Bannerman’s is back…

Bannerman’s Castle on Bannerman’s Island (aka Pollepel Island) in the Hudson River – which has inspired so many Gothic books and movies – is ready for its close-up once more.

After delays and cancellations caused by the virus, the island – 50 miles north of New York City near Newburgh and Beacon – opens for public tours today, July 10, while welcoming hikers, boaters, kayakers and canoeists as well.

The original residence, newly renovated as a museum and visitor center, was the home of Francis Bannerman VI, a 19th century immigrant from Northern Ireland who used the island and the crenellated “castle” he built as an arsenal for his military surplus business. Future projects include stabilization work on the visitor center’s terraces and turrets, repairs to the walls on the island’s hiking trails, continued stabilization work on the main castle and installation of permanent restrooms on the island. One thing nature lovers can enjoy right now – the Bannerman Island Gardens, said to be particularly beautiful during the summer season. 

Moviegoers can have a “Bill and Ted” weekend July 17 and 18 respectively with “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Adventure,” among the cinematic offerings running through Sept. 18. And don’t forget “Butterfly Day” Aug. 12 and the “Labor Day Cruise and Walking Tour” Sept. 7.

As for those powering their own watercrafts to the island, they need to know that the water at the Bannerman’s Island dock is 1 and ½ to 3 feet deep, depending on the tides. Weekday visits for smaller boats can be arranged by calling Neil Caplan, executive director of the Bannerman Castle Trust, at 845-831-6346.  Storm King Adventure Tours will also be running fundraising kayak tours to Bannerman’s Island all summer. For more on that, visit stormkingadventuretours.com. Special boat charters for groups are also available on weekdays through October. 

For more on the island’s events and accessibility, visit bannermancastle.org.

Georgette Gouveia

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