When WAG was deciding on stories for this, our “Celebrating Spring” issue, Cold Spring came to mind.
Sure, its name drew us in, but we realized right away that the Putnam County village fit our theme in a broader sense. After all, the destination for antiques and dining, specialty shopping and art exhibitions tends to quiet down in the winter only to come alive again each spring.
Its annual rebirth was evident on a recent afternoon, as a drive down Main Street failed to yield a parking spot, necessitating a quick turn down a side street.
Walking past yards filled with daffodils and hyacinths in bloom — and at least one stretch of Tibetan prayer flags swaying in the breeze — I reached the main drag, only to look up and realize I had parked on … Garden Street.
Yes, it was going to be a spring-themed afternoon, evidenced by the playful collection of frog sculptures sitting in front of Kismet at Caryn’s.
Steps away, a chalkboard invites you to sample fresh artisan ice pops and organic and Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolates at Go-Go Pops, where a pair of mint-green, retro-styled chairs will soon enough be occupied by some local boys.
Taking in the natural attractions first — the riverfront, where benches and a gazebo suggest you pause, then over to Foundry Dock Park, a scenic outlook on the Hudson, adjacent to the Metro-North Railroad station — I was then ready to wander among the shops, galleries and restaurants.
For me, Cold Spring has long been about the antiques, so my first planned stop was to see Juan L. Rosado, who offers “decades of antiques and collectibles” in the heart of town. A longtime dealer here, he has a tempting mix of vintage kitchenware, pottery, costume jewelry, textiles, furniture and more.
His neighbor in the mini-mall known as Antique Alley is Jerome Solomon of Solomon’s Mine, a dealer who’s seen much downtown change in 30-plus years in town.
“They come and go,” Solomon said, but noted “the vacancies usually aren’t long-lived. They fill in.”
And indeed that’s a part of Cold Spring’s charm, with occasional visitors often surprised by a mix of new establishments — and, this time of year, extended hours.
“It’s picking up now,” Solomon said of the influx of weekend visitors, many from New York City. “Warm weather comes in… later the ships come in, the boats.”
For those interested in the multidealer experience, Arts & Antiques/Downtown Gallery and Bijou Galleries across Main are a must — places where it’s easy to lose track of time poking through booth after booth (after booth) of antiques and vintage finds.
Art galleries include the noted Gallery 66 NY and the Buster Levi Gallery, as well as Open Concept, which features “accessories by contemporary artists.” On this day, Open Concept’s windows were filled with a fanciful collection of floral-themed hats and headpieces.
Specialty stores abound up and down the street, from The Country Goose and Highland Basket to Groombridge Games to Old Souls for outdoor gear to Country Clocks, which has been offering repairs, restorations and sales for some 20 years.
Owner Howard Broad’s shop has a natural elegance created by an inventory of clocks he described as of “different countries, different styles… some of it from the 1700s all the way up to about 1960.”
He’s often visited by “loyal people who like clocks and come in all the time,” often finding him at his front-of-the-shop workbench. It’s all within view of the storefront offices for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which plays each summer at nearby Boscobel House and Gardens.
Those in search of fashions and accessories will find plenty at boutiques that include Indigo Chic, Swing, Cape Cod Leather and the quirky, artistic Side Effects/NY.
Throughout, there are the services one would expect, from hair salons to hardware shop to florist, with the small-town scene completed by a classic firehouse on one corner. Up and down the street, it’s not unusual to see owners sitting outside, catching up with neighbors or simply taking in the sun between customers.
When hunger hits, there’s everything from fine dining to the most casual options. On this day, diners took advantage of the warm weather to eat on the front porches of Hudson Hil’s Café & Market and Brasserie Le Bouchon. (Visitors staying awhile can check into The Pig Hill Inn or, closer to the water, the Hudson House River Inn).
There’s a sense of always moving forward in Cold Spring, exemplified by a couple of the relatively recent additions to the scene.
Opening last summer, Burkelman is a home-design sanctuary with a decidedly sophisticated point of view. Kevin Burke and David Kimelman — Croton-on-Hudson residents who were already fans of the village — have created an airy space filled with art, furniture and gift and registry items, all with a pervasive sense of style.
“People really know us for our pillows and textiles,” Burke said of the mix that includes national exclusives. “We have interior designers and people coming from the city.”
A disco ball in the window adds just the right finishing touch of glimmer — and whimsy.
“It’s kind of our mascot,” Burke added. “We like a good time.”
Craig Muraszewski, who on this day just happened to be celebrating the second anniversary of the Cold Spring General Store, echoed that feel-good sentiment.
Warmly greeting us in a rustic space accented with barnwood and exposed-brick walls, we heard about his treasure trove of handcrafted and artisanal goods, from candles to marmalades, honey to books, jewelry to blankets and more.
And that’s just for starters, he told us.
“In season we do a whole pop-up, seasonal produce, local goods. It’s a great hikers’ oasis,” he added. Throw in some Adirondack chairs, and “It’s just a nice way to take a pit stop.”
A Carmel native who was living in Mamaroneck before coming to Cold Spring, Muraszewski said he and his wife were more than familiar with its appeal.
“We were visiting here for years and every time we had to leave we had this feeling we just didn’t want to go,” he said.
We can understand why.