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Howard Solomon himself was on hand, sitting in front of the castle on a bench. It was a major treat to meet him and chat.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Solomon's Castle

4533 Solomon Road Ona, FL 33865
Open 11am - 4pm, closed Mon., and July-Sep. Restaurant open later on Fri. & Sat.
863-494-6077 2 hours
January 2013 All year
$10-29 Ona Florida
Website Entertainment Arts
First review
 
Solomon’s Castle is the self-built home of artist Howard Solomon. The 100 acre property also includes art galleries, workshops, a restaurant and a short nature trail. Solomon is an internationally recognized artist who specializes in transforming discarded materials such as pipes and engine parts into odd and often comical art. The 30 minute guided tour of the gallery and house is an excursion into Solomon’s imagination, complete with numerous fanciful art objects and a narrative doused with humor.

After building boats and working in construction, Howard Solomon bought this property in 1972, and set about building his home and castle. It aroused the curiosity of locals, so Solomon began offering personal tours of the home and art. The castle has grown over the years, as have the facilities and the number of visitors.

Certain attractions have a charm and distinctiveness that makes them memorable and this is such a place. The primary draw is the castle guided tour and getting acquainted with the art. Although Solomon rarely leads the tours, his wit is reflected in the narration. Almost every comment included a pun or wisecrack and is in keeping with the lighthearted nature of the art. If you are lucky, you may get to meet Solomon. He was low-key and personable. It was refreshing to meet a person living in accord with his views and values and surrounded by his own creativity. The other major attraction is the Boat in the Moat restaurant, which is modled after a Spanish galleon. It serves mainly salads, sandwiches and a few entrees. There was not enough time for lunch but judging by a packed restaurant, it's likely worth a try. The nature trail offered a pleasant walk through a Florida wetland but was otherwise unremarkable. For those looking to stay longer, overnight lodging is available at the castle. Visiting here was fun and it's a good choice for kids as well. If you are in the mood for a novel offbeat experience, it's worth the drive.
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guyonthego
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