The first of the “It’s After 5 Somewhere” mixers by the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce was delightfully medieval with all the modern amenities at the palatial home in the Alpine foothills.
“I think it’s incredible,” said Colleen McDade of McDade Realty, a Chamber director. “We’re really excited to know that they (homeowners) want to preserve it.”
Sampling luscious appetizers and savoring wonderful wine, Chamber members and guests socialized and networked throughout the castle’s lavish entry floor, then toured most of the three-level building.
The golden sunset over beautiful East San Diego County foothills and valleys was spectacular from the meandering outside deck.
“I would love to do something in this kind of a venue,” said Linda Cioffi, owner and fund raiser for the Alpine View Lodge. “You don’t usually see this level of over-the-top elegance.”
Alpine Castle owners James and Fernanda Lindeen bought the unusual home about two years ago.
As hosts for the Chamber event, they answered questions about the 17,000-square-foot castle.
Completed in the 1980s with stone and polished wood walls, unusual windows, lovely scrollwork and a tower, the home also has an air of mystery. A bookcase turns out to be a door; a too-small stairway is tucked between walls, for instance.
“It’s an American castle,” James Lindeen replied to one question. “It’s not quite haunted yet.”
There are interesting stories, however. Someone once drove a car into the castle’s big pond, complete with fountain. The pool is 17 feet deep in the middle.
James Lindeen said initially he wasn’t sure he wanted to even look at the castle.
“I’m more of a water guy.” he explained. “It’s all about ocean. And I wasn’t sure about coming to Alpine . . . but why don’t we give it a chance?”
Once the couple saw the home, Lindeen said, their admitted “nostalgic emotions for old stuff” helped them decide to buy it.
“We’re happy we got here when we did,” he said. “Woodwork and Italian Tuscan wallpaper had been painted over, things like that. You have to go and research everything just to fix it.”
They repaired, replaced and refurbished much of the castle, its outlying buildings and the grounds on the four-acre lot. Since then it’s been non-stop maintenance, the Lindeens said.
Now they occasionally rent out the castle for events.
“It’s our home,” Fernanda Lindeen said. “We will share it if it’s for something small and intimate.”
For more information about the Alpine Castle, call (413) 438-3687 or visit www.alpinecastle.com