According to “Historic Houses of the Hudson Valley” by Harold Donaldson Eberlein and Cortlandt Van Dyke Hubbard:
Lying just to the east of the Albany Post Road, at Indian Brook between Garrison-on-Hudson and Cold Spring, the Bird and Bottle began life about 1761 – perhaps a few years earlier – as Warren’s Tavern. When the Post Road was little more than a horse trail, John Warren’s tavern was a welcome sight to weary travellers of pre-Revolutionary days. As travel increased on this first highway through Putnam (then Dutchess) County – it had been much improved since its horse trail beginnings – Warren’s Tavern became a famous stopping place. Somewhat later, stagecoaches between Albany and New York regularly changed horses there, while passengers and drivers often stayed the night. In 1776 the inn passed to Absalom Nelson, at his marriage to Esther Warren, and thenceforth was known as Nelson’s Tavern. Its success continued under Absalom Nelson, and during the post-Revolutionary period it attained its greatest renown. The building of the Highland Turnpike (now the Albany Post Road – U.S. Route 9), which ran parallel to the old Post Road and ended at Nelson’s Tavern, greatly increased highway traffic between New York and Albany, and Nelson’s Tavern became one of the best known and esteemed ordinaries in that part of the Sate.
With the increase of boat travel on the Hudson and, finally, the coming of the railroad, life at Nelson’s Tavern gradually waned. At last, custom had so dwindled that the inn ceased to be a place of public entertainment and for a long time was a private dwelling. It so contined until 1939, when George W. Perkins of Cold Spring, wishing to preserve for Putnam County one of its historic buildings, bought it with the intent to restore it and have it again conducted as an ordinary, and in a manner worthy of its traditions.
Of course as is often the case with old houses, it’s reputed to be haunted. In this case by Emily Warren Roebling – daughter-in-law of John A. Roebling and wife of Washington A. Roebling, both of George Washington Bridge Fame. According to Hudson Valley Hallowe’en:
Emily has always made a great impression on the people of Cold Spring and her spirit lives on there. In 1969, Larry Evans, the director of the Bird and Bottle Inn explained that one of the upstairs rooms was to be known as the Emily Warren room and noted that Emily visited her grandparents there often. The Putnam County Historical Society displayed some of her personal belongings at the Foundry School Museum as a tribute to her importance to the village.
Today the inn is owned by Elaine Margolies. She is a charming woman and gracious hostess who has great respect and pride for the inn’s history. Emily has become part of her family. Guests and employees have sensed the presence of a woman in the inn. Some guests have even taken unique photos that could explain the unexplained. Elaine shared the most amazing photo (see image 7 in the photo gallery) taken in the dining room . I saw it as a ghostly image of a woman in old-fashion clothing. I have to believe it is Emily returning to her family home. There have also been reportings of a woman humming in the hall. Emily seems to be a little particular about how her room is arranged. At times the curtains and the chair in her room will be arranged as if someone wanted to peer out the window to enjoy the lovely view.
The information in the last paragraph seems dated and a notation on the Hudson Valley Hallowe’en site says: “The Bird and Bottle Inn is Closed and Up For Sale 7/15/2013”. I recently passed by and without going inside I definitely got the impression that it was open again. Their Facebook page indicates that this is the case.
Taken in November, 2011 with a Kodak Retina IIc.