Days getting shorter? Don’t fret. Autumn is known for its moons, and this glorious disk of light extends the time that we can be outdoors. In fact, this September, the moon’s orbit approaches the earth closer than any other full moon of 2015. This means even more moonlight to bask in. And the moonlight does something to our consciousness; it quiets the mind and adds a bit of serenity and beauty and mystery to our lives.
CANOE OR KAYAK on the Rondout Creek or Wallkill River
You can’t beat getting out on the water at night to view the full moon. Once the moon rises, there’s plenty of light to guide your way. You may even catch a glimpse of a nighttime critter at play, such as a beaver or snapping turtle or skunk. To access the Rondout, put in your boat at the DEC boat launch on Creek Locks Road between Kingston and Rosendale.
The Wallkill can be accessed via the boat launch on Springtown Road 4.5 miles north of New Paltz in Rosendale or in New Paltz either on Plains Road or just south of the Ulster County Fairgrounds. For a complete list of boat launches in Ulster County, visit dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/nyboatlaunch2009.pdf. Don’t own a canoe or kayak? No worries. Kenco on Hurley Mountain Road in Kingston right off of Route 28, just minutes from the Kingston Traffic Circle, has rentals available for the day or weekend. They even offer kayak classes. For more information, call (845) 340-0552 or visit atkenco.com.
Neil Young says it best: “Because I’m still in love with you/ I want to see you dance again/ Because I’m still in love with you/ On this harvest moon.” Grab someone you love: your boyfriend, your child, your neighbor, your wife. If no one’s around, dance solo. Blast your favorite song, and dance on the deck, in the driveway, or wherever the moon shines. You could even plan ahead and throw a moonlight dance party; just be sure the DJ plays Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.”
Alpine Endeavors is offering three full-moon Catskills hikes this autumn on September 27, October 27, and November 25 (and one on December 25 if you want to plan ahead). Check out their website at alpineendeavors.com for info.
If you are in the Hudson Valley, there is a rail trail near you. Studies show that we need 150 minutes of exercise a week—at least 20-30 minutes of which is vigorous. The autumn moons add to your chances for this. The moonlight will give you added time and energy to bounce along in the woods. Check out VISITvortex’ map of rail trails to find the one closest to you.
“The Harvest Moon” got its name because Native Americans used this moon—most often occurring in September— to mark when to harvest their corn. The bright moonlight allows for working into the wee hours of the night to pick during peak production. This year’s Harvest Moon is on September 27, and this is a perfect day to pick the last of your tomatoes, plant some cold-weather seeds aka lettuce, kale, or chard, or just simply weed.
Historic Huguenot Street is filled with ghostly stories. Take a walk down this moonlit street and feel its history. Better yet, take a Haunted Huguenot guided walk and learn about some of the spooky trials of the French Huguenots. Be sure to ask your tour guide the story about the well that is located across the street and down a little ways from the visitor’s center. If feeling brave, linger in the cemetery. Visit huguenotstreet.org/hauntedhuguenotstreet/ for more information.
VISIT A Hudson Valley or Catskills Haunted House! It’s fun! And the Hudson Valley is filled with the best ones: The Headless Horseman Hayride and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, Peter Wings’ Haunted Fortress in Stanfordville, Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion, or even the abandoned barn at the end of your street! These community events lure us out of our homes and into the autumn night air, and they’re even more fun and scary by the light of the moon.