That famous page from a fairytale…
Somehow, in the middle of New Hampshire, I found myself staring at it, high above the valley from the balcony of the Castle in the Clouds. As far as I could see, there were rolling hills in the valley, lakes and streams -all tightly embraced by the reds, yellows and fiery oranges of fall. Wait a minute, this isn’t where this adventure started…
We approached the gatehouse in Moultonborough, NH, checked in and made our ascent up the mountain. I was directed to park at the first car park and follow the trail to the Fall of Song. This was right up my alley. Hiking in the woods, climbing rocks, checking out waterfalls…I was already loving this adventure. I spent a bit of time playing in the woods and hopping rocks to the top of the falls, but this isn’t why was there, and I had to get back on track to make my way to the Castle in the Clouds.
A Quick History of the Lucknow Estate:
Built in 1913 as an estate for Tom and Olive Plant, this mountaintop palace has come to be known as ‘The Castle in the Clouds’. It was opened to the public in 1959 after Mr. Plant’s death in 1941. Learn more about the history of the castle here.
I made my way to the Carriage House, formerly the estate’s horse stables, where I enjoyed a hearty and well made shepherd’s pie and butternut squash soup at the Carriage House Cafe. Just outside of the museum on the terrace is where you can find one of the stunning views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding mountains.
Full and ready to explore, we hopped on the red trolley and were shuttled to the top of the mountain to the Lucknow Estate. The stone fortress trimmed with half-timbered architecture overlooked the most stunning and commanding view of all. This really was a castle in the clouds. There was no luxury spared when Tom Plant had this home built. Much of it sits just as it did when he died. Inside, the estate was crafted with only the most extravagant materials, a display of the best craftsmanship for its time.
You can easily spend a few hours here hiking, eating, and enjoying the estate. In addition, you can spend an afternoon horseback riding with the Riding in the Clouds guides. If you’re not up for that I highly recommend you at least stop by and say hi to Zeus, said to be the biggest horse in the entire world.