Last week I dragged the whole family up to the Connecticut River Valley for a trip to Gillette’s Castle. Okay, there wasn’t really any dragging involved. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit a medieval-style castle overlooking a gorgeous river valley? And the kiddos are still too little to protest much over what family activities we do. 🙂
I was there to do research of writing my chapter of the Great CT Caper, which starts next week! So fall all I know for the story is that the castle is going to go missing…and the rest is up to us writers to create.
There’s nothing quite like physically experiencing the place you are writing about, so off we went. The morning rain scared away all the tourists (plus it we went on a Tuesday), so we had run of the place almost to ourselves. I had already done some research on William Gillette who designed and lived in the castle.
Gillette is probably best known for portraying Sherlock Holmes on stage. Seems he had quite the sense of humor and was a natural entertainer because his home was set up to simultaneously awe his guests and tease them. He had strategically placed mirrors so he could spy on his guests from other rooms, one of which he used to observe his guests struggle with a trick liquor cabinet that Gillette designed. He also had a secret shortcut on his main stairway so he could beat his guests up to the great room and surprise them.
All in all I took a million pictures (many a little blurry because The Prince was strapped to me via the Moby wrap and it made it hard for me to keep my phone steady) and learned way more information than I’ll ever be able to cram into a whole story never mind a single chapter. But I also got really inspired and earned a whole new sense of the castle that I never would have gotten from pictures and descriptions of it. I do hope I get to incorporate a little of that into my small part in the story.