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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Visit to Kip's Castle

We took a detour on our way home from New Hampshire...oh, wait, I forgot to tell you about that trip, didn't I? I'll do that tomorrow... Promise! For now I'll tell you of our detour which took us to Essex county, New Jersey.
Frederic Kip himself in a portrait done by the prominent artist Irvin Wiles

You may be asking why we would go from New Hampshire to New Jersey instead of straight home to Pennsylvania. I mean to say, at that point we had driven almost 900 miles and we were a bit stiff from such a long time in the car and we should have been eager to get home, but we weren't.

You see, Tom got a call from his pal Marc who invited us to a Christmas gathering at Kip's Castle Park  which was the home of Frederic E. Kip--an heir to the British throne-- and Charlotte Bishop Williams Kip. Well, we were promised a pretty sight and we wanted to go see it.
The ceiling of the main room was stunning!

Kip's Castle was saved from being turned into condos--Yikes! What insanity is that? Destroy a piece of history? Where is the architectural Lorax when you need him?

Well, it seems the county of Essex --the next best thing to the Lorax--stepped in just in time and saved this home and now it is in the hands of the conservancy which will direct the restoration of this beautiful building and its surrounding grounds. Kip's Castle was on the Historic Holiday House tour this year, but unfortunately that was set for last weekend, December 10 and 11 only. I'm too late! There is always next year, however.

This is the chapel room...

Look at those stained glass windows! Look at that ceiling! Look at all that detail!
Patrice, one of many helpers at Kip's Castle
Careen Lazarus of Hartmann Staging and Design (who just so happens to be married to Tom's pal) went all out on the holiday decorations, but she kept them in the style of the time, circa 1928.
The dining room had lovely inlaid wood floors. Alas, they are in desperate need of repair.

Careen didn't just do the decorating though. This place was totally empty, so she beg-borrow-and-stole furnishings to make the castle a home for the holidays. (Oh, yes, she had to borrow Tom's truck, too!) She did a fantastic job. If you wish to sell your home, consider having her do the staging for you.

Everyone had a wonderful time at the castle. Christmas music playing in the background set the mood and yummy treats were served along with wine and cheese.

Glory felt quite at home in this castle. One thing would have made it better.

A roaring fire in that magnificent fireplace, for one, but I also would have loved seeing the grounds and the outside of the building. Alas, it was too dark when we arrived. Another time will have to do.
The view was extraordinary from this enclosed patio

It really was a lovely stop over for us before heading home. Who wouldn't like a visit to a real life castle?

If you are ever in Verona, New Jersey, do consider a visit to Kip's Castle Park. As a matter of fact, there will be an Afternoon Holiday Tea at Kip's Castle from 2-3PM on Sunday, December 18th.  Call for reservations (973-239-1390 or email as space is limited. Admission for adults is $30 and children under 12 is $15. There will be a wonderful assortment of culinary delights, including scones, cakes, tea sandwiches, petites fours, mini quiches, and of course, tea. All proceeds will benefit the restoration and programming efforts of Kip's Castle Park Conservancy. You'll have a lovely time going back in time to a proper Victorian Christmas and at the same time you'll be helping restore this lovely castle.


  1. See? Told 'ya! The Princess is right at home in Kip's Castle. Great pics! ":)

  2. LOL, we seem to be going round in circles and a most pleasant manner! How do we manage that?


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