NJ is Home to Many Wonderful Castles
New Jersey is known for its busy roads (most notably the Turnpike and the Parkway), scenic beaches, delicious food, and diverse culture.
Research shows that over 100 million people visit New Jersey every year and spend around $42 billion in the state.
Popularly known as the “Garden State,” New Jersey is home to more than 35 state parks, over a dozen state forests, historical landmarks, and striking castles.
Although most of the state’s castles share similarities, each has its own unique history and architecture.
Not many people (NJ residents included) are aware of the many magnificent Castles in our great state.
Many are open to the public.
So, come witness one of these historical architectural buildings today!
When you visit one of the castles in New Jersey, you will learn about the state’s history, traditions, and architecture.
So if you are curious, come with us, and let’s push the doors open to some of these beautiful New Jersey castles as they wait for you to share some of their secrets.
Here are the ten best spectacular castles in New Jersey.
1. Lamberts Castle
Lamberts Castle is also known as Belle Vista.
Catholina Lambert built the Castle in 1892.
The city of Paterson owned the Castle from 1925 to 1934.
The County of Passaic then attained ownership from the City of Paterson. The Castle is famous for the County’s historical museum and archives.
Research shows that in the past famous people would regularly visit the Castle, including President William McKinley.
The Castle has a museum with fabulous exhibits and state-of-the-art furnishings that reflect Passaic County’s local history. A self-guided tour through the Castle will let you experience the historical exhibits and period rooms.
The Castle is likewise an excellent place to visit if you want to experience some local history and see the extensive calendar of historical lectures, presentations, book signings, concerts, and annual fundraisers.
Lamberts Castle’s location is 3-Valley Road, Paterson Avenue, New Jersey. It is open to visitors from Wednesday to Saturday, from 12 PM to 4 PM.
2. Liberty Hall
William Livingston built Liberty Hall in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1772. After Livingston’s retirement, he and his family moved into the house permanently.
After Livingston’s death, Peter Kean bought the Hall in 1811 and transformed the building into a mansion with 50 rooms. Currently, Kean University owns the Liberty Hall.
Liberty Hall showcases more than 240 years old history of the United States. It is a museum that houses extensive collections of textiles, ceramics, furniture, tools, and toys. You will be amazed to know these things were owned by several generations of the Livingston and Kean families. The Hall is home to a Firehouse Museum built by the University in 2004.
The museum has antique (antique) fire engines on display. The most famous one among them that people love to see is the 1911 American LaFrance Steam Engine.
The Hall is open for private events, group reservations with ten or more visitors, public tours, and seasonal activities scheduled by the administration.
Liberty Hall’s location is 1003 Morris Avenue, inUnion, NJ. Visitor hours are 10 AM to 4 PM from Tuesday to Saturday. (Please call to confirm)
3. Alnwick Hall: The Abbey
Alnwick Hall, also known as the Abbey, is situated in Morristown, New Jersey. There were a few estates built during the golden years of Morristown between 1880 and 1929. All castles located in Morristown showcase the beauty of the Gothic era.
Alnwick Hall belonged to Rosalie Meany, New Jersey Judge Advocate General, who loved to host parties back in the days for society’s elite class. The Abbey was built in 1904, and the designers took inspiration from England’s Alnwick Castle.
The Hall has 32 rooms, attractive architecture, and has hosted the first two Harry Potter movies.
Alnwick Hall has also served as an office building, a church, a bank, and a medical imaging center.
Although the Abbey remained vacant for many years, today, people from all over the country and abroad visit this beautiful castle to experience the versatile history, traditions, and rich architecture of the past century.
Alnwick Hall’s location is 355 Madison Avenue, Morristown, NJ. The Abbey is open to the general public during “Open House” and has no entry fee.
4. Kip’s Castle
Previously known as “Kypsburg,” Kip’s Castle was constructed between 1902 and 1905 by Frederic Ellsworth Kip. Kip’s Castle is a splendid 9,000 square foot mansion that showcases the Norman Castle of the medieval era.
The Castle rests in both Verona and Montclair townships because the land spans eleven-acres of land. An interesting note about Kip’s Castle is that you can enjoy the picturesque view of the glorious New York City skyline.
You will see that the Castle’s exterior and two-story carriage house, (which is 6,000 square feet) have unique construction and architecture. Both are constructed of trap rock trimmed with sandstone.
There are 30 rooms of different sizes and shapes, making the Castle’s interior attractive and somewhat mysterious to its visitors. The rooms have vaulted ceilings and ornate fireplaces.
It is a beautiful landmark that gives tourists a historical glimpse of Essex County.
Not only will you enjoy the splendid view of the County, but you will also get mesmerized by the scenic beauty of New York City.
If you want to learn about the Castle’s history and experience the grounds in a completely different way, we recommend you to take a guided tour offered by the administration.
Kip’s Castle location is 22 Crestmont Rd, Montclair, NJ, and it is open to the general public from Monday to Friday, 12 PM to 3 PM. (please always call to verify dates and times.)
5. Skylands Manor
Skylands Manor is another beautiful castle that stands strong in New Jersey. It was built in 1922 by Clarence McKenzie Lewis, who was a horticulturist and engineer. Lewis, who had studied in England and Germany, wanted to build a Tudor style European house.
When you visit the Castle, your guide will tell you that Lewis hired John Russell Pope to design Skylands Manor. Pope was an architect who had designed and built several landmarks in Washington D.C., including the Jefferson Memorial.
Skyland Manor is another excellent castle to tour where you can visit and witness exquisite unique architecture. The Castle has an attractive granite construction, and the material was extracted and quarried at Pierson Ridge in Bergen County.
Come witness the stunning Italian marble that lines the breakfast room.
Don’t forget to relish the Renaissance-era’s three-tiered lavabo.
Another interesting feature that you will appreciate is the drawing-room paneling made of Scandinavian pine. The 16th-century glass pieces imported from Europe and used in leaded windows are one of a kind and truly adds to the fascinating interior landscape.
The National Bible Institute bought the 1,117 manicured acres in 1953. However, the property was purchased by the state of New Jersey in 1966, and twenty years later, Governor Tom Kean officially designated the 960-acre area as the state garden.
Skyland Manor’s location is 2 Morris Rd, Ringwood, NJ, and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 8 AM to 6 PM.
6. The Emlen Physick Estate
The Emlen Physick Estate was the residence of Dr. Emlen Physick, who belonged to a wealthy Philadelphia family. Physick lived with his mother and aunt in the Castle and followed the footsteps of his grandfather by completing his medical education.
However, Emlen did not practice medicine and instead spent most of his time raising livestock and breeding animals. Physick was supposedly the first person that owned a car in Cape May.
Frank Furness designed the Castle in 1879. He was a famous architect who came up with the idea of the Victorian “Stick Style” mansion. The Castle spans four acres, houses nine buildings, and has eighteen rooms.
The Mid-Atlantic Center of Arts restored the mansion in the 1970s and built a Victorian Herb Garden to enhance its environment. When you visit the place, you will enjoy both the exterior and interior. For instance, you will see the upside-down chimneys, large stick-like brackets on the mansion’s porch, and hooded dormers.
The Castle’s interior perfectly showcases the classic Victorian style architecture through its furniture, fireplaces, and molding. You will also see wood construction with boxy projections, including towers, wings, bays, and gridwork of elevated boards, clapboarded walls, and decorative elements with geometric design – all replicating the 1800 era.
Visiting the Physick Estate with your family and friends will give you a unique experience as you will enjoy the Victorian past through the Castle’s architecture, customs, decorative arts, and the life of the Physick Family.
The Castle’s location is Washington St, Cape May, New Jersey, and it is open to the general public all week from 9 AM to 8:30 PM.
7. The Legacy Castle
The Legacy Castle is legendary, elegant, and certainly one-of-its-kind.
It is one of the most beautiful castles to visit in New Jersey. When you arrive, you will see the dramatic entryway that features a beautiful staircase made of Italian marble.
The Castle’s ceiling is 55 feet high and its hand-painted gold will quickly draw your attention to it. The attractive design and magnificent architecture of the Castle are very appealing to the eye.
The Castle is surrounded by a freshwater lake that spans about 17 acres. Visitors may see a lovely pair of white swans swimming in the lake and inhabiting the ground. The Castle has beautiful rooms, including the Bristol and Mayfair room which can seat up to 125 guests.
More interestingly, the Kingston and Windsor Rooms can accommodate up to 350 visitors. The Grand Legacy Room is the grandest room of all as it can seat up to 1200 guests.
You will also find iron railings with detailing of gold leaf outside of the rooms. The railings are also detailed with cascading crystals and exquisite chandeliers.
The Castle has an extravagant interior with 15 feet marble fountain and a courtyard with a lavishly designed 21 feet granite fountain, and a mesmerizing garden.
The Legacy Castle is certainly one that you would want to visit if you do not have a lot of time to tour them all.
8. Iviswold Castle
Iviswold Castle was constructed by Henry Ivison in Rutherford, New Jersey. The Castle has 25 rooms which boast a classic French Chateau Style design that perfectly showcases the gilded-age mansion. Iviswold Castle’s location is Montross Ave, Rutherford, New Jersey.
It has various decorative features, such as gabled dormers, cylindrical towers, decorative clay tile roofs, stained glass windows, ornate interior plaster reliefs, brownstone walls, grand fireplaces, and painted friezes.
Felician University acquired the Castle from Farleigh Dickinson University in 1997.
Visiting the Castle is worthwhile just to witness the beautifully paneled walls and drop ceilings that were originally constructed in 1942. Likewise, you will enjoy seeing ebony cornice moldings, original plaster moldings, wainscoting moldings, etc.
Another fascinating thing you will see is the 14th-century Florentine artwork sculptured on the music room wall. Ornate wrought iron railings, red clay tile roof, and stained glass windows are other treasures of the Castle.
Iviswold Castle is a historic structure and has been renovated to maintain its unique beauty and richness. Currently, it serves as a campus center where students explore the past’s architecture and do research.
Research shows that Iviswold Castle will house the University’s administrative offices, institutional research center, and alumni relations office in the future.
The Castle’s parlors and meeting rooms located on the first floor are available for public use.
Natirar Castle was established in 1905 by Walter Graeme Ladd and Kate Macy Ladd. The Castle sits on over 1,000-acres of property and one of the largest estates in New Jersey.
Walter and Kate named the estate “Natirar” as an anagram for Raritan because the property stretches across the North Branch of the Raritan River.
The Moroccan King Hassan II purchased Natirar and the mansion in 1983. Today, Somerset County owns the property and the property now features a Mansion, Cooking School, Club, and Restaurant.
The Castle was reopened in 2017 after restoring its splendor and grandeur of the past.
Another unique feature of Natirar is the farm that surrounds the Castle. It sets apart Natirar from other Castles in New Jersey. We recommend you come visit to not only see the beauty of the Castle but to experience the grandeur of the farm and see how it is maintained.
The farm follows sustainable growing and harvesting methods. Your guide will tell you about the farm in detail and give you an overview of the 200 varieties of produce and the environmentally-friendly process of raising pasture-fed livestock, including sheep, poultry, and pigs.
The mansion with its rolling hills, expensive luxury laws, and attractive architecture draw the attention of history buffs and Castle aficionados from all over the world. You can visit the Cooking School and experience dining out in a new unique way.
The Cooking School also offers recreational classes to visitors of both beginner and advanced levels. If you have the enthusiasm to cook, make sure you add the Cooking School of Natirar to your bucket list.
The Castle is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 4 PM to 7 PM.
10. Merriwold Castle
Merriwold Castle is a three-story mansion built by Seward Johnson in 1926. The Nathan Kaplan Construction Company bought the Castle in 1968. It is built on 17 acres of land and has 30 rooms.
Ladies in farthingales and knights in armors warmly welcome its visitors when entering the courtyard.
The Castle was designed by the Philadelphia-based architect Thomas Harlan Ellett, who won a silver medal in 1926 for the splendid design.
The historic building is made of sandstone and lime with embedded fossils, and the roof is constructed of 500 tons of stone material, which was imported from the Costwolds.
Mrs. Johnson sold the Castle to Charles Farmer in 1968.
A few years later, after Mrs. Farmer’s death, Kaplan Company purchased the property and renovated the house. The company focused on the refurbishment of Gothic arches, paneled walls, and fireplaces in each room of the Castle.
Merriwold Castle also features an art gallery, where you have to climb a cantilevered circular staircase made of granite to reach the gallery and experience unique artwork.
The Castle and the gallery is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 AM to 5 PM.
Although New Jersey is one of the smallest states in America, it offers many tourist attractions to visitors from within the country and abroad. From outstanding natural beauty to natural parks to historical sites and fine museums, it is worth taking time to explore the beautiful state of New Jersey.
New Jersey is home to dozens of Castles built during the last three centuries. Unfortunately, most of the Castles are abandoned by the government; some converted into government buildings, offices, and educational institutions. On the other hand, some Castles, such as those mentioned in the article, are open to the general public, visitors, and tourists.
Some of the Castles mentioned above feature beautiful gardens, extensive art collections, scenic views, and breathtaking architecture. For instance, Natirar is a great place to visit where you won’t only enjoy the distinctive architecture but also participate in different activities, such as recreational cooking classes, visiting the sustainable farm, and enjoy delicious food at the restaurant.
Lastly, if you want to experience something inimitable in New Jersey, forget the sporting and recreational activities like visiting the Cape May County Zoo and Adventure Aquarium. Instead, plan on visiting one of the spectacular Castles of America’s Garden State.
Until Next Time!
More historical sites in NJ worth visiting.