Friday, October 22, 2010

Ravenstone Castle

So, we stayed in a lot of places on our recent trip -- at Harbor House in Wheaton for me (in two different rooms) for the first (solo) stage of the trip; then together for the second phase in a hotel in Rockford, at my brother-in-law's, at Lake Lawn Lodge in Delavan (where I had a great walk into the nearby woods and even saw hitherto unsuspected beehives), and finally in Ravenstone Castle, a new(ish) B&B just outside Harvard, Illinois.

We hadn't even known there was a B&B in Harvard, so when Janice discovered about Ravenstone Castle when preparing for this trip, it seemed something we'd really regret passing up. Basically, it's a castle in the middle of an old cornfield on the outskirts of town. Here's what it looks like outside:

The decor inside is all tapestries, medieval-themed paintings, &c. We stayed in the King Arthur room, but the last day we were there got the tour of the other rooms: the Queen Elizabeth room, the Egyptian room (the odd-man-out so far as the medieval/renaissance theme went, but by far the most impressive of the lot), and a fourth room they've just completed, the v. neat Unicorn room (which has a set of six Unicorn-&-the-Maiden tapestries). To get an idea of what the first three of these look like, check out the following link:

We also enjoyed walking around the back and seeing the frog pond (at one point sadly depleted, we were told, by serving as the temporary haven of a little rescued turtle, who apparently enjoyed his time there more than the tadpoles did). And of course, it being us, we were particularly glad to make the acquaintance of three of their six cats: Sir Peter (whom, in deference to Dorothy Sayers, I dubbed 'Lord Peter'),** a fluffy white cat w. black patches I dubbed Lady Harriet, and a sleek black cat with white whiskers and an amazing voice whom I called Orbison.***

All in all, someplace I'd gladly stay again -- though next time we might need to go for a shorter stay so as to pull out all the stops and stay in the Egyptian Room -- having just read a fascinating little book on all the plants found in King Tut's tomb, and just started today on Rick Riordan's latest, THE RED PYRAMID, I'm primed on the subject right now.


*I particularly liked The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton, which looked v. preRaphaelite.

**For a picture of Lord Peter, click here:

***since I already know a black cat with a Siamese voice named Elvis (of Tindalos House), it seemed appropriate to extend the Sun Records theme to another black cat. His voice was too mournful to make me think of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash seemed inappropriate, and there's no need to insult a cat by comparing him to Jerry Lee Lewis.

I'd forgotten that they mentioned the castle had been the subject of a local news segment, which Janice has just tracked down for me. If you'd like to see a little video about the castle, here's the link:

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