If you have ever taken the Metro-North along the Hudson line, you have most likely noticed an enchanting castle standing in the middle of the Hudson River.
Located just a few miles north of Cold Spring, the castle is located on an island known as Pollepel Island which only takes up 6.5 acres of land.
Bannerman’s Castle is a 19th-century building that has been slowly crumbling and decaying for years now. Although this abandoned castle itself is cut off from the public, it is still accessible for tours during the May-October months.
So it makes up for a perfect day trip idea for those who are fascinated with history or abandoned buildings.
The History of the Castle
During the years of the Civil War, the castle was the center of entrepreneur Francis Bannerman’s northeastern retail empire. Bannerman accumulated and sold surplus military goods from a very young age and eventually began his catalog business.
Originally, the castle acted as the storehouse for Bannerman's goods such as weapons, uniforms, and gunpowder. The design of the structure was inspired by Scottish and Moorish castles because Bannerman was of Scottish origin.
The castle was started in 1901 and unfortunately was never quite finished because Bannerman died in 1918. Also, there was an explosion in 1920 that damaged the construction quite a bit.
On top of that, there was a huge fire in 1969 that left the structure in ruins. Later on, a Beacon resident Neil Caplan founded the Bannerman Castle Trust with a mission to restore the buildings on the island.
Caplan is also one of the few guides who lead regular tours of the island.
Tours and Tickets
If you want a full experience, then you have to book a tour of the island and the castle. The tickets cost $40 for adults and $35 for kids up to 12 years.
You can choose from a few different tours at the same price including a self-guided tour with live music, island cruise and walking tour or a few others. All tours last approximately 2.5 hours.
The tours start either from Beacon or Newburgh and take to the castle via ferry.
During the tour, guides give a brief history of the island before bringing visitors to the castle that was recently reopened after an extensive renovation. You can also explore the gardens, which are maintained by volunteers.
Tours usually are held on weekends during the warm-weather months. Also, they often organize a variety of special events during the summer such as screenings of classic films or the production of Hamlet by the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.
You can check the availability of tours and upcoming events on their official website.
How to Get to the Bannerman Castle
Located around 60 miles from NYC and the easiest way to get to this island is by taking a ferry from the Beacon Train Station or from Newburgh Ferry landing (depending on which tour you choose).
To reach Beacon or Newburg, take a train which will take you approximately 1.5 hours or drive there by car.
To Beacon, take the Metro-North Railroad from Grand Central or the 125th Street Station. Tickets cost about $46 for round-trip peak times (or $35 off-peak).
Will you be planning a trip to Bannerman castle soon? Let us know in the comments below.
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