Hearst Castle
#The Lowdown

Magnificent Castles In America

By Travel Savvy

According to the dictionary, a castle is officially a large fortified structure built in medieval times that protects those inside against attack with thick walls, battlements, towers, and in many cases a moat. Most of the world's castles are strewn across Europe, but some lucky residents of the United States can visit a real castle in their own backyard! In fact, lots of American castles were built by business tycoons as symbols of wealth, power and love. Check out these 4 marvelous castles -- each with a fascinating story!  

Boldt Castle 1

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Visit1000islands.com

Boldt Castle

1 Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY

www.boldtcastle.com

Open seven days a week starting at 10:00AM

Millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt ordered the construction of Boldt Castle in 1900 as a symbol of love for his wife. It was to be their summer dream home on Heart Island, overlooking picturesque Alexandria Bay; however, she passed away before its completion. Grief stricken, he stopped the construction altogether and abandoned the unfinished project, and never returned to his private island. The monument of love was then acquired in 1977 by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, who sought to refurbish and restore the property for future generations. Today, visitors are welcome to explore the island and the six story, 120 room castle with tunnels, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, etc. For more visitor information, click here.

Hearst Castle 2

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Hearst Castle

750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA

www.hearstcastle.org

Open seven days a week starting at 9:00AM

Dubbed a National Historic Landmark, Hearst Castle was designed by Julia Morgan - the first woman architect licensed in California - as a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolf Hearst. The sprawling estate features 165 rooms, 123 acres of gardens, a movie theatre, an airfield, and even a private zoo! Mr. Hearst enjoyed rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elite of his time, inviting guests such as Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford and others. Following Mr. Hearst's death, the castle became a California State Park in 1954, and is open to the public for tours. You can reserve tickets for the castle up to 56 days in advance here.

Fun Fact: The prestigious Sight and Sound movie poll by the British Film Institute has historically rated Citizen Kane, the fictionalized story of William Randolf Hearst, as #1 on their list of the Greatest Films Ever Made, where it stayed at the top spot from 1962 to 2012. It's currently holding steady at #2.

Hammond Castle 3

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: William H. Johnson]

Hammond Castle

80 Hesperus Ave, Gloucester, MA

www.hammondcastle.org

Open Tuesday through Sunday 10:00AM - 4:00PM

Head to the Massachusetts fishing town of Gloucester to tour the medieval-style home built by one of America's premier inventors John Hays Hammond, Jr. Built in the roaring 20's, Hammond Castle features actual pieces of European castles that Hammond bought and shipped to the US in order to create his own. Visitors can marvel at the resident's drawbridge, tower, courtyards, salt water pool, hidden entryways, and more. 

Fonthill Castle 4

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Mercer Museum

Fonthill Castle

525 E Court St, Doylestown, PA

www.mercermuseum.org

Open Monday through Saturday 10:00AM - 5:00PM; Sunday 12:00PM 5:00PM

Archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar and antiquarian Henry Chapman Mercer built Fonthill Castle in Pennsylvania between 1908 and 1912 as his home and as a place to showcase his collection of tiles and prints. Designed by Mercer, the structure is a mixture of Medieval, Gothic and Byzantine architectural styles with 44 rooms and 18 fireplaces. In accordance with his wishes, the castle was left as a museum of decorative tiles and prints in 1930 when he passed away. Today, it is designated a National Historic Landmark.

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