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December 09, 2016
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Buried treasure/hidden gems

While hiking the perimeter of hidden gem Crystal Lake, I noticed buried treasure—leafy ramps—poking their leaves up towards the sun.

Enjoying being irresponsible, I blew off yet another engagement and decided to wander aimlessly through the countryside, hugging the banks of the Willowemoc, camera at the ready, pup at my side. Pulling off the road to snap a pic, the Wonder Dog leaped out of the truck, raced into the woods, barking and wagging, zigging and zagging her way up a steep hill, disappearing from view. Calling her name had zero effect, so with camera in hand I huffed and puffed my way behind her, reaching a crest and gasped at what lay before me. A castle. An honest-to-god stone-and-mortar, turrets-and-arches, straight-out-of-a-fairy-tale castle. Rubbing my eyes in disbelief did nothing to dispel the image, and I caught Dharma’s tail zipping behind a wall, so I followed, noting the “No Trespassing” signs, but needing to retrieve my dog. Thankful that my camera was around my neck, I snapped some images of the ghostly ramparts, careful to not disturb, but fascinated beyond words. “Where did it come from? Who built it?” I wondered “Why here?” I walked the perimeter, whistling for the pooch, and took a few more photos, before finding her rolling in the grass, being a dog. The place was amazing and so (IMHO) out of context that my curiosity was out of control. Once home, I flew to “The Google” (as my mother endearingly called the search engine), and typed in key words like “castle” and “Roscoe” only to find that my discovery is kinda well known. With more than 2,000 links about the place, I started with Wikipedia and learned that “Dundas Castle” (also known as Craig-E-Claire) was built in 1924 as a private residence, sits on more than 900 acres and was added to the National Register of Historic Places back in 2001. Delving a bit further ( I read that the place is a “rambling, medievalized castle with Gothic and Elizabethan features, including a house, a bailey, a curtain wall and a folly resembling a barbican.” Since I don’t know what half of those words mean, I’ve got some research to do. Buried treasure? Hidden gems? I’m going back to work.