Sunday, May 06, 2007

There Be Castles in My Hometown!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've had a fascination for fairy tales since I was a child. Maybe it's my mom's fault for getting me into the princess craze, but I like to thinks I've hung onto my love because my spirit took root from that seed of imagination. Sure, I'm old enough (and wise enough) to know that my prince isn't going to come sweep me off my feet, though I do have a shirt that reads "Damsel in Distress seeking her Prince Charming". To counter that I bought my boyfriend a t-shirt that says, "Never A Prince, Sometimes Charming", because it fits the bill. (Though I dare not press my luck to get him to don his when I wear mine.)

And as everyone knows a prince and princess need a castle. Admittedly, the structures have always fascinated me because country to country the designs morph to acclimate themselves to the surrounding territories. Some in Germany are perched on mountains, those in Scotland overlook the seas, and then there are the ones in my North Carolina hometown.

Since I was a child, I've passed these grand properties wishing for a glimpse inside. Of course they don't house knights, nor ladies fair, but each piece of real estate holds a speck of history. And each shows that a man's house, in some instances, really is his castle.

This was my newest discovery, and resides about a quarter mile from my own house smack dab in the middle of the city. I smile when I ride by and see the woman of the house's flags flying like a pennant of old.

I passed this residence every day going to and from work when I lived with my parents. It belonged to the founder of the local brickyard, which supplied the stone and bricks used to build many of the business and homes in my area. Unfortunately Hanford Brick was finally closed in 2000, and the house was put up for sale. At the time, I didn't have the credit, nor a good enough job to afford such a place. But that didn't stop me from dreaming! BTW, the steps by the front tower are a new addition by the new owner.

This grand church in Graham stands 2 miles from my house. I saw it for the first time when I was taking my first Recreation drawing class. The teacher brought us up the street to sketch. What a fabulous still-life this building made!

Driving in Graham one afternoon, I looked up and spotted this tower. It stands directly across the street from the church above. I wondered, why cap off the corner with a tower instead of leaving the roof flat? Like most vacant factories in the area, this one needs serious repair. To help eradicate the eye sores, the mayors' are offering businesses tax breaks/incentives to remodel the properties into apartment buildings. Hmm...where did that idea to use an old warehouse for the final showdown in my superhero paranormal TO CATCH A HEART come from?

I love this house in Graham because it has a "castle" feel, but is cottage sized. When I began planning the follow up book to ALL I EVER WANTED, I knew this was going to be Jenn's house. Since it sits on a street corner, I discovered the back yard was picture perfect! Just like in my imagination it had tons of rose bushes enclosed in a gated garden as well as a small car shed.

I believe this is one of the oldest houses in downtown Burlington . It sits at the end of Fountain Place, a beautiful street so named by the goldfish fountain surrounded by lantern light poles at its center. I remember driving by it on the way to the orthodontist's office and wondering who lived there. I still don't know the answer to that question, but I still love the house!

The Holy Comforter Episcopal Church is one of my favorite buildings in downtown Burlington. It is coveted as a historical landmark, and even has some claim to fame because of it's Tiffany stained glass windows. Currently, it is only used on special occasions and only members are allowed to have their weddings inside. It had been closed due to safety issues, but has since undergone a restoration to bring it back to its full glory.

With these in my backyard, is there any doubt why I set a portion of TIES OF VALOR inside Castle Mostyn? True the Shandar's castle is a far cry from these humble abodes with its blend of newfangled technology, but it still holds the magical glory contained within the castles of old. And yes, there be knights, princes, princesses, servants and a Queen within its walls.

Do you have any "castles" in your neck of the woods, or a building that you adore? Why not tell us about it or share your fondest memories?
Castle McCulloch in Jamestown, NC.
A lantern lined walkway leads visitors across a drawbridge. Among the wooden rafters of the Main Hall, a small promenade allows a view of all the festivities. The room below lays even with the moat and bears thick windows laced with crisscrossed metal. Tucked away to the rear is the dainty Queen's Chambers. I confess the moment I saw it, I wanted to be married here, since my boyfriend and I are huge Highlander fans. What locale (besides Scotland) could be more perfect for a Scottish theme wedding?


Lynda K. Scott said...

What fantastic pictures! I've always loved different architectures and adore driving through small towns where you can see older churches/buildings.

The closest we have to 'castles' in my area are the churches. We do have a 'plantation' house complete with columns and an upstairs ball room. No one lives there any more and the surrounding property has been sold to builders but the house is still standing and it appears that they'll keep it.

I certainly hope so. It's a charming glimpse of a bygone day.

Skylar Masey said...

Thanks Lynda!

Most of the pictures were taken from my car. My bf & I would swoop in, stop long enough to snap, then shoot off. Since most of these are private residences, I didn't want to take the chance of getting caught. :0)

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

These are gorgeous, Skylar! My husband would move into a castle in a heartbeat, though he insists on having a moat.LOL.

Skylar Masey said...

A moats would come in handy. I mean you could REALLY shut yourself off in a world all your own, where no one could get to you...literally. And don't we all have someone we'd rather not see? (AKA Bill collector, in-laws?)

But we'd also have to unplug the phone and swear off e-mail for the duration. That I don't think I could do. I'd have to take a peek. :0)

Though having an impenetrable sanctuary would definitely come in handy when we're on deadline, though I don't think our hubbies/kids would like to be left standing outside, yelling at the top of their lungs for entrance.

I have another excerpt dealing with castles that I may share on my next non-theme post. It will have you girls giggling...I think. Though it had me mortified.