Look!: House Tour of Pollepel Island

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Has anyone ever spotted the "castle" ruins on the Hudson River just below Beacon? Friends and I always gawked at the ruins from the Metro North train and just a few weeks ago I happened upon what the ruins are and how to visit them. They are located on Pollepel Island and the ruins are what remains of Bannerman Castle, a warehouse built by the island's owner around the turn of the century. Francis Bannerman bought and sold military salvage and built the "castle" warehouse as a form of advertisement to people traveling along the Hudson.

A recent visit brought me closer to the castle but also to the Bannermans' summer residence, also located on the island. Though in a state of ruin, the home still exudes qualities of domestic life that have endured the abandoned years:

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A grassy carpet in front of the fireplace.

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A seat built into the fork of tree branches near the house.

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Light pouring out of the entryway.

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The view the house was built to capture.


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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.