When you really think about it, it’s unsurprising that the USA is home to many remarkable fortresses. After all, the hodgepodge of architecture to admire across the country, from Spanish colonial to Gothic revival, reinforces the notion that it is indeed a giant melting pot. Let’s see what America offers in the way of buildings fit for fairytales, or, perhaps, the Middle Ages.
Located on Pollepel Island, 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River, Bannerman Castle is a striking, albeit dilapidated, structure. It was originally commissioned by Frank Bannerman, a Dundee-born emigrant who moved with his family to Brooklyn in 1851 at the age of three. In 1901, he began construction on the castle with the aim of building a Scottish-style castle to be used as a simple family residence. The building ultimately became a warehouse for ammunitions which Bannerman sold. Today it is managed by the Bannerman Castle Trust and can be visited on guided and self-guided tours.
Bannerman Castle Trust, Pollepel Island, Fishkill, NY, USA +1 845 831 6346
William Hooker Gillette, an actor and playwright who famously portrayed Sherlock Holmes on stage and in a silent film in 1916, built this eponymous castle on a 184-acre estate atop a hill. He originally referred to it as the Seventh Sister, as the hill was part of a chain known as the Seven Sisters. Constructed using fieldstone and designed by Gillette down to the finest details, it took five years and 20 men to complete this 24-room mansion between 1914 and 1919. After Gillette had passed away, the State of Connecticut purchased the castle from the executors of his will in 1943. Gillette Castle is now open to the public from May to October, and the grounds are open year round.
Gillette Castle, 67 River Road, East Haddam, CT, USA +1 860 526 2336
An incredible feat, Castello di Amorosa is a winery-cum-castle which was constructed between the early 1990s and 2007, when it officially opened its doors to the public. It is the only authentically-built medieval Tuscan castle in the United States, serenely tucked away in the California’s Napa Valley. The project of fourth generation Italian winemaker Dario Sattui, Castello di Amoroso comprises 107 rooms, a drawbridge, defensive towers, a torture chamber, a chapel and many more grand features. Wine made at the castle is only available to be sampled or bought there, as there is no distribution to stores or restaurants. Visitors can taste a variety of wines on offer and peruse the grounds on their own or learn more about the castle through guided tours.
Castello di Amorosa, 4045 St. Helena Highway, Calistoga, CA, USA +1 707 967 6272