A few years ago Ken did a wedding at a place called Bryn Athyn, PA a few miles outside the Philadelphia city limits. The ground were amazing – 2 castles and a huge cathedral built in the 1920s that looked like they were from middle ages. We enjoyed the tour, but I forgot all about the place until our CC group had a field trip to the Glencarin Museum:
Glencairn was built in Bryn Athyn by Raymond Pitcairn in a style based on medieval Romanesque architecture. This immense castle was home to the Pircarins and their nine children – and believe me when I say there was plenty of room for nine kids to run around! Even after spending the morning at the castle I still have a hard time believing how huge it was!!
The museum is now home to a massive collection of artifacts from around world, including some incredible stained glass windows. While the castle was not built in the Middle Ages, the tours offered speak about what life would have been like in that time frame which gave the kids a neat perspective.
If you look at the pictures, the details in the house are breathtaking. The walls were hand painted with murals, the each craftsman was invited to leave his own idea of carving for decoration. Every where we looked we saw someone unique and new. This is a museum where you can tour again and again and still see something new each visit. From the turret (because every castle has a turret) you can see clear to the city of Philadelphia. There were hidden passage ways, spiral staircases tucked into corners and the largest play room I have ever seen!
Outside the grounds you would think you stepped into an English garden with bushes, arches and fountains:
This was a fantastic field trip, and I’m looking foward to returning to Glencarin soon. The tours are every reasonable and the docents were fantastic. Here is a video to give you a look at growing up in a castle:
A few notes: if you have younger kids, strollers are not permitted at all in the castle. You also need to leave large purses/backpacks/totes in the check rook because some of the passageways are not big enough. I did not take Sam, Little Man or Sweet Pea on this trip, and I’m very glad. There are so many things that Sam would have wanted to climb on and over or touch, and it was much easier not to have him. This is not a destination for families with young children, which is too bad because the outside grounds are fabulous!!