Castle in the Clouds

Top choice in New Hampshire

Perched on high like a king surveying his territory, the arts-and-crafts-style Castle in the Clouds wows with its stone walls and exposed-timber beams, but it’s the views of lakes and valleys that draw the crowds. In autumn the kaleidoscope of rust, red and yellow beats any postcard. The 5500-acre property features gardens, ponds and a path leading to a small waterfall. Admission includes a self-guided tour of the house, with stories about the eccentric millionaire Thomas Plant, who built it.

Paid at the front gate, the admission fee allows access to a 2-mile scenic road, which ends just below the house, originally known as the Lucknow Mansion. For an extra $15 you can take the Basement Tour, which explores the lives of the former servants. Last admission to the house is 4pm. From late June to late August, make reservations for sunset music performances and dinner on Monday and Thursday nights. Check the online calendar for other events, ranging from yoga on the lawn to star-gazing.

There is no admission fee to explore and hike the sprawling grounds, which can be reached via a public access road west of the main entrance (586 Ossipee Park Rd; open 10am to 6pm).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby New Hampshire attractions

1. Markus Wildlife Sanctuary

3.42 MILES

This 200-acre sanctuary is home to the Loon Nest Trail, a haven for birds. The 1.7-mile partial loop path winds through the forest and past a marsh to the…

2. Libby Museum

8.52 MILES

At the age of 40, Dr Henry Forrest Libby, a local dentist, began collecting things. In 1912 he built a home for his collections, which later became the…

3. White Lake State Park

9.24 MILES

Twenty-two miles northeast of Meredith off NH 16, you'll find some of New Hampshire's finest swimming in White Lake, a pristine glacial lake whose origins…

4. Ellacoya State Park

10.83 MILES

Many lakeshore lodgings have water access, but if your place does not, head for Ellacoya State Park, which has a 600ft-wide beach with lovely views across…

5. New Hampshire Boat Museum

10.83 MILES

Wolfeboro is an appropriate place for this boat museum. Nautical types will appreciate the collection of vintage watercraft, motors, photographs and other…

6. Wright Museum

11.26 MILES

For a Rosie-the-riveter and baked-apple-pie look at WWII, visit this museum's interactive exhibitions that feature music, documentary clips, posters and…

7. Clark House Museum Complex

11.83 MILES

Wolfeboro's eclectic historical museum comprises three historic buildings: the 1778 Clark family farmhouse, an 1805 one-room schoolhouse and a replica of…

8. Wentworth State Park

11.89 MILES

If your lodging or campsite does not have access to the lake, head to this small beach on the serene Wentworth Lake. Much smaller but much less developed…