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  • Writer's pictureNatalija Ugrina

Super Weird Florida - Part 3 - Solomon's Castle - Quirky Royalty in the Sunshine State!

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Hey there, world travelers! ! Welcome back to the third installment of our Super Weird Florida series! 🌴 If you've been following along, you know that Florida is a treasure trove of the unusual and eccentric. Today, we're taking a detour off the beaten path and heading to the heart of the Sunshine State to explore a place that's just as eccentric as it is endearing: Solomon's Castle!

Solomon's Castle
Solomon's Castle

Casting a Glittering Spotlight on Solomon's Castle

Nestled in the small town of Ona, Florida, Solomon's Castle is a whimsical creation that's sure to leave you in awe and wonder. You see, this isn't your typical castle with knights in shining armor and towering turrets; it's the brainchild of one extraordinary man, Howard Solomon.

The Solomon Behind the Castle

First things first, let's talk about Howard Solomon, the mastermind behind this quirky kingdom. Howard was an artist, sculptor, and all-around creative genius. But he wasn't content with just creating art to hang on a wall or sit on a pedestal. Nope, Howard dreamt big, and he turned his dream into reality when he decided to build his very own castle!

Trash to Treasure: The Castle's Construction

Now, here's where things get really interesting. Solomon's Castle is unlike any other because it's primarily constructed using recycled and reclaimed materials. Howard scoured junkyards, collected discarded items, and even used old newspapers to create bricks for the castle walls. Talk about an eco-friendly kingdom! 🏰

outside of the solomon's castle
Outside of the Castle

Castle Couture and Quirky Quarters

As you step inside Solomon's Castle, you'll find yourself surrounded by an eclectic mix of art, oddities, and Howard's personal collections. Every inch of this place oozes character and charm. The castle itself is a hodgepodge of styles, from Mediterranean to Spanish and everything in between. It's like a kaleidoscope of architectural design!

One of the quirkiest features inside is the dining room, which is adorned with over 80,000 aluminum printing plates from a local newspaper. It's like dining inside a giant, shimmering disco ball! ✨

Howard's "Boat in the Moat"

No castle would be complete without a moat, right? Well, Solomon's Castle has one, but it's not filled with water; it's filled with boats! Howard was also a skilled boat builder, and he decided to park his creations in the moat for all to see. His "Boat in the Moat" is a colorful and playful spectacle that adds to the castle's unique charm.

solomons castle

Howard's Restaurant: A Culinary Gem

After exploring the castle, you'll want to satisfy your royal appetite, and you're in for a treat! Howard's Castle Cafe is a charming spot to enjoy a delicious meal. The menu boasts scrumptious Southern comfort food, and the quaint setting is like dining in a quirky art gallery.

Unknown Facts and Legends

Now, let's dive into some little-known facts and legends surrounding Solomon's Castle:

1. The Hidden Treehouse: Did you know that there's a hidden treehouse within the castle grounds? It's a cozy retreat where Howard used to spend his quiet moments, contemplating his creative endeavors. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of it while exploring the surrounding area.

2. The Tale of the Tin Man: Legend has it that one of the castle's most iconic sculptures, a life-sized Tin Man, was created by Howard as a tribute to the classic Wizard of Oz character. It's said that if you tap on his chest, he'll grant you a quirky wish!

Solomon's Castle is located in Ona, Florida
Solomon's Castle is located in Ona, Florida

3. The Castle's Musical Magic: Howard was not only a sculptor but also a musician. He created unique musical instruments, including a "baritone horn chair," which you can still see and play today. Don't be shy; give it a toot and feel the musical magic!

4. The Castle's Resilience: Despite its unconventional construction, Solomon's Castle has weathered numerous hurricanes and tropical storms over the years. It's almost like the castle itself has a magical protective charm.

Meeting the Current Keepers of the Castle

Sadly, Howard Solomon passed away in 2003, but his legacy lives on through the dedicated efforts of his family. They continue to maintain and preserve this quirky masterpiece, allowing visitors like us to experience the magic of Solomon's Castle.

Visiting Solomon's Castle

Solomon's Castle is open to visitors from October to June. It's a delightful day trip for anyone looking to escape the ordinary and dive headfirst into Florida's weird and wonderful side. Don't forget to bring your camera because you'll want to capture every quirky corner of this whimsical wonderland! So, if you're ever in Florida and craving a dose of quirkiness, make sure to add Solomon's Castle to your must-visit list. It's a place where art, recycling, and whimsy collide, creating an unforgettable experience that's truly one-of-a-kind. That wraps up Part 3 of our Super Weird Florida series. Stay tuned for more oddities and adventures from the Sunshine State, because trust me, there's no shortage of quirky gems to discover. Until next time, my fellow adventurers, keep exploring and embracing the weirdness all around you! 🌞🏰🌴

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03 Φεβ

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