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USA: New Hampshire: Castle in the Clouds, Kancamagus Highway, Lakes Region, Mount Washington, The Flume Gorge
Castle in the Clouds, New Hampshire, USA: Quite literally
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Named Lucknow, the castle is Tom and Olive Plantís mountaintop estate. It was built in 1913-1914 high in the Ossipee Mountain Range. Known as Castle in the Clouds since its opening to the public in 1959, the house is an unusual example of Arts and Crafts architecture in New England, expressing that aesthetic movementís philosophy of living in harmony with nature. The house not only exhibits skilled hand craftsmanship in every aspect of its interior and exterior, but also features a number of technological innovations of the early 20th century.
I was on shore after enjoying my cruise aboard MS Mount Washington in the Lakes Region at about 3:30 in the afternoon. I was running late as I had to drive for another 45 minutes to reach at the gates of the castle which is located in Moultonborough. The castle gates close at 4PM and the last trolley up is at 4:45. Thankfully, I just made it.
Thomas Gustave Plant (1859-1941) made his fortune in the shoe manufacturing industry, retiring as a millionaire at age fifty-one, having sold his business to the United Shoe Machinery Company in 1910. Newly married in 1913, Plant then focused on the creation of his New Hampshire country estate. In addition to buying the property known as Ossipee Mountain Park, Plant accumulated land from the Ossipee Mountains all the way to Lake Winnipesaukee, eventually owning 6,300 acres.
The journey to Lucknow is on the same road that Thomas & Olive Plant travelled back in the early 1900s. However, you have the option to take a trolley for some part of the journey. The brief trolley ride will end at the doors of the sun porch where a guide gives a 15-minute orientation. Learn about the rags to riches to rags story of Thomas Plant as well as the history of the Arts & Craft style building.
After the orientation visitors are led to the front door where they enter feeling like guests of the Plants. From here, the tour is self-guided. Floor plans are provided to help guide visitors through the building and point out important features such as central vacuuming systems and needle showers.
Visitors can explore all 16 rooms of the mansion, many of which offer spectacular views of the lakes and mountains. Unfortunately, I missed the breathtaking views due to rain and fog that was all around. See everything vintage from the clothes in Olive Plantís closets to the innovative electrical fixtures. I stepped out of the back door on to the lawns for a stroll through the gardens Ė with views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountains. I was indeed in the clouds Ė on top of the world.
I left the castle and continued my journey to Laconia which was an hourís drive from the castle. My stay for the night was at Lake Opechee Inn and Spa. The property sits on the peaceful shores of Lake Opechee, a sister lake to Lake Winnipesaukee. The renovated historic mill building is home to an inn, spa, conference center and restaurant. The thirty-four individually decorated guest rooms have private fireplaces and many offer balconies with lake views (I had one) and two-person whirlpool baths!
Dinner that evening was at T-Bones Great American Eatery & Cactus Jacks Ė only a few minutesí drive from the inn. As the name suggests, the place is known for its steaks.
The next morning I will leave for White Mountains.
Castle in the Clouds Image Gallery Photo viewer
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