Our Story

Yvonne with Max & Chelsea

Highlands Castle was born from a father's promise to his young son...

“Someday I’ll build a house where we both will live… a place we’ll call home. A place where you can bring your friends and create special memories… someday Jason I will build you a castle." 

Looking back to 1978, my 3-year old son would likely have never remembered these words. The promise had more to do with a desire to build a better life than an actual castle.  

It would be another 5-years before the ideal property presented itself, a mountaintop in Bolton Landing, NY.  

While clearing the land for the foundation, a picture was being painted with a chain saw.  Within a matter of weeks, the most spectacular view in the world was uncovered.  It seemed as though these majestic vistas had been waiting to be unveiled.  How was it, that I would be the one to settle here?  I believe He heard the promise and lead me to this specific spot.  It was not simply luck, this was something much greater.   

Once the foundation was completed, the wood framing construction was to the roof in a few months and the structure began to find its outward appearance.  I was finally able to graduate from my tent to a mattress on the floor, which was fine with me… I was quite happy to be sleeping in my own home.

In 1986, I met Yvonne, the woman who 'turned a pile of rocks into a home'.  We were married here in 1992, and my parents who were both Methodist pastors, officiated our ceremony.  My parents performed two more ceremonies over the years, as my sister Carol, and my son Jason, were also married at Highlands Castle.

"Jason, I promised that I would build you a castle, I didn't say you wouldn't be helping me!"...  So, when Jason was a teenager, he joined in the stonework.  Naturally resourceful, he recruited his football teammates to lend some muscle over the summer months. Their daily mantra was "Let's rock!" and they took great pride in their accomplishments while working together again as a team. (Jason was not only an impressive stonemason, he went on to earn an Architectural Engineering Degree, and achieve anything he put his mind to).

The stonework was a slow, tedious process and the labor of laying up more than 1,000 tons of local granite would take decades. Over the past 38 years, the property would evolve into what it is today... a series of three castles where families & friends from all over the world gather to create their own special memories.  



Stone Masons
Jason Lavender
'Shen' football guys
Tony Aurilio
Paul Wilson
Roque Aguero
Eugene Baker
Steve Baker
Bob Urtz
Custom Millwork Carpenters
Scott McClenahan
Scott Volk
Faux Painting
Cynthia Charles