You or someone you know love history, myths, castles and legends. We immediately think og Europe. The classical destinations of Paris, London, Germany, Austria and eastern Europe with Castles from medieval times come to mind.
A good example is the Belvedere Castle in Austria which attracts several travelers all-year-round.
Do you know that there are also castles in the USA? And most, if not, all of them are easily reached. No hiking or driving steep hills, like one does in some castles in Europe. America may have shunned monarchy, but there are enough castles for those who would like to see one without crossing over the Atlantic. So here are some of them.
These castles are open to the public and can be toured either on your own or with a group. Please click on the names to get to their website where you will find more information about visiting these places.
364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
This is the only official royal residence in the United States. Built by King David Kalakaua in the 1800’s, it had the island’s first electric light system. Its last royal was Queen Liliuokalani, who was imprisoned here. When Hawaii was annexed to the USA in 1898, the Iolani Palace was used as the capitol building.
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, USA
My first encounter of the name William Randolph Hearst was through the movie Citizen Kane. It was a fiction movie, but it was rumoured to be based on the life of Hearst. I have heard of Hearst publications, but not of the man. That scene where it all came back to Rosebud was the most powerful and intriguing scene of that movie. William built this estate and called it “La Cuesta Encantada” – Spanish for The Enchanted Hill. He spent his last years at this castle. There are two grandiose swimming pools, the Neptune Pool and the Roman Pool, seen above.
CA-89, Tahoma, CA 96142, USA
Located in Lake Tahoe, Vikingsholm is the greatest piece of Scandinavian architecture one can find in the USA. Built by Lora Knight after her several trips to Scandinavia. Dragon beams, which is typical of many early Scandinavian structures, can be seen on Vikingsholm.
67 River Rd, East Haddam, CT 06423, USA
From the outside, Gillette Castle looks more like remains of a beautiful structure. Inside, however, it is filled with modern gadgets and curiosities like a movable table on tracks and a surveillance system using mirrors. Around the property, there is a 3.2 mile railroad system. Gillette did not have any heirs and the property is now managed and run by the state of Connecticut. A famous actor, William Gillette called his castle “Seventh Sister”.
20022 Castle Creek Rd, Castella, CA 96017, USA
Imposing granite formations which are over 170 million years old, the Castle Crags State Park is not what you would expect a “castle” to be. This park is considered holy ground by the regions Native Americans. There are several trails from beginners to the more advanced.
4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
If you have dreamt of visiting Tuscany and you are based in the west coast of the US, then you can drive to Napa Valley and visit Castello di Amorosa. Authentic 13th century medievel Tuscany-style castle. It even has a drawbridge and a torture chamber. And like a lot of Europe’s castles, hand-painted frescoes adorn the place. Castello di Amorosa is one of V. Sattui’s vineyards that is open to the public. There are 107 rooms and none of them are alike. You can and must eat one meal here. The vineyard’s sommelier will guide you through wine pairings that will match what you eat.
7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
This is not a real castle or palace, but it is fun to visit so I am including it here. If you like magic tricks, then this is the place to go when you are in California. Even if you don’t like magic, you’ll probably be a convert by the time you get out. The Magic Castle is the clubhouse of Hollywood’s Academy of Magical Arts. There is an air of secrecy here, and you can get in only by invitation. Check the website before you drop by.
Seven castles in the USA. There are other properties considered to be castles or palaces like Sam’s Castle in the San Francis Bay Area, Winthertur in Delaware, Coral Castle in Florida, Wing’s Castle in Milbrook New York, plus many more. If you are a big fan of Disneyland as I am, then you should also add on your must-visit castles the Sleeping Beaty Castle just beyond Main Street.
Have you visited any castles lately? Tell me about it. Drop me a line.