LOVELAND, Ohio — Nestled in the woods, a stone's throw from the Little Miami River in a land of love, hides a castle waiting to be discovered.
"It's the greatest castle in the United States, bar none," said Sir Joe Carey, knight, seneschal and steward of Loveland Castle and museum, located on Shore Drive in Loveland.
Carey loves showing visitors around the castle built by Harry Delos Andrews over the course of several mid-20th-century decades. According to the castle's website, Andrews objected to modern warfare and instead "preferred sword-to-sword medieval combat."
He avoided being drafted into World War I when he developed spinal meningitis and was erroneously declared dead in 1918. After correcting that error, Andrews poured his heart and soul into building his own kingdom in the out-of-the-way, Southwest Ohio river valley.
In his castle, there are swords and knights of armor; every rock was laid by hand, starting in 1927.
"He just fell in love with it and said, you know, we can be real knights," Carey said. "We're Knights of the Golden Trail."
Andrews established the order when he began building the castle.
Carey was among the people Andrews asked to help build the structure over the years.
"It was just a thrill of helping an old man build a castle!" he said.
And so, rock by rock, Andrews built the castle -- and home -- of his dreams. He lived there until he died in 1981, before construction was finished.
But that hasn't stopped his knights from carrying on the work.
"It's always easy to brag about something somebody else did," Carey laughed. "So you'll hear us. We'll be bragging."