Thursday, July 21, 2016

AN ALUMINUM CASTLE

Google Maps has saved my sanity many times.  Having been the co-pilot and chief navigator for many years,  I am only the messenger now.   That doesn't mean I'm not inwardly panicking when it seems like we are in the middle of nowhere by the directions that are being given, but I am now confident we can find the way back....something I never felt comfortable with my Garmin, TomTom,  Magellan or even Streets and Trips.

Thank goodness for Google Maps today!
You better turn here or you'll never find it!
Sod Farm 
We've arrived - Solomon's Castle,
 Ona, FL
We are making preparations to move south so we (I) wanted to get one more out of the way quirky destination off my bucket list.  This would be a most unique and unusual place near a "smaller-than- small" town called Ona, Florida.  Think we hit the "quirky" jackpot!
Solomon's Aluminum Castle 
Solomon's Aluminum 12,000 sf,
3 story castle
Solomon's entrance - Black and White Knights
Solomon's Castle, about 30 minutes north of us, on roads through the middle of large cattle ranches, sod farms, lush Florida woodlands,  and sleepy curvy rivers.  The owner and artist, Howard Solomon, now 81, has strategically built a castle made of discarded aluminum printing plates, and it is known as "the world famous" Solomon's Castle (12,000 square feet, 3 story), and the Boat In The Moat Restaurant (a 60' replica of a 16th century Portuguese galleon).
Howard Solomon - Artist, Entrepreneur and a
Handy Man
  This reminded me of the old Florida attractions you "used" to see frequently, but this is a "destination" tourist spot in a remote area of Hardee County, Florida.  This attraction has been featured on BBC, PBS, CNN, Spanish National TV, Animal Planet, Better Homes and Gardens Network, the Associated Press, Gannett Publications, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald and newspapers and magazines from around the world, and more recently on our blog "RV THERE YET".

Trojan Horse at entrance to Solomon's Castle
At first glance this appears to be brick...actually
it is hand stamped paint
The entrance tile to Solomon's Castle
Surprisingly, we weren't the only curiosity seekers.  About 30 other visitors also took the informative tour of the castle, galleries and workshop decorated with more than 80 interpretive stained glass windows and countless repurposed metal sculptures.
Every piece of sculpture is repurposed!
Repurposed sculpture and art
Repurposed cart that was originally featured in
Saturday Evening Post
Repurposed Train 

Castle Furnishings
Elephant sculpture made from several 55 gallon drums
toenails are shells
Lion Sculpture made from a 55 gallon drum

Original woodcarvings done by Solomon

Stained Glass Windows on Castle

Third Story of Castle
  Afterwards, RV and I enjoyed a delicious homemade lunch in the on-site restaurant, The Boat In the Moat, which is on a moat complete with a lighthouse, stained glass windows and an adjacent pavilion.
The Boat In The Moat Restaurant 

Interior of Restaurant

Interior of Restaurant - The Boat In The Moat

Mr. Solomon still actively creates wonders within the castle with his interpretation of his unique view of the world.   This is a family business filled with 4 generations who also live in the castle along with the old family cat.
The Family Cat - now about 18 years old
 While a lot of Solomon's work is tongue in cheek he has managed to repurpose and create unique art in a most enjoyable way.
Lush Florida Landscaping 

As we leave Solomon's Castle we have enjoyed the day!
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