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Location: Bolton, N.Y.
The Skinny: In 1982, Upstate New York man John Lavender broke ground on a castle. In a promotional video, he explains that Highlands Castle "was born out of a promise to my three-year-old son, Jason. I told him I would build him a home where we could both live and create some nice memories. For some apparent reason, I made a promise to build him a castle." The first part of that promise is very sweet, and the second part is maybe a little over the top (also, a three-year-old kid is definitely not going to remember what he was or wasn't promised). But, to his credit, Lavender followed through and spent years painstakingly constructing this castle on Lake George, drawing up the plans himself, collecting castle-y items such as suits of armor and stained-glass windows, and putting 800 tons of stones in place, one at a time. "Dad, can we have a catch?" his son would ask. "Not now," John Lavender would reply. "I have to build this castle so that we can create memories." Once the castle was complete, Lavender and his wife began renting it out for weddings and honeymoons—rates start at $995 a night—but now the whole thing is also listed for $14.8M.