67 River Rd., East Haddam, Connecticut
Towering atop a bluff overlooking the Connecticut River, this majestic castle rivals the famed medieval abodes of Europe. Recently restored to its original glory, the 24-room stone dwelling was meticulously designed by William Gillette, the actor renowned for his stage portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.
Until his death in 1937, Gillette called the colossal structure, complete with an authentic stone parapet, home. In fact, he spent most of his last 20 years here, living alone as a near recluse. Today the castle and its surrounding 184 acres comprise the state’s most scenically impressive and tranquil public park, welcoming all romantic travelers.
Inside the castle visitors will find a treasure trove of distinctive details. Each of the 47 intricately carved wooden doors features a unique mechanical locking device, including a lock shaped like an owl whose wings spread when the key turns. Twisting passages wind in and out of rooms reflecting Gillette’s imaginative personality. In addition to four bedrooms, four baths, and an expansive third-floor suite, the castle houses a library, an art gallery, and a collection of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia.
After strolling through the interior, visitors can explore the exterior architecture or see a restored example of one of Gillette’s personal electric train engines.
Open Memorial Day–Columbus Day. Camping available May–Sept. Admission charged.