory.
In 1901, Bannerman began construction of an arsenal on Pollepel Island. The work was completed based on Bannerman’s design with no input from a qualified architect. This arsenal would eventually be dubbed Bannerman’s Castle.
Construction of the arsenal continued until Bannerman’s death in 1918. In 1920, tons of shells and powder stored in another structure exploded and destroyed part of the Castle. Despite this explosion, the island was still accessible by ferry until 1950, when the ferry sank. After 1950, the island lay dormant, except for the occasional trespasser. In 1967, the island and buildings were bought by New York State. The remaining military merchandise was removed and tours of the island began to take place in 1968. On August 8, 1969, a fire from what many expect was a lightning strike burned most of the arsenal down; the roofs and floors were completely destroyed. The arsenal became an empty shell with only the exterior walls still standing.
On December 28, 2009, about 75 percent of the structure collapsed. Today only one exterior wall and part of another wall are still standing with fortified poles keeping the remaining wall in place.
After arriving back from our visit to Bannerman Island, we went back to Hudson Hill’s Cafe for lunch. It was just as amazing and delicious as the first time.
After lunch, it was time for us to make our journey back to the City. On our way to the Metro North station, we stopped at the General Store.
I absolutely adore these types of stores and was very fortunate to find a blueberry jam that I enjoyed long after my visit to Cold Spring.
After that, it was truly time for us to say goodbye to this amazingly charming and interesting town situated on the Hudson River. As we made our way to the Metro North station, all I could think about was that I wish I had more time to continue to explore Cold Spring, NY.