Lyndhurst Mansion and other castles of New York

- When you think "castle" you probably think medieval times or maybe you think Belvedere Castle in Central Park. But a lot of majestic castles are scattered throughout New York State.

North of New York City is Bannerman Castle. Its namesake was Irishman Francis Bannerman, who owned an ammunitions company in Brooklyn. He bought the island in 1901 and had the castle built to store military surplus. The state purchased the island in 1967. After a fire destroyed most of the castle in 1969, it became off-limits to the public. (The island eventually became part of Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve.)

In the Great Lakes region, you'll find Boldt Castle. George Boldt, a former manager of the Waldorf-Astoria, commissioned this castle in 1900. It was once one of the largest private homes in the United States. Today, it is a tourist attraction.

Hundreds of years ago, a castle was a structure that had to be fortified from attack. But after arriving at Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, I learned that times have changed.

Lyndhurst was built in 1838. It was designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the same man who designed Federal Hall on Wall Street.

The grand entryway is just a hint of what is inside. One of the first rooms you enter is a parlor where guests gathered before dinner. This was a room designed for conversation.

On our way to the paintings gallery, we passed a bathroom and the duchess's room complete with vintage Louis Vuitton trunk. The gallery made it clear that owner Jay Gould loved collecting fine art.

Almost 200 years after the gothic revival home was built, Lyndhurst remains a crown jewel on the shore of the Hudson River.

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