Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Beacon, Bannerman, Fishkill, New York

Anniversary weekend!  A trip upstate, which is not really upstate or even central state, but it's norther than we live, so upstate it was.  What should have been about an hour and a half was two and some minutes, which isn't all that bad considering we've taken like three hours to go to Staten Island.  I drove, which means Eddie was in charge of Taking Pictures of Fun and Pretty Things. He's getting the hang of it.
This is where bears live. -- Eddie
I near flipped out when I saw this bridge.  Because it's pretty.

Then we saw our first piece of art when we got to Fishkill.
Plus a pretty lake thingie!
We settled quickly into our hotel and headed to the diner across the street because we like diners.
Then we headed into Beacon to take in the town.  It's a small town and very artsy, so it's really cute.  They have public art.  I love public art!  Eddie loves that I love public art!  They also have some galleries.
Okay, this might not be art.  But that kinda makes it art, right?
There are also a bunch of small independent shops, which I love.  They have a bookstore that supports the library.  It's very small, and though the shelves are labeled with genres, there's no real system of organization.  Some bookcases were labeled All Books Here $1.  There was a case in the back that had plastic bags next to it and the sign said we could fill a bag with any books from the case, and the bag would be $2.  We actually spend a whopping $10, but not on these.  I found a book about football and showed it to Eddie jokingly, and he was like, I want this.  Then I found a book entitled Texts From Jane Eyre, which ponders what if characters throughout literature texted each other, and I had to have it.  They were each $5.  Later on, I noticed that the plastic bag was from a grocery store and not from the actual bookstore.  Awesome.
The rest of the town was basically pretty, quirky, and pretty quirky.  We walked it all in about an hour and a half.  It got to be boiling when we were on the sunny side of the street, so we headed back to the hotel to go through our amazing purchases, which included the aforementioned books, a small notepad for writing, and some stickers, but not the hip hop cookie pressers that Eddie debated about.  By the time we got back to the hotel, it was mid afternoon snack time, so I grabbed a healthy-looking cookie which was out of this world delicious and some free tea. FREE!

At dinnertime, we took in downtown Fishkill.  It's smaller than Beacon. It offered a few restaurants, so we chose Five Guys so Eddie could eat a burger and I could eat FREE peanuts--and they were giving away free samples of milkshakes so I took one.  I shared his fries because Five Guys gives you about a gallon of fries and then we went to Frozenberry for froyo and it was yummy.
I devoured the milkshake before I could take a picture of it.  Because it was free AND delicious.
That night, we watched The Interview on Netflix.  Because that's how we party.  We laughed out loud and hysterically and often.

The next day, we were ready to go to Pollepel Island to see Bannerman Castle!  We woke up early, got ready early, lazed around for a while, and then headed to breakfast.  We ate bagels as slowly as we could.  We were still super early to the dock, so we took in the local park first.
We found our way to the dock and camped out until people showed up.  We were there so early, but then everyone kind of arrived at once after us.  Our boat came in and we were ready to sail!  As we waited for 12:30, the time to shove off, the boat got extremely hot, but once we were on the water, the breeze felt cool.  Then the island appeared ahead of us.
On the boat!
Now I could go into the history of Bannerman Castle, but really, that's what the tour is for.  All you need to know is that there's a broken down castle in the middle of the Hudson, and it's Uh. May. Zing!  What I will tell you is that while the website warns that you have to walk up 75 steps from the dock on the island to start the tour, what it doesn't tell you is that those wooden steps are the easy part.  There's lots of narrow trail walking and rock crumbling and curvy windy path following.  AND if you go on a day when it's like 103 degrees out, it's friggin hot at the top.  I enjoyed it all very much, but in the heat, it was a little long.  I would love to retell you every single detail, but I missed some of the details towards the end when all I was thinking was, Get me off of this island.  It was that kind of hot.

However, the tour was still fantastic.  I chose to go with the tour guide who was wearing a Yankee cap because I figured if Eddie was completely uninterested in what the guy was saying, he could talk sports.  And what we learned was really interesting, and our tour guide presented everything to us in a gossipy kind of way as well as an informative one (he told us that Polly Pel wasn't much of a looker as he passed a picture of her around--he was really entertaining).  There was a second guide with us who knew some other stuff, including why there was a flag emblem engraved into the stone of the house, which is a secondary structure aside from the castle.  When asked what the square footage was of the house, the guide replied, It's a round house so there's no square footage.  This was my kind of tour.

We saw the ruins of the castle.  We saw the ruins of the house.  We saw the gardens.  We saw what used to be an outhouse.  We saw the remnants of a well.  We passed around newspaper clippings and posters about the island from the past.  We stood in the shade as much as we could.

Side of the castle
Around the other side
We have about 87 pictures of the same thing.

The house. We learned a lot about the stone and the flag but I don't remember any of it because I sweat it all out.
Pretty garden under the beating hot sun
This is what the living room looked like.  Then there was an explosion.  I'm missing some key elements of the story.

There are some places that look really iffy.  Thankfully, they don't let you go near them.
Around the side of the house
At the end of the tour, the boat came back to pick us up.  We saw a lot of activity in the water as we made our way down.
The guides were deciding who was going to stay behind for the next tour.  Fun fact: If you don't want to visit the island via boat, you can kayak there.  That's someone's idea of fun.  We did not see the kayaks when we were leaving.

Once we got back to the mainland, it was time to head home.  But first, we blasted the air conditioner in the car because we were gross. Oh!  And before leaving, I saved this little squeezy chicken from certain death in the parking lot.  I lodged him in the mirror of the minivan next to us, assuming that if you have a minivan, you have kids, and this probably belongs to them.  Changing the world one kindness at a time.

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