On a small island on the Hudson River, just about an hour and half north of New York City, sit the ruins of what appears to be a mysterious castle.
If you’re looking for a short weekend escape from the city, you may enjoy not just the unique and unusually-located ruins, but also the amazing landscapes and natural scenery nearby.
Bannerman Castle (Pollepel Island NY) is located on the small, six-and-a-half-acre Pollepel Island. Visible from the shore (people often notice it from the trains running nearby), it can be seen/accessed just off NY 9-D (Fishkill NY).
Built in 1901 by Francis Bannerman VI, the building was actually an army arsenal made to look like a Scottish castle (the owner was originally from Scotland). The castle on the island became a luxurious warehouse to hold surplus military equipment and ammunition, and includes a nearby mansion for its owner and any guests.
The structure has suffered through several major disasters, including two explosions, a fire that took down the ceilings and floors, and the partial collapse of two of the exterior walls in 2009.
The Island itself has a storied past, from local aboriginal stories about it being haunted, to it being part of the setting of a naval battle during the American Revolution.
The Bannerman Castle Trust is currently working to preserve the island and castle. The organization runs guided walking tours of the island, which can be accessed by boat.
There are several kayak tours, departing from nearby Beacon, Cold Spring, and Cornwall. Passenger boat tours depart from Beacon and Newburgh.
Reservations are required for all tours, and it’s important to note that the terrain can be moderate in difficulty and includes a 72-step climb from the dock, so strollers can not be accommodated, and it’s recommended to wear comfortable shoes. Tours start at around $35 per person.
For safety reasons, during the tours you must stay on marked paths, and they don’t actually enter the buildings. For more information check out the Bannerman Castle Trust‘s website.
Although the island being maintained, the future of the castle itself is still precarious – so go see it before it might come crumbling down.
Follow @MirabelVega on twitter for more updates from this author.