Anyone who’s driven on a certain section of Stagecoach Road has probably seen a beautiful old – if somewhat out of place – castle on the side of the road. Go ahead, admit it. You’ve wondered what’s inside there for a long time. Well, I found out recently. I say it’s out of place because it looks like an 18th century castle, but it’s right next to a modern elementary school and “normal” homes in the area. I bet that school wasn’t there when construction began on the property nearly a century ago.
We now know this destination as The Castle on Stagecoach. It’s come a long way since finishing construction in the early 1930s. The cottage came first, next came the stables and then the castle. For the first three decades, it served as a residence only, including the Rognrud (RON-rood) family who now owns it. Until a few years ago when they began hosting weddings and other gatherings, as well as a regular monthly “Brunch Experience” and little princess tea parties.
I’ve been to the castle before, since my cousin, Blake Poole, married his best friend Stephanie in the huge back yard on the property on May 30, 2015. A year and a half later, I attended a brunch on Sunday January 15, 2017, with five of my family members, and what an experience it was! I’ll walk you through it. First off, there’s no parking on the grounds, so attendees park at the school. That sounds like an inconvenience until you learn that Little Rock Carriage will carry you over in a horse and carriage. Already, you’re taken back in time as you leave the school’s paved lot and then with a few clip-clops of a horse’s hooves, you are overlooking 100+ lush green acres. Tall trees, sparkling water and then you see the impressive rock-faced destination, built from rocks and timber found right there on the land.
The family states in their brief history that, “The wood throughout the castle was harvested on site and then transformed by skilled craftsmen to create the beautiful floors, paneled walls and ceiling beams.”
Large as it is, the castle was actually built for just two inhabitants. Dr. Koch traveled to Europe and loved the medieval castles there so much, he set about building one for his wife. The castle changed hands several times over the years, but the Rognrud family has owned it from 1963 to this day – about 54 years at this writing.
Inside the castle, there are four levels. Some believe there are hidden rooms, but the caretaker, Walter Rognrud, says there aren’t. I wonder who to believe? If there were hidden rooms in my castle, I would deny it too! Guests of indoor gatherings are allowed to roam the first floor and basement, as well as the stables. There are four bedrooms and three baths on the third floor. The fourth floor is a walk-in attic.
At brunch, the first floor held an entryway, and to the right there were two sections of dining area with many tables, a huge fireplace with amazing detail in the face and lots of windows everywhere. To the left were the buffet area, the kitchen and the spiral staircase leading to the other floors. The basement held special treasures. A bar and kitchen at the bottom of those stairs, to the right, a well-appointed sitting room with another fireplace and large-screen television, and to the left there was a regulation size pool table and several cues, as well as a library of board games and a table. The whole downstairs is decorated in a knight theme, complete with a suit of armor. This was a real live man-cave and I wanted to stay and invite friends over for later! But… I didn’t.
Now let me tell you about the brunch. The food! By the Bryant company, Bistro Gourmet Takeaway & Catering. I lovvvve their food, but in this setting – even better! This brunch – did I say they have it once a month? And there’s another one coming up in February? Anyway, they have three times to be seated for brunch, beginning at 10 a.m., so if you are normally at church on Sunday morning, you can work around that schedule.
I’m going to let the pictures below speak for themselves since there were so many choices, I won’t remember them all. But I did note special cheeses and fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, potatoes, eggs, bruschetta, pasta salad, shrimp… the list goes on. And then there’s a chef waiting to make your custom omelette in front of you with all sorts of ingredients to chose from, including prime rib! Yes, read it again, prime rib! Next, there’s a separate chef ready to bake your custom Belgian waffle with or without chocolate chips or berries in the mix.
I’ve been working out and eating less since early December but I’m not shy to tell you I left that regimen in the car to pick up later. I pretty much got one of everything they had to offer. And speaking of everything, they also have mimosas you can order with brunch (You were going to ask, weren’t you?) and it’s included in the price. Sure, get another mimosa, even. Are you done with breakfast? No, because there are tiny floofy cupcakes and those little cubed petifores on the dessert towers back in the entryway. And you need them. Trust me. Besides, there is a woman playing violin to serenade you while you dine. You need a reason to keep listening. (Listen some in the video below the photos.)
Okay, by now you’re full up to here with delicious food, so feel free to go see the recreation offered in the basement. When you’re done there, take the side door and step outside to the stables where you’ll find friendly ponies to pet, and to top it off, there are white peacocks wandering here and there. See if you can get them into your selfie! We were almost done with our own brunch experience, but the Rognruds are very good at hosting and they left each diner with a parting gift – a castle coffee mug with some castle goodies inside. Thanks so much to The Castle on Stagecoach for hosting us, to Bistro Catering for feeding us, Michelle McKenzie for serenading us, and to Little Rock Carriage for carrying us.
If you’re still asking whether I recommend the Castle, the answer is a resounding “yes.” We had a magical day at my cousin’s wedding in 2015 and this brunch experience was just as magical inside the Castle. To see more information on The Castle on Stagecoach and their services, visit www.CastleOnStagecoach.com.
One more thing: Don’t miss the Valentine Brunch Experience on Sun., Feb. 13th. Reserve now!