Bannerman's Castle

Bannerman’s Island (as I know it) is a tiny island in the Hudson River just off  Route 9D outside Cold Spring, NY.  Driving by the island as a child it looked scary but I always wanted to know what the history of it was and why it was vacant and falling apart.

The island’s actual name is Pollepel Island.  Legend has it that young girl named Polly Pell was rescued from the river landed on the shores of the island and the island was named after her.

There have been 5 owners of the island before it was donated to the people of the State of New York.  The third owner Francis Bannerman is where the real story begins of the castle and what the island was used for.

Bannerman's Island Arsenal

The Bannerman’s purchased the island from the Taft family in 1900 as a storage facility for their weapon supply business. They were a munitions dealer and the weapons were brought to the island until sold.

Being Scottish they built the Scottish castle in 1901 as their residence.

In 1969 there was a huge fire on the island which left it in ruins. Today they are trying to restore the island and offer tours on selected dates via boat or kayak.  You can check the website for specific tour information

The Chefs’ Consortium is hosting a fundraising Farm-To-Table dinner for Bannerman’s Island on the island Saturday, September 13, 2014.  Consortium chefs will be preparing you a five course farm-to-table dinner with locally and regionally sourced ingredients in the Helen Bannerman’s garden.

Since the chefs don’t like to commit to a dish when dealing with locally sourced ingredients as they want to wait to see what is in the height of the season, I can tell you the following chefs will be responsible for creating these wonderful courses.

Chilled summer soup course – Robert Turner – Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

Brazilian inspired salad course – Ellie Markovitch – Story Cooking

Main course – Michael Lapi – SUNY Cobleskill

Local cheese course – Josh Coletto – Local 111

Historic artisanal molasses beer tasting and dessert pairing – Tyler LaCorata and Justin Markham – Devil’s Run Brewing Company 

Locally inspired beverages – Jillian Naveh – 9 Miles East Farm

In it’s 5th year, the dinner will have two seatings and cost is $125.  To purchase tickets and more info on the dinner visit

The Chefs’ Consortium is comprised of New York chefs who are committed to promoting locally grown farm fresh food. They bring farm products to audiences through out the Hudson Valley and Capital Region of Albany.  As Consortium chefs, they travel around New York State and share their love of local food and farm fresh cooking.

Here’s a video of previous Chefs’ Consortium dinner in Bannerman’s Castle.  Looks like a amazing experience.