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5 Amazing American Castles to See Now

They loom large in our imaginations either as the one-time residences of European kings and queens or as places where crowds gather and snap a selfie with Mickey (we're looking at you, Disney!). Yet there are castles all over the United States.
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By Jason Heidemann for the Orbitz Travel Blog

Castles. They loom large in our imaginations either as the one-time residences of European kings and queens or as places where crowds gather and snap a selfie with Mickey (we're looking at you, Disney!). Yet there are castles all over the United States. They come in all shapes and sizes, have unique histories and many are open to the public. Here are 10 amazing American castles you have to see now, listed in no particular order.

Belvedere Castle: New York, New York
Surrounded by the mega rich, the Belvedere in Central Park is nevertheless the only castle of its kind on the island of
, and what a wonderful one it is at that. Constructed by Central Park landscapers Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, the park is now a visitor center overlooking the Great Lawn.

Biltmore Estate: Asheville, North Carolina
Downton Abbey enthusiasts would surely go gaga over the fascinating country home of George Vanderbilt. The residence provides a turn-of-the-century window into the lives of its rich inhabitants and the servants who tended to their every need. A visit to Asheville isn't complete without a tour of the home and gardens.

Photo credit: The Biltmore Company

Boldt Castle: Heart Island, New York
Tiny Heart Island, part of an island chain straddling the U.S. and Canadian border along the St. Lawrence River, houses this fairy tale castle planned by
GM George Boldt as a present to his wife (whose sudden death halted construction). Daily
are available; the home is accessible by boat.

Castello di Amorosa: Napa Valley, California
Spit, don't swallow at this Napa Valley winery created in the style of a 13th century Tuscan castle and open year around for wine tastings and tours. The castle was built by vintner Dario Sattui whose Sonoma County winery V. Sattui is among our very favorites. Ask to see the dungeon and torture chambers!

Castello di Amorosa

Gillette Castle: East Haddam, Connecticut
This stone fortress was built by stage actor William Gillette and is filled with oddities such as built-in couches, wood carvings and hidden mirrors. Gillette, best known for portraying Sherlock Holmes 1,300 times on onstage, died in 1937 and the home is now part of Gillette Castle State Park. It's open seasonally.

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