This Lakeside Tower Might Be the Glamping Opportunity You're Looking For

  • the castle

    the castle

  • thecastle


  • First floor with fold-out kitchen counter.

    First floor with fold-out kitchen counter.

Not every buyer can score a castle -- they're expensive, hard to find, and require a unique devotion to a lifestyle. If you don't want to jump moat-first into a castle purchase, you could begin to live out your Rapunzel fantasies in a tower of your own.

Simply think of it as a starter home for castle lovers. Listed for $89,000, this miniature fortress for sale in Manson, WA, overlooks glacier-fed Lake Chelan. The solitary structure measures just 288 square feet.

The owners, Jim and Roberta Cargill, bought the hillside lot in 1986, "virtually without ever setting foot on it," Roberta told us in an email. All the Cargills required was a view of the property from across the lake with a pair of binoculars, and they were sold. The spot would become home to their favorite camping spot -- the tower that everyone in the area calls "The Castle."

"Everyone on Lake Chelan knows it," says listing agent Chris Millsap. Building permits were obtained for the structure, which was classified as a gazebo, because it's round and measures 12 feet by 12 feet.

According to Roberta, they were inspired to build a tower because they heard of a Cargill Castle in Scotland, which is also where Jim's family is from. Roberta said her husband lugged more than 1,000 bags of mortar and concrete from the warehouse to the building site.

Make no mistake, you won't be living year-round in this tower. It's accessible only by boat, and there's no heat, water, or electricity. The first floor has a fold-out wooden countertop for meal prep, and cooking has to be done by campfire or portable stove. The second floor is accessible by ladder through a 2-foot-wide hole in the ceiling; up there you'll find a fold-out bed. Oh, and really spectacular views of the lake.

"You get phenomenal views from all directions," Millsap says. And even though there are no utilities, the location is prime for "a glamorous camping site. We already have someone flying in from Arizona who's very interested in using it as a glamping site."

The Castle hasn't been without its trials. An old ponderosa pine used to provide a treehouse-like feel to the property, but it was blown down by a strong wind. Three years ago on the Fourth of July, a couple of teenagers made their way to The Castle and set off some firecrackers -- which then set a small fire on the deck and "charred the exterior front door," according to Millsap. Luckily, the flames were snuffed out before they made their way inside. And while the ponderosa pine is gone, a walnut tree has started to grow.

"We have enjoyed many wonderful hours with our two children when they were teens, then our grandchildren. It was a wonderful retreat from rainy, foggy days on Whidbey Island," Roberta wrote.

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