Within the historic charm of Massachusetts lie architectural gems—castles that look like they come straight from fairytales. Whether you’re a history buff, a romantic, or a family seeking an impressive outing, the enchanting castles of Massachusetts are a must-visit. This article will explore some magical locations that you will need to explore!
Hammond Castle captivates visitors with its medieval charm and rich history. In Gloucester, MA, the castle is a testament to the vision and ingenuity of John Hays Hammond Jr., its creator. Constructed in 1929, this fortress overlooks the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled amidst lush greenery and perched atop a rocky outcrop, the castle boasts breathtaking views that transport visitors to another era.
While Hammond Castle was primarily the private residence of John Hays Hammond Jr., it has since opened its doors to the public. As such, it invites tourists to explore its remarkable interiors and grounds. This architectural masterpiece showcases a unique blend of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance influences. It also features intricate stonework, grand halls, and a remarkable collection of artifacts. Self-guided tours offer visitors a glimpse into the castle’s rich history, revealing the life and achievements of John Hays Hammond Jr., a prominent inventor.
The castle’s location in Massachusetts provides a stunning backdrop. The region is known for its diverse wildlife, offering visitors a chance to encounter various species native to the area. The castle’s surroundings include lush forests, a pristine coastline, and vibrant salt marshes. Explorers may discover an array of wildlife. Specifically, majestic white-tailed deer graze amidst the trees, graceful herons wade in the marshes, and seals frolic in the ocean.
The Herreshoff Castle is a fairytale castle in Massachusetts, dating back to 1927. Visitors can find it in the scenic coastal town of Marblehead, a locale steeped in colonial and maritime history. Waldo Ballard drew inspiration from Scandinavian architecture to create this 6,000-square-foot castle with turrets and intricate stone carvings. The castle is on a hilltop with breathtaking views of Marblehead Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.
While the Herreshoff Castle remains a private residence, it opens its doors to tourists through a bed-and-breakfast arrangement. That offers them a chance to experience living in this historic and picturesque setting. The surrounding Marblehead region is also charming for visitors to explore, renowned for its historical sites, boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. In terms of wildlife, this coastal area supports a diverse array of species. Birdwatchers can spot numerous species of seabirds, while the nearby forested areas are home to various mammals, including white-tailed deer and red foxes. The marine life in the harbor and Atlantic Ocean is also rich, with multiple fish species, shellfish, and occasionally visiting marine mammals such as seals and dolphins.
The Saunders Castle at Park Plaza
Park Plaza Castle is located in the heart of Boston, MA. Completed in 1897, this impressive castle showcases a blend of Romanesque and medieval architectural styles, making it one of Boston’s most distinctive landmarks. It’s adjacent to the Boston Public Garden and steps from the bustling Back Bay neighborhood.
Park Plaza Castle was a private event venue for many years. In fact, it’s hosted many social events and corporate meetings and even served as a nightlife hotspot. In recent years, this castle has also been a unique and atmospheric event venue. It’s not traditionally open for casual tourist visits, though, unless an event is held.
The area surrounding Park Plaza Castle is one of Boston’s busiest and most vibrant parts, offering a rich urban ecosystem. Wildlife sightings in this downtown area are typically limited to urban-adapted species such as squirrels, pigeons, and songbirds. However, the nearby Boston Public Garden and the Charles River offer a respite for local wildlife. There, you may glimpse ducks, geese, and perhaps a resident red-tailed hawk. It’s also worth mentioning that Boston Harbor, not far from the castle, is a habitat for marine life. That includes various fish species and visiting harbor seals.
Built in 1900, this 56-foot-high tower is a scaled-down homage to the feudal castles of the old. Stephen Salisbury III erected the tower in honor of George Bancroft, a Worcester native who was a renowned historian, statesman, and Secretary of the Navy. The tower’s location offers a panoramic view of Worcester, and on clear days, visitors can even see several miles into the distance.
The Bancroft Tower is open to the public, typically during October when guided tours are available. Outside these hours, the park surrounding the tower is always open, and visitors can appreciate the tower’s exterior.
Regarding wildlife, Bancroft Tower is situated in the heart of a park and provides a habitat for various species that thrive in urban green spaces. Visitors can expect to see a variety of bird species, squirrels, and occasionally rabbits. The nearby Coes Pond and Newton Hill, part of the larger East Side Trail, support a broader range of wildlife, including various waterfowl and other birds, frogs, and, occasionally, deer. Worcester is centrally located in the state, offering a mix of urban and rural wildlife, making it an exciting destination for nature enthusiasts.
Boston University Castle
The Boston University Castle, often referred to simply as “the Castle,” is a historic landmark in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. Built in 1915, the Castle was designed in the Tudor revival style, featuring prominent half-timbering, steeply pitched roofs, and decorative brickwork. Originally a private residence, the building was purchased by Boston University in 1939. Over the decades, it has served various roles within the University, including as a gathering place for students, a conference center, and most recently, as home to the Dahod Family Alumni Center.
Tourists can visit the Boston University Castle as part of a guided tour of the Boston University campus. However, public access may be limited during the academic year when the facility is used for university events and activities.
The Castle’s prime location, within the bustling city of Boston and along the picturesque Charles River, means that the area’s wildlife primarily consists of urban-adapted species. You’ll likely see common city dwellers like squirrels, pigeons, and sparrows. However, the nearby Charles River and its esplanade attract various birds and waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and occasionally even herons. The river is also home to a variety of fish and small aquatic creatures, while the esplanade’s trees and green spaces provide a habitat for more diverse urban wildlife.
Built in 1886, this private residence reflects the aesthetic sensibilities of the Victorian era, showcasing beautiful elements of late 19th-century design. Its picturesque appearance, with turrets and intricate stonework, gives it the allure of a real-life fairytale castle in Massachusetts. This stunning structure, set against a backdrop of the state’s beautiful landscapes, offers an unforgettable sight.
Lord’s Castle is a private residence not typically open for public tours or visits. However, those visiting the area can appreciate its grandeur from the outside. Situated in Medfield, a quaint town in the eastern part of the state, the castle is surrounded by scenic landscapes characteristic of this region.
The wildlife in and around Medfield typically represents the suburban habitats of Massachusetts, including small mammals, such as squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits, as well as a variety of bird species. The proximity to the Charles River also contributes to the region’s biodiversity, attracting waterfowl such as ducks and geese, and the river is home to various fish species. Nearby conservation areas and parks, like the Rocky Woods Reservation, provide additional habitat for wildlife, making the area an appealing destination for nature lovers.
Searles Castle is another magnetic structure that stands in Great Barrington, MA. Built in 1883, Stanford White, a prominent American architect of the late 19th century, designed this iconic edifice. The castle, an impressive blend of French and English Gothic architectural styles, was constructed initially for Mary Hopkins, a widow and one of the wealthiest women in America. The building features a variety of unique elements, such as turrets, balconies, and stained-glass windows, all set within meticulously maintained gardens.
Searles Castle occasionally opens its doors for guided tours, weddings, and other events, allowing visitors to appreciate its grandeur and rich history. In the rural town of Great Barrington, the castle is surrounded by abundant natural beauty and wildlife. Near this fairytale castle, you can find a wide variety of wildlife native to this part of Massachusetts.
The surrounding woodlands provide a habitat for various mammals, such as white-tailed deer, red foxes, and raccoons. Birdwatchers can spot multiple species, from cardinals and bluejays to woodpeckers and hawks. Additionally, the nearby Housatonic River is home to an array of aquatic life, including fish and amphibians, and attracts several waterfowl species.
Usen Castle, a distinct architectural landmark, is located on the campus of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. This multi-turreted structure was constructed in 1928 and originally served as a part of Middlesex University before Brandeis University acquired the property in 1948. Over the years, it has been repurposed to provide student housing, making it one of the few castles in the United States where students can live.
While Usen Castle is not typically open for public tours due to its function as student housing, it can be viewed from various points around the Brandeis campus. Visitors interested in the castle may appreciate its exterior while exploring the beautiful university grounds.
As for wildlife, the campus environment hosts species common to suburban Massachusetts, including squirrels, rabbits, and various bird species such as sparrows and cardinals. Moreover, Waltham is located along the Charles River, which creates a diverse habitat that attracts an array of waterfowl, like ducks and geese, and supports various fish species. Additionally, Waltham’s numerous parks and natural areas offer habitats for wildlife native to the region, such as white-tailed deer and red foxes, providing an appealing setting for nature enthusiasts.
Winnekenni Castle is a charming historic landmark and fairytale castle located in the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Built in approximately 1875, this sandstone castle stands proudly atop a hill in the Winnekenni Park Conservation Area, overlooking the picturesque Kenoza Lake. Today, Winnekenni Castle is a popular venue for public and private events, from weddings to community theater performances, and it is certainly open for tourists to visit. This fairytale castle often hosts public open houses, special events, and educational workshops throughout the year.
Furthermore, the Winnekenni Park Conservation Area surrounding the castle is an excellent spot for hiking, bird-watching, and picnicking. As for wildlife, being nestled within a large conservation area, the castle is surrounded by diverse flora and fauna. The park is home to various mammals, including white-tailed deer, squirrels, and rabbits, as well as a multitude of bird species. The nearby Kenoza Lake attracts waterfowl and is home to fish and other aquatic creatures, making this area a delightful destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
Grey Court (Tenney Castle)
Grey Court, also known as Tenney Castle, is a historic site in Methuen, MA. The fairytale castle in Massachusetts, designed in the chateau-esque style, was an architectural gem featuring intricate stonework, turrets, and sprawling gardens. However, over the years, the main building fell into disrepair and, in 1978, was destroyed by fire. Today, the ruins of Grey Court, including its gatehouse and some outbuildings, still stand as a testament to its past glory.
While the main structure of Grey Court no longer exists, the site and its surrounding park, known as Greycourt State Park, are open to the public. Visitors can walk through the castle ruins and explore the beautifully maintained gardens and park grounds.
The park is located on the banks of the Spicket River. Further, it’s home to a variety of wildlife typical of northeastern Massachusetts. The area’s wildlife includes squirrels, rabbits, and a variety of bird species, from songbirds to waterfowl. The river supports various aquatic species, including fish and water insects. At the same time, the surrounding woodlands provide habitats for an enormous variety of wildlife.
Prospect Hill Castle
Prospect Hill Castle, sometimes known as Prospect Hill Tower, is a historical monument in Somerville, MA, just north of Boston. Erected in 1903, this 34-foot tower stands atop Prospect Hill, one of the highest points in the area. The tower was built to commemorate the site’s military history, as it was a strategic location during the American Revolutionary War. It was also used as a training ground during the Civil War. Visitors of this fairytale castle in Massachusetts can enjoy a panoramic view of the Boston skyline and beyond from its summit.
The park surrounding Prospect Hill Castle, Prospect Hill Park, is open to the public year-round. Further, the tower itself is usually available on New Year’s Day to commemorate the raising of the Grand Union Flag during the Revolutionary War.
As for wildlife, the urban environment of Somerville and the park’s small size limit the biodiversity found in this area. However, visitors can expect to encounter typical urban wildlife, such as squirrels, various species of birds, and perhaps the occasional rabbit. Nearby, the Mystic River and associated green spaces provide a habitat for various species, including ducks, geese, other waterfowl, and different types of fish.
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate is a magnificent property in Ipswich. The location has made a name for itself as a beautiful castle in Massachusetts. The estate spans over 165 acres. Further, it features a grand Stuart-style mansion, which renowned architect David Adler designed. Construction was completed in 1928. This stunning house sits atop Castle Hill, a drumlin surrounded by sea and salt marsh. It also offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Estate, managed by the Trustees of Reservations, also includes the Crane Wildlife Refuge. That’s a network of coastal islands home to diverse wildlife.
Tourists are very much welcome at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. In fact, the mansion, grounds, and wildlife refuge are all open to visitors. Tours of the Great House provide insights into the lifestyle of the early 20th-century American elite. The immaculately maintained landscape gardens and designed grounds offer ample space for picnics, leisurely walks, and bird watching.
The Crane Wildlife Refuge is home to a diverse array of species. Visitors can expect to see various birds. Those include migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, as the refuge is an important stopover site on the Atlantic Flyway. Further, the salt marshes and coastal habitats also support various marine life, from fish to shellfish. White-tailed deer, red foxes, and raccoons are also attracted to the location. The combination of cultural heritage and natural beauty at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate makes it a must-visit destination in Massachusetts.
Summary of Fairytale Castles Found in Massachusetts
|3||Park Plaza Castle||1897|
|5||Boston University Castle||1915|
|10||Grey Court (Tenney Castle)||1892|
|11||Prospect Hill Castle||1903|
|12||Castle Hill on the Crane Estate||1928|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.com
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