A nudge to New Yorkers to check out the Hudson Valley

Now that winter is finally coming to an end, you can already feel the shift in energy. New Yorkers are looking for excuses to be outside and enjoy the much-anticipated warm weather. Outdoor dining and strolls along the Hudson are fantastic ways to enjoy the warmer months, but if you want to enjoy the springtime in a quiet, quaint town, you don’t have to go far.

On the Metro North, you can easily get from Grand Central to a number of charming towns in the Hudson Valley. I’m excited to share some personal recommendations on how to do a weekend getaway (or even a day trip!) just north of New York City. This is by no means a comprehensive guide, but hopefully it will show you a few of the hidden gems that are just a train ride away. My hope is that this is a nudge to my fellow New Yorkers to go check out the Hudson Valley.

Where is the Hudson Valley and how can I get there? 

The Hudson Valley runs along the Hudson River, starting in Yonkers and stretching up to Albany. And, it is accessible from Grand Central on the Metro North Railroad (MNR). I had expected the Metro North to require an expensive ticket in advance (similar to the Amtrak), but I was pleasantly surprised by its frequency and price. Depending on the line, it runs as frequently as every four minutes and has both express and local trains. The fare depends on your destination, but will typically be under $25 one way to get to the towns described below. The fares and schedules can all be found on the MTA website.

What are some towns to visit and things to do?

I am nudging you, New Yorkers, to check out the Hudson Valley because there is so much to explore! So here are just a few recommendations based on where I’ve been so far. It’s easy to hit a couple towns in a day, especially with the regularly scheduled Metro North trains. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you to plan a quick getaway for an upcoming weekend!

Hastings on Hudson:

Only 45 minutes from Grand Central! Outside of the town center, there’s not that much to do, but it’s so close to NYC that you could go for half a day.

  • Hastings Farmers Market: Just across the street from the train station, the bustling farmers market takes place every Saturday!
  • Boro6 Wine Bar: I absolutely adored this wine bar—if I lived near this town, this would be my go-to spot for a girls night. On a Friday night in October when I visited, it was very cozy and packed with 30-somethings grabbing drinks and dinner. We sat at the bar and enjoyed their large wine selection and delicious apps.
  • Saint George Bistro: This restaurant transports you to Paris as soon as you walk through the door. I loved the gnocchi and cocktail I had here.
  • Antoinette’s Patisserie: The interior is a bit strange, but the breakfast was delicious! I loved the waffles in particular.

Takeout breakfast from Antoinette’s 

Cold Spring:

1.5 hours from Grand Central on the Metro North

  • Pig Hill Inn: You’ll likely need to plan ahead to book a night at this bed and breakfast, but it is truly a gem! Each room is beautiful and full of antique furniture (many featuring pigs). You’ll feel right at home and get to meet other guests and enjoy a full, delicious breakfast in the greenhouse in the morning. The inn is right on the main street in Cold Spring, so you’ll conveniently be able to stop by before or after exploring the town.

Greenhouse dining area at Pig Hill Inn

  • Hudson Hil’s Café: If you don’t stay at the inn, this is a cute café downtown that serves locally sourced breakfast/brunch.
  • Antique shops: If you’re interested in browsing antique shops, there are over a dozen to keep you busy.
  • Breakneck Ridge hike: Less than a five minute drive from the town center is a short (but steep!) hike leading to a view of a stunning view of the Hudson. I Ubered to the trailhead listed on AllTrails.

View from the Breakneck Ridge hike


Also about 1.5 hours from Grand Central (just north of Cold Spring)

  • Main Street: I can’t wait to revisit Beacon and keep exploring Main Street! You will have countless restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops to check out on this 2-mile stretch. The area is charming and historical, with architecture that reminds you that this was once an old industrial town.

Main Street in Beacon

  • Hudson Valley Brewery: I am a huge fan of sour beers, and was thrilled to stumble upon a rare brewery that specializes in it! For those that don’t like sours, they have a small selection of other beers and a food truck on site that makes AMAZING pizza (I would go back just for the “milk and honey” pizza…).

Pizza and sours at Hudson Valley Brewery

  • Happy Valley Arcade Bar: If you’re looking for an activity other than shopping and eating, this barcade is a bright, nostalgic place to stop by! They have all the classic arcade games as well as board games, great drinks, and a photo booth.
  • Melzingah Tap House: For a sit-down lunch, this is one of the most popular places in town, so make a reservation in advance!
  • Cafe Amarcord: As a good dinner option, this American food spot has both indoor and outdoor dining available.
  • If you want to explore Beacon outside of Main Street, here are a couple cool outings nearby…
  • Bannerman Castle: From the train you might notice a castle on an island in the middle of the Hudson. This actually used to be a military warehouse and is accessible via ferry or kayak.
  •  Dia Beacon: The contemporary art museum is built into an old Nabisco box printing factory and is only a five-minute drive or 20-minute walk from downtown.

Bear Mountain State Park:

A 15 minute drive from Cold Spring. You’ll need to drive or Uber here since it’s not accessible on the Metro North, but it’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors!

  • Even if you don’t want to hike, the property at the base is beautiful– take a walk through the lodge (which includes a hotel, cafe, upstairs bar/restaurant, and conference center), or take a boat out on one of the ponds.
  • To get there, I Ubered directly to the lodge and hiked up Bear Mountain from there (which took about 2.5 hours roundtrip).

Do you feel the nudge to check out the Hudson Valley?!

For any New Yorkers who have not yet visited the Hudson Valley, I hope this inspires you to check it out! Next on my list is an overnight trip in Hudson, New York, so let me know if anyone has recommendations there 🙂 Enjoy!

Rebekah Arsenault

Rebekah Arsenault