Like any girl who has a pulse and thriving imagination, I’ve had a pretty big fascination with castles since, well, birth. The culmination of my obsession precipitated with the receipt of a castle calendar for Christmas one year. Each month featured a different castle from various far-away, enchanting countries – all in Europe, of course. America ain’t got castles, though I was pretty pumped the year my family trekked to the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. That’s more or less a castle. But anyway, I pored over this calendar for the entire year it graced my walls. And after the dates were no longer valid, I selected my favorite castles and affixed them to my bedroom wall as art. Recycle, reuse.
My favorite was (and still is) this one, in the Bavarian region of Germany. I mean, it isn’t referred to as The Fairytale Castle for nothing. You better believe that’s on my European Bucket List.
Imagine my shock and utter delight to learn that Baarn has not one, but two castles! Legit castles: Paleis Soestdijk and Kasteel Groeneveld. After I’d been here a couple of weeks, my friend Esther introduced me to the magnificent grounds surrounding Kasteel Groeneveld. The castle, built from 1703-1710, is quite a sight itself. For me, though, the park really steals the show. Originally designed in the Dutch Baroque Style, which borrowed heavily from the French style of the time, the garden would have been dominated by formality and geometrical landscape designs. Toward the end of the 18th Century, the grounds were revamped in the style of an English garden – winding paths, ponds, streams, hills, gardens and orchards.
The covered path through a floral-scented thicket is absolute, pure magic. I’d be the troll under that little bridge any day.
I haven’t yet explored the interior of the castle, but that is certainly on my to-do list. This has quickly become my favorite place for a quiet bike ride or cozy spot for reading. I’m dying to make up a basket of goodies and head to Groeneveld for a leisurely weekend picnic. I’m just waiting for a sunny weekend with no prior engagements!