When you think of a castle, you may think of an old building where kings and queens may have once lived. You may associate the location of this castle with somewhere in Europe. A castle that is located in Tennessee probably won’t be the first thing that springs to mind. However, there are several castles that call this state home, but not everyone is aware of them. Many of them are hidden away, so you need to actively seek them out rather than just hoping to come across them. Five of the most interesting hidden castles that can be found in Tennessee are listed below.
1. Williamswood Castle – Knoxville
The design of Williamswood Castle was based on a Scottish hunting lodge. Only In Your State describes the peacefulness of the grounds of the castle, despite it only being a ten minute drive from the center of Knoxville. The castle covers 4500 square feet and has authentic features such as towers and hidden passages. It is located within the Ijams Nature Center and there is plenty here to keep you active, such as hiking and mountain bike trails. The castle is available to rent out for overnight stays and is a great venue to get together with a large group of family and friends as up to 8 guests can stay at one time. If you are lucky enough to be staying in the main bedroom, then you can gaze up from the four poster bed to a replica of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Staying inside this castle really feels as if you are stepping back in time.
2. Castle Gwynn – Arrington
This is perhaps the least ‘hidden’ castle on the list because fans of renaissance fairs may have come across it before. It is the location of the Renaissance Festival that is held in Tennessee on an annual basis. The fact that it is not very hidden means there is plenty of opportunity for exploring as it is quite easily accessible. The castle is located in Arrington and was built by Mike Freeman. Building this castle has not been an easy task, and it is a project he has spent almost 30 years on. Mike had been dreaming of owning a castle that he could live in since he was in high school and when he finally had the chance, he chose a Welsh castle as his inspiration. The castle is being constantly updated and even if you have seen it before, it is likely to have changed by the time you see it again. This is the case even if you attend the Renaissance Festival on an annual basis.
3. Spring Castle – Rock Island
Although Spring Castle has the appearance of a medieval building, it was actually part of a cotton mill. It was the spring room which was used for refrigeration and provided water to the mill and the houses nearby. It has the appearance of a castle tower, and it is not to difficult to imagine someone being kept prisoner inside. Spring Castle is also sometimes referred to locally as the fairy castle, and this is something that really captures the imagination of younger children. It is located in Rock Island State Park and can be easy to miss as it is surrounded by trees. HMDB describes how details of the history of the building are given on a marker nearby. It also explains that there is a reservoir within the building that is formed from a natural spring, and this is where the building gets its name. It also shows the view that you would have had of the building when it was first constructed. There is not too much difference from how the building looks now, it is just a bit more hidden today as trees and foliage have grown around it over the past hundred years or so.
4. Crantzdorf Castle – Johnson City
Crantzdorf Castle is a privately owned home, but it is available to hire out for short breaks. The design of the castle is based around a Spanish palace from the 18th century. The castle comes with great views over the Appalachian Mountains, and if you are looking to visit the area and stay in style and comfort, then this is an ideal location. Crantzdorf Castle is located in Johnson City which is only 45 minutes away from the border with North Carolina. If you do stay here for a short break, it is a a good base to explore from. According to Pricey Pads, it is fenced all the way around the perimeter so you will need to be invited inside the grounds if you want to get a good look at the building. This does also mean that it you have hired the castle for a break, then you will have a great deal of privacy.
5. University of the South – Sewanee
The University of the South is also known as Sewanee, which is the name of the town where it is located. This is the castle in this list which is the furthest south in the state. The age of the building is testament to how long the University has been an influence on this part of Tennessee. The building was primarily constructed for religious use, but it has many features that make comparisons with a castle inevitable. Many of the other buildings at the university have similar designs. Religion has been an important part of the University of the South since it’s inception, and this is reflected in the buildings that are on campus. It is likely that the chance to study in such beautiful buildings is a contributing factor in many peoples decisions to attend college here. You are able to visit the grounds of the University if you want to get a closer look at this hidden castle. There are a great deal of interesting design features that can be seen from the outside of the building. However, depending on what is happening on the day you visit, you may not be able to get inside to explore all of the features.