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NORTHEAST

Glimpse bygone grandeur at historic Mid-Atlantic homes BY CHERYL RODEWIG

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ou might expect turrets and medieval tapestries on a European tour, but you can find similar splendor stateside throughout the Mid-Atlantic. These large homes were built by larger-than-life personalities. The characters are distinctly American — industrialists, immigrants,

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entrepreneurs — but the grand estates they left behind shine with Old World charm. And while you can walk through these fantastic castles and mansions and see what life might have been like for the wealthy owners who once lived there, you can’t rent a room for an overnight stay or an extended visit. Fortunately, there are lodging options nearby that will have you feeling like royalty.

FONTHILL CASTLE Doylestown, Pa. Inspired by medieval fortresses, Fonthill Castle is unlike anything you’ll find along the Rhine River. Its creator, Henry Mercer, was a well-to-do tile maker who dreamed of building a “Castle for the New World.” He began in 1908, with no architectural training or blueprints, a process that rambled across four years, resulting in a Byzantine-Gothic hybrid of 32 stairwells, 21 chimneys and more than 200 windows. Colorful tiles cover nearly every interior surface, forming patterns, phrases and unusual illustrations. Stay: The Doylestown Inn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, gives a nod to its former life as a speakeasy, cigar shop and more with clever touches in the bar and restaurant that include reclaimed wood, antiques and period photos.

KEVIN CRAWFORD; NORMAN BARKER AND JAMES T. VAN RENSSELAER; DUMBARTON OAKS

Great Estates

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