Friday, July 9, 2010

"The Castle beckons, Tom..."

That's one of my favorite lines from Four Weddings and a Funeral (which is a hilarious British comedy if you've never had the pleasure), and I thought of it as we went to dine at Beardslee Castle near Little Falls, NY. This place was built in 1860 and now it's an unusual restaurant and beautiful spot for folks to get married. It's a small castle, but it has a cheerful dungeon, so that's worth the trip right there.

This blog will be picture heavy...I took plenty of them, some in low light, so please forgive the quality, get a taste of the ambience, and go visit  yourself if you ever get the chance.

Here's the entrance covered in pretty growing things:
Inside there are all these lovely rooms with their own fireplaces, holding about three to four tables each. Some of them have great views of the grounds outside, too:
I confess to having a weakness for beautiful bookshelves filled with old books. They had several of them! The staircase to the left leads down to the dungeon:
Examining the books more closely, I found some really ancient pulp fiction in there. I picked out a burgundy one called His Evil Eye because, was entitled His Evil Eye. Mwah-ha-ha-ha! I took a picture of the title page just to appreciate the old font, the design, and the alternate title. (The main title was far superior. I never would have picked up a book called Sybil's Trials.) The copyright for this book is 1891. *pause to appreciate the history of this tome* And it's just hanging out there in the castle for any old schmuck to pick up and photograph. *boggle* By the way, I think they shafted the author, a Mr. Harris Irving Hancock: the copyright is held by the J.S. Olgivie Publishing Company, not the writer! See, my friends? This is why authors need agents.
Head down the stairs to the dungeon and you'll find a fabulously stocked bar underneath all that stone. Here's a peek through the entrance...obviously there's much more to be seen once you're through the wee entrance tunnel.
They also have several cells that have been refurbished to house intimate dining experiences. Unfortunately (or fabulously, depending on how excited you are by embalming), some of the cells are still occupied by their former inhabitants. This mummy is named Steve (not his real name). No one knows who he really was, how he died, or why his final resting place is an upstate New York dungeon. Keen scientific minds have declared that he died sometime in the past.
They have like 90 beers and wines available in the Dungeon Pub, so if you're going to spend time in a dungeon, this is probably the best one you could possibly choose. They had a microbrew on draught out of Vermont called Magic Hat #9. It was extremely tasty, but of course I can't describe a taste adequately in words. That's as pointless as giving you a link to the brewery's site or taking a picture of the tap in the dungeon:
After I'd explored a bit, we got around to eating. We started with a portobello mushroom cap stuffed with ratatouille and covered in mozzarella and oil. Divinity.
Everything was good but I didn't take the best pictures of all the dishes, so I'm only going to include a couple. Their menu, by the way, rotates a bit during the seasons, so what you see on their website might not actually be on the printed menu when you get there. This dish is a center cut boneless pork loin with a strawberry rhubarb compote and honey glazed pecans. Yep, that's a wild rice pilaf on the side. Daaaaang.
I had the sirloin steak with grilled red onions and portobello mushrooms, accompanied by rosemary potatoes. De-lish.
The salads were actually green—no iceberg lettuce at all. The desserts were crafted in a such a way as to plop into the pleasure center of your brain and stretch luxuriously while making satisfied cat noises. Many people enjoyed the Death By Chocolate—but, curiously, nobody died.

It was a great experience, and not just for the food. It's one of those rare, beautiful places with good beer and friendly mummies in the dungeon. Those are so hard to find. Up next, another Still Life With Fantasy and Fruit!


  1. That mummy is seriously freaky. Also, now I'm stuck thinking about whether it would be better to put the mummy pic before or after the (awesome) food pics. Hmm...

    And yes, you are correct, Four Weddings and a Funeral is brilliant.

  2. "I thought U2 was a type of submarine."
    "Well in a way you're right. Their music has a very naval quality."