Spillian gets "Buzz" as a real-life castle attraction
By Joe Moskowitz
If you want to stay in a castle, your choices are limited but it just so happens there is one nearby. It sits on top of a mountain in a magical land called Fleischmanns.
The castle is called Spillian and the website BuzzFeed says it is one of 13 real-life Disney Princess Castles that you can stay at in the United States.
BuzzFeed is an Internet social and entertainment website with information, opinions, and surveys about a vast array of topics, including Disney Princess castles.
Ranked No. 5
Number five on that particular list is Spillian. If there ever was a wooden castle in the Catskills, this has to be it. According to BuzzFeed, the dining hall looks for all the world like the grand room in the Disney animated feature “Beauty and the Beast.”
Owner Leigh Melander promised that, unlike in the movie, the knives would not be taught to dance. But she has no problem with the publicity or the idea of a fantasy world.
The place is called Spillian, and Melander calls it a place to revel. Revel means to take intense pleasure and satisfaction. It also one of the definitions of Spillian, to have fun, to revel. Melander and husband, Mark Somerfield, take intense satisfaction that the restoration work is done.
Melander is from State College, PA, a town that got its name and reason for existence from the big business in town, Penn State University. She left what is called “Happy Valley” to go to California to advance her education where she earned a PH.D in mythology. Melander admits that not many schools offer majors in a study about something that doesn’t exist, but it was California.
About the imagination
She said it’s all about imagination and she is fascinated by it. So is her husband, and they wanted to find a place where they could build a retreat. But they couldn’t afford to do it in Santa Barbara. They wanted terrain similar to her native Central Pennsylvania, but unlike State College, which isn’t terribly close to anything, they needed to be relatively close to a big city.
She traded her Jaguar for a Jeep and they ended moving to Andes. Then they saw the Fleischmanns mansion. It was all they had imagined. There were renovation issues that they had never dreamed of, but the castle was going to happen.
It has eight guest rooms and can be rented out as a bed and breakfast, or for a hiking seminar, or a get-together of 50 something men who are spending a weekend, reminiscing and pondering the next chapter of their lives. Or a wedding.
Spillian is dedicated to whatever the customer wants.
Spreading the word
But it is new and getting the word out can be a challenge. Advertising in their target market, the New York Metropolitan area can be frightfully expensive. Social Media, primarily Facebook is becoming less effective, as Facebook, in particular is trying to get businesses to pay for publicity, but Melander said they are trying to market aggressively. She said word of mouth is helping. She said she has had guests who stay in one room, then decide book the entire building for a future event.
Melander said there was another reason for choosing Fleischmanns. She said she and Somerfield decided the community where they built their retreat would have to be one that was in need of rebuilding and Fleischmanns fits that bill. They are proud to be a part of a rebirth that she is certain is underway.
Now Fleischmanns even has a real-life Princess castle on the hill. Just imagine!