It’s weekend once again. Have you planned another trip to easy your itchy soles yet? If not, then we have another suggestion that we’re sure you will enjoy too – and that is exploring New Hampshire.
A lot of people probably know New Hampshire for mining. This is because of the fact that the state’s bedrock is dominated with metamorphic and igneous rocks. Thus, you can find plenty of granite, mica, etc. But did you know that New Hampshire also hides more gems than that? We’re not talking about the gems that you can add to your collection of precious jewelries. Rather, we’re talking about the unparalleled sites that the state has. One of which is the Castle in the Clouds. It has a lot of activities to offer, which makes it one of the must-visit sites in New Hampshire. To give you more ideas on what’s in it, let’s take a closer look at what it offers, shall we?
- 1 Castle in the Clouds Activities
- 2 Castle in the Clouds Admission
- 3 Castle in the Clouds Hours
- 4 Attractions Near Castle in the Clouds
Castle in the Clouds Activities
With more than 6,000 acres, the Castle in the Clouds sure has a lot to offer. There’s no room for boredom with the long list of things to do in Castle in the Clouds that you and your family and/or friend will definitely love. In case you’re curious, here are some of the activities to look forward to.
1Enjoy Your First Step
Compared to other tourist attractions, the Castle in the Clouds lets you enjoy every second of your visit. In fact, even as you buy your tickets, picturesque views will already welcome you. After you purchase your tickets at the gate, you will continue to drive up a two-mile scenic road with stops at a waterfall and a scenic overlook. It’s only a one way road, though. Thus, we suggest that you take your time and makes stops if you need to take in the breathtaking views or capture some memories with your friends and/or family because you won’t be visiting this road on your way back.
2Tour the Mansion
Then known as Lucknow, the Castle in the Clouds initially was a mansion with 16 rooms. But it’s not just an ordinary mansion. Because back in the day, it featured many innovations which were rare. It even included a circular shower, interlocking kitchen tiles, and a central vacuum system. It also has an applaudable design made by a couple of experts. It’s one of the beautiful mansions back in the day. And today, you can get a peek of it as the site offers tours of its mansion. Apart from seeing the mansion, a guide will also share some of the stories that the mansion has witnessed about its rags-to-riches owner, Thomas Plant. The mansion also exhibits even some of the items that its owners once used. With this, you can get to have a glance at what their life was too.
The site also offers Castle Basement Tours. Here, on the other hand, you can get to discover more secrets of the mansion’s basement, as well as the lives of the Plant family’s servants who helped run and manage the Lucknow Estate between 1910s and 1920s. Of course, it also has a unique construction and amenities that are worth seeing and talking about.
3See the Exhibit Gallery
Unbeknown to some, Thomas Plant wasn’t born with a golden spoon. He had to work his way to the top. He started as a shoemaker. And from the shoe industry, he earned his fortune and established the Lucknow Estate. But his stories didn’t stop there. He also had his fair share of ups and downs and you can get to have a glimpse of that and more in the mansion’s exhibit gallery. You can also get to know more about Plant’s shoe manufacturing career – from the innovative strategies he used to make a living to even the story of the shoe machinery war he faced that eventually ended his career – through the featured images, memorabilia, and other items that document Plant’s shoe company.
4Ride a Horse
Another one of the best things to do in Castle in the Clouds is horseback riding. There’s a lot of sites anywhere in the world for horseback riding. But the horseback riding activity in the Castle in the Clouds is not to be missed as, of course, this estate offers a different experience with the breathtaking views that it offers. Here, you can enjoy trails that will take you through wooden trails, fields with amazing views of Lake Winniepesaukee and by the Shannon Pond.
And the best part of it is that anyone in the family can try it. Yes, you read it right. Even your cousin or sibling who’s eight years old or younger can enjoy this activity. This is because Castle in the Clouds matches its riders with a horse that can accommodate you with your riding ability. Plus, all its horses are gentle. Thus, whether or not you’re a pro, you will surely enjoy this ride.
If you are traveling with children, you can try out the mansion’s Pony Rides. Here, you will ride one of the trail horses and you will be taken for a walk down to Shannon Pond and back.
There are also carriage and wagon rides being offered. However, if you prefer this, the mansion suggests to call them in advance for them to be able to set up a ride for you.
5Hike and/or Walk
If you crave for more outdoor activities, another one of the not-to-be-missed things to do in Castle in the Clouds is hiking and/or walking. The Castle in the Clouds offers a number of trails for you to explore. Take a closer look at them.
- Brook Walk – this trail will lead you to viewpoints of seven spectacular waterfalls namely the Twin Falls, Whittier Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and a 40 ft. plunge Falls of Song. It’s a moderate hike that’s also perfect for beginners.
- Oak Ridge Interpretative Trail – as its name suggests, this trail has interpretative signs throughout to educate about the ecology, history, geology, as well as the unique characteristics of the conserved area. Of course, this trail also boasts of a spectacular viewpoint where you can get to see the Castle in midst of the rolling Ossipee Mountains. You will not just get to fill your eyes with good views but you will also learn more about the area, history, and the environment with this moderate hike trail.
- Bald Knob – another trail that offers moderate hike is the bald Knob. This trail is perfect for families and gives excellent views of Lake Winnipesaukee and beyond, which is why it’s a favorite among families.
- Mt. Roberts – if you’re feeling adventurous, Mt. Roberts trail is what we recommend. This trail is classified as a strenuous hike and this means you can enjoy a nearly 3-mile hike. But don’t worry about the long distance as you will be rewarded with nice views of nature. In fact, many consider it the finest “undiscovered” hike in the Lakes Region.
- Mt. Shaw – another trail that falls into the strenuous hike category is the Mt. Shaw. It’s the highest point in the Lakes Region. Thus, aside from miles of trail, expect that this one is also steeper compared to the rest of the trails. Even so, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the mountains.
6 Just Relax
If you’re not up for some intense outdoor activity things to do in Castle in the Clouds, you can just go and relax by the Shannon Pond, a man-made body of water that Tom Plant created around 1917. He kept it stocked with rainbow trout that is still living in the pond. And because of this, fishing is not allowed. You can feed the fish instead. You can get a handful of fish food from the 25-cent dispenser around the area and just watch the trout jump for a snack. Children will surely love it and you too. You will also love the relaxing view that the pond has. On top of that, you can get to see Mt. Shaw, Roberts, and Faraway in the distance.
Dining is also one of the not-to-be-missed things to do in Castle in the Sky. In this site, you have two options in filling your empty stomach – eat a heavy meal at the Carriage House Restaurant or grab a snack at the Café in the Clouds.
For the former, you can get a unique experience dining on a mountain top setting. You can enjoy the sweeping mountain and lake views as you dig in the restaurant’s delicious original dishes. It also has classics and new twists on old favorites, vegetarian, and even gluten-friendly menu items that you need to try out.
On the other hand, the Café in the Clouds offers lighter meals. From Kellerhaus ice cream, to wraps, you will surely enjoy its dishes too. Since it’s located in the Meadows by Shannon Pond, you can also enjoy picturesque views. It’s also a perfect place to grab a bite before or after hiking.
Shopping is also one of the must things to do in Castle in the Clouds. But there’s no branded clothes or the regular whatnots that you can find in a regular mall. Still, it is filled with locally-made gift items that you can take home with you to remember this trip by. And the best part of shopping here is that with every purchase you make, you are able to support the Castle in the Clouds preservation and programming.
9Enjoy Seasonal Activities
You should also not miss the seasonal activities that the Castle in the Clouds offers, including skiing and snowshoeing. Every year, the site offers popular winter activities that we’re sure you will enjoy too. So, better mark your calendars now.
10Join More Events
Aside from seasonal activities, the site also offers various events such as solar gazing, yoga sessions, seminars, and more. These events and activities offer more than just sightseeing but learning as well. Hence, you need to keep an eye on the site’s calendar too for such unique events and activities. It will be so much fun and you will gain more knowledge.
11Tie the Knot
Yes, the Castle in the Clouds isn’t just for those looking for a quick getaway. This site also caters to those looking for a place to celebrate, especially their wedding. Here, you will not just enjoy picturesque views but this place also offers three different venues to complete your celebration – The Lucknow Estate, The carriage House, and The Winnipesaukee Room.
You, your partner, as well as your guests, will be captivated by the 1914 historic mansion, the century-old pergola, and the 180-degree views of Lake Winnipesaukee. The Castle in the Clouds also has a Castle Garden where a manicured oval lawn bordered by stanchions spilling with flowers and a gilded age fountain will impress you too. On top of that, there are the site’s vintage trolleys that will transport your guests to The Carriage House Terrace for any cocktail hour where they can also enjoy panoramic views of the property and the nearby sites. Castle in the Clouds’ Winnipesaukee Room gives a nice reception area too. With its stunning interior design and size that’s enough to hold up to nearly 200 guests, it will surely make your wedding celebration all the more memorable.
Now that you know what to look forward to in the Castle in the Clouds, you might be wondering how you can get inside and when this New Hampshire gem opens. Here’s how.
Castle in the Clouds Admission
With all these activities you can do in the Castle in the Clouds, one might think how much all of these activities cost. But don’t worry, these activities are already included once you purchase tickets for the mansion’s tours. If you want a self-guided castle tour, all you need to pay is $18. If you’re traveling with a child who is five to 17 years old, the tickets for them costs $10.
The site also offers discounted tickets for certain groups of people. For veterans, their admission ticket costs $13 only and if they’re traveling with five additional immediate family members, their family can purchase their tickets at the same rate too. Meanwhile senior citizens’ tickets only costs $15. Children who are four years old and younger, as well as A.D. military guests can enter the site for free; plus, their immediate family members can enjoy the site for free.
Castle in the Clouds Hours
Castle in the Clouds’ schedule varies. On regular days (when there is no wedding being held), the site is open daily from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. The front gate, where you can buy admission tickets is open from 10 AM to 3 PM.
On the other hand, the gift shop, where you can also buy admission tickets is open from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. The exhibit gallery also follows the same schedule.
The tours that the Castle in the clouds offers also have different schedules. The Mansion Tours is available between 10 AM and 5:30 PM. Meanwhile, the Basement Tours starts at 11 Am, resumes at 1 PM, and ends at 2:30 PM.
The Carriage House Restaurant also has its own schedule, which is from 11:30 Am to 3:30 PM. The site didn’t mention about its café’s hours, though, but we assume that it’s open until the Castle in the Clouds closes.
The trolley service also has its own operation hours, which is from 10 AM to 4:45 PM.
On the other hand, if there is a wedding being held, the admission sales ends at 3:30 PM; the last trolley to the mansion is only until 3:45; the lawns of Lucknow closes at 4:30 PM; the Mansion is only open until 4:45 PM; and the gift shop closes at 5 PM.
Attractions Near Castle in the Clouds
The Castle in the Clouds already has plenty of activities to keep you relaxed and/or enjoying your vacation day. But if you have more time or if you have a longer vacation, we suggest that you also explore the nearby attractions. In case you’re wondering where to go next after your Castle in the Clouds trip, here are some nearby sites that are also considered as New Hampshire gems that you should see too.
If you’re looking for a place to eat fresh seafood and other delicious dishes, the Moulton Farm is one of the best places to be. As its name suggests, it has its own farm. Hence, you can expect that every dish is made with fresh ingredients from its own farm.
The Old Country Store
Just a few miles away from the castle in the clouds, you can also find The Old Country Store. As its name suggests, yes, it is quite old already. In fact, it is known as the oldest retail establishment in America. But another thing that makes it worth visiting are the items that it sells. Here, you can find unique items that other stores don’t have. From penny candy to wrought iron hardware, you will surely find something good to buy regardless of your age. It is also open seven days a week so you don’t have to worry about missing out.
Hermit Woods Winery
If you’re a wine lover, there is also a nice place near the Castle in the Clouds for you and that is the Hermit Wood Winery. Here, you can sample their award-winning wines and even learn more about the how their wines are made from scratch. The Hermit Woods winery also has a deli where you can enjoy a light menu together with their beer and wine. It’s one of the sites you shouldn’t miss if you’re a wine lover.
From the Castle in the Clouds, you can see Lake Winnipesaukee. But why not just look at it and explore it instead? Here, you can enjoy different activities. There’s a ski school, ice cream and mini-golf, Wright Museum of World War II, adventure parks, and more. It’s also a place perfect for those looking for a site for family bonding. There’s plenty of activities for everyone regardless of your age. And because of that, if you’re traveling with your family, we highly suggest that you shouldn’t forget to visit this one.
The Loon Center
The Loon Center is also a place that deserves a spot in your travel itinerary, especially if you’re traveling with kids. This is because this place is filled with exhibits and bid sanctuaries that will not just get to closer to nature but will also help you understand loons and other birds and how you can help conserve them. This place is also a must-see for its beautiful landscape and picturesque views.
New Hampshire may be known for mining but this state is more to it than that. Aside from the literal gems, it also has gems that you won’t get to find elsewhere in the world and one of which is the Castle in the Clouds. It’s one of the places that you need to add to your travel itinerary. So why not plan a trip and pack your bags to New Hampshire soon?