Gillette's Castle

The boys and I had not been back to Gillette's Castle since our first trip almost 7 years ago so when some friends of ours asked us if we'd like to go with them it was a resounding "yes!"  

Look at how little my boys were last time we visited!  (I could not for anything get them to pose for another picture this trip though). 

Evan, Alec, their cousin, and Ian at Gillette's Castle 2012
I am so glad we went again because I learned (or maybe relearned!) so much about the man behind the castle.  William Gillette was a famous stage actor of his time.  He is most known for his role of playing Sherlock Holmes.  In just a short 33 year time span he played Sherlock 1,300 times and in fact is responsible for many of the images we think of when we hear Sherlock Holmes- the pipe, the hat, and the cape.

Our tour started in the visitor's center where we purchased tickets to tour the castle and also watched a short film about Gillette's life and career.  There were a few displays set up around the two rooms of the buildings that we took time to look at too. 

William had a second love (other than the stage) and that was trains.  At his home in Ct. he actually built a railroad track called the seven sisters railroad and took famous people like Albert Einstein and his wife, and president Calvin Coolidge on rides. In total he laid over 3 miles of track including tunnels, bridges, and terminals.  One of the trains was on display.

We also saw a mini model of the castle we were heading out to tour.

As you walk from the visitor's center to the castle, you do get little views of it here and there.  All the rocks inside and out are local fieldstone.

Most of the lights inside are Tiffany and all are pretty unusual.

The ceilings, railings, light switches, and all 47 doors are made of hand-hewn southern white oak. None of the 47 doors are the same.

Each room has some unique features too from the card table in the two story great room that was made to help entertain his 15 cats to the dining table that moves on rails.

The tour ends out on a raised platform just off the solarium.  The views of the Ct river are amazing!

We did just a little bit of hiking on the property and made our way down to a picnic table alongside  the river for our lunch.

We also hiked back up to one of the old rail road trails and walked through one of the restored tunnels.  While they are always accepting donations towards restoring the railroad lines for now they are all hiking trails and there is a map that shows where all the original tracks were laid.  I'd love to take the boys back one day and just spend time wandering around the property.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! It gets harder and harder to find neat places to visit that we haven't been to over and over again.

  2. Replies
    1. It really is neat; he installed so many hidden things to spy on or bypass guests too.

  3. Grinned over the comment about getting a new picture of the guys.
    I've struggled with that for years...
    What is it about camera shy boys???

    1. Ugh! Tell me about it. My younger two aren't so bad but I just developed all the photos I've taken so far this year and think I have maybe... 4 of my oldest.

  4. What a cool place to visit! My boys love places like that! Thankful my boys still let me take their pictures when we travel!

    1. It was really neat! My boys are OK with me taking their photos on our large family vacations but not so much with our day trips.

  5. You find the most interesting places to visit! I'm starting to get used to winding up at your blog site when I click on something that catches my eye at a linky party!! My bucket list is getting longer and longer thanks to all your great posts!

    1. This comment made my day! I do try really hard to find new and interesting places to visit with my boys.

  6. We also visited a castle recently - I am amazed how well built they were back in the day!! (

    1. It really is neat to see how well built and how differently build they were!


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