Castles in America
by Amy Lignor
Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of the gaudiest,” we still loved to take a peek.
Now, according to Forbes, NYC has taken the top spot over dear, old London as being the most expensive when it comes to real estate properties. But, for those who don’t know, there are castles not set in the Big Apple, but ones America can definitely claim. Although Europe will always be known as having the ancient dwellings with the most elaborate castle motifs (AKA: moats and drawbridges), America does have some stunning homes that cannot be categorized as the normal “McMansion.”
For instance, in Woodstock, Connecticut (for the low, bargain price of $39 million), Chrismark Castle can be had. Not only does the buyer receive an 18,777-square-foot Gothic-style castle, but they also receive a dwelling with a scandalous past. No, not scandalous like having a guillotine in the backyard and taking out various Queens, such as England can boast, but definitely a home that has an air of controversy brought about by a website that once operated there. Advertising women, rating them on how “ethnic” they were, people could purchase $125 per hour “photo sessions” with one of them. But if scandal is an interesting thing for you, buying this castle also gives you nine bedrooms, ten baths, an auditorium, a stage, a group shower (hmm…) and, yes, a real moat and a real drawbridge. Add in a 126-foot high glass-topped observation tower that is the centerpiece of the whole property and it makes Game of Thrones fans positively giddy. Why hasn’t it sold yet? Perhaps the scandal combined with the group shower makes them feel a bit odd.
In New York State, Bolton Landing to be exact, Highlands Castle is up for sale for a mere $12.8 million. There’s a bit of a scandal that goes along with this one too; but, depending on how you look at it, anyone could be the villain. It was in 1975 that John Lavender promised his son that he would build a castle just for him. (Crazy father or spoiled rotten kid? You be the judge.) Highlands Castle came into being after that vow, offering a Great Hall with 25-foot-high beamed ceilings and over twenty floor-to-ceiling windows set into real stone walls. A private drive that runs a third of a mile long brings you to the castle that has 180-degree views of the Adirondack Mountains. So while you drool over the scenery, you can also revel in the absolute seclusion. There are no historical landmarks that will bring tourists around to annoy you, and you have enough land and water to make your very own moat…if you wish.
But it’s not only on the East Coast where castles can be found. In gorgeous Versailles, Kentucky, for $15 million (only), a buyer can get Castle Post. 16 bedrooms and 16 baths, the castle was built after a local contractor, Rex Martin, and his wife, Caroline, vacationed in Germany. Although it looks far more like a French castle, the building was started, divorce occurred and the Post family bought it in 2003 at auction for a reported $1.8 million; they went on to finally complete the structure.
What it became (and is currently) is a boutique hotel that is referred to by one and all as the “Crown Jewel of the Bluegrass.” Guests receive a lot for their $195 to $420 a night, including, tennis and basketball courts, a library, billiards room, game room, card room, and a banquet hall that’s actually modeled after the real Versailles. Of course, the buyer can shut down the hotel upon purchase, and can also easily raise horses on this 50+ acre property. Apparently the land is quite nutritious and is perfectly suited for those who wish to be a large part of the racing industry in Kentucky. And let’s face it…you get a real deal here. Only 6 years ago this castle was listed at $30 million. Now you can get it for just half that price. Talk about a bargain.
In other words, take that London! The Americans have their own brand of scandal and intrigue and the castles to prove it. So, as Robin Leach would say, here’s to champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
Source: Baret News