A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

Ulster County Towns: Highland

The Hamlet of Highland, nestled in the Town of Lloyd, is home to over 5,600 residents, and runs along the west side of Hudson River across from Poughkeepsie. Highland was first established by early settlers looking for higher ground for farmland, hence the name “high land.” In the 1820s, Philip Elting donated land for a church and a few stores to create a town center. By the end of the 19th century, Highland’s economy had grown due to the railroad that allowed for the development of a local lumber industry and on the shores of the Hudson, Highland Landing once thrived with factories, warehouses, and ferries. As transportation shifted away from train travel to cars, Route 9W was built, and Highland became less of a commercial center, yet it still retains its historical architecture and tourist economy.

The area is home to many parks and recreational attractions—most notably the Walkway Over the Hudson. The Walkway is a pedestrian bridge converted in 2009 from the Poughkeepsie-Highland railroad bridge, which was the longest bridge in the world when it was built in 1889. The bridge connects to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which is part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail. At 1,125 feet above sea level, Illinois Mountain is a hidden gem for hikers along with Franny Reese State Park. After your outdoor adventure, don’t forget to fuel up at one of Highland’s downtown spots, like Underground Coffee and Ales, Vigneto Cafe, Trolley Stop Cafe, and Hudson Ale Works, to name a few.