Hi friends, and a very happy autumn weekend to you! It’s been a while since we took a field trip here, so it’s time. Past time. Let’s go! I love featuring unique New England places. Today we’re dropping by Castle in the Clouds in Moltonborough, New Hampshire.
This amazing estate has both incredible history and beauty. I’ll tell you how we landed there for a visit this past summer.
Our local library has an awesome selection of free museum passes available, so I checked out the list on the web. I was looking for a fun place to celebrate my birthday when I spied Castle in the Clouds.
I vaguely remembered visiting Castle in the Clouds as a little girl with my family when we vacationed in Wolfeboro, NH several summers. (Also recalled the enormous black Newfie at the cottage camp where we stayed. A huge, black gentle bear of a dog with twinkling eyes and a slow-wagging tail.)
Hudson was NOT a fan of the huge drop-off behind the house, just beyond the gate FYI.
So we visited back in July. Castle in the Clouds is a country estate that’s home to Lucknow, an unusually lush home built in 1914 on a mountaintop in the Ossippee Mountain Range overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.
First we climbed the mountain by car, then meandered our way down the curvy one way entrance lane, stopping to view the impressive waterfalls on our way to the famous Lucknow estate. We toted along a picnic and ate lunch on the grounds.
Lucknow is an example of “Arts and Crafts architecture in New England, expressing that aesthetic movement’s philosophy of living in harmony with nature.” Designed by J. Williams Beal & Sons of Boston, it was technologically advanced for the day.
The original estate featured 6,300 acres, a sixteen room mansion, a stable/garage, two gate houses, a 100 foot greenhouse, farm buildings, an 18-hole golf course, tennis court, a lake for swimming and fishing and 45 miles of carriage and bridal trails.
Wow! It’s quite impressive, and these views of Winnipesaukee from the back lawn are stunning.
The story of how Lucknow came to be is quite an amazing one of rags to riches. Then rags again. Thomas Plant was just a poor boy from Bath, Maine. At the age of 14, he left school and home to seek his fortune, working in various odd manufacturing jobs.
There was a wall phone in every room! (Remember, it’s 1914.)
By the time he was twenty-five years old, he’d opened the Thomas G. Plant Company. By 1910, his Jamaica Plains shoe manufacturing company was the largest shoe manufacturing facility in the world.
The docents did a fabulous job conveying how technologically advanced the factory building (that covered five city blocks) was in 1914 with fitness rooms, health insurance for all employees, three bowling alleys for entertainment and rooftop gardens where families met employees for recreation and meals. Truly amazing advances for the day.
The organized storage and closets throughout the house were fabulous.
Need a massage? Check out the three needle shower! (But men only please.)
This sign cracked me up.
Unfortunately, after a series of failed investments, Plant tried, from the mid-1920s through the era of the Great Depression, to sell the mountaintop estate. However, no buyer was found, and the Plants mortgaged the property to a friend and continued to live at Lucknow until Tom Plant’s death in 1941, when the property was sold.
In 1959 the estate was opened to the public as Castle in the Clouds and is managed by a preservation society that oversees the care, restoration and preservation of Lucknow today.
The ducks were as interested in the fish food as the trout when we stopped at the fish pond on our way out.
We dropped by the docks near the village green in Wolfeboro for ice cream and a gazebo band concert on our way home.
Can you tell I love it here in New Hampshire? It’s so beautiful with the lakes, mountains and ocean nearby. Many thanks for coming along today, hope you enjoyed the views! What are your favorite New England haunts?
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Sounds like a beautiful destination!
It really is Jen, and it’s going to have even more spectacular views when the foliage peaks!
I have never been. That area is just gorgeous. What a great idea for a day trip. I used to use those free library passes and forgot about them. Thanks for the great ideas Allie! Oh, the pictures are beautiful!!
Thanks Tracy, and what I didn’t mention in this post is they have all kinds of awesome weekly events on their back lawn — I think Thursday nights is jazz night. There is a cover charge and appetizers and drinks are available for purchase. It would make a really nice date!
Barbara Child says
Haven’t been there but your pictures and write up make me want to go! Sounds like a lovely day trip!
Thanks Barbara, I hope you get to visit, it would be a nice adventure with your family. When the foliage peaks the views will be spectacular!
The views at the castle are stunning! Such a gorgeous place! I visited 2 summers ago with my brother and his family, but I don’t think we ever brought our kids! Maybe some summer when we have them all in one place….
Thanks Marilyn, I would love to go back when the foliage peaks – the views will be even more amazing. They have evening events too during the summer – I think Thursday nights are jazz and there is an acoustic guitar night too.
So pretty. Remember visiting here years back with my mom and John when they spent their summers in NH.
That’s right, I forgot they spent summers here. Such a pretty place, the view are going to get even more spectacular when the foliage peaks in a week or so. In Birmingham right now at Samford visiting Jonathan for Family Weekend. Love and miss you Mary. XO
Susie Mandel says
Love this! Wish we had had time to visit a lot of these wonderful places you feature in your blog. Overall, though, I think our favorite place in NH is the Taylor B&B. 😉
Thanks Susie. We’ll leave the light on for you. 🙂
Gosh, New England looks like a gorgeous place, and this site in particular. What stunning views! I had to laugh about the shower and accompanying sign. Enjoyed the post thoroughly. Hope you are enjoying a great weekend, Allie. Xoxo
Thank you Carina, I think you would particularly love this sprawling estate – full of history and meaning. That was funny about the shower. Men only. Excuse me? Ha. Have a wonderful weekend my friend! We are in Birmingham for family weekend with Jonathan right now. Enjoying every minute. XO
Aunt Margie says
Your pictures are so sharp and colorful that I think they must be pretend! Love the one with Charlie and the double reflection in the open windows! Thanks for sharing a wee bit of unknown history to me. Thomas Plant sounds like a fascinating, enterprising man.
That was my favorite picture too Auntie M! I know you would love to visit Castle in the Clouds someday.
Linda Jenkins says
Allie, I remember visiting this site as a young girl. My memory of it is dim, as I was quite young. I think I’ll try to interest Jen, Joby, and my grandchildren. I am sure they will love it. And I would love to see it again. Thanks for the memories of one of NH’s finest.
I think it would be a great family outing Linda. I think Charlie liked feeding the ducks and the trout at the pond the most. There is a trolley you ride up on from the carriage house to the main house and that was of interest too. My favorite part was the beautiful views from the back lawn. They have jazz concerts up there weekly during the summer in the evenings and I’d love to go back and enjoy that as a date with Jon. Apparently there is a cover charge and appetizers and drinks are available. Such a great setting!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
Oh wow, Castle in the Clouds has some seriously breathtaking views!! But I can totally understand why Hudson wasn’t a big fan of that drop off the back of the home. 😉 Such great history behind the estate and the castle! I love reading about things like that, so thank you for sharing! I can definitely see why you love living in NH! Cheers, sweets! xoxo
Yeah, it’s pretty cool Cheyanne- you just don’t want to get too close to that ledge on the back lawn! Hope you visit NH someday, I think you’d love it. XO
This is my kind of day off. I love seeing old historic homes! I always thought I wanted one until I heard what it costs to actually run the home Downton Abby was filmed in. It’s like everything you can do to keep the place from going into disrepair…. too much for this princess. ha!
Yep, too much for this princess too. (And apparently too much for Mr. Plant after the 1929 stock market crash.) It’s a cool place and would make a great family outing when you’re visiting NH. Thanks for dropping by Leslie, hope all is well. Are you ready for fall? Ready or not….here it comes!!!
Shashi at RunninSrilankan says
Allie, wow – this post made me wanna pack a bag and head up North! Lucknow estate or Castle in the Clouds is gorgeous! Everything from the grounds and surrounding docks and to the interior is a work of art – though that sign by the 3-needle shower totally cracked me up too! Lovely photos, guess delicate ol me better go take a bath and get my morning started! 🙂
Too funny. I was thinking the same thing…..delicate me shall go draw my bahth now….hee hee. You and little S. would love Castle in the Clouds….it’s an adventure for sure. XOXO
What a wonderful place ! C’est comme si le temps s’était arrêté las bas! C’est tellement beau. Je suis ravie que tu as passée des belles vacances. C’est l’endroit idéal pour aller en famille et déconnecter ! xoxo
Sarah Wittke Williams says
The house on Tory Road was enticing enough for me to see what this fantastic state is all about. Sure do love those White Mountains and all that lies in between. NH is the place to be– a well;kept secret, but you have a knack for revealing its utter beauty!
Awwww… you so sweet Sarah. Awesome to hear from you. Hope you and J are well. Love you both so much – and you are always welcome here. We look forward to your next NH visit! XO
essay writer says
Incredibly beautiful photos. Nature Landscapes simply delicious. I want to go there.
My friend recommended this blog and he was totally right keep up the fantastic work! I hope to visit this place, it would be a nice adventure with my family