It’s not every day that a home like this pops up on the Hudson Valley real estate market. About a mile from West Point Military Academy, you can find this rare, historic home in Highland Falls, where the property boasts unobstructed, sweeping views of the Hudson River. An exciting past with ties to renowned investment banker J.P. Morgan and the “Piano Man” Billy Joel makes this home even more interesting.
Currently known as Overlook on Hudson, the nine-bedroom, seven-bath property is located at 26 Kings Road on the banks of the Hudson River and is listed at $2.5 million with Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty. The home stands on the foundation of what was once Cragston, J.P. Morgan’s 1880s summer estate that was unfortunately destroyed by a fire in 1948. The existing house was built in the 1950s by King James Weyant, a former mayor of Highland Falls, and it uses the surviving fireplace and bricks from Cragston.
The compound consists of three structures – a five-bedroom, four-bath main house; a three-bedroom, two-bath carriage house; and a one-bedroom, one-bath cottage. The main house opens up into a generously proportioned living room and great room with the original surviving fireplaces and spectacular river views. French doors in the dining room swing open to an awning-covered patio for outdoor dining, and the first floor has three bedrooms and bathrooms, while the second floor is complete with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The cottage has been converted into a modern-day pool house with an open kitchen-living room, a picture window, patio, bedroom, and bathroom.
Overlook on Hudson is currently owned by the Donnery family, whose great-grandmother worked for the Morgans as a maid at Cragston. The owners have run the home as a successful bed and breakfast with features that include an in-ground pool, vineyard, mature gardens with several majestic, century-old trees, and thousands of daffodils planted by Morgan’s instruction as a tribute to his wife who collected the flower’s bulbs.
Not only was the property visited by many notable 19th and 20th-century historic figures such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Andrew Carnegie when it was Morgan’s Cragston, but Overlook on Hudson has also housed the likes of Billy Joel, who rented it in the 1970s. While Billy Joel was staying in Highland Falls, he completed his iconic “New York State of Mind” song there, along with “Summer, Highland Falls,” which alludes to his time in the Orange County town. Evidently, Joel’s album Songs in the Attic refers to the second-floor bedroom of the estate’s main house, which is where the piano was located, and the current owners of the house paid homage to the artist by coining this room the “Billy Joel Room” and wallpapering it with sheet music for the bed and breakfast.
With proximity to Stewart International Airport and Metro-North Railroad’s Garrison train stop, travel from this Highland Falls location is easy and accessible. For activities closer to home, the Appalachian Trail, Bear Mountain State Park, Storm King Art Center, the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, and a number of breweries, vineyards, hiking trails, and charming river towns are some of the area’s biggest attractions.
Jody Atkinson is the realtor of Nyack-based Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty, which listed the home, and she describes the property as “breathtaking” and “a rare opportunity to own a piece of history in the glorious Hudson Valley.”
Overlook on Hudson is located at 26 Kings Road in Highland Falls.