6 New England castles ranked among the best in the U.S.

One is a Berkshires castle built in the 1880s.

Searles Castle (Great Barrington): Edward Francis Searles, an interior decorator, met Mary Hopkins, whose late husband had been part owner of the Southern Pacific Railroad and left her with millions of dollars, according to the castle’s website. Hopkins had Searles work on her home in Massachusetts, which at the time was called Kellogg Terrace, and they were later married. The once private home is now the John Dewey Academy. (Correction: The above castle is located in Great Barrington, not Windham, New Hampshire as indicated in a previous version of this article. The Searles’ owned a different castle in Windham.)
Searles Castle in Great Barrington. –Wikimedia Commons/ Faolin42

Who says you have to travel overseas for photos full of fairytale-like castles?

Home improvement digital marketplace HomeAdvisor recently created an illustrated map depicting the best castle in each U.S. state. While you can’t stay overnight at the New England castles on the list — either because they are private, made entirely of ice, or miniature in size — they’re worth ogling during your next road trip.

Searles Castle in Great Barrington, which houses the John Dewey Academy, was named the best castle in Massachusetts.

Here’s what HomeAdvisor wrote about the 19th-century structure:

“Massachusetts’ Searles Castle is drenched in Gilded Age gossip. In 1881, the wealthy widow Mary Hopkins commissioned the decorator Edward F. Searles to build an estate near her childhood home. Hopkins ended up marrying the much younger Searles; some say she was coerced. The newly minted Mrs. Searles died in 1887 and left her entire fortune to Edward, birthing rumors of poisoning, ghosts, hidden passages and midnight burials.”

The other New England castles on the list: Chrismark Castle in Woodstock, Conn. (where a recent Hallmark Christmas movie was filmed); Oakland Castle/Gardiner Castle in Gardiner, Maine; Ice Castles in North Woodstock, N.H., a popular winter attraction each year; Seaview Terrace/Carey Mansion in Newport, R.I.; and Harry Barber’s miniature castles in South Hero, Vermont. The latter is a series of small-scale castles, complete with drawbridges and spiral staircases, constructed by Swiss immigrant and gardener Harry Barber.


View the map of best U.S. castles.

As always, travelers should research COVID-19 travel restrictions before crossing state lines.

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