Too Good to Be True?
I thought there might be a catch, when my sister found a Groupon coupon, offering a night in a "castle" for $99.00. The website images looked a little over-the-top-magical, like Disney World or a Thomas Kinkade painting.
But we were happy to find out for ourselves. Here's a photo I took after we arrived at the Castle Hill Resort. There was nothing fake or corny about the impressive home!
Road Trip Stop
Don and I were traveling with my sister and brother and their spouses in June. It was the first really pretty day of our Meyer Clan road trip.
We climbed from our 3 cars and grinned at the castle which had been home to Vermont's governor, at the turn of the century.
It really did look like an image from a jigsaw puzzle.
The sun was glowing on the trees and the immaculate garden. I walked towards the porte cochere to find the entrance.
Stone and Wood
I paused under the structure to take in the view, through the wood and stone frame.
I was tempted to keep on walking, towards a few chairs in a peaceful garden area. Then I turned towards the intricate set of wood and screen doors and felt equally delighted. I love cool doors!
The entry was dim and quiet, like a thoughtful museum. But we were suddenly made comfortable by Mary Jane, who greeted from a nearby check-in table.
She was delighted to tell me she was putting us in Room 11. "It's the favorite of the staff!" She announced. I'm guessing some guests might not call Room 11 their favorite, because not all guests like to climb stairs.
Up Two Flights
Don and I are used to old hotels with no elevators, but we had more baggage than usual. If we'd arrived about 100 years earlier, we could have enjoyed the luxury of an elevator, since this home was the first residence to have one in Vermont. The old lift no longer worked, so we headed up the first set of stairs, past the original green wallpaper from 1905.
All 3 of our rooms were on the third floor and our group made a rather comical parade, trudging and lugging and panting up to the second floor. It looked like we were coming to stay a month!
When we reached the second floor, we had to head down the hallway, to a narrow stairway at the end of the hall.
It was tempting to splash a little water on the face... or call for help on the old phone device...or to test out the broken elevator, behind the wooden door.
Big Corner Room
Don and I dropped our bags and laughed when we saw our room.
In many old mansions, the rooms on the top floor were often smaller ones, reserved for the Help. Surely our spacious room couldn't have been the maids quarters?
Room to Play
Not only did our room have a king sized bed and ample seating, but there was floor space, large enough to practice some dance moves. And there was a classy brick fireplace with a peacock fire screen!
Once settled, we took time checking out each others' rooms. Don and I got majorly teased for grabbing up the best room. I guess we should have hosted a room party, to even things out!
Our bathroom was about the size of the hotel room, we'd slept in the night before.
To get to our private bathroom, we opened the beautiful, arched door beside the fireplace, then passed through a closet/walkway. Another door led into the roomy bathroom.
Sweet Window and Tub
I did love the adorable bathroom with all its cozy charm. The diamond pane window looked out on a wooded hill with numerous birdbaths.
The tub had a good shower head, but I took full advantage of the soaking portion. I relaxed and pondered the large bathroom closet, with enough shelves to hold 3 seasons worth of Grandma's canned fruits and veggies... or towels.
Pool and Spa
On the other side of the parking area, was a quaint, shuttered building that was once the carriage house.
Inside the building was a spa and fitness room, but the weather was perfect for enjoying the salt water pool... or for sitting near the pool. I lounged and watched my sister-in-law do laps.
Back at the Castle
After pool time, we cleaned up and looked for a place to enjoy a little Happy Hour champagne. We
traveled down the paneled hallway, away from the porte cochere.
The Living Room
If it had been raining or hot, we could have met up in the living room/library and had some champagne toasts, beneath a most decorative ceiling!
My sister and I did a little exploring while we waited for the others to join us on the patio.
This beautiful westside entrance, with windows and stone, was what we saw up on the hill, when we arrived earlier.
Jennifer and I wandered down the pathway a bit. We did some posing for each other's cameras. I am pretending I own the home behind me.
We found another garden area and a wedding reception tent, which reminded us of our nephew's wedding a few days earlier. Andy and Casey's wedding, was what brought the siblings (and spouses) to the northeast to begin with!
Toasting the Newlyweds!
The atmosphere was the perfect for opening our mini bottles of champagne, that we'd gotten as gifts at the wedding.
This was the third wedding that my Meyer Sibs had gathered for in 7 months. It was the first time we allowed extra time to continue celebrating, on the road!
Cheers to All of Us!
We were lucky to have the patio to ourselves. It kind of felt like we were just hanging out "at home". Although my sibs and I never lived in a mansion, nor did our spouses.
We enjoyed sipping our bubbly, before heading into dinner. I'm a little bit glad I didn't know there were rules about outside alcohol on the property. We read the hotel rules later and realized we had been breaking this one. Ooops.
There were a couple of dining rooms, but our reservation for 6, got us the round table in the original family dining room.
It was pretty fun to imagine the governor's family sitting in the oval room, with rounded window and rich wood paneling. I should have photographed the impressive pocket doors.
The menu had some exciting options. We all ended up with a fabulous 3-course meal.
Beef Wellington, Mussels, Escargot and Bone-in Filet Mignon... Our meal was paced beautifully and couldn't have been tastier.
Diane was our server and she absolutely made our dining experience!
She also happily took a couple photos, so we could remember our night!
Best Food & Best Service
The 6 of us agreed that our meal at the castle was probably the favorite memory from our trip. The complimentary truffles and the pecan pie, with maple ice cream was a good ending.
We also agreed that Diane's service helped make our evening above and beyond. It's taken spouses many years to totally get the Meyer (specifically my brother's) Humor. Diane was on top of it, from the moment she greeted our table! Once the cozy room emptied of other diners, our voices got little louder and Diane became more relaxed with our questions and silliness. What a great evening.
Our castle on the hill, was really more of a mansion... but calling it The Castle, was half the fun. We relaxed at the pool and on the patio and dined like Royalty into the night, but it still felt like our castle was a comfy, homey castle.
When we tiptoed up the stairs after dinner, it felt like we were kids again, muffling giggles in our hall. I half expected a parent's voice to holler from behind a door, "Go to sleep!"
I'm so glad that Don and I got to experience a Notable Night at The Castle, with others! Enjoying with our family group, made the adventure twice as memorable!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!