If the changing leaves, scenic views and fall festivities of the Hudson Valley have you itching for quick autumn getaway, here are two words for you: Cold Spring. Just an hour ride from New York City on Metro-North, the village makes for an easy day trip. So whether you're looking to spend your day outdoors, shopping and dining along Main Street or a little bit of both, now is the perfect time to explore Cold Spring.
Take a hike
To experience nature in all its leaf-peeping glory, head to Hudson Highland State Park Preserve. The massive park offers miles of hiking paths for both the novice and experienced hiker alike, complete with beautiful views of the Hudson River and surrounding foliage. These include the brief hike at Little Stony Point Park; the 4 1/2-mile Cornish Estate Trail, which loops around the remains of an abandoned estate; and, for more ambitious hikers, the poorly-named Breakneck Ridge, whose magnificent views make up for the challenging vertical climbs.
For some guidance, make sure to pick up a trail map from any general store. You can also check out the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, which offers free guided hikes.
For a more curated perspective on nature, visit Stonecrop Gardens ($5 admission; 81 Stonecrop Lane, 845-265-2000, stonecrop.org), open now through Oct. 31. The 12-acre botanic garden features a diverse assortment of wildlife, including woodland and water gardens, a cliff rock garden and a gorgeous English-style flower garden.
Stroll Main Street
Of course, no visit to a small town is complete without a walk down Main Street, and Cold Spring's features plenty of antique shops, boutique window-shopping and even a trolley tour for those who want to ride in old-school style.
On your stroll, be sure to check out Heavenly Treasures (93 Main St., 845-265-5532) for a huge variety of furniture, artwork and jewelry, and Bijou Galleries (50 Main St., 845-265-4337), one of the most expansive antique shops in the valley. Main Street is also lined with art galleries for those interested in browsing local art.
All this hiking and walking is sure to work up an appetite. Get a picnic basket to go at Hudson Hil's Café and Market (129-131 Main St., 845-265-9471, hudsonhils.com), or stop in for breakfast before a big hike and fill up on house-cured salmon with eggs, raspberry cornmeal pancakes or chocolate babka French toast.
For lunch, you can't go wrong with a grass-fed farm fresh burger or the roasted Brussels sprouts salad with duck bacon. And don't forget to grab some baked goods or preserves from the market for snacks on the ride home.
For a scenic sight to go with your meal, check out Riverview Restaurant (45 Fair St., 845-265-4778, riverviewdining.com), aptly named for its spectacular views of the Hudson River and surrounding mountainous landscape.
Cold Spring's fine dining establishment is popular with residents and visitors alike, and the daily menu features dishes created from local farms' recent harvests.