There’s a castle in New Jersey!!! Okay, not a medieval castle sprawling across a mountain cliff with the ocean at it’s back and a moat at it’s door, but a small castle built in the 1920s right in the Appalachian mountains of New Jersey, on the edge of the NJ Botanical Garden, in Passaic County. The state park, as I believe it is, is located in Ringwood New Jersey not far from the Wanaque Reservoir and only a short distance from the border of upstate NY offers beautiful landscapes and picturesque memories… all in little old New Jersey.
It’s a beautiful place, both elegant and historic, with warm appeal yet still giving one the sense of mystery that comes from being in what could be an old haunt of kings and queens. One would never know this was a bed and breakfast if one did not look for it, and you might not know it even exists if you didn’t stumble upon it or look up “CASTLES in NEW JERSEY” in a search engine, but Mony found it… and she loves castles.
After a month of crap in Union Beach (aftermath of Sandy), she’d had enough and wanted to get away, even for a night, which she did… she booked us an overnight at the little castle and off we went the Saturday before Christmas. The ride wasn’t bad at all and we made a pit stop to see the famed Weird New Jersey icon, The Devil’s Tower. As a side note, the Devil’s Tower is located in Alpine NJ and surround by opulant homes and estates, it’s worth a drive and a few pictures if you life in the tri-state area. It isn’t something you can get into, but the history is lovely and the area is beautiful. With the tower behind us we made our way to the Skyland Castle, and were met with classic medieval architecture which was brought from all over Europe to decorate the expansive stone walls.
We were only 1 of 2 couples booked on that cold Saturday night so we were upgraded to a better room on the second floor, treated to a bottle of Champagne for our troubles of Hurricane Sandy, and given free run to explore the building. The chandeliers, the wood paneled walls, the high ceilings, busts and furniture are all perfectly placed as if prepared for a photo shoot to appear in Better Castles and Gardens, and there was no question that this is the perfect place for a wedding. There isn’t a wedding hall in New Jersey that could offer such beauty, class, hospitality and views, and Mony and I considered this to be one possible place to have our wedding if we choose to go the party route.
The hosts for the evening were pleasant and kind and if there were any ghosts stalking the cement halls, they were quiet during our stay and let us sleep. Speaking of ghosts, while the castle itself is a thing of beauty, the third floor doesn’t offer the same magnificence, in fact despite the rooms being beautiful and warm, I couldn’t help but feel like I entered in to Stephen King’s Shining. We explored the entire building, including the third floor, peeked into open rooms and opened doors we probably weren’t allow to, including the kitchen, a few closets and a staircase to the basement where there were two beautiful (locked) safe doors which even alone away from the beauty of the rest of the property, stood beautiful themselves.
We loved spending the night, watching the sun rise, walking the grounds, loved the historic beauty and the history of the place. We loved it all. We hope you’ll check it out and patronize this establishment, we’re probably going back in the summer for a weekend and once again will consider whether or not we want to get married there… if we choose to go the party route.
Thanks for reading.