When you think of castles, you probably don’t think of the U.S. or even Ohio. But do you know that Ohio is home to several castles? Some castles offer tours and others provide unique lodging. These fortresses of yesteryear may not be the medieval or historic castles found in Europe where Kings and Queens once resided, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan a visit and pretend you are royalty for the day.
Ohio Castles: Things to do in Ohio
Castles in Ohio to Tour
If you’re looking for things to do in the Midwest, you should consider Ohio’s Castles. The Piatt Castles in Central Ohio and Loveland Castle near Cincinnati are perfect for a fun day out with the family, while Ravenwood, located in the beautiful and scenic Hocking Hills, and Landoll’s Mohican Castle near Amish Country are best reserved for a romantic getaway with that special someone.
Cooke Castle on Gibraltar Island off Put-in-Bay
The Jay Cooke Mansion on Gibraltar Island, across the water from Put-in-Bay, is known by locals as the Cooke Castle. The small six-acre island was purchased in 1864 by Jay Cooke, a prominent banker from Philadelphia and financier of the Civil War. The 15-room stone mansion was built to be a summer vacation home for Jay and his family. Mr. Cooke was a native of nearby Sandusky and avid fisherman who enjoyed spending time near and on Lake Erie. Listed as a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, the Cooke Castle has entertained influential businessmen, senators and presidents. Today, the property belongs to the Ohio State University and the island is used as a marine biology laboratory. Guests who visit the Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island can admire the structure from the outside and if you’re especially curious, you may be able to sneak a peek inside one of the windows.
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Cooke-Dorn House in Sandusky
This home in Sandusky, owned by the Cooke family, may look ‘castle-like’ on the outside, but that’s where the similarities end. Inside the home has been renovated and decorated to include a 1950’s décor complete with vintage furnishings that include ash trays in each of the rooms. Those with an interest in architecture or antiques will enjoy a free guided tour that is offered April through December.
The Piatt family were descendants of French Huguenots and journeyed to America to escape religious persecution. Eventually the family moved to Ohio and settled in Logan County. Two brothers, Donn and Abram, built two three-story castles, Mac-O-Chee and Mac-A-Cheek, ¾ of a mile apart from each other. Today you can travel to Central Ohio and take a self-guided tour of 19th century properties and view the eccentric collections of the original homeowners.
Chateau Laroche a.k.a. Loveland Castle near Cincinnati
Harry Andrews spent most of his life building Chateau Laroche, or Loveland Castle, along the banks of the Little Miami River near Cincinnati. The European-style castle is modeled after many of the castles that Harry saw in Europe following WWI. Built for his Knights of the Golden Trail, a Sunday School/Boy Scout troop, who spent a lot of time outdoors camping on the plots of land donated to the troop, Harry spent over 50 years on the construction of the building. Upon his death in 1981, at the age of 91, ownership of the castle transferred to the Knights of the Golden Trail and knights still guard the castle. The castle features towers, a dry-moat, hand tiled ceilings and a fine collection of period weaponry. Tours of the castle are available April through September and Family Castle Days are held the third Saturday of the month April through August.
Castles in Ohio to Stay in
Ravenwood Castle in Ohio’s Hocking Hills Region
Ravenwood Castle is located in southeastern Ohio, minutes from the popular Hocking Hills State Parks. This unique property features a medieval village, gypsy cottages (during warmer months) and castle rooms for a unique lodging experience. Unplug and enjoy your time away in this B & B style property. You’ll find comfortable sleeping quarters, an onsite pub for food and beverages, a Game Master to introduce you to one of the dozens of board games available for guests, and special theme weekends that range from murder mysteries to beer tastings. Outdoors, you’ll find giant chess board and pieces to play as well as hiking trails at the nearby state or national forests.
Breakfast is served daily in the Great Hall, and reservations are accepted for weekend dinners. Lodging in the castle and village are available year round, though keep in mind during the snowy winter months, a four-wheel drive vehicle may make it easier to navigate the steep drive leading to the castle.
Landoll’s Mohican Castle near Mohican State Park in Loudonville
Landoll’s Mohican Castle us an unexpected romantic getaway in Ohio. Built in 2002, this property and features luxurious castle rooms and suites near Mohican State Park and the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country. Onsite, you’ll find the Stepping Stone Restaurant which was recently visited by celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey. The property is a popular venue for weddings and a great location to celebrate special occasions. The castle offers special events throughout the year, including ghost hunts that are held on property.
Have you visited any of Ohio’s castles? Which would you like to visit?