We were contemplating where to head after St. Louis, feeling pulled westward to keep on track for our lighthouse hosting gig in Oregon this fall.
And then Chris’ aunt Sherry got in touch, and said she and her boyfriend were back in the area – and they’d love to see us, at his castle.
We had only met Mitch briefly once a couple years ago, when they were first starting to date. We remember him being a fun guy who had started from nothing and amassed quite an impressive holding in real estate.
Including building his dream castle in the middle of Illinois farmland – because who doesn’t have that dream?
We just had to go check it out.
Arriving to the castle in the middle of a storm, could not have indulged my Princess Bride fangirl self more (get it.. storming the castle?).
Mitch’s castle is 9000 square feet with 5 full bedrooms, a game hall, movie viewing room, gourmet kitchen, sauna, jacuzzi tub, elevator, private lake, secret doors and an observatory.
Yeah, it’s kinda barebones, but we managed.
Mitch built it about 10 years ago, hoping it would become a family retreat center for his 3 kids, and their eventual families as they grew up. Having grown up in Palmyra himself, he hired all locals for the 2.5 years it took to build – which included milling the virgin timber on the land which was used to make the floors, furniture and wood trim throughout the house.
These days, he lives in it a few months out of the year, spending the rest of the year in his property in Hawaii. While he’s gone, he rents it out on Vactional Rental by Owner for family gatherings, events and parties at $950/night. It can comfortably sleep 20+ folks, and park a heck of a lot of RVs. (Can you say.. PARTY?!?)
We had such a lovely time catching up with Sherry, and getting to know Mitch better. There was a king’s feast every night with goblets full of fine wine, much laughter and merriment.
Oh, and mushroom hunting – it was ripe season for the rare and tasty Morels, and we ate them by the pound.
And we’re so very appreciative that Mitch extended an invitation to our friends Kristin & Jason to come up and join us.
And.. I got to cross ‘fire dancing on top of a castle turret’ off my bucket list.
And I just have to note, I found Chris on a Prius forum and moved into his 16′ travel trailer for a life of travel shortly thereafter. Sherry found Mitch on eHarmony, and now hangs out in a castle. If you ask me, I think we both scored in the online dating and fantasy fulfillment department!
What’s Next? After our absolutely indulgent experience in the Kingdom of Palmyra, we had to finally make a decision as to which direction we were heading.
The Snowmads had a strong calling to follow Route 66 southward, and while it could have been fun to caravan with them more – we’ve traversed the Motherroad a few times already. We’ll catch up with them out west somewhere in a couple months.
And seeing as we had already been tempted east and north, our strongest calling was the 54th Annual Escapade in Goshen, IN – the largest gathering of Escapees. Never having joined this full time RVer’s club, we look forward to experiencing their variety of rally, and meeting back up with a bunch of friends. While up in the RV-mecca of Elkhart, we’re hoping to get some bus improvements done – such as new captain’s seats. And then we’ll head west.