In 1969, on a hill in Millbrook, New York, Peter and Toni Ann Wing began a strange construction project using salvage and recyclable materials. In fact, over 80% of this four-story stone, timber, and stucco structure is made of recycled materials. The result was the wonderful Wing’s Castle, which is now a bed and breakfast.
Settlement in this region dates back to the eighteenth century. Today it features horse farms and vineyards along this rich heritage and beautiful countryside. This is an ideal setting for a castle. The main street of Millbrook features antique shops and historic architecture in a downtown that has not changed in one-hundred years.
Only a nineteen-minute drive from Manhattan, but in some ways a world apart. Many New York celebrities choose this quaint, peaceful village as their second home.
Wing’s Castle is considered one of New York’s great treasures. It sprang to life from the imagination and determination of one man born in the Hudson River Valley. Peter inherited the land that sits on a hill overlooking the Millbrook Winery. When he proposed to Toni Ann, he said that if she would marry him, that he would build her a castle.
Together that put in long hours to make their dream a reality. In fact, for three years they lived in the basement. According to Toni, they didn’t need extra comforts because they were always working.
The hard-working couple had no money and no architectural plans, but lots of ideas and energy. Peter always has his sketch pad and marker to draw his next big idea. They could afford the things things people were discarding. They dismantled eleven barns for their beams, floor boards, and anything else they could salvage and use.
This was in the seventies (before re-using materials was considered practical and environmentally friendly). Toni recalls that they definitely were not seen as normal. People were scratching their heads. According to a local historian (who is thankful for the incredible attraction Wing’s Castle brings to their tranquil area with only 1500 residents), depending upon their age, people either think Peter’s crazy or brilliant, odd or imaginative.
Inspired by the philosophy and work of architect Antonio Gaudi, Peter designed the outline of Wing’s Castle to resembles some of Gaudi’s famous structures in Barcelona, Spain. Like Gaudi, Peter used broken tile to add color to his castle in what he calls the “Gaudi Dragons Garden”. Visitors marvel at how “you feel like you could be in Europe”.
Peter also appreciates the thousand-year history of the Tower of London. Stone structures withstand time and elements. It took twenty-two years (and 500,000 stones) for Peter to “finish” putting the stones around the castle. One close neighbor friend, fondly refers to the wonderful Wing’s Castle as “The Lemony Snicket House.”
At Wing’s Castle, there is always something to look at. It is full of artifacts and everything there has a story. Peter says the work remains unfinished. After more than forty-eight years, he is still creating and working on it.
The Bed and Breakfast
Today, the wonderful Wing’s Castle (see the aerial YouTube video below) serves as a bed and breakfast with five unique places to stay that are all equipped with wi-fi internet access. All B&B guests receive a free, 45-minute guided tour of the castle.
- The Annex Suite: queen size bed for up to 2 people, 2 levels with balcony and courtyard, kitchen stocked everyday with breakfast, dining room, full private bath, sitting area near fireplace
- The Dungeon: queen size bed for up to 2 people, full private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning, connects to The Annex
- The Chamber Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bath, private entrance near parking area, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle each morning
- The Tower Room: queen size bed for up to 2 people, private bathroom, free continental breakfast set up in the Great Room of the castle every morning
- The Cottage: located across the street from Wing’s Castle with 3 bedrooms for up to 5 people (breakfast is stocked in the Cottage Kitchen and guests have full access to the castle grounds and pool)