Friday, June 27, 2008

Cold Spring Harbor

There's definitely too much to say about Cold Spring Harbor in a single blog post, but we'll do our best to give you an overview. Having mainly been a port town (well, hamlet really) in the mid-nineteenth century, Cold Spring Harbor became a tourist location after the whaling economy began to dwindle around 1860. Located on Long Island's North Shore, Cold Spring Harbor was originally named for the natural spring that still flows there. And, if you like to hit the bottle (the water bottle that is), you can fill your empties with the stuff. We can't promise any fountain of youth or anything (honestly we really don't even know for sure if the water is clean), but c'mon, a natural spring right here on Long Island, that's cool, don't you think? 

We've also heard that, at one time, Cold Spring Harbor had several hotels. Today it seems the Swan View Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn is the only one. The size and style of each room varies - we've had a tour. If you will be staying here, you should visit first. Since the hotel is convenient to Northport, Huntington and Laurel Hollow, it could be a good place to book for guests attending a local wedding in these nearby towns. 

More recently, Cold Spring Harbor has become known because of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory - the place where THE noble laureate JAMES WATSON was director! If you're unfamiliar with Cold Spring Harbor Labs, we suggest you check out their website and visit them for a tour. The details may be found at their site.

Cold Spring Harbor is also home to the Dolan DNA Learning Center, the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum and the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium so there are some big lessons to be learned in this tiny little town! But, if you're too cool for school, you may choose to hike, dine or shop instead.

You can take a hike in Cold Spring Harbor State Park. The entrance, with its steep, hilly steps, is reminiscent of the Dipsea Trail in Mill Valley, California. Home to great horned owls, red-tailed hawks and other interesting birds, this park is a nice place for birders. The park is also the start of the northern trailhead of the Nassau/Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, which extends for 19.2 miles to end on the South Shore of Long Island. That's right, you can walk from the North to South Shore (you would definitely need more than a day for this)! 

If you'd rather chill instead of trek, spend a few hours on Main Street where you'll find interesting shops and restaurants. 

Gourmet Goddess (which also happens to be one of our favorite places in Cold Spring Harbor) is worth visiting for the decoration alone. The store sells very unique adult and kid's clothing as well as specialty sweets. 

In terms of restaurants, Trattoria Grasso has a small, but nice bar and live jazz in the evenings. The oysters, drinks and desserts are good (we like them better than the meals). 105 Harbor is a little pricy, but the view of the harbor makes a seafood meal worth it if you're sitting in front of the window. 

And, for those of you who live in the area (or just really love libraries), Cold Spring Harbor Library is the nicest one on Long Island (we're not fooling around).  Sporting a huge reading room, a lovely fireplace and rows of windows, this library makes you feel like you're in the reading room of a Long Island Gold Coast mansion (nothing wrong with pretending). Curl up with a book and stop every so often to take in the beautiful views of the water.

1 comment:

Ciambellina said...

Great post. I love Cold Spring Harbor. You hit all the top spots. I love the photo of the actual harbor -- when I was young, I would stop there on my way back home from Huntington, just to take in the harbor (there's that little parking area where you can pull over).

Now about that hike! It looks great. I would love to do that hike. Hmm, lots of things to do next time I am in town.

In many cities, the annual tour of homes is a big deal. I wonder if CSH has anything like that. There are so many beautiful homes there.