December 23, 2009

A restored faith in mystery (1)

"Go up Skyline Drive," Sean told us, "and if you look back to your right after the first big curve, you can see the castle."

So we did, of course, capturing ourselves the image seen above: the castle atop Afton Mountain, a short jaunt from our home. I took the picture through my dented Rummage Sale binoculars.

But it's not enough that we've got a castle, or that it belongs to the Royal Orchard that sent apples to the Queen of England, or that it has its own driveway bridge across an Interstate (click here, use Street View on I-64 at Royal Orchard Drive), or that it was so awesome that it dictated the route of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.

What's best is that it spawned a ... fan site ... that without any frills pieces together a strange history of the place. As you'll see, the Web site host simply leaves the site up and waits for those with knowledge and rumors and scraps to write in e-mails that get posted verbatim. It's enthralling to hear from these visitors and past deliverymen and whoever else managed to get a peek at the grounds.

A "decedent" recently wrote in as well to confirm much of the information and hoped that the writing "quenched all curiosity about our beloved home."

Au contraire. It just makes me want to look again at images of the place and wonder what might be true.
* Satellite image
* Flickr 1
* Flickr 2 (with great comments building)
* From an architect
* Extremely dry history, courtesy of TNV

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Blogger Daniel Silliman said...

Though I'm sort of sick of castles, living in Germany, this is very nice. Chuck Palahunik, in his non-fiction, Stranger than Fiction, has a piece on the people in America who build themselves modern-day castles. It's pretty wild and worth checking out.

Even in Europe, it should be noted, the castles are best when they're craziest. Here, in the south of the country, there's a big one built a lot later than your usual castles, which a king who was probably insane based on disney movies. That's right: he copied disney's copy of what his ancestors actually built.

December 24, 2009 at 4:43 AM 

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