New England can’t really compare to regular old England when it comes to castles, but we still have some pretty spectacular specimens here in Massachusetts. These castles may not be the former residences of kings and queens, but the incredible architecture and drama of these structures will definitely make you feel like you’ve wandered into a storybook.
1. Bancroft Tower Castle, Worcester
Bancroft Tower Castle was built in 1900 by Stephen Salisbury III to honor George Bancroft, who was born at the site in 1800 and later became secretary of the United States Navy. Bancroft tower is 56 feet tall. A gorgeous spot to wander and explore.
2. Blantyre Castle, Lenox
Constructed in 1901 as a seasonal home for original owner Robert Paterson, the Blantyre is now a luxury hotel and spa. If you feel like being treated royally (and can foot a royal bill) this Massachusetts castle can fulfill your fairytale fantasies.
3. Hammond Castle, Gloucester
This castle was buit in 1926 by the inventor John Hays Hammond. Hammond had amassed a tidy fortune running the African mines of the infamous Cecil Rhodes. The castle served as both his home and laboratory. Today, the property is a museum. Drop by and check out some of Hammond's inventions as well as his extensive collection of ancient artifacts.
4. Cohasset Castle, Cohasset
Maybe the coolest thing about this castle is that it's FOR SALE... If you happen to have a couple million dollars lying around. If you're interested, this 8,600-square-foot residence offers a grand hall, marble floors, 7 fireplaces, and you get to say that you live in a freaking castle.
5. Herreshoff Castle, Marblehead
This castle is a reproduction of Erik the Red's tenth century Viking castle in Greenland. It was originally known as Castle Brattahlid and was constructed by artist Waldo Ballard in the 1920s. It has since been converted to a B&B. Lots of gothic windows, turrets, and old world charm to be found here.
6. Winnekenni Castle, Haverhill
Haverhill chemist Dr. James R. Nichols built this structure between 1873 and 1875 as a summer home. Its name, "Winnekenni," is an Algonquin word meaning "very beautiful." The city of Haverhill purchased the castle in 1895 and today it is open to the public.
7. Usen Castle, Waltham
Want to live in this castle? You totally can. If you're a student of Brandeis University, that is. The oldest building on the Brandeis campus, the castle can house 120 students. This is definitely an upgrade from the standard dorm experience.
8. Searles Castle, Great Barrington
Not to be confused with Searles Castle in New Hampshire, this stunning estate was built in the 1880s. It has 7 stories and includes a "dungeon" basement. There are 40 rooms, 36 fireplaces (they must have skipped the bathrooms) and was commissioned by Mary Hopkins, widow of railroad millionaire Mark Hopkins. The estate is named after her second husband, Edward Francis Searles.
9. State Armory Castle, Fall River
The State Armory was built in 1897 by the city of Fall River and was used to house veterans and civil defense offices. The Armory was closed in early 2015 due to safety concerns regarding its structural integrity. Still, it's definitely worth a drive-by if you are in the area.
10. Prospect Hill Castle, Somerville
Technically a monument and not a proper castle, this structure is still pretty cool. Located right in the middle of Union Square, it is said that this is the spot where the first version of the American flag was raised.
11. Searles Castle, Methuen
Remember that other Searles Castle? Same family. Edward Francis Searles, the second husband and eventual widower of the wealthy Mary Hopkins, apparently decided that one castle was not enough. So he built yet another Searles castle in Methuen. Today the estate is home to the Presentation of Mary Academy high school. They do occasionally open the castle to tours for the public.
These Massachusetts castles are pretty spectacular to behold. If you’re looking for a knock-out venue for a wedding or other event, you should definitely put a few of these on your short list. Did I miss any of your favorite hidden Massachusetts castles?