Photo courtesy Dutchess Tourism

October conjures up fall excursions to go apple picking, historic house hunting, and foliage spotting, and the Hudson Valley promises all of that with stunning scenery to spare. But where to go in the Hudson Valley can be a conundrum, as the region cuts a wide swath through New York State, stretching from Westchester County to Albany. Dutchess County, located within an hour north of New York City is the perfect escape for distinctive adventures you won’t easily find elsewhere in the Hudson Valley or upstate New York.

Scottish-style castles. Salt caves. Frank Gehry postmodern architecture. Picasso works on a quiet college campus. The world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. These are not the places you’d expect to see while visiting the Hudson Valley. Yet, they’re all in Dutchess County, along with other intriguing sites.

Here are ten in Dutchess County worth seeking out on your next upstate weekend getaway.

1. Bannerman Castle

Bannerman Castle

As you approach the town of Beacon by Metro North, it is hard to miss the decaying castle structures rising up from an island in the Hudson River. Though it could be mistaken for a crumbling citadel-inspired mansion, Bannerman Castle was actually built by Scottish-American entrepreneur Francis Bannerman as warehouses for his business “Bannerman’s,” a catalog business for war surplus (including munitions and large artillery). Originally based in Brooklyn and later Manhattan, Bannerman’s was forced to relocate when it procured a large stash from the Spanish American War, much of which was too dangerous to have within city limits. This proved wise, as the the powerhouse exploded in 1920 sending debris all the way across the Hudson and blowing out some of the warehouse windows.

The Bannerman Castle Trust has been working for many years to preserve the structures on the island, which include the main warehouse structure, a residence, and a breakwater system. You can take tours of Bannerman Island from May to October.

Also check out Dutchess County’s 2018 Digital Destination Guide.