March 2008 Issue
A Night to Remember - Gypsy Wagons at Ravenwood Castle
Want vacation photos that your friends and neighbors actually ask to see? Try booking a stay at one of Ohio's 10 most interesting places to sleep - and don't forget the camera.
The Gypsy Wagons at Ravenwood Castle
Fifteen years ago, Jim and Sue Maxwell made their mark on the lodging world by building a Norman-style castle in an unlikely spot: the woods of rural Vinton County.
Of course, you can’t have a castle without a kingdom, so the couple has since added a candy-colored medieval village and five fairy tale-inspired cottages. But our favorite additions to the campus are the two cheery gypsy wagons stationed in the woods across from the castle’s drawbridge.
Inspired by the 19th-century gypsy caravans that traversed the United Kingdom, the wagons are definitely for those who enjoy an adventurous getaway: A few steps up from primitive camping, they offer electricity, a microwave and refrigerator, and Coleman mattresses for sleeping. Sue says the couple conceived the idea during one of their trips to Europe. “Our wagons are a nebulous version of British wagons,” she says, noting that each country had its own distinctive style. “But the double-decker sleeping arrangements came from a wagon we saw in Bunratty [Ireland].”
Gazing at the wagons’ stenciling and bright colors, it’s clear that the couple took care to make their wagons as authentic as possible –– with one exception. “I don’t think the originals had electricity,” Sue says with a smile.