I haven’t been writing much about our Texas Tuesdays this summer. Shame on me! I’ve got a whole pile of things to tell you about. One of our most favorite place we went was called Newman’s Castle. This is quite a drive from Austin–about an hour and a half (it’s just past Brenham), but it’s completely worth the trip. We went when all of the big kids were at camp or working so it was just the littles along with my niece, Avery. We also brought along some friends of ours. Because road trips are funner with friends!
Newman’s Castle is probably the coolest and oddest place we’ve visited. Mr. Newman owns a bakery in the very small town of Bellville, Texas. Many years ago he decided it would be pretty cool to build a house outside of Bellville that looks like a castle, so that’s just what he did. Now this isn’t a flashy Donald-Trump style palace that is meant to show off his dazzling wealth. It’s more of a modern ode to medieval times. Like if you thought, “wouldn’t it be cool to have house with a moat?”, so you built one.
And being a smart businessman, he decided to charge people admission to come and see his castle.
Mr. Newman offers tours a few days a week and you have to call ahead to schedule one. Here’s his website to get more detailed info. The cost of the tour includes lunch as well (with lots of goodies from his bakery) and is $15. It was yummy but be forewarned: the sandwiches come pre made with the vilest of monstrosities: mustard. But that was really the only drawback of our visit.
The way it works is that you show up at the bakery, pay your admission, then are given a map to find the castle and you head over there in your car.
On the day of our tour it was us and a bus load of retirees. I don’t know if they enjoyed it as much as the kids did. Mr. Newman really knows how to engage children. He gave them all wooden swords (to borrow not to keep!) at the beginning of the tour and had them make a passageway over the drawbridge for us old folks to pass under.
Then we were shown around the castle. Naturally there was a torture chamber, complete with faux bloody appendages.
The kids were more than happy to be imprisoned We were tempted to leave them there but our husbands might have suspected something.
The thing to remember is that Newman’s castle really is somebody’s house. Mr. Newman is amazingly cool about letting total strangers wander all over the place.
You get to see the fancier rooms like the banquet hall
And living rooms
But you also get to wander into his bedroom and bathroom. Which seems oddly personal but is sort of awesome. He has armor and crowns and toy swords all over the place to keep the kids entertained ( you can see Ye Olde TV Sette here in the master bedroom). Unlike castles in Europe where the family lives in one wing and tourists are allowed in another wing, this castle is on the smaller side and you get to see all the nooks and crannies.
Most of the wooden pieces were crafted by Mr. Newman himself, including the armoires and these dandy bathroom faucets: (this would be the master bath, as you can tell from the toiletries on display. As I said, it’s his house, not a museum.)
The kitchen was pretty interesting too.
But the favorite thing that the kids got to do was to lower and raise the drawbridge. It’s got an old-school hamster-wheel mechanism. The caretaker of the castle showed the kids how to work it then set them loose. It was pretty entertaining for us to watch but the boys found it a bit intimidating.
We loved our visit to Newman’s Castle and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves quirky and interesting sights. It make a great day trip from either Austin or Houston.