There’s something about wintertime that summons my love of all things historical. Turn on Bridgerton or Downtown Abbey, pull some scones out of the oven, and have a cup of tea. The only thing that would make it better is if I were in a castle or a manor… Do we even have those in this country?
It doesn’t take a lot of digging around Google Earth to learn that, yes, we do! And many of them are only a short road-trip away!
Castles in the East
Just outside of New York, in Hudson Highlands State Park on Pollepel Island, lies a previous grand fortress, which now make for awesome photographs of ruins. This castle can be accessed to the public via a walking tour offered by the Hudson Highlands State Park preservation society – or you can easily spot it on the Metro-Line North heading towards Beacon!
This beautiful building wasn’t built as a fortress or even a home – it was designed as a surplus supply storage facility for the US military. I didn’t see that one coming!
The fairytale Belvedere Castle of New York City is located inside Central Park! It was built solely as an attraction and observation platform for Central Park visitors.
Near Bannerman Castle, and just outside of Tarrytown, NY, stands Lyndhurst Castle. This was a home built for the rich and famous. According to Wikipedia, “Designed in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis, the house was owned in succession by New York City mayor William Paulding, Jr., merchant George Merritt, and railroad tycoon Jay Gould.” It’s now a place that you can visit and is protected as a National Historic Landmark!
Just outside of Alexandria Bay, NY, like Boldt Castle. Originally built for Waldorf Astoria tycoon, George C. Boldt’s wife, it was meant to be a Rheinland-style castle in the USA. Sadly, Mrs. Boldt passed away before it’s completion, but she and Mr. George C. Boldt left a beautiful legacy of Central-Western Europe right in the heart of New York.
Like so many of the castles in the northeast, Fonthill Castle was built originally as a home and estate. Owned by Henry Chapman Mercer, archaeologist, he built this estate to show off his findings and collections. Now, it serves as a gallery and museum for the public.
Aside from Hearst Castle, the Biltmore Estate is probably the most recognizable to the majority of Americans. As a full-functioning resort, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, has become a playground for the rich and famous. Originally home to George and Edith Vanderbilt, this property has been preserved with all of it’s century-old decadence.
Castles in the West
The western castles change in appearance from those in the east. Instead of being a pure representation of Europe, many of the castles in the west focus on the natural materials available to them – building out of clays, limestone, and even into the mountainside!
Castello di Amorosa
One castle in California that doesn’t break European tradition is Castello di Amorosa. Built to replicate Medieval Italian castles, the Castello offers a wonderful tour and is a fully functioning winery and vineyard located in Napa Valley.
Dedicated to preserving Native American culture, Montezuma Castle is truly America’s Castle. Built somewhere between 1100 and 1400 AD, this home would’ve been used by the Sinagua people. Located near Camp Verde, AZ, this is now designated public parkland!
Seen everywhere from Citizen Kane to the recently released Netflix film, Mank, Hearst Castle is the living dream of media mogul William Randolph Hearst. Located in San Simeon, CA, just off of Hwy 1, this estate used to host lavish parties and retreats for the entertainment industry’s elite. Now, it is an active museum and wildlife sanctuary.
Castles in the Midwest
Ha Ha Tonka Castle
This ground was the dream of wealthy Kansas City businessman, Robert Snyder. He bought 5,000 acres (including a private lake), to begin construction on a European-style castle. However, in 1906, he died tragically in one of Missouri’s first automobile accidents. It stayed in the Snyder family as a private residence until the family ran out of money and the home caught fire in 1942.
Now serving as an amazing Instagram backdrop like Celtic Ruins, the castle and the land around it are part of a state park!
This castle has a unique history and presence. Located outside of Loveland, Ohio, the Chateau Laroche (aka Loveland Castle), was built “as an expression and reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived when Knighthood was in flower. It was their knightly zeal for honor, valor, and manly purity that lifted mankind out of the moral midnight of the dark ages and started it towards the gray dawn of human hope. Present human decadence proves a need for similar action. Already the ancient organization of Knights has been re-activated to save society. Any man of high ideas who wish to help save civilization is invited to become a member of the Knights of the Golden Trail, whose only vows are the Ten Commandments. Chateau Laroche is the World headquarters and Residence of the K.O.G.T.”
It is an amazing structure — built for an odd reason (modern day Don Quixote anyone???) — a museum of curiosity that I’ll be sure to check out next time I’m in Ohio!
Castles in the South
This 19,082 sq. ft. mansion, home to lawyer and politician Walter Gresham, was built to withstand the strongest of Galveston, TX storms. Standing strong for the past 120 years, the magnificent Gresham Estate / Bishop’s Place is now a museum.
The Danish Castle
Built in 1890, this Danish-inspired abode for John Clement Trube still stands strong in Galveston, TX and remains in the Trube family.
Castillo de San Marcos
This photo summons me to Santorini…Or…St. Augustine, FL??? This waterside fortress was built to help protect Florida during the Atlantic Ocean trade route. Now, it’s preserved as one of the oldest masonry fortifications in the United States as a national monument.
Have you visited any of these?
As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!
Stay in your region this year, stay safe, stay distant, and be like the NYC statues – wear your masks! We’ll see you on the other side.
Other At-Home (or Near Home) Ideas!!!
- Toasting Self-Care in 2021
- Top Spots in Your Region to “Social Distance”
- My Life With a Systems Engineer – 5 Tips to Engineer Your Best Life At Home
- Tiny Spaces – Downsizing and Upscaling!
- Our Top 10 Stay-At-Home Quarantine Activities
- Escape Quarantine with Themed Nights At Home
- The Coolest App You Forgot About in 2010
- Toasting Quarantine with Books!
- Toasting Quarantine with Subscription Boxes!
- Toasting Quarantine with Travel and Food TV!
Here’s to a year of a better and healthier you!
Noah and Majhon