Deep in the Vermont mountains is a small town, rustic and isolated, with cold, clear streams and dense, green forests. It's a place that Nell Maye remembers fondly, where her grandparents lived and where she spent summer vacations as a child. A place where not much happens. But when Nell and her husband Billy decide to leave the mess of their lives in NYC for this peaceful New England town, they realize that it's not exactly as they imagined. Under the placid surface is a place simmering with tension. There's Lenny, who's been entrusted with the care of her mute grandson Jody because his father has physically abused and abandoned him. There's Eli, a widower struggling to raise his wild son, just barely under his control. There's James, the high-school geology teacher, longing for someone to change his life, unaware that all the high-school girls secretly adore him. There's the pack of high school boys, bored and always looking to score some alcohol and cigarettes. Enter Nell, the dreamy, vaguely unhappy music teacher and Billy, her manic husband, who bring their city ways and their fears of the country along with a host of further complications for everyone around them. James falls for Nell, Billy scorns the townspeople; and a high school boy, stockpiling small resentments, decides to take revenge. When the dust settles, one man is dead, two boys are banished from town, a marriage has fallen apart, and-out of the ashes-a new romance begins. A COLD SPRING is a story of the roads we see and the ones we don't, and of those moments when lives suddenly change direction.