NY Dopers: Bannerman Island tour?

Here’s a chance for all of your NYC dopers to get out of the city for a day. There will be tours of Bannerman Island on October 25 and 26. For those unfamiliar with the place, Bannerman Island is a small island in the Hudson River near West Point. It was purchased by a munitions dealer in the late 19th century who used it as a storage arsenal and then later built a castle on the island as a residence. The island has been abandoned since the 1960’s and is now state property.

The island is normally off limits to all visitors and these tours are rare. The guides are providing transportation to and from the island. The tour requires a ticket which must be purchased no later than Oct 23.

Sounds interesting. Details? How much, and where would we get picked up? Times?

Will there be something like a bus from NYC to take?

Details proved to be surprisingly elusive, but after several phone calls I was able to speak with a woman at the Bannerman’s Castle Trust that is organizing this tour.

This is the first tour of this type. Previous tours either consisted of a boat anchoring offshore of the island while the guide points out the sights or the “hard hat” tour where visitors rowed themselves to the island in kayaks, donned protective gear, and then followed guides around, cutting their way through the brush with handtools. In an effort to broaden access to the sight, the trust has now installed amenities such as a dock and stairs and cleared out the buildings.

A boat will pick up passengers in Beacon at a dock adjacent to the train station. I’d recommend traveling by MetroNorth from Grand Central Station to Beacon for those of you coming up from the city without personal vehicles. If you are coming up by bus, let me know, and I’ll probably be able to pick people up at the bus station.

There will be four tours each on October 25 and 26. The tours begin at 10:30 am, Noon, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm. The woman on the phone told me that each tour will be approximately two and a half hours long (which seems strange given that they start every ninety minutes). People have to buy tickets for a specific tour, mail in their money, and have their tickets mailed back to them. So if we’re doing this we need to get organized quickly. I was told all tours are still available, but they expect all of them to sell out before the event. I think the best way would be for me to buy tickets for everyone going in a group and then distribute them when we meet.

And now the bad news. The tickets are $40 each. A high price but probably worth it considering this is the only time they’ll be doing this this year. To put it in perspective, the kayak tours I mentioned above were $100 a person. And to sweeten the deal, I’ll take everyone out to dinner afterwards.

So let me know if there’s interest. If you want to contact the people directly, their number is 845-831-6346. Their address is Bannerman’s Castle Trust, PO Box 843, Glenham, NY 12508. The website is the one I linked to in the OP.

I LOVE BANNERMAN’S CASTLE. I saw it for the first time out the window of an Amtrak train on my way to my very first NYC trip, and I have been fascinated by it ever since. If I still lived in Albany, I would SO go with you. As it is, PROMISE you will take a billion pictures and notes and stuff and post them on the internet for me to visit the place vicariously. I am super jealous.

Hm… my dad lives in Beacon… unfortunately, I’ve got commitments that weekend, otherwise I’d be there.

Little Nemo, you are the MAN, man!

I’ve always wanted to climb around that place. I am going to clean my Mamiya and I may bring my digital camera too. Please buy me a ticket (either day is fine). I will be happy to shell over the $40, plus lots of beer.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Beacon before. Do they have paved roads and indoor plumbing north of White Plains?

Crap. I was about to drop everything and say we’d be glad to meet y’all there. We’re at West Point, so we can just drive there, but there is no way in hell we can afford to spend 80 bucks on it.

Hm. However, if y’all decide to do something after your tour, such as dinner or an extended trip to the Point or something, we may be able to meet you wherever.

Just an idea. Have fun.

A bump. We’ve got two definites. Two maybes. Two possible later meetings. And two wish we were theres.

Climbing? Hiking? Scrambling over brush and bush and rock?

Hmmm . . . Maybe I can meet you for brunch in the city beforehand?

And, it seems, one early meet.

Oh yes. I’m another person who’s been looking at it wistfully from the train window for years. I could go on whatever tour ends up being best for others.

Are you still planning to get tickets for everyone, and if so, do you want money in advance? Because I HAVE to go on this, so if you’re not getting tickets, I want to be sure to get them myself.

Thanks for discovering this!

Eve, the beauty of this tour is that they’ve now installed the finer things in life. Like stairs. And Bannerman Island, while filled with picturesque sights, is not geographically large enough to sustain hiking. Certainly in no way comparible to Greenwood or Woodlawn. It will be a light day’s diversion perfect for a refined lady such as yourself.

Alto, you can get your own tickets or I’ll buy the lot of them. We just need to get togehter on a date and time.

All right, someone’s got to suggest a time, so I’ll do it. How about the Saturday Oct. 25 tour at noon? There’s a train that leaves Grand Central at 9:53AM and arrives at Beacon at 11:17AM. Round trip off peak is $22.

How does that sound?

(I’m not trying to be pushy, just get the scheduling ball rolling. Any other time is fine with me.)

Works for me.

A bump. Friedo, does noon Saturday work for you? Eve and Zebra, are you in? Is anyone else joining us? And do people want me to buy tickets or will you get your own?

If it’s a “pay in advance” situation, I may have to give it a miss–my Mom’s been ill, and I may have to take off to Phila. at a moment’s notice. I don’t want to leave you stuck for the ticket.

Nemo, Saturday at noon works fine for me.

Okay, I plan to call Monday and arrange to get the tickets. I plan on getting three; one each for Alto, friedo, and myself. I’ll attempt to get them for Saturday noon, but if that tour is full, I’ll get them for 1:30, 10:30, or 3:00 (in that order). Unless you guys say otherwise, I won’t get Sunday tickets. I should be able to pick up the tickets directly and have them ready for this weekend. You can pay me when you see me.

If Eve, Zebra, or anyone else is able to join us, let me know by posting here or emailing me at MKing49000@netscape.net (the email address in my profile is not current). I will probably still be able to pick up tickets later depending on how popular the tour is.