Day 16 – Castle in the Clouds

Having tired ourselves out with yesterday’s hike, we’re up for doing very little today. We sleep in, catch up on some bill-paying – for retirees, we’re pretty conversant with the virtual world – and just enjoy sitting by the lake.

In the late afternoon we head for the Castle in the Clouds (www.castleintheclouds.org), a nearby early 20th century estate built on top of one of the Ossipee Mountains. The arts and crafts style house was built at time when the phrase “money is no object” meant craftsmen spending a whole day to set just three stones in the house’s exterior and hand-hammering dimples into all the exposed wood. In short: a great deal of money and time was spent creating a gorgeous house.

On the way up the long, winding drive, we stop to admire a waterfall. Then we take a little trolley from the parking area at the carriage house up to the main house.

The house sits on a beautiful little mountain, with views toward Lake Winnipesaukee to the south and other Ossipee Mountains to the north, including Mts. Shaw, Tate and Black Snout (we hiked those last week).

Our self-guided tour takes us through the large kitchens; the servants’ quarters; the main living areas; the master’s bedroom, closets (huge) and bathroom; the bed, bath and sitting room of the lady of the house; and several guest bed/bath suites. We’ve been through a number of these types of houses and it’s rare that visitors actually get to walk through the rooms, walk around the furniture and peek out the windows. Of course, everything is still “no touch.”

We really like the details in the house, including the hand-wrought iron pulls on the windows, the huge beams on the porches, and the beautiful marble surrounds on the fireplaces. Most unique, we thought, are the “needle showers” (shown below). I think they look like a cross between a Medieval torture device and a quack exercise machine but, apparently they were the forerunners of modern walk-in showers, complete with a rain shower head.

I am a little indigant over how much larger the master’s closet was compared to the lady of the house’s. I’m pretty sure his hanging wardrobe has to be double hers. Sure she gets some cute built-in cubbies and lovely window next to her dressing table but…

We finish our tour with a walk around the house, where I see the largest delphiniums I have ever seen. I should have put something against them for perspective in the photos; my pictures don’t do them justice.

After a short stroll back to the carriage house/stables, now converted to a restaurant and art gallery, we dine on the terrace with a nice view of the lake.

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