A Fall Aroma: Baking Bread

Fall Fruit BreadWhen the leaves turn and start to fall, and there is a chill in the air, I want to spend more time in the kitchen.

I modified my banana bread recipe to include some local fall fruits.  I thought it turned out good enough to share.  As you can see, most of it is gone already.

This is a simple quick bread that requires very little culinary skills, just mix and bake, but the results are fantastic!




Fall Fruit Bread


1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoon shortening
3 cups flour
3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup nut pieces, pecan or walnut
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ripe pear, chopped or mashed
1 small to medium apple, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar, egg and milk in a small bowl.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Add the wet ingredients and the shortening to the flour.  Mix well. The batter will be stiff.

Mix in the mashed bananas, apple and pear.  Add the nuts.

Spoon the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.

Let cool slightly before slicing or it will crumble apart.

This is great toasted, buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.


Hope you enjoy this recipe~Lisa






Dollars to Donuts in Northern Maine

Jeff and I took a long weekend trip to the Great North Woods of Maine at the end of September.   We were determined to cross Katahdin Mountain in Baxter State Park off our “Places to See” bucket list. 

Thursday, Sept 25

Lunch at Goody’s Pizzeria in Gray, ME.  We were made welcome as the owner chit-chatted with the locals.  We both had subs which were made with some excellent, tasty sub rolls.

Flying moose near Greenville Maine


Almost to Greenville, ME, we happened upon the flying moose. What more can I say.

The sculpture was based on a Native American legend.



Kineo View Motor Lodge, outside of Greenville is on a hillside down a long driveway. This no-frills motel is a bit old with modest furnishings, but it is exceptionally clean.  The owner and his family are friendly and helpful.  They also have a small gift shop located at the office.  The expansive view of the lake and mountain ranges from the wall to wall windows is the same from every room on the second floor.

Kineo View Motor Lodge

If you prefer sitting on your own balcony enjoying a great view at a reasonable price, rather than being on the main routes downtown, this is a good place to be. The continental breakfast had the bare essentials, bagels, cereal, coffee and juice. 

Stress Free Moose Pub and Cafe

Stress Free Moose Pub and Café in Greenville for dinner. This is a bar with the café as a second thought. There are more beers on tap than menu choices, and we probably made a mistake of not ordering what appeared to be the specialty, flame-grilled burgers.  I had the antipasto appetizer and Jeff had Caesar salad.  Although presentation was nice, I would have liked more wow for the price.  For drinks, we experimented.  Jeff had a microbrew, Lobstah Killah, and I had an Irish Cider.



Friday, Sept 26

On to Katahdin, and although I am not physically fit enough to attempt a climb, many people along the way were enjoying all the trails in the area.

Lunch was at Northern Restaurant, a small watering hole on the narrow, dirt Golden Road, which happened to be a check in station for moose hunters.  I watched a bull moose being weighed and listened to the hunting stories while Jeff got a photo of Katahdin from the nearby Abol River Bridge.  The menu explained the reason for the higher prices was because they were off the grid and ran the restaurant/convenience store off a generator.  

Northern Restaurant

We had soup and sandwiches, and shared poutine made with hand cut fries. If you have never heard of poutine,  it’s a Quebec dish made with French fries smothered in beef gravy and cheese curds.  Artery clogging, but don’t knock it until you try it. 

Hunters, logging truck drivers, and hikers drifted in and out as the young waitress seemed to be a bit overwhelmed with the added business the beautiful weather had brought in, but it all added to the backwoods charm of this oasis in the woods.

Later, I waded in Tougue Pond at the foot of Katahdin behind the ranger station at the southern entrance to Baxter. The water was so cool and clear, I never wanted to leave, but time was limited because we didn’t want to drive too late into the night, so we headed back to Greenville, this time on the paved road.

Flatlanders, “where the locals eat.” If you go by the license plates on the cars parked outside, many of the patrons were actual “flatlanders” from Massachusetts, like us.  Seating is limited, so get there early for dinner rather than later.  Fried food on the menu, and the specialty is ‘broasted’ chicken which Jeff had, and declared it very good.  Desert was ice cream down the street at the The Dairy Bar.

Back at the lodge, we watched the stars over Moosehead Lake. We were a little disappointed that we had not seen a live moose that day, but if we had a mind to, we could have hired a guide.  There are local certified Maine guides on every street corner and they know where the moose hide.  But our focus was on fall foliage for Jeff’s blog, New England Fall Foliage, and he spent the rest of the evening answering questions that had been posted that day.

Saturday, Sept 28

We did a little shopping at Northwoods Outfitters Outdoor Store, and set out for Rangeley, ME.  On our way out, the low tire pressure warning came on and then went off.  Jeff checked the tires and they looked fine, until we stopped at a rest area.  When I got back to the car after using the facilities, the tire on my side was flat.

After getting help from some nice fellow travelers in getting our spare ‘donut’ on, we spent the afternoon looking for somewhere to get the tire fixed.  Forty miles out of our way, in Skowhegan, we found out the hole was too big to plug, and no tire of the same kind was to be found.  Instead of purchasing four new tires, we kept on the spare, pulling over for faster traffic along the way.

We could have given up and headed home from there, but with reservations made for our last night in Rangeley, we kept going. This is the pro and con of reservations.  You are assured a place to sleep, but you can’t change your plans, or if you do, you are out cancellation fees. 

However, if we had gone home, we would have missed out on one of the most beautiful historic places in the area. The Rangeley Inn and Tavern is chock full of charm. 

Rangeley Inn and Tavern

Our room, in the historic Ellis wing, was decorated with a collection of period furniture.

Rangeley Room

We peeked into the adjoining tavern, but after a day cooped in the car, we wanted to stretch our legs. Down Main Street, we found Parkside and Main.  Even though the deck with its lake views was full, I was happy with a table by the window. 

I have had baked haddock all over New England and this was one of the very best I have ever had. The fish was fresh and creamy, and the light covering of crab stuffing was complimentary, not overpowering.  And I don’t usually care for Brussel sprouts, but the maple glazed variety won me over.  Jeff had fried scallops which were also exceptional.  This chef here knows what he is doing.

Parkside Menu

Sunday, Sept 29

After a restful night, we had the continental breakfast in the elegant dining room. It seemed like gentlemen in top hats and ladies in long gowns would stroll in at any time, but the room filled with other travelers like us, couples and families discussing where they were going and where they had been. 

Rangleley Breakfast

On the way home, we stopped for gas at LL Cote in Errol, NH, a sprawling convenience/gift/outdoor supplies store in Errol, NH, and for lunch at Northland RestaurantNorthland Restaurant and Dairy Bar, an unassuming building just north of Berlin, NH village.  Pleasantly surprised to walk in and find a comfortable, clean, bright and airy interior overlooking the river.  Prices are very reasonable.  We had a great lunch of bison burgers.  I would recommend this place for hungry travelers.

We finally made it home on our ‘donut’ tire and got everything straightened out with that.

If you want more details on our route, check out Jeff’s article on his fall foliage blog.









“Crapeaux” or Maple Dumplings for the Non-Quebequois


Every spring the air around rural New England fills with the aroma of sweet Maple Dumpling deliciousness.  Similarly, when brandy is aged in it’s oak barrels, it gives off an aroma which the French monks called la part des anges – the angels’ share.  So, just like with aging brandy, when sap is boiled into maple syrup, a portion is given to the angels, la part des anges.

Today, I am sharing an old family recipe for what was called in rural parts of Quebec, Crapeaux, which translates to ‘toads’ and don’t ask me why, maybe it is the lumpiness reminded those old Quebec farmers of a warty toad. But there is nothing else in connection to a toad!  They are a dumpling boiled in maple syrup.  If you love maple syrup, this is total nirvana.  We used to have this for dessert every Easter when I was growing up.


Crapeaux or Maple Dumplings


1 egg
1/4 cup milk
dash of salt
1/4-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Approximately 2-4 cups maple syrup brought to a gentle boil in a pot. Too much of a boil will cause the syrup to boil over.

Beat the egg, milk and salt until thick.  Add 1/4 cup of flour and the baking powder and mix just until blended.  Add up to another 1/2 cup of flour to make a stiff batter like a drop biscuit.

Drop generous tablespoonful of batter into the boiling maple syrup. Cook one side then turn to cook the other side of the dumpling.  This should be approximately 3-5 minutes for each side.

There should be enough syrup so the dumplings don’t touch the bottom of the pot and do not overly crowd the dumplings when they are cooking.  The dumplings will expand when cooking.

The remaining boiled syrup can be drizzled on the cooked dumplings and can also be used for sugar-on-snow which is the syrup drizzled on snow, (if you have any left) and it hardens into a caramel-like consistency which we used to eat off the snow with a fork. It is great on vanilla ice cream too, but has to be used right away because it will harden too much when cooled, but it will create a candy or ‘sugar’ which can also be used.

Make sure you soak your pot right away in hot water or it is difficult to clean!


Lisa Folger



Norumbega Getaway in Camden

outside view with the last few minutes of sun hitting the Norumbega Inn
outside view with the last few minutes of sun hitting the Norumbega Inn

This weekend, Lisa and I went up to Camden, Maine and stayed at Norumbega Castle.  It’s not a castle in the real sense of the word, and would qualify more as a large English manor.  Since Lisa is doing a series of articles on Castles in New England, we wanted to get a few photographs of Norumbega, and the tower on Mount Battie, so this seemed like a good place to stay overnight.

Norumbega Inn

It’s early April and just starting to warm up as we arrived in Camden, Maine. The day was sunny, if not quite warm in the low 50’s, as we slid open the antique wood and glass entry pocket door to be greeted by Linda, the hostess.

the curved library room of Norumbega Inn was very eclectic and interesting to explore with books and games on the shelves
Norumbega Inn library

Lisa and I were worried that as beautiful as this place is, it might be a bit pretentious, but our fears were soon allayed. Linda got us settled into our room and then gave us a tour of the inn.   I would say the inn reflects history with modern amenities.  However, it is not a museum.  The inn is bright, the original woodwork gleams, and it has a comfortable lived-in atmosphere, so you are not feeling like you have to sit on the edge of the furniture for fear of messing something up.

As we proceeded through the different areas of the building, Linda gave us the background history of the different families who have owned the property since it was first built back in the 1880’s.

We explored the first floor with the sitting room parlor with a baby grand piano, if you are so inclined to play, a library, a formal dining room, the breakfast room. Then we moved upstairs, past the unusual landing with a fireplace and built in corner seat, to check out some of the unoccupied bedrooms.

The room that Lisa had picked was in the lower garden level and our outside door opened onto a small deck on the East lawn and facing Penobscot Bay. Our view of the bay was limited though, due to the trees at the far end of the property. Once we got to the second floor bedrooms and looked out the windows facing Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay, we decided we would be staying in one of those rooms next time.

Dinner is available upon request, but we didn’t provide advance notice which is required so Chef Phil can prepare a meal created with the freshest local ingredients. Linda gave us suggestions of some places to eat downtown.

the smiling cow store on the main Street in Camden
the smiling cow store on the main Street in Camden

After we had dinner at Cappy’s Chowder House in Camden (2 min. away), we walked around downtown and did some window shopping. Camden is a quaint seaside town with many outdoor activities year round.

When we arrived back at the inn, Linda once again greeted us, and in finding it was my birthday, poured a glass of wine for us. We sat by a roaring fire in the sitting room parlor. Soon we headed to our room and slept soundly on the custom made mattresses and the high quality Cuddledown sheets and duvet covered quilt, all made in Maine.  The bed was very comfy after a long day of travel.

Nice little touches throughout, such as the Kuerig coffee makers in common areas on every floor with shortbread cookies, bath salts for the tub, and super soft bathrobes.

Chef Phil Crispo does breakfast right and it not only looks good it tasted wonderful
Chef Phil Crispo does breakfast right and it not only looks good it tasted wonderful

In the morning, we sampled Chef Phil Crispo’s culinary expertise at breakfast  (he’s also one of the owners) which is included with your stay,  and it was simply one of the best we’ve had. There is a choice of a sweet or savory breakfast, and started with a three grain oatmeal, and pastries which were mini cinnamon rolls and sausage-bacon-onion biscuits.

We chose the sweet selection for the entrée, blueberry and lavender pancakes served with golden Maine maple syrup and bacon on the side.  They were presented as you would expect in any high end restaurant. There was real substance to these pancakes to go with the presentation.  In addition, we had freshly squeezed orange juice and French press coffee brought to our table.

As with most bed-and-breakfasts, we conversed with the other patrons staying there which is one of the best parts about staying in a place like this.

Their mission statement is “simple things done exceptionally well” and Lisa and I agree that they accomplished their mission fully.  From the start to finish, this overnight trip was superb!


(Disclaimer: The views in this review are our own and we received no compensation for our opinions)

Jeff and Lisa Folger
The Four Corners of New England
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What’s Up Wednesday for Weekend of March 29-30

It’s a great mix of events this weekend.  Pick your favorite!

Western Massachusetts Home and Garden Show
Eastern States Exposition
West Springfield, MA
March 27-30

Lilly against Hydrangea
Lilly against Hydrangea

If your looking for a flower fix amid all this snow and cold weather, head over to the Big E this weekend!

For more info: http://www.westernmasshomeshow.com/

Native American Weekend

Old Sturbridge Village
Sturbridge, MA
March 29 at 9:30am

The second annual Native American Weekend at Old Sturbridge Village will take place March 29-30 and will feature demonstrations by some of New England’s foremost experts on Native American culture, food, music, and crafts. Activities include Native American-themed performances and hands-on crafts.

Remember, children still get in free!

For more info: http://www.osv.org/event/native-american-weekend


Space Expo
New England Air Museum
36 Perimeter Rd., Bradley Int’l Airport,
Windsor Locks, CT
March 30, 10 AM-5PM

Lots of activities going on related to space. Most activities are hands on and include touching a 70 pound meteorite, piloting a spacecraft simulator, and try a Segway!

For more info: http://www.neam.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1275

New England Castles-Massachusetts

I know I promised the castles of Maine, but Jeff and I decided that we would take a road trip soon so we could get our own photos of some of those buildings.   Also, due to the small number of castles in Maine and Vermont, I am thinking I will combine them in one post.  So instead, I am moving on to the Massachusetts castles. 

You can read here in the first installment of the castle series about what I would consider to be a castle which I am including in my list.

This time, I had to decide whether to include armories, since some resources in my research of castles included them. And I have to agree that many are very castle-like in appearance, but  I chose not to include them.  I only included the one in Boston because it is now known as the “Park Plaza Castle.”    I did include some structures which I feel are just as castle-like as others on lists I found, but were not included, such as Castle Hill on the Crane Estate.  It’s really a very large estate, but has many stone walls and outbuildings.

To begin with, though, we have two castles with the Bancroft name.

Bancroft’s Castle-Groton MA-1906

Bancroft’s Castle, photo courtesy Wikipedia, contributed by John Phelan

Built on Gibbet Hill by General William Bancroft for his wife, it was to be part of a larger estate known as Shawfieldmont, but the general ran out of funds so the larger estate was never built. What remains of the structure is after a fire in the 1930’s when the Groton Hunt Club owned it.

In 2000, the castle became part of a protected open space in Groton so is now open to the public.  There are hiking trails and a farm to table restaurant in a salvaged barn nearby.

There is a wonderful video of the castle and surrounding landscape hereThere is also a virtual hike here which shows the easy walk to the castle and this video shows that safety railings have been installed.

Bancroft Tower-Worcester MA-1900

Bancroft Tower, photo courtesy of Wikipedia, contributed by Anatoli Lvov
Bancroft Tower, photo courtesy of Wikipedia, contributed by Anatoli Lvov

The tower was commissioned by Stephen Salisbury III in honor of George Bancroft, a Worcester citizen who had become Secretary of the Navy, Founder of the US Naval Academy, and US Minister to Great Britain and Germany, and intended it to be used for recreation by the public.    The tower was eventually donated to the Worcester Parks Department in 1912, and is located near Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Prospect Hill in Salisbury Park. This location provides views of the city of Worcester.

The tower is a façade which from the front looks like the entrance to a full castle.  The tower is 56 feet high it the highest point and is constructed of stone and granite. The tower itself is closed off now for safety reasons.  There is a very good video using a remote control device flying up the tower which can be seen here.

Blantyre Castle – Lenox-1903 

I don’t quite consider this a castle, more like a very large estate, and there are other estates that are more castle-like than this one, in my opinion.  But since it was known as a ‘castle,’ I am including it on the listing.  It was built by Robert W. Patterson of New York City.  The design was modeled after his wife’s ancestral home,  Lanarkshire, in Blantyre, Scotland.  The estate included stables, a carriage house, an icehouse, and extensive greenhouses.

The Blantyre  estate is now a luxury hotel and spa, so technically, it could be ‘visited’ by the public.  The official website can be found here where you can see photos of the hotel.

Boston University Castle-Boston-1904

Boston University Castle courtesy Wikipedia
Boston University Castle courtesy Wikipedia

Built by William Lindsey, a businessman, poet and playwright, his inspiration was the Tudor mansions of England.

After being sold a couple of times, the mansions was donated to Boston University in 1939 and used as the residence for a succession of University presidents for many years.  Now the castle is used for receptions and concerts, but also rents it out for special occasions.  Part of the lower section operates or did operate as a pub for students.

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, Ipswich MA-1928

Castle Hill at the Crane Estate courtesy of Vistaphotography
Castle Hill at the Crane Estate courtesy of Vistaphotography

Castle Hill was the summer home of Richard T. Crane, Jr. The existing building, which is the second home built on the site, was built in the  Stuart style of  the 17th century, and furnished with period antiques. 

The "Grande Allee" at Castle Hill courtesy Vistaphotography
The “Grande Allee” at Castle Hill courtesy Vistaphotography




A pair of griffins guard the main entrance.  The most magnificent of the grounds’ gardens is the “Mall, “ which is a “Grande Allee,”  a 160 feet wide corridor leading to the sea which is lined with evergreens and Roman style statues. 

The grounds were designed by the Olmsted Brothers, sons of Frederick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park in New York.


On the grounds of the Crane Estate courtesy Vistaphotography
On the grounds of the Crane Estate courtesy Vistaphotography


The estate includes many outbuildings and the estate was designed to overlook Ipswich Bay. There are many trails and roads on the 165 acre estate.  The grounds are open year round and there are guided tours of the estate and a wide range of programs offered to the public. You can find out more about when the grounds and castle are open here.

Several movies have been filmed here.  It was featured as the home of eccentric millionaire Daryl Van Horne, played by Jack Nicholson in the 1987 version of The Witches of Eastwick.  It was also featured in the Flowers in the Attic, filmed that same year, and nearly all the scenes were filmed here.  Also, a 2009 film, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, was filmed almost entirely here.

Hammond Castle-Gloucester-MA-1926

Hammond Castle, photo courtesy Liz Mackney
Hammond Castle, photo courtesy Liz Mackney

Built by John Hays Hammond Jr. and is considered the inventor of the remote control, holding more patents than anyone except Thomas Edison.   Hammond was fascinated with castles and built the Gothic Medieval castle fashioned after European castles.  The courtyard is created from 15th century European shop fronts he purchased and shipped home. He collected medieval memorabilia to furnish his castle.

This is considered one of the most accurate reproductions of a  medieval castle in the United States  by some castle ‘experts,” although it depicts many different time periods.  It should be kept in mind that this was his primary residence, was built in three years and he incorporated details that were not so castle-like, such as a swimming pool.

The castle is now a museum and is open to the public and offers self guided tours. You can find information on their hours here.  Even if you visit after hours, taking a tour of the grounds makes a worthwhile trip.  Gargoyles abound.




Herreshoff Castle – Marblehead, MA-1920’s

Herreshoff Castle, photo courtesy Vistaphotography
Herreshoff Castle, photo courtesy Vistaphotography

Originally known as Castle Brattahlid, it was built by Marblehead artist, Waldo Ballard. He claimed the castle was based on Eric the Red’s castle in Greenland, but the design is very Gothic and not really of the period of Eric the Red.  The castle was sold to L. Francis Herreshoff in 1945.

Gargoyle at Herreshoff Castle courtesy Vistaphotograghy
Gargoyle at Herreshoff Castle courtesy Vistaphotograghy

It is now run as a bed and breakfast where you can stay in the carriage house. It is furnished with an eclectic collection.  Photos of the interior of the Carriage House can be seen here.  The castle is easily seen from the street and from adjacent Crocker Park.

Nickerson Castle, Dedham MA-1886

This castle was built by Albert W. Nickerson, who owned mills and was director of a railroad.  Built in a European tradition, the building had secret passageways,  and underground mazes and hallways.  Hogwarts comes to mind when you think of that, which makes the fact that it was later purchased by the Noble & Greenough School kind of interesting.  The 167 acre estate was turned into a campus for a boarding school for boys and girls.

The castle has been recently undergoing renovation to expand the dining hall and residences.  According to this website, much of the original building remains  intact, which is good news. .  This pdf, The Nobles Bulletin,  contains  many pictures of the interior of the castle and information on the renovations on pages 17-21. There is a great video here made by the school of the history of the castle which includes interior and exterior and vintage photos.

Norumbega Tower-Weston MA-1889

Norumbega Tower Postcard courtesy Wikipedia
Norumbega Tower Postcard courtesy Wikipedia


Eben Norton Horsford was a scientist who became obsessed with Vikings and their travels to North America.  Much like Samuel de Champlain in 1604, who believed that the area around Bangor, Maine was the site of the legendary Norse settlement in North America called Norumbega, Eben Norton Horsford believed the site was in Weston, MA.  It was there that he had the Norumbega Tower built.

The tower is easily accessible on the side of the road on Norumbega Rd in Weston. More current photos and directions to get to the tower can be found here.

Park Plaza Castle, Boston MA-1897

Park Plaza Castle photo courtesy of Wikipedia contributed by Tom™5
Park Plaza Castle photo courtesy of Wikipedia contributed by Tom™5

Not really a castle, it was originally the Armory of the First Corps of Cadets.  The medieval fortress was built so the regiment had a permanent home.  Funds were raised to build the armory in the style of the period.  The Corps was later re-designated as the 1st Regiment of Engineers.

Today the Armory is now a part of the adjacent Park Plaza Hotel & Tower and used as a banquet facility. It is unclear as to when the Park Plaza acquired it as part of the hotel campus.  Interior photos can be seen at the hotel’s website here.





Prospect Hill Castle, Somerville MA-1903

Prospect Hill Castle, photo courtesy Wikipedia, contributed by MuZemike
Prospect Hill Castle, photo courtesy Wikipedia, contributed by MuZemike

Prospect Hill Castle and park overlooks Union Square, a neighborhood of Somerville MA. It was built as a monument to the soldiers of the Revolution and Civil War.  The location played an important part locally to the Revolutionary War, being a look out point known as the ‘Citadel.”  It is claimed to be the location the first American flag, called the Grand Union flag, was flown by George Washington on January 1, 1776, but other locales claim that distinction as well.

After the war, a grist mill operated on the location and then became unoccupied.  At the end of the 19th century, there was a  movement to preserve the location and in 1902,  it was purchased by the city.  The 42 foot granite tower, in the Gothic Revival style, was erected and is part of a city park open to the public.  Every January 1, the raising of the flag is commemorated.  I can’t find information as to whether the inside of the tower is accessible.  For more of the history of the location and a photo gallery see here.



             There is lots of confusion on the multiple Searles Estates, there being one in Great Barrington, MA which is now privately owned,  one in Methuen, MA,  one in Windham, NH and a Searles Mansion, also known as Dream House, which was on Block Island, RI,  which were all built by Edward F. Searles.

Searles Castle-Methuen MA-1884

Searles Estate, photo courtesy Wikipedia
Searles Estate, photo courtesy Wikipedia

Edward Francis Searles who was born in Metuen, MA to a farmer. He was an interior and architectural designer.  Searles’ wife was a wealthy woman and they met when she hired Searles as an interior designer. Their first home in Massachusetts was Kellogg Terrace, the estate in Great Barrington, MA.  After his wife’s death in 1891, he built several grand structures including the castle in Methuen known as the Edward F. Searles Estate, which started as several adjoining properties being known as Pine Lodge. One of the properties was his family’s original farm.  As time progressed, more buildings, towers, stone walls with crenellation, and gatehouses were added to the estate, growing into an enclosed castle-like compound.

Preservation of Searles Walls
Preservation of Searles Walls
Preservation of Searles Buildings
Preservation of Searles Buildings

The Searles Castle was sold to the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1957 and became a convent and school. To the dismay of many, the property was divided up and modern buildings erected by the convent as seen in the photo above. Although the convent owns the property, it is sometimes opened to the public  and the Searles Chapel on the property is now a Catholic Church, Our Lady of Sacred Heart.

For more information on the various properties that Edward Searles purchased as part of the estate, click here.

There is a Preservation Group that raises funds to restore the buildings of Edward Searles still owned by the city of Methuen.


Usen Castle – Waltham- 1928

Usen Castle, photo courtesy Wikipedia, contributed by Mike Lovett
Usen Castle, photo courtesy Wikipedia, contributed by Mike Lovett


Usen Castle was built to serve as the main hall for Middlesex College of Medicine and Surgery. It was designed in the Baronial style by John H. Smith. Middlesex University closed in 1946 and was re-chartered as Brandeis University in 1948. It is the oldest building on the campus and now serves as a dorm.







Winnekenni Castle-Haverhill, MA- 1873

Dr. James R. Nichols, a Haverhill chemist and agriculturalist, was inspired by stone buildings during his visits to England. He built the Baronial style Winnekenni Castle as a summer home. It is two stories with two three-story towers, a small rooftop turret, and a crenelated roof-line with walls that are four feet thick. The castle had a Grecian drawing room, a Pompeian style dining room, and access to the roof from the towers.

The city purchased the building in 1895. In 1976, the city was able to purchase a 50 acre parcel between the castle and Kenoza Lake which is now conservation land, and returned the property to the appearance of the estate it originally was. Although the interior of the building was damaged by fire in 1969, the castle was remodeled and is now maintained by a foundation. It is available for functions, otherwise, it is only open to the public during pre-scheduled events.

Winnekenni Castle, photo courtesy Liz Mackney
Winnekenni Castle, photo courtesy Liz Mackney


I hope you are enjoying this series of Castles in New England.  I know I am enjoying learning about them.
~Lisa Folger

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What’s Up Wednesday for Weekend of March 22-23

All I can say is Maple Open House Weekend in Vermont and Maine Maple Sunday!  Need I say more?

For the Maple Open House Weekend in Vermont, going on in many locations across Vermont, so click here to get a map and list of the maple sugar houses open this weekend.  You can see the process of maple production first hand at working sugar houses.  There is sure to be a lot of goodness going around!

In conjunction with this weekend are these events in Vermont (see below for Maine events):

Maple Madness Weekend
On the Green
Woodstock VT
March 22-23

Sugar on Snow and Maple Butter Popcorn on the Green, Maple Tastings at Suicide Six, a Scavenger Hunt, Sap Bucket Auctions, Epic Bike ride to Sugar Houses and more! sponsored by the Chamber, The Woodstock Inn & Resort and Lake Sunapee Bank!

For more info: http://www.woodstockvt.com/

Pancake Breakfast
2nd Congregational Church
Church Street & Main Street
Jeffersonville, VT
March 22, 8 AM-1 PM

$10 Adults, $6 for children under 12 and free for children under 3.

For more information, contact Jennie Demore at 802-644-5357

Lunenburg Maple Festival
Lunenburg Primary School
49 Bobbin Mill Road, off Route #2
Lunenburg VT
March 22, 8 AM-4PM

Interactive displays of the sugaring process, tree tapping, maple photo and quilt square contests, meals, syrup sales. Six sugarhouse tours demonstrating full spectrum of operations.

For more information: www.topofthecommon.org

Also on the Maple Bandwagon is Maine with Maine Maple Sunday.  Statewide events happening on March 23. Visit participating Maine sugarhouses for educational demonstrations, syrup sampling, tours, and other great activities. For a list of participating sugar houses in Maine, click herethen click on the pdf.


In conjunction with the Maine Maple Sunday, this event is going on:

Norlands Pancake Breakfast and More
Washburn-Norlands Living History Center
290 Norlands Rd
Livermore, ME
March 23, 9:30 AM-2 PM

Come experience a late winter ritual done the old-fashioned way at a 19th-century living history farm. In celebration of Maine Maple Sunday, the Norlands will serve pancakes and sausage in the
farmer’s cottage, a replica of the original 1867 historic building. Sap boiling demonstrations take place in the Sugar House. Visitors can help tap trees and collect sap. Meet the schoolmarm in the one-room schoolhouse who will encourage you to practice your mental arithmetic and penmanship using a quill pen under her watchful eye. Bring snowshoes or sleds and enjoy the 445 acres at this National Historic Site. $6 – $8 for pancakes and sausage; otherwise it’s free.

For information: norlands.org or contact Sheri Leahan; 207-897-4366

Camden-Rockport Historical Society Maple Sunday
Conway Homestead-Cramer Museum
7 Commercial St
Rockport, ME
March 23, 1-3 PM

There will be demonstrations of maple syrup making in the 1820s sugar house at the museum complex.  Free Admission.  Maple related goodies including maple ice cream sundaes will be for sale.

For more information, contact the Camden-Rockport Historical Society at 236-2257 or e-mail crhs@midcoast.com.