Bannerman Castle

During a hike up Breakneck Ridge (which has a fantastically challenging rock scramble if you are interested), my cousin Amy and I spotted a castle out on an island. While we momentarily entertained the idea of swimming to it, we opted to do some research at home instead and return when we had more information (and perhaps a kayak). Turns out, the island was Pollepel Island, host of the majestic Bannerman Castle, which lies on the Hudson River up past Black Rock Forest.

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The castle, or more accurately the arsenal, was once owned and maintained by Francis Bannerman, but now stands as the ruins of a once great structure. While abandoned and crumbling, the castle is still a stunning sight to see, with its Scottish architecture almost entirely designed by Bannerman himself. At this time, the Bannerman Castle Trust is maintaining and preserving the structure, offering tours, and building funding for the historic site.

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In order to visit the island, you must join a tour through the castle’s official site. My recommendation would be to visit on the 3rd Sunday of a month, as they offer live music and a self-guided tour. However, I’m assuming you are like me, and like to wander on your own and are simply using the tour to get to the island. There is also a kayak option (if you are looking for a work-out alongside an adventure), as well as the regularly scheduled tour. Also, do not fall for the expensive hard-hat tour. You will not get any closer, as no one is allowed to go into the castle ruins. Trust me, I tried.

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My good friend Nicole and I decided to make the journey this past summer. Definitely worth a visit! While I didn’t get the most fantastic pictures, there are a lot of great ones available. For example, Kuriositas post from back in 2011 did a great job at gathering some of the gorgeous pictures available on the web. And while it is against the rules, bring a bottle of wine… nothing better than kicking back and enjoying the view on a nice summer day. You didn’t hear that from me.

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