Friday, October 18, 2013

C... Castles!

I was going to tell you all about cats. Particularly my cats. Mainly because they are awesome cats with awesome names (Hercules and Zipporah - or Princess Zipporah Moon Shadow - it doesn't get much more awesome than that). But then I sat down and I really don't feel like writing about cats. Don't get me wrong, I love cats. I will be that crazy old cat woman and I shall have to find myself a crazy old cat man if I ever plan on finding myself married one day. But alas. I shall not be writing about cats. Not today anyway.

What do I want to write about?


As a fantasy loving and writing and lover of epicness, I have to love castles. It's just part of the description. 

Unfortunately, this does not mean I have actually been in one. For starters, I am broke. My family rarely had/has extra money to spend on awesomesauce stuff like that. So getting my butt to a castle, not so realistic. Second. I live in America. We have manors and mansions and really cool buildings, but I'm pretty sure we don't actually have castles. Not the awesomesauce ones in Europe and elsewhere anyway. 

You know how the brain likes to remember things five minutes later? Mine just did. I have, technically,  been in a castle. My grandfather has a house in Vermont and right down the street is this place called the Wilson Castle. Most visits to his house we have also visited this pretty awesome building. And by awesome, I mean that the one time I snuck out at night to walk into the nearby city of Rutland (with no nightlife, let me tell you), the place had transformed and I swore it was going to try to eat me. 

There it is, in it's non-menacing form. There are tours that show off a really nice fireplace, some fancy schmancy bedrooms, and an area of collected art. And it's in Vermont, so there's this really pretty view along the road and the highway right by it. Especially in the fall.

This place was built by some guy who married a pretty rich woman and decided, hey, let's build this place and call it a castle in 1867. So it's not even that old.

In 1939, a radio engineer named Herbert Lee Wilson, came to Vermont. He was a pioneer in the AM radio field and built radio stations all over the world. He was looking for a new location to build another station and a summer home for his family. He bought the castle & installed radio station WEWE in the old stable, which remains in operation.
That's from the website and just solved the mystery of what exactly was up with the old building and the antennae sticking out from it. But, it also explains why it is the "Wilson" castle.

Every fall, the owners do a haunted house tour. I have never been as we always avoided that stuff (for a reason. Anything creepy and I mentally peed my pants). But the one year they were testing out some of the stuff a couple of weeks before the haunted house opened. Well, my family went and when my brother asked what was behind a particular door, the tour guide grinned and said he can open it if he wanted. The elders among our group began laughing and smirking. My cousin and I stood there trying to figure out where this laughter was coming from. Brother narrowed his eyes at the guide and told her to do it herself. She came up with some excuse. Then my five year old cousin hopped over, opened it in a grand display of bravado, then screamed like a little girl, along with my brother, as a skeleton popped out of the closet. So the tour guides have plenty of fun with people whenever they can.

Okay, so you know how I said there are no castles in America? Apparently there are quite a few of them. More than a few actually. I am just a snob and think America has nothing epic. Whoops.

So here's a few to look at for you Americans, and non-Americans who may be scratching your heads wondering when exactly such things happened.

1. Lyndhurst ~ Tarrytown, New York

The history is nothing too interesting, but feel free to look it up yourself.

2. Castello di Amorosa ~ Calistoga, California


 So, heh, there are torture chambers at this place. Along with a moat and a Catholic church thing.
torture chamber....

This place is now a winery, so for any of you who love wine and torture chambers, there you go.

3. Bowman's/Nemacolin's Castle ~Brownsville, PA

Nemacolin's Castle

The castle started as a little trading post set up where a couple of forts used to be. During the French and Indian War, the Brit's had built themselves a wooden fort and before that, the "prehistoric indigenous peoples" (or, old time Native Americans) of the area built their earthen mounds there. The castle is at an intersection of the Nemacolin trail (thus the one name). Before all the Native Americans got their butts kicked by some greedy, land-stealing Europeans, they had a trail running through the mountains and Nemacolin, a Shawnee chief, decided to mark the trail, and ta-da! there it is. (I honestly have more interest in the trail at the moment than this castle. I like Native Americans and I like trails.)

4. Lord's Castle ~ Waltham, MA

File:WalthamMA LordsCastle.jpg

Nothing too exciting to look at (to me anyway), but the tower looks kinda cool and the story behind it is kind of sweet. This guy, Rufus Lord, fell in love (or lust. Or something) with a chick from Germany. He proposed to this lovely lady and she decided that she would not give him an outright yes or no. Her answer was conditional. As long as he built her a castle like the ones from Germany, he could have her hand and the rest of her, too. Because the guy was a builder, apparently had some money, and was a builder, she got her castle and he got himself a wife. I find this adorable on his part and kinda like a lady dog on her part.

5. And finally, the most famous one of all (I'm sure you know it...)

Yeah, that's right, Cinderella's castle. The icon of my childhood. What little girl growing up before internet became common in households across america (as that's about when the quality of movies went down the toilet), didn't ever dream of seeing that castle on the horizon? Everyone wanted to go to Disney. As a girl, especially one trying to convince my mother to name the baby in her belly Cinderella, I would have killed to go there. Lucky enough for me, I got to. Not that Cinderella was actually there. Oddly enough, even though I went to the Cinderella Castle, it was Sleeping Beauty we were told was hiding in it. This is now disturbing me greatly...
Anyway. The name of the castle says it all. Although, historically accurate me would like to point out that the castle, if Cinderella's, would more than likely actually belong to the family of her husband, the prince, not to a merchant's daughter.

And, that's a wrap!

Sand Castle Cat Climber
And this is for your darling (or not so darling) cat's to rule in.

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