Tudor Revival Mansion amid 1,000-Acre Garden
The Castle at Skylands Manor has a weathered stone fašade and medieval architecture; it'd be easy to picture it built several centuries ago in a far-flung European city and somehow air-transported to the northern Appalachian Mountains. The building was actually constructed in the 1920s, but its anachronistic design--including arched doorways, a cross-gabled roof, and some Tudor Revival touches--gives the manor a certain fairy-tale charm. It helps that the castle stands amid 1,000 pastoral acres of manicured gardens and woodlands.
Gerald and Robert Frungillo of Frungillo Caterers run Skylands Manor and are no strangers to bringing fantasies to life. The brothers are renowned for catering elaborate weddings that fulfill every one of the bride's desires, whether that means flying in specific candies from the Dominican Republic or resurrecting Mendelssohn to play the wedding march. The Frungillos even had their own TLC reality show, Masters of Reception, and they've worked with celebrities such as Alec Baldwin and James Gandolfini.
Inside the mansion, the Gatsby rooms and Queen Antoinette and King Alfred suites are opulently appointed with chandeliers, gold-leaf molding, and built-in armoires. The chic black-and-white decor in some rooms calls to mind the Jazz Age, and sumptuous, royal-red furnishings in other chambers fall in line with the estate's baronial vibe. Large windows look out on the grounds, which encompass a lakeside chapel and a tree-lined orchard.
The same attention to detail found in the guest rooms is on display in the common areas, which include a dining room graced by a carved oak mantel and a breakfast room lined with green Italian marble. Inquire at the front desk about guided tours of the grounds and manor, where you can learn about the history and architecture of the place.
Ringwood, New Jersey: Former Mining Town Filled with Natural Treasures in Ramapo Mountains
The highland town of Ringwood sits 39 miles northwest of New York City in the Ramapo Mountains--a region filled with lakes, forests, and other natural attractions. Ringwood State Park surrounds The Castle at Skylands Manor, and in the winter it's a popular place for ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. The park also contains some of the original buildings and mines dating back to the 18th century, when Ringwood was a leader in the iron industry. The community is working to fully recover from Hurricane Sandy; check the park website to see what buildings and trails are open.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.