New York City is full of incredible properties, but it’s not known for its castles. You have to go to New Jersey for that. Over near Bernardsville Mountain, in northern New Jersey, is the Stronghold Castle—probably one of the most impressive homes in the entire state. It’s the work of the architect George B. Post, who purchased 104 acres around the mountain in 1871. Soon after, in 1886, Post was commissioned to design a house for James Coleman Drayton, a New York banker and the son-in-law of William Backhouse Astor on one of the highest points in the area. The result? A two-story, stone villa with a tower commanding views of the estate’s 128 acres. Over the years, different owners added to the home and it evolved into this modern-day castle. Between 1940 and 1995, it served as a private girl’s school. The latest owner, who bought in 2004, restored the castle in all its grandeur while adding modern additions to make it a cozy home. (Or, as cozy as a castle can be.)
The grounds itself are stunning. (When the girl’s school owned the property, a professional arborist brought the 290 native and rare specimen trees back to life.) And over more than 32 acres, you get a lot more than just a home. There’s an eight-room carriage house on the grounds, as well as a gymnasium with a full basketball court and exercise room. Our favorite spot is a more recent addition—an expansive, open terrace and pool complex with uninterrupted views of the mountains.
From inside the castle, you’re getting incredible views of the surrounding mountains as well. This room wins the prize for the only office in the world that boasts stone walls, a telescope and a desk with skulls.
The living room is downright incredible—it’s a mix of a castle-like fortress and a whimsical, modern home. How else to decorate such a one-of-a-kind property but with one-of-a-kind decor?
Historic details have been preserved throughout the years, then restored by the latest owner.
A renovation also modernized the kitchen and expanded the adjacent dining room.
As you might guess, there are lots of fun rooms hidden throughout a castle, like this bar decked out with dark tin ceilings. All that built-in woodwork looks original, too. Overall, you get about 20,000 square feet of living space throughout the property. And we’ve deemed all of it insanely spectacular, worthy of its $15 million ask.
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Photos courtesy of Coldwell Bankers
Neighborhoods : New Jersey