The Bluegrass Region of Kentucky is home to the best agricultural land in the state and many charming small towns. But in the central portion of the region are two hard-to-miss historical treasures that have survived for decades. Discover the two magnificent castles found in Kentucky and get ready to add them to your travel list. They are only about 20 minutes apart so you can even visit them on the same day!
1. Castle Post
Nestled between Versailles and Lexington, is one of the most magnificent castles found in Kentucky. Despite its rocky history, including several name changes, the enigmatic 100-acre Castle Post is a treasured destination for residents and tourists alike.
Construction on the castle started in 1969 after Rex Martin and his wife, Caroline Bogaert Martin, returned from Europe. They were so inspired by the beautiful European architecture they wanted to model their new home after the castles they discovered on their trip. But despite the ambitious beginning, there were many obstacles throughout the process. After several years, what was planned as Martin Castle was still incomplete. Eventually, the construction of their slice of Europe ultimately came to a halt in 1975 when Rex and Caroline divorced.
The castle was put up for sale, but no one purchased the unfinished property for almost 30 years. Instead, the magnificent estate sat vacant, no more than a roadside attraction to tourists. However, Thomas R. Post finally purchased the estate following the death of Rex Martin in 2003. Post quickly started extensive renovations and changed the estate’s name from Martin Castle to “The Castle Post.” Then tragedy struck in 2004 when a portion of the main building caught fire, destroying most of his hard work.
But this didn’t stop him. He redoubled his efforts to complete the estate and added new features, including a ballroom, library, luxury suites, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a beautiful garden. Reconstruction was finally complete in 2007, allowing Post to open a charming bed and breakfast and event space. Despite the amenities, only those staying at the property could tour the castle and its grounds. Even then, The Castle Post remained a mystery.
Castle Post Today
If you’re a fan of reality television, you might recognize The Kentucky Castle. It was the venue for Vanderpump Rules stars Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright’s 2020 fairytale wedding. But Castle Post, now The Kentucky Castle, offers visitors a variety of experiences. New owners purchased the magnificent castle in 2017 and started offering tours and many other fun events and activities that show off the stunning property. Now it’s a luxury hotel, event center, spa, and farm-to-table restaurant all in one. They also offer guided tours and murder mystery dinners so state residents and visitors alike can experience the fun of one of the most magnificent castles found in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Castle also provides 18-guest accommodations for overnight getaways, including farm-view cabins and tower suites. Some other Kentucky Castle activities include a bourbon barrel painting class, yoga on the castle roof, tea with Cinderella, U-pick harvests, and much more. Visiting The Kentucky Castle is truly an unforgettable experience.
Wildlife Near The Kentucky Castle
You don’t have to go far to spend some time with animals while you’re at The Kentucky Castle. Outside of the estate is a working farm. Here, castle staff tend to chickens, goats, sheep, horses, and honeybees that live in the castle apiary. They even offer a Farm Enrichment Tour, designed as a 1-hour educational tour, best suited for school field trips.
But that’s not all. Plenty of native Kentucky wildlife surrounds the stunning Versailles estate. Squirrels, skunks, rats, and mice run free in the forests. Larger mammals in the area include white-tail deer, coyotes, raccoons, and foxes. In the air, you can catch a glimpse of the northern cardinal, the Kentucky state bird. But at night, you might see a little-brown bat instead.
2. Loudoun House
One of the most magnificent castles found in Kentucky is the perfect representation of the Gothic Revival. It follows the design of famous New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis. However, it was constructed by influential Lexington builder John McMurtry, who constructed more than 200 buildings in a similar opulent style.
What’s unique about the Loudoun House is its asymmetrical lancet, towers, and diamond-paned windows. Additionally, its hollow brick walls resemble stones. Chimney stacks, turrets, parapet walls, and pinnacles on the gables create an interesting skyline above the long and shallow castle.
The magnificent 56-acre castle was built in 1850 for Francis Key Hunt, the 10th son of millionaire John Wesley Hunt, who built the Hunt-Morgan House. He was also the cousin of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the U.S. national anthem. Furthermore, from 1870 to 1889, Colonel William Cassius Goodloe, a chairman of the national committee of the Republican Party, took residence in the Loudoun House.
Since then, the Loudoun House has taken a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also one of five Gothic Revival-styled castles from Alexander Jackson Davis left in the United States. The city of Lexington acquired the estate in the 1920s, turning a surviving 32 acres of land into a city park.
Loudoun House Today
The Loudoun House in Castlewood Park, is owned by the city of Lexington. Since 1984, the Loudoun House has housed the Lexington Art League. The Lexington Art League has converted many of the rooms into gallery spaces but has kept the spirit of the original home. One of the most magnificent castles found in Kentucky is now an event space and art gallery. It’s free to tour, but most of the estate is closed to the public. Loudoun House is preserved through the continuous efforts of the Lexington Art League and their supporters.
The Haunting of Loudoun House?
There are rumors that one of the most magnificent castles found in Kentucky is haunted by two women in Victorian clothing. One woman roams the western part of the mansion, while the other takes residence in the formal dining room. There have also been sightings of a black cat throughout the castle. Other paranormal activity includes the faint scent of floral perfume in an upstairs studio. Visitors have even heard soft voices and background music. Though no one can say who these apparitions belong to, it’s worth checking out if you enjoy art and the thrill of a potential benevolent ghost sighting.
Wildlife Near Loudoun House
Loudoun House sits on the northern outskirts of Lexington, where plenty of wildlife lives in the surrounding lush field grass near the residential areas. The most common critters are the house mouse, rats, raccoons, and opossums. White-tail deer, prairie dogs, beavers, woodchucks, porcupines, otters, and snakes also reside between the forests and the flatlands near one of the most magnificent castles found in Kentucky. You might even spot a northern cardinal or a viceroy butterfly, the state insect. Moreover, Kentucky is one of many states that has seen a spread of the nine-banded armadillo, which causes significant damage to yards overnight.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Grindstone Media Group/Shutterstock.com
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