Solomons Castle is a site you've just got to see! Built out of tin, it's a museum and art gallery west of Arcadia, Florida.
I had been reading in my "Weird Florida" and "Backroads of Florida" books about a tin castle built by Howard Solomon, an artist with a crazy sense of humor.
He built it out in a town called Ona, about an hour from Cape Coral.
I was intrigued, because the castle is his actual home.
We were looking for something fun to do, so we drove up Rt 17 to Arcadia, turned west onto Rt 72, then north onto Rt
661, and finally west on 665 until we saw the sign for the castle on
We enjoyed the ride up and always get a kick out of the little town of Nocatee, because this is also the way we take to go to Orlando and have have passed through the town several times.
It's kind of a ramshackle place, with a totally different feeling from the coastal towns.
We saw cattle farms, and orange groves and it was a beautiful sunshiny day with puffy white clouds in the sky and temps in the 80's, a perfect day for a road trip!
We got to Solomons castle and yes, it really is covered in shiny metal reflecting all that sun ...... it's quite the spectacle! Howard lives in the castle and also has a museum in it with his artwork and sculptures.
We decided to have lunch first and went to the Boat in the Moat restaurant for sandwiches. There wasn't any water in the moat and I forgot to ask if they get water in it during rainy season. You can eat in the boat, or outside on the terrace behind, or in the Light House, so called because it's made of the very light metal, aluminum.
I thoroughly enjoyed my roast beef sandwich and the restaurant is run and staffed by some of Mr Solomon's kids and grandkids ........ it's a family affair!
After lunch, we quickly checked out the lovely little gift shop which had souvenirs, tee shirts, jewelry, soaps, greeting cards, etc.
We then headed back to the castle for the tour, it cost us $10 each and was well worth it. Bear in mind that Mr Solomon built and everything. We saw sculptures made out of coat hangers, vehicles, farm implements, beer cans, and you name it!
Mr Solomon also copied famous paintings but did them in wood. Everything has a funny title and the tour guide was a character.
The museum has several rooms filled with art and sculptures small and large. I wish I could show you so much more, but you'll just have to go to see for yourself!
We then had a chance to tour a portion of the Solomon's house. It is filled with collections, more art and sculptures, and stained glass windows.
Sometimes, Howard Solomon himself, will give the tour. He seems to still be going strong at the age of 79!
Before you leave, make sure you walk on the path that circles to one side of the castle. It's a nice walk in the shade, and for one thing, you'll see the coolest cypress tree with roots and knees that look like flying buttresses off of a cathedral.
Solomons Castle museum, gift shop, and restaurant are open from 11AM-4PM Tuesday-Saturday year round, closed on certain holidays. Figure on a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from Cape Coral up to the castle.
For more info, go to the Solomons Castle website. Here's a video of the Boat in the Moat Restaurant:
And, a video of the castle and grounds:
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