Looking for some offbeat destination ideas for your next vacation? How about some of the weirdest castles this side of the Atlantic?
America doesn't have castles like Europe. That's one of the things separates us from the old country and, honestly, is that really such a bad thing? Especially if your idea of interesting destination ideas leans more toward the offbeat than the traditional. Far more representative of what America is and how we differ from Europe can be found by visiting America's strangest castles.
Bishop Castle: Rye, Colorado
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Few words can describe Bishop Castle better than those associated with weird and odd. What started out as construction on a cottage for his family in 1969 by Jim Bishop soon grew into what must be considered one of the most bizarre castles in the country and a vital component of those who think of something off the beaten track when they think of destination ideas. Heck, the Bishop Castle would be considered one of the most bizarre castles in the country even if that country was England. The architectural wonders that await those who put put Bishop Castle on their list of destination ideas are strange enough, but perhaps pale in comparison to the fact that once you get there, you may arrive to witness actual construction continuing on this eternal work-in-progress. Bishop Castle is about as far away from those on a list of typical mainstream vacation destination ideas as you can get.
Gillette Castle: East Haddam, Connecticut
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William Gillette was a stage actor who defined his reputation in the role of Sherlock Holmes. While other actors have inherited his mantle of being the definitive Sherlock, none of them can match the other great achievement of his life which is one of the greatest overlooked destination ideas in all of New England . Gillette designed and oversaw construction of the castle, which took five years to complete. The exterior of Gillette Castle has architecture qualities that may bring to mind Medieval castles in Europe, a barnacle-encrusted boat hull or just a creepy living entity from a Stephen King novel. The really cool part is that the Gillette Castle is every bit as odd and weird a bit of architecture delight on the inside as it is on the outside.
Stokes Castle: Austin, Nevada
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For most people, the very loosely populated desert hamlet that is Austin, Nevada is not exactly likely to be found very high on their list of destination ideas. But then you are not most people, right? Rising three stories high into the air in Austin, Nevada, Stokes Castle is a testament to the concept that those with the most money sometimes share that privilege with also being those with the least brains. Anson Phelps Stokes made a mint by owning a mine. And he put those miners to work on building a castle inspired by his idea of something to put on his bucket list of destination ideas: Rome. Mr. Stokes had more than enough money to travel to Rome and more than enough money to have his miners put together a three story castle of granite inspired by what he found here. As for the brains part? Stokes and his family spent about one month in his castle before selling his interest in the mind and moving away forever to chart the course of his dream destination ideas that had nothing more to do with barren wilderness of Nevada. Of course, the fact that this castle looks more like a leftover tower from a 19th century fort blown away by cannonballs may be the final arbiter of whether Phelps Stokes possessed more money than brains. Still, after very nearly suffering the ultimate indignity of being transported to Las Vegas to become just another tourist attraction on the Strip, the rather unassuming Stokes Castle seems to have had the last laugh: its placement on the National Register of Historic Places means it should remain right where it was built long enough for you to stop and visit no matter how low on your list of destination ideas Stokes Castle may sit.