Archive for the ‘Fishkill’ Category

Upstater Destinations: Bannerman Castle

Bannerman Castle, via Wikipedia

Pollepel Island is a familiar site to anyone who’s ever sat on the Hudson River side of a Metro North train. Bannerman Castle, which sits on the tiny island, looms above the treeline, appearing like the ruins of an ancient and long-gone kingdom.

But the truth is, Bannerman Castle isn’t really that old. Constructed between 1900 and 1918, the castle was the creation of Francis Bannerman VI, a Scotsman who purchased the island and built the castle to house the immense munitions surplus he had garnered from what remained after the American civil war and, later, the Spanish government.

The island actually houses two castles: The larger of the two served as an arsenal, and the smaller was Bannerman’s private residence. As the years wore on, disaster befell the structures and left them in disrepair, rendering the island unsafe for visitors. Now, the island, accessible by boat only, is in the hands of the NYS office of Parks and Recreation and is open for hard-hat tours, via the Hudson River Adventure’s tour boat Pride of the Hudson, or by guided kayak through Hudson Valley Outfitters.

Every third Sunday between May and October, Pollepel Island is open for self-guided tours, complete with live music and lunch for $42/ticket. Reservations are required.

Thinking about going? You might not want to hesitate. In December 2009, roughly 30-40% of the castle’s front and east walls collapsed, and although stabilization work is ongoing, thanks to Bannerman Castle Trust, and hopes for its future are high, there’s a modicum of uncertainty.

The Bannerman Castle Trust has a great website full of amazing photos and historical information on the island, the castle, and Mr. Bannerman VI himself. Take a moment to educate yourself on what we consider one of the most intriguing architectural history in the Hudson Valley. It will give you a greater appreciation of the castle as it whizzes by your train window.

Bannerman Castle, before the 2009 collapse.

Category: Destinations, Dutchess County, Fishkill, upstate new york

By: kandyharris | 26 July 2012 11:12 AM | No Comments

Upstater Destinations: Splashdown Beach, Fishkill

Most of us know about that other water park in the Catskills/Hudson Valley region, but did you know there’s one in Dutchess County, too? Billing itself as the “America’s Biggest Little Water Park,” SplashDown Beach is located in the unlikely location of Route 9 in West Fishkill, tucked away among the strip malls and chain stores just enough that we’ve driven past it a number of time without knowing it was there.

True to its name, SplashDown Beach isn’t terribly big, but they pack a lot of activities in a relatively small space. There are about a half-dozen attractions and slides that range from easy-going, like the wave pool and Croc Creek Lazy River, to the slightly stressful and faster, like the Bullet Bowl and Pirates Plunge.

Going to a water park is an expensive proposition. One has to accept the fact that some cash will be dropped when one plans to go. We suggest bringing your own food and springing for the locker rental. There are restaurants at the park, but you’ll be stuck with exorbitantly pricy pizza, hot dogs, French fries, which is not always our favorite fare when forced to walk around in public wearing a bathing suit. Or, if you’ve got some dough burning a hole in your pocket, rent a private cabana, where $80 (weekday) or $100 (weekends and holidays) gets you a shady place to sit, waiter service and free locker rental.

SplashDown Beach is closed for the season but starts back up again in May. All information on hours of operation, admission price, etc. can be found on their website. As is usually the case with these things, a season pass might be the cheapest bet if you think you’ll be going there a few times. SplashDown also holds special events throughout the season (think tweeny singers and Glee-like songs), and the park can accommodate birthday parties and groups.


Category: Destinations, Dutchess County, Fishkill, upstate new york

By: kandyharris | 22 March 2012 10:58 AM | No Comments