Vikingsholm castle, Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe, California USA.
Russ Bishop/age fotostock
Constructed of native stone and timber and topped with multiple turrets and towers, this Scandinavian-style castle is tucked into trees on the sandy back cove of Emerald Bay. Wealthy Chicago widow Lora Josephine Knight built the 38-room mansion in 1928 and spent 16 summers there until her death in 1945. It apparently wasn’t enough for her, though, as she also built a stone teahouse on Emerald Bay’s single island, Fannette, where she and her friends would sip Earl Grey and discuss the news of the day. Now a part of Emerald Bay State Park, Vikingsholm Castle can be visited by hiking one mile down—and then back up—a dirt-and-gravel road. Tours of the castle interior are offered daily in the summer.