Thursday, February 16, 2012Who says you have to travel far from home to go on a great hike?
In Best Hikes Near New York City Discover Outdoors guide and author Ben Keene details the best hikes within an hour's drive of the New York metro area perfect for the urban and suburbanite hard-pressed to find great outdoor activities close to home. Here's an excerpt from Ben's book:
The Castle in the Hudson
Stand atop Storm King or Sugarloaf Mountain and you can't miss it: a rocky island near the eastern shore of the Hudson crowned by what looks to be, for all intents and purposes, the ruins of a majestic castle.
Your eyes do not deceive you. Needing a larger place to store the military equipment he had amassed as a professional munitions dealer, New Yorker Francis Bannerman began to build a castle on the tiny landmass just north of Breakneck Point in 1901. Styled after the fortified residences of his native Scotland, it would serve as a warehouse and a summer retreat for the family for many years after Bannerman himself passed away in 1918.
Harsh winters, vandalism and a powder house explosion have damaged the structure considerably but several tour companies lead seasonal trips out to the island (also known as Pollepel) by kayak and passenger boat. While officially part of Hudson Highlands State Park, the island is maintained by The Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc. This excerpt was submitted by Ben Keene. Follow Ben on twitter, his blog, or an outdoor adventure!