Moonlit walk and rail trail festival highlight Columbus Day weekend in Highland

Alan Van De Bogart and Casey Quinlan at last year’s Highland HudsonFest. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Alan Van De Bogart and Casey Quinlan at last year’s Highland HudsonFest. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

While October’s full moon will be waning by Friday, October 10, it will still shed plenty of moonlight on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail’s annual Fall Moon Walk from 7-9 p.m. The opportunity to walk the trail at night only comes around a few times a year, when the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association holds special events like this one, which last time around drew more than 300 people.

The evening begins at the pavilion at 101 New Paltz Road in Highland with guided moonlit tours of the 3.6 mile trail to Tony Williams Park and back, finishing up at a bonfire where student storytellers will share tales of historic figures and legends of the Hudson Valley. Light snacks will be served. Admission costs $5, with all proceeds benefiting trail maintenance and improvements. The walk is free for children under age six. Flashlights are recommended, but visitors are asked to leave pets, bikes and scooters at home.


The Fall Moon Walk goes on rain or shine, and serves as the prelude to the annual Highland HudsonFest on Sunday, October 12, when vendors will line the eastern spur of the trail to the entrance of Walkway Over the Hudson from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a tent set up as well, with entertainment and dining.

The Highland HudsonFest is designed to showcase all of the people in the region who contribute their artistic, musical and culinary talents to the Hudson Valley. Thousands of visitors attended last year’s event, which always occurs over Columbus Day weekend, and increased use of the Walkway is anticipated to bring even more people to the event this year.

Parking is free and available at the Haviland Road entrance and the parking lot at 75 Haviland Road. Handicapped parking is available at the Walkway entrance as well as at the Haviland parking lot. HudsonFest is also accessible from the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Last year’s HudsonFest offered more than 70 vendors with a wide range of offerings. With new and returning participants, vendors to look for this time around include Twisted Thread and Hook, who make handmade rope mats and rugs with a nautical feel and House of Bee Design, which offers one-of-a-kind custom jewelry and accessories. Gourmet pickles will be available from Perry’s Pickles, and bakery items from Meredith’s Breads. Hudson Valley-based wineries will include The Cereghino Smith Winery from Bloomington and Gardiner’s Whitecliff Vineyard. Farms represented include Tantillo’s of Gardiner and Minard’s of Clintondale.

Some of the vendors offer services, like Vine VanGogh, which brings “sip and paint” parties — where a glass of wine accompanies an evening of no-pressure art making — to private homes and local restaurants and businesses, and for pets, Dirty Dogs Pet Services will return. Treats for canine companions will be available from Coast to Coast Dog Treats of Stormville, made in small batches using human-grade organic ingredients.

For more information about Highland HudsonFest, visit or look for “Highland HudsonFest” on Facebook. For more information about the Fall Moon Walk, visit