Gettin’ Fancy at Stokesay Castle

Prom.

2002.

Junior year.

That was the last time I ventured up to Stokesay Castle. Before that, maybe when I was 7 or 8 years old. Meanwhile, the castle was busy evolving without me. It grew, became hipper, became somewhere that folks could get a little fancy and get away. That’s exactly what we did. Got fancy.

But the night couldn’t start without something absolutely ridiculous happening. As I pulled up, I didn’t quite recognize or remember the whole scene so I chalked it up to not being here in a while. The sound of bagpipes coming from the side door floated through the mountain air, and the smell of beer filled my nostrils. I stood in line at the door waiting to join the rest of my reservation and thought how small it was compared to what I remember. Certainly not worthy of being called a “castle”.

Then it all made sense. I had led us to the Reading Liederkranz. With my tail between my legs I got back into the car and drove further down the hill until I reached Mt. Penn. This didn’t seem right either. I turned around and went back up the hill, made the same turn at the Stokesay Castle sign confused and frustrated. Then I realized I had to stay left and go down the hill to reach the Castle.

Let me make this very clear, this was my fault and my fault alone. The fine folks at Stokesay had nothing to do with the Polish blood coursing through my veins. The blood that makes me do dumb things when I have the best intentions. It is my gift and my curse.

However, once there I made my way into the Knights’ Pub to have some adult beverages I surely needed by that point. The Knights’ Pub is the not so formal dining area that was recently constructed to freshen up the place and appeal to a younger crowd. It does a great job of that. The bar is the centerpiece of the room with ample seating for a few dozen people. It’s surrounded by large, open windows creating a panoramic view of the perfectly manicured grounds. Outside there’s a fire pit that is best enjoyed at the conclusion of a wonderful meal that I now share with you.

We moved into the Lord’s Dining Room, actually into the library area. It was our own private dining space — I said we were fancy, I meant it. We were greeted by our waiter who explained the menu and took our drink orders. The menu itself is fairly small and straightforward. There’s a salad/soup course to choose from. My choice was a winter salad because it wasn’t quite spring yet. I did NOT want to be the one at the table to eat out of season. A few of my favorite things, spinach, arugula, candied pecans, and craisins, were complimented by a maple balsamic dressing.

The second course, which I admittedly didn’t partake in, was highlighted by a lobster sausage. It was served with a “truffle scented polenta” and Newburgh sauce. It was hit among the rest of the table.

For my main course I fought the urge to try the roasted duck, and went with the New York Strip steak with Buerre de Montpellier, caramelized butternut squash, and roasted fingerling potatoes. It was perfect. Hot, a little char to give it texture, and seasoned perfectly.

Dessert was a snifter of Sambuca, alongside a vanilla bean creme brulee. The perfect ending to such an elegant meal.

Pricey? Sure. Worth it? Definitely, and here’s why.

Dayton walnut bread and red pepper butter (not together).

Polenta with a balsamic reduction.

Mango, cupcake, and caramel truffles.

Cherry champagne sorbet.

These were a few items that were served between courses. They enhanced our experience and added some surprises to our night.

If all of that isn’t enough to make you break out the sport coat and fancy heals, then I do believe that it’s time to find another blog to read! The experience was definitely one that was memorable and worth it. It would be a great date night, and leave you and your friends talking.

Especially if you get a chance to take the official tour and come across some of the spirits who still reside off Spook Lane in Stokesay Castle.

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