The Adventures of Vitas Povilaitis: Castle Tour 1999


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Here's a description of my weekend when my friend, Marcia, visited.

Friday

We went to Wiscasset, ME, to visit Tucker Castle. It's a small mansion built in the early 1800's, with only a small section open to the public--the rest is used as a private residence. It's not much to look at because it's not well maintained, but the tour guide had an hour's worth of information about the past owners of the mansion--a judge and a shipbuilder who both went broke. It does overlook the water, so it's a pleasant view.

We went to Boothbay Harbor. On the way, we stopped at Fort Edgecomb. This isn't much of a park or a fort, but would make for a nice picnic area. All that's left of the fort is the restored blockhouse, and a few obscure walls.

Boothbay Harbor is a bustling tourist town, with a lot of shops, restaurants, and water activities. We ate at Ebbtide, which was more of a diner than a restaurant, and had good fried haddock, and watery clam chowder.

Saturday

We went to Spring Castle ("Castle in the Clouds") in Moultonborough, NH. It's a modest mansion on a sprawling mountaintop property. The property itself is very impressive being wooded with streams and waterfalls. There was one area on the drive up that we walked to which reminded me of a miniature Letchworth Park. There was an overlook, also on the way, which had a beautiful view of Lake Winnipesaukee. It's a barely developed area, so there's a good sense of isolation and peace, except for all the tourists. ;-)

It was a hazy day, and a storm was visibly rolling in, but didn't hit until we were ready to leave. (Then the drive back was scattered with treacherous rainfall.)

Horseback riding is available, and I'm inspired to learn just so I can go here and do it.

The mansion is owned by Castle Springs water bottling company. They've done a lot of restoration on the mansion, and it's quite lovely. It's a technological marvel for its time. Built in the early 1900's, it tapped a spring for running water and showers. Also, the water powered a generator providing electricity to the mansion. A private intercom system let the inhabitants communicate with other people in the mansion and in the stable. It had centralized forced hot water heating, centralized vacuuming, a self- cleaning oven, and brine-cooled refrigeration. The stones for the house were cut into hexagons, and, on a good day, three stones were laid when the house was built. The owner, Mr. Plant, hired a thousand workers to complete the mansion and grounds in a reasonable amount of time.

The location was selected for its beauty, and for its spring. Especially striking is the view through the double doors of the game room. It opens out onto a lawn with a fountain, and beyond that a view of the lake and the mountains beyond. The spring was important because it was the right height above the mansion to provide enough pressure to give it running water. This stream is now used by the bottling company.

Interestingly enough, the owner of this mansion went broke as well. What? Do rich people go a little spend-crazy after building up their wealth? Maybe it has to do with the fact that their sensibilities changed after getting married. ;-)

Aside

Good ol' Tucker was asked by his father to finally settle down at the age of 41. So he went off and married a 16 year old he'd met once before. He took time off from work to bear five children, all of whom went on to lead independent lives, perhaps because their mother lamented over the freedom she never had.

Good ol' Plant built his mansion for retirement. He got bored with his wife, divorced her for another woman. There was one room she found very romantic--a breakfast room where they met in the morning and ate together. I think it's unfortunate that such a romantic location was wasted on this couple--sleeping in separate bedrooms, and never having children.

Hopefully, I recalled things properly, but if you want more information:


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