Best Of 2018

Best Spectral Picnic Spot: Loveland Castle

The Loveland Castle, or Chateau Laroche, is a slice of medieval Europe on the banks of the Little Miami River. Modeled after classic castles, the structure features towers, a dry moat, hand-tiled ceilings, murder holes (it was a real thing; look it up) and a collection of period weaponry. Hand built over the course of 50 years by a slightly obsessive former World War I army medic and Boy Scout troop leader, Harry Delos Andrews used handmade bricks — formed with quart-sized paper milk cartons — and stones from the Little Miami to craft his dream. It’s a pretty bizarre and impressive sight that is a “reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived when Knighthood was in flower,” the website reads. Currently overseen by the Knights of the Golden Trail (also a real thing; look it up), the grounds are available for picnics, overnights, private parties and host “Castle Days,” mini-Renaissance festivals the third Saturday of the month April-August. And, like any self-respecting castle, it’s also rumored to be haunted by a variety of ghosts — including the phantom of Andrews himself. Loveland Castle, 12025 Shore Road, Loveland, lovelandcastle.com.