Grandson is no stranger to castles. He has read about Harry Potter’s where Hogwarts School is located and he has visited Disney’s castle at Disneyland. The former he has read about and watched in the movies The Sorcerer’s Stone and then again with The Chamber of Secrets. The latter brings good memories of living close to Anaheim, the home of Disneyland. So when I learned about Newman’s Castle not ten miles from us, I knew we would be visiting.
We stopped by Newman’s Bakery in town to pick up a kolache and make our reservation to visit the castle and have lunch. The castle? Yes, there’s a castle in the neighborhood. Newman’s Castle. It’s the home and labor of love of Mike Newman who owns the local bakery. We picked up some kolaches and more, then we looked for a red clay road off a nearby highway.
Wildflowers and this gate greeted us.
“There it is!” grandson cried out filled with the anticipation of what we were about to visit. “It has a catapult and a moat!”
Max, a border collie, and Avalon, a wolf dog met us. Max immediately engaged us dropping a stick at our feet wanting to play fetch. We all obliged until the ceremony began.
“Pick up a sword so you can be knighted,” King Mike Newman instructed. Grandson chose his and King Newman schooled the children standing in line about the virtues of a knight or dame. One by one the king of this castle knighted the children. They had questions to ask and so did the adults witnessing the scene.
“When did you start building the castle?”
“In 1998 but it’s not finished yet. Right now, I work out here after the visitors leave on the bell tower. I imagine I’ll keep adding things. There’s always something to work on or build.”
“What is the castle made of?”
“Cinder block reinforced with cement and rebar. You’ll see some mill cut lumber when we go inside.”
“Does the drawbridge work?”
“Yes, it does.”
“How about the catapult? Does it work?” The children followed him and with the help of his assistant Sir Joseph, a giant rock flew across the moat and landed just short of the walls.”
“I think you took out some lily pads,” grandson observed.
“Are you ready to go inside?” King Mike asked. The children ran to the drawbridge.
We continued the tour visiting the dungeon that included stocks, a bed of nails and a cage where humans could be hung in a standing position.
We walked along the cloisters, stepping into the long dining hall which serves as a reception area for various venues, wedding receptions and dinner theater performances, too. I walked further and sat on a pew of the small chapel. A statue of St. Francis greeted us at the threshold. It was a lovely spot to sit for a while. Outside I could hear the children running through the courtyard.
The children climbed up into the living quarters some four stories up and looked through the tower windows surveying the grounds they had already explored.
We made our way to the kitchen area where lunch and all kinds of baked goodies awaited us. While we ate, King Mike entertained us with tales of knights, chivalry and dragons. Grandson volunteered to play the part of a dragon with King Mike’s direction.
Back at the farm I pulled the book From the Tower Window off the book shelf. Out on the back porch I read a few tales which I hadn’t read in ages. There I found the tales of Beowulf, Joan of Arc, A Tale of King Arthur: Sir Gareth Beaumains, the Kitchen Knight and more heroic deeds. I thought about how dreams can come true and various labors of love can come to fruition. Like crazy Don Quijote, King Newman is inspiring the visitors to his unlikely place in Texas.