Sea, Sky and Stars at Bannerman's Castle Ruins - Atlas Obscura
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Fishkill, New York

Sea, Sky and Stars at Bannerman's Castle Ruins

Explore the stunning ruins of Bannerman Castle as you gaze upon Melissa McGill's light installation, "Constellation."

Watch the stunning land installation "Constellation" emerge one last time over the crumbling remains of Bannerman's Island Arsenal. We'll explore the island and its enigmatic ruins from sea, then join "Constellation" artist Melissa McGill and Hadrien Coumans of the Lenape Center on the island for talks and stories by starlight. 

Only 50 miles north of New York City, upon the small, rocky island named Pollepel, sit the remains of a turn-of-the-century tycoon's elaborate Scottish-style castle. Abandoned in 1957 following a series of disastrous occurrences, Bannerman's castle has been left to its own slow decay. Today, in the midst of the ruins, sits Melissa McGill's light installation, "Constellation." As the sun goes down, starry lights will appear one by one with the stars of the night sky creating a new constellation that connects past and present.

From a rarely visited vantage point on the island, you'll experience the magical illumination of "Constellation." Then, we'll gather on the island to talk with Melissa and Hadrien Coumans of the Lenape Center to discover the Lenape history of the land, the ancient inspiration for "Constellation," and the historical and mythic connection between land and sky.


  • Metro-North fare is NOT INCLUDED in the price of the tour. Please purchase your roundtrip train ticket at Grand Central Station.
  • Grand Central Terminal to Beacon Station, arriving at 7:11 pm.
  • If you'd like to travel with the Atlas Obscura group and learn a little more about Bannerman along the way, pre-purchase your ticket and meet us at the Grand Central Terminal clock in the main concourse by 5:30 pm.
  • Those traveling by car can meet us at the Beacon Ferry Dock in Beacon, NY at 7:00pm. The boat will depart promptly at 7:15pm.


  • Your tour includes a brief guided walk on the island where you will learn about both Constellation and Bannerman’s Castle.
  • Our tour will last approximately 2 hour 15 min: 1/2 hour each way on the shuttle boat and about 1 hour 15 minutes island tour and talks by Melissa McGill and Hadrien Coumans.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Some of the paths and trails are steep and there will be a lot of walking, including 72 stairs.
  • There is no running water on the island, but there are porta-potties. Bottled water will be available for purchase on the boat.
  • Feel free to bring your own picnic snack for the train and boat! No food is allowed on the island.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Bring a flashlight!



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