Ravenwood Castle has new owners, new plans
By Megan Exline
Commoner Journal staff writer
NEW PLYMOUTH – Vinton County’s historic castle is under new ownership, and while some things will change, the new owners assure that the castle will remain a quiet retreat.
Ravenwood Castle’s previous owner, Sue Maxwell, wanted to scale back and retire. Maxwell still owns a couple bed and breakfasts in the area, but she sold the biggest one to Jim and Pam Reed.
The Reeds, from Hudson, about 40 miles south of Cleveland, said they had been thinking about starting a business for a couple of years before they heard about Ravenwood Castle being for sale.
Their daughter, Ashley, did a project on Hocking County in March for her fourth-grade class. While considering an overnight trip to the area, Pam discovered the castle was for sale.
“I’m not thinking too much about it at this point,” she said. “I’m just like ‘Oh, I hope it stays open.’ I loved going there.
“Then my husband comes home and I show him and he says, ‘that’s something we should look into,’” Pam said. “And we did and here we are.”
Jim said they plan on making some changes.
“We want to keep the general feeling of the place and it’s been very well-known as a quiet retreat — a place where people can go and have a nice relaxing weekend,” Jim said. “And we want that, but at the same time, we want to open up to a much larger audience than we served in the past.”
The castle officially opened in 1995, and the cottages were added on not long after. Now, the business has seven rooms inside the castle, seven cottages, five cabins in the fairy tale village and two gypsy wagons.
Jim said they want to be more family friendly and renovate some of the rooms to better accommodate children. One of the rooms to be refurbished is the King Arthur Suite, located inside the castle. In addition to rooms in the castle, accommodations are available in medieval cottages that sit on the grounds.
The Castle’s Pub, Great Hall and Team room are currently open on weekends, but Jim said they wanted to eventually have them open every day. The Pub, Great Hall and Tea Room have always been open to non-guests.
The castle has a giant chess set in front of it, which people can also play checkers on. The property also has some trails that the Reeds plan on cleaning up and expanding.
They said they plan on having wine and beer tastings, and they will bring back murder mysteries.
“We know they’ve been really popular and we’re going to be bringing those back,” Pam said. “Our hope is to do them four to six times a year, so we’re really excited about getting that up and going again too.”
The first Murder Mystery has been scheduled for Nov. 2 and 3, according to Ravenwood’s Facebook page. Denham from Shadow Stalkers will be presenting Death in Small Doses, a unique mystery weekend custom built for Ravenwood. Tickets for the event will be $75 per person, and will include Saturday night’s dinner.
The Reeds said they plan on marketing to local businesses, such as the bank and the county commissioners.
“They used to come out and meet here quite a bit, and it kind of stopped over the last five or six years and we want to get back into that,” Jim said.
The Reeds said they might take the couches out of the library and put a conference table in to better accommodate businesses or lunch dates, and they hope to eventually hope to get back into the wedding business.
“Now there are only three markets: there are guests who are here, there are other tourists coming down to the area who might not be staying here and there is the local market, and we want to serve all three,” Jim said.
Ravenwood Castle is located on Bethel Road in New Plymouth. For more information, visit its website.