High above the Connecticut River, Gillette Castle, only a shell of what it once was, still commands your attention. The magnificent castle, once the private residence of William Gillette, the American actor best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on the stage, was taken by the Connecticut government after Gillette's death. He was without a wife or children.
More than 300,000 people have visited the castle and its surrounding grounds every year since it was reopened in 2002 after several years of restoration done at a cost of 11 million dollars. Thanks to that work, the park now includes a picnic area, hiking trails, and a museum.
But most of the people come to see the castle, which is filled with a number of oddities personally designed by Gillette including weird doorknobs and locks and a system of hidden mirrors for spying on public rooms from the master bedroom.
A steam engine and railroad tracks, also designed by Gillette, once stood on the grounds. The majority of the tracks were torn up during the restoration process to make room for the hiking trails, but a section still remains that is used to transport visitors around the lake.