At this vacation rental, you’ll find crowns on the shelf, costumes in the coat closet, dragons to behold and heated thrones.
What’s up with that?
“We want everybody to feel like royalty here,” says Angela Wehnert, who owns High Rock Castle with her husband, Daniel. “We want them to play and have fun. It’s not everyday you get to stay in a castle.”
The turreted castle, 21632 High Rock Rd. in Monroe, Wash., is tucked behind a gate on a hillside on 19 acres south of Monroe with sweeping views of the valley.
Gargoyles mark the entrance with a wooden drawbridge that crosses a dry moat. By the pond is a nine-foot dragon a Swiss sculptor created from motorcycle parts. Hiking trails loop around the property and lead to a waterfall. The kitchen has a stove imported from France.
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High Rock Castle mixes modern conveniences with medieval times.
“We want guests to feel like they stepped back in time,” Daniel says. “It’s a whole experience, not just a B&B, not just a nice place to stay and a nice bed.”
“But it is a nice bed,” Angela says. “They are all new.”
The Wehnerts are the third owners of what was a private residence built in 1993.
The second owners bought the place in 2004 and added five suits of armor, weaponry, heraldic flags, curios, the Swiss dragon statue and a gun range. The husband was a nuclear physicist who turned his attention from explosive devices in New Mexico to cancer research in Seattle. His wife transformed the upstairs bedrooms into royal quarters with burgundy carpet and palatial drapery. She put it on the market for $2.3 million, all the trimmings included, after his death.
The Wehnerts, who live in a Mediterranean villa in Gig Harbor, had been looking for a castle to buy for a bed and breakfast.
“The hard work had already been done in the architecture. This was a legitimate castle that was ready to go,” Angela says.
A stipulation was that all offers had to be in person.
“We brought a bagpiper and dressed up in medieval garb. We did a full-on processional.”
The castle became theirs for about $1.9 million in December 2022. They did extensive landscaping, added a hot tub and an outdoor movie screen.
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A detached shop is being converted into a fairy tale cottage with two bedrooms that’s expected to open this summer as a separate rental. The gun range might be used for archery.
“We are keeping the legacy of what was already here and adding our own,” Angela says. “The antique end tables were in a Joan Crawford movie.”
The couple met in Tucson in 1997.
“After a summer when it got to 126, she tossed a coin on the map and it landed on Texas and we said, ‘Do over.’ It landed on Tacoma,” Daniel said.
He studied cognitive neuroscience at University of Arizona.
“It’s the study of the physical and chemical processes of your brain and how it results in memory systems,” he says.
He had a 20-year career at Microsoft in Washington.
For her, what started as a table at a flea market with fantasy and mythology items led to a 15,000-square-foot store, Crescent Moon Gifts, in Tacoma, with oils, metaphysical supplies, clothing, jewelry, fairies and teas.
April Turnbow, of Port Angeles, stayed three nights at High Rock Castle with family members and friends.
“It’s peaceful,” she says. “You can hear the birds. You can hear the water running from the waterfall. My favorite part was a cup of coffee on the veranda.”
The great hall was another highlight.
“Having dinner at the table was an experience,” she says. “All those suits of armor, the books, the swords. It’s just magical. Like being transported.”
The castle grounds can be rented separately as an outdoor venue for weddings and parties.
For castle lodging, two-night rental is the minimum and it’s for the entire house only, which sleeps eight. The price starts at US$699 a night, with the special grand opening discount.
The King Suite is 800 square feet and has a private turret sitting room overlooking the great hall, soaking tub with dome mural and a secret passageway – “a good midnight snack tunnel right to the kitchen,” Angela says.
Other rooms are the Queen Suite, Twin Suite and the Juliet Suite, which has double doors leading to a balcony overlooking the pond.
Suites have tea, chocolate truffles, spa robes and eye masks. The bathrooms have bidets and the heated porcelain thrones.
The great hall has a dining table for 10, cathedral ceiling, wooden beams, a two-story stone fireplace, Gothic iron chandeliers, heraldic flags and armor. Swords and weaponry are behind glass.
“For looks, not combat,” Angela says.
The library shelves have theme games, hundreds of books and even a full set of encyclopedias. Have a seat on a red upholstered reading chair.
Pop on a crown and you’re royalty.
See the castle
An open house at Monroe’s High Rock Castle, 21632 High Rock Road, is noon to 6 p.m June 4.
Cost is $5 with light refreshments and discounted booking offers. Guests can explore the grounds. Advance tickets required.
Learn more at highrockcastle.com.
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