It's Good to Be King: Highlands Castle Looms Large in Upstate New York for $12.8M

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Winter is coming -- at least for fans of " Game of Thrones," which just ended its fifth season on HBO.

Viewers who are experiencing castle withdrawal symptoms can turn their gaze to Highlands Castle in Bolton Landing, NY, now on the market for $12.8 million.

While author George R.R. Martin didn't consult on this structure, it's straight out of a storybook. Made from 800 tons of stone, the castle contains a secret passageway, a secret staircase, turrets, balconies, and hand-carved knights standing guard in the great room.

Sadly, there is no moat or drawbridge, but a 2,000-foot-long driveway leads to the entrance overseen by life-size lion statues. The height of the home affords unobstructed views of Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains.

The estate sits on 8 private acres next to public land on which no one can build. You really can be the king of your castle here.

So who besides a monarch from the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros would construct such a fortress? Meet John Lavender, single dad. In 1978, he made a promise to his 3-year-old son, Jason. "One day I will build you a castle."

Let's be clear, dad could've used a logic loophole and built a castle in Legos blocks for his kid. What 3-year-old would know or remember the difference?

Lavender, who hails from upstate New York, founded a successful fundraising company. Apparently it was successful enough to enable him to actually build a castle and deliver on his promise. He selected a site on top of a mountain, cleared the area of trees, and, in 1984, started to build.

The estate took a decade to construct, according to listing agent Keir Weimer of the Keir Weimer Team of Select Sotheby's International Realty based in Saratoga Springs, NY.

"He basically masterminded the entire thing," Weimer says of Lavender. "He was the quarterback for the entire process."

That process included installing stained-glass doors, 25-foot-high wood-beam ceilings, and 21 floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the stunning surroundings. Patios throughout the estate allow for plenty of room for entertaining.

The Gothic-style arched doorways are handcrafted in oak. Flooring includes solid oak, travertine stone, and natural flagstone. The cathedral-like space stays warm with radiant heat and cool with AC.

One quirky thing about this castle: There are just two royal bedrooms. The master wing includes a two-story tower sitting area and a window seat. The guest suite features a hand-hammered copper tub, because castle.

Guests of the "royal" family who purchase the house need not worry about where to rest their weary heads. The property includes a carriage house and a gatehouse, each with two bedrooms of their own.

"I haven't seen anything like it. This is just really at the top of the list," Weimer says.

He sees the property as a potential vacation home for a wealthy buyer who already has a collection of houses. We assume "own personal castle" has to be on some rich person's bucket list.

And while the address seems remote, it's just an hour from the Albany, NY, airport and Amtrak. "For a castle, it's quite accessible," he adds.

While that access won't work for those who hope to avoid an invading army of dragons, it's certainly welcome news for potential owners of this castle.

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