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Man Who Promised His Son They’d Live In A Castle One Day Builds Three

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Man Who Promised His Son They’d Live In A Castle One Day Builds Three

John Lavender II promised his son they would one day live in a castle one day and he delivered in a big way with not one, but three castles.

The property now forms Highlands Castle on Lake George, New York and you can even visit it yourself thgrough Airbnb.

In 1978, the newly-divorced Lavender promised his three-year-old son he would build him a castle one day.

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Lavender told Insider he bought the land in 1982 to build the incredible three castles, but kept it secret from his son for decades while the buildings were being constructed.

Between the three buildings they can sleep 21 people, or you can rent each one individually through the Highlands Castle website or Airbnb.

When Lavender promised his son he would build the castle, he was living in a share-house with five other men in New York.

"It wasn't an environment to raise a three-year-old," Lavender told Insider. "I took him aside and shared with him, this is not our home, this is temporary."

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"I made the promise and I said I'm going to show my son that if I speak words to him, I'll follow through no matter what it takes," he added.

Lavender designed and built the three mini castles almost entirely by himself, despite having no experience in architectural design or construction.

He spent years designing the castles bit by bit, receiving help from friends and a couple of experts. He even went as far as to map out the blueprints himself.

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He was essentially drawing as he went, he said, adding two or three walls at a time.

The final construction was helped along by friends and his family, who he finally told about the project. His son's football team even chipped in to help.

Jason, Lavender's son, went on to earn a five-year architectural engineering degree to help his dad. He said that while he knew his dad would eventually build him a castle, he didn't expect to have to help out.

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The home was a private residence for many years until Lavender was redoing the roof on the main castle in 2008 when he fell backwards off a ladder.

He shattered his leg in 20 places and was found by his wife, Yvonne, who he married at the property in 1992. He spent eight months confined to a wheelchair and decided it was time to open Highland Castle up to the public.

"Being able to catch up on lost income, and just reinventing myself was an intriguing prospect," he said.

Yvonne has a background in hospitality and Lavender said they've both been overwhelmed by the kindness of the people who come and visit them at the home.

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"Every guest that stays here will say to me, thank you for opening up your home to us," he said. "My response now is just, 'Thank you a hundred times more for finding us and staying here.'"

"It's my purpose now," Lavender said, of welcoming guests into his mini castles. "I'm the steward of the property."

Lavender and Yvonne still live on the property, but his son Jason now has a home with his own family.

Ultimately, while Lavender plans to keep renting the properties out, he wants to keep them in the family.

"My fantasy would be to have my son inherit the property and my grandson and granddaughter to be here after that," Lavender said.

Featured Image Credit: Airbnb

Topics: News, New York

Hannah Blackiston
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