I was born and raised in Highland, New York but whenever I would meet someone new, especially someone who was not local, when asked where I was from, Highland was never my answer. It’s not that I wasn’t proud to be a “Highlander”, or that I didn’t love my hometown, but if I provided an honest answer to that question, I was always met with blank stares of non-recognition- where in the world is Highland?? Instead, if I answered, “I’m from Poughkeepsie” or “I’m from New Paltz,” (a stone’s throw away from Highland in either direction) people would immediately be able to place those towns on a map or share a story regarding how they visited once, or wanted to attend college there, etc.
Highland always seemed to me to be the quiet, commonly forgotten about Ulster County town, sandwiched between some pretty well known locations and landmarks. Looking back now, I think that is exactly what makes Highland so attractive- proximity to all the places you want to go, but feeling as if you are still miles away from it all.
Highland doesn’t have a world renowned university or famous mountain to draw tourists in like it’s neighboring towns do. The town was, and to some degree still is, best known to be a convenient commuter location, serving as a main transportation hub for those working in Manhattan, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh or New Paltz.
Highland lies on the western shore of the Hudson River, just across from Poughkeepsie, NY. From there you can easily pick up a Metro- North train that will take you to Grand Central Terminal in just over an hour. Heading west out of Highland will lead you into New Paltz (where the New York State Thruway can connect you to all points of interest within and outside of Ulster County), or a short drive south of Highland via Route 9W will bring you to Newburgh and Stewart International Airport. This ease of accessibility and prime location between some major Hudson Valley towns and landmarks makes Highland a great location for people who don’t want to sacrifice convenience, but want the benefits of quiet, country living.
While Highland’s “convenience” factor hasn’t changed a bit in the 26 years that I’ve been living in the area, it’s popularity sure has grown, beyond what locals could have imagined. To top it off, most of these major changes have only occurred within the past 10 years of Highland’s history!
2009 was the year that Highland was put back on the map- or at least put on the consciousness of people around the country and around the globe, when the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park was opened. But what makes this State Park so special, you ask? The Walkway over the Hudson’s claim to fame is that it is the longest pedestrian footpath in the entire world! This title has been bringing people from all over the world to check out the Walkway and Highland. The BBC even filmed an episode featuring the Walkway Over the Hudson for a series on “Great American Railroad Journeys.”
Highland’s Railway History
Highland has always acted as a transportation hub. In 1888 a massive 1.28 mile long steel rail bridge was constructed to connect Highland and Poughkeepsie, towering over the Hudson River. The aptly named Poughkeepsie- Highland Railroad Bridge was an Industrial Age technological wonder- the longest rail bridge in the world at the time of its grand unveiling in December of the very same year. The bridge allowed Highland to serve as a major transport and manufacturing link, sending the raw materials of the west to the industrial centers of the east coast. In World War II the bridge traffic exponentially increased as the railway was also used to transport troops who were headed overseas. The bridge was used constantly and consistently until 1974 when the bridge’s wooden rail tracks caught fire, crippling it’s use and making it impassible by train any longer.
Rising from the Ashes
Thanks to the efforts of those in the Hudson Valley looking to preserve the region's history and culture, the bridge was restored and rebuilt, although not in quite the same fashion or for the same purpose as in it’s heyday. The Walkway Over the Hudson State Park opened in October 2009 and became a record breaker all over again, this time as the world’s longest pedestrian footpath to span a body of water. The linear state park sits perched 212 feet above the Hudson River, looking out over the majestic Hudson River and at the Franklin D. Roosevelt (Mid-Hudson) commuter bridge. People travel from around the valley, state, county, and as the BBC video proved to us, from around the world to walk, bike, and jog the Walkway. The Walkway holds multiple events each year and has become a prime seating location to view the City of Poughkeepsie’s fireworks display on July 4th every year.
You can see the view of the Hudson from high atop the Walkway today for yourself. Open year round from sunrise to sunset.
Walkway Over the Hudson State Park
West Entrance Location: 87 Haviland Road, Highland, NY 12528
East Entrance Location: 61 Parker Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Who would have thought that Highland, the small, “drive-through” town that connected the rest of the world together would now become a world destination? The Walkway over the Hudson may draw visitors to Highland, but once as they arrive in the area, they are sure to see that the Walkway is not the only reason to stay. With serene river and country landscapes, a compelling history, world renowned landmarks, a small-knit sense of community and convenient location, what’s not to love?
Coming Soon! A Sneak Peek at New Listings in Highland, NY!
If you’re a commuter looking for a new place in Ulster County to call home, now is a great time to start looking at Highland. In fact, if you are looking for the ultimate in commuting convenience, we’ve got a sneak peek at two properties that will soon be hitting the market that could tick all your boxes.
Both of these properties listed below are located within the Bridgeview Townhomes Complex, minutes from the heart of downtown Highland’s shops and restaurants. If you commute to New York City frequently, there is no better Ulster County location than this to ease your travels- you can be across the Mid-Hudson bridge in a matter of mere minutes after walking out your front door to catch a Metro North train from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Station. Travel to Newburgh and New Paltz is also convenient and fast from these centrally located properties.
Here’s a few more details of what is soon to come...
68 Sterling Place
Click here to see a preview of 68 Sterling Place, Highland NY 12528 on Zillow.
This recently renovated unit has newly updated bathrooms and kitchen as well as nice cherry hardwood flooring and great paint colors, making it move in ready. The property contains a full basement that is ready to be finished as well as a one car garage. Living in this unit also gives you access to all of the complex’s amenities, which include an outdoor pool, clubhouse, tennis and basketball courts and a playground. Within walking distance of Hudson Valley Rail Trail and Walkway over the Hudson. This will be one of the better units available this Spring. Stay tuned!
19 Troy Lane
Located in the same complex with an awesome commuter location, this townhouse is also within walking distance of Frannie Reese Park and the Walkway over the Hudson, as well as the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. Also mere minutes to Metro-North, Highland’s shopping, restaurants and more! Enjoy use of the inground pool, tennis and basketball courts and clubhouse as well as your own front garden and private backyard. 19 Troy Lane offers extra parking and a quieter feel being tucked in from the rest of the units in Bridgeview. This is another special unit not to be missed. Look out for this one a couple weeks from now!
Be sure to check back with us to get all the details on these properties when they officially hit the market this spring!