Every night as soon as it got dark I hurried outside to watch the waxing of the moon. It was coming. We drove through the woods and gathered on the hill. It had arrived. Now was time for our full moon hike at Hilltop Orchards [508 Canaan Rd, Richmond, MA 01254]! This is a regular orchard in the day with rows of pick your own apple trees, produce, and baked goods for sale.
However, on nights where there is a full moon there is a transformation at the orchard. Throughout the year whether you need snowshoes and sweaters or just regular boots and shorts, groups of strangers come together to journey into the darkness. In most parks it is illegal to visit after dark, so what a treat it is to feel free as a bird (or bird of the darkness, a bat!) in the moonlight. With flashlights in hand the group followed the guide, Holly, passed apple trees and to a meadow where we could see the dim lights of Stockbridge and the hills of the Berkshires at dusk.
We talked story and learned about Native American moon mythology as the sky darkened. Then we entered the woods with flashlight in hand, and enjoyed a total silent walk listening to the sounds of nature. We saw bats, toads, and heard an owl hooting. After the hoot the silence was up, we gathered to discuss what we felt during the dark and quiet hike. It was a relaxed pace with minimal elevation gain and I’d guess give or take a mile. At its conclusion we walked back through the fields and rows of trees where the moon had lazily risen.
So beautiful. We surrounded the bonfire and enjoyed the warmth.
Now the pearly glowing orb was higher in the sky, perfect for our viewing pleasure, fighting through the clouds surrounding it.
Had a bit of a ceremony, then headed inside for wine and music! The orchard makes its own wine, under the name Furnace Brook Winery, and we were able to sample up to six choices. Along with wine, cider was available as well. Live music was playing and the apt pourers were filling glasses. Cabernet Sauvignon is my go to, and their special reserve was impeccably smooth.
So we sipped and had a great time, but it wouldn’t have been a perfect fall night without a cider donut!
I was worried that since they weren’t fresh and hot they wouldn’t be the greatest, but we really enjoyed them!! The drive back over the border to New York and into Albany was only 40 minutes, not too bad of a hike considering all of the fun that we just had. It was a great time, I would love to go back for a snowshoeing full moon hike and watch the moonlight reflect off the snow, illuminating the trails!