Photos of me by Christine Proulx
I've never been to a castle before. I guess I got lucky that my school took me to "The Loveliest Castle in the World" for my first time. Fo free. This bad boy has been around since the Normans, went through the hands of several monarchs, including King Henry VIII who once showed up with an entourage of more than 5,000 people for a single night's stay. It ended in the hands of Lady Baillie, who lived there until 1974 and set up the foundation so the castle could remain a "living castle." There are still 23 bedrooms that are in use.
The inside of the castle is really cool, but I think I might have even enjoyed the grounds more. There's a maze, a play area for kids, an arena where they do falconry exhibits, a restaurant, and just some lovely natural areas with streams and footpaths. I'd never actually done a proper maze before either, so when we started I said "I hope we flounder at least a little bit. I don't want to solve it right away." I thought that since it was aimed at families and children it wouldn't be hard. Haaaa, that was not the case. We "floundered" around for about half an hour before we got to the center.
Then, to up the campiness, after to you reached the center, you went down a flight of stairs into the Grotto, where the walls were covered in faces made of shells and which was lit by spooky lights and a deep voice read lines from Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner over a loudspeaker (I was very proud for having recognized it without help. Holla.) . It felt very much like I'd stepped into Labyrinth. David Bowie should have been waiting for me at the end.