Wings Castle


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After filming a narrative short at Pete Wing’s castle in 1995, I returned to the castle to tape Pete over the course of several summers. Hours and hours of his ramblings were whittled down to this 10 minute documentary. I wanted to tape Pete until he finished the B&B extension but realized he was probably going to be working on the castle forever and I needed to wrap things up. Turns out, he discovered the taxes would be prohibitively expensive on the B&B so he and his wife, Toni, are trying to sell it and move to Montana. What will happen to Pete and castle is still undecided but here is a little artifact of this character and his folly in the meantime.

Synopsis:

At the age of twenty-one Peter Wing returned from Vietnam and started building a home for himself and his family using recycled materials. For thirty years he and his wife are proud owners of a medieval castle visited by hundreds of tourists every year. Wing’s Castle Documentary shares with us what a little perseverance and resourcefulness can accomplish and how one can draw inspiration from the most challenging of life’s experiences.

32 Responses to “Wings Castle”

  1. Ron said:

    wonderful piece. What an interesting man and his life’s work. Beautiful.

  2. Christina said:

    Its a bad idea to build your own castle. That’s what the illegal immigrants are for.

  3. Chuck Leggett said:

    Best Quote: “All of this is meaningless…except the experience of being alive.”

    Amen.

  4. SC said:

    Seems to be a common activity. Jim Bishop has been building his own castle in the Colorado mountains since 1969.

    http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/COBEUcastle.html

  5. scott said:

    What an interesting and unique piece. Watching it, you’d think someone that would do that would be insane, but he isn’t insane at all. In fact, I now think I’m insane.

  6. Aaron Valdez said:

    Great film. Just really well-crafted. Made my day.

  7. Neatorama » Blog Archive » Wing’s Castle. said:

    [...] documentary by Rachel Connolly at Squigglebooth [...]

  8. Rachel Connolly said:

    Pete Wing is the quintessential inspirational eccentric. Visiting the castle, making the film, then making the documentary have all been high points in my life.
    I don’t believe anything can be summed up in 10 mins. or 2 hrs. or 10 hours for that matter, so I tend to make open ended documentaries that offer just a glimpse of something authentic. Pete Wing allowed that to happen. Thanks Pete, and for anyone watching, keep enjoying the documentary, and if you are ever near Millbrook, NY stop by the castle for a tour!

  9. Kathy (Lapham) Martin said:

    Hi, I saw the castle on the Travel Chanel. It is a great project! I have wanted to build my own home for years.
    The thing that I’m writing about though is the sign hanging in the living room. JC Lapham’s groceries. Can you please tell me the story about that sign?
    Thanks,
    Kathy

  10. Rachel Connolly said:

    Re. the JC Lapham’s groceries sign, featured in the the Travel Channel documentary, Pete acquired that sign 37 years ago right around the time he got married – it was barter for a job he did. JC Lapham’s was a 1% profit store, a dollar store, in lower New York City in the late 1800s.

  11. Bill Smith said:

    Wonderful work– both this film and the castle built by the Wings.

  12. Sam Lynx said:

    a w e s o m e.

  13. mary mary said:

    Is the castle still open to visitors? I hear it is being sold but very much want to see it!

  14. pete said:

    I just took the family to Millbrook last weekend. We stopped at the Trevor Zoo and then drove over to Wing’s Castle. Just as we drove up the perfect July blue sky changed into this freak thunder/ lightning/ rain/ hail storm– what a perfect intro to the castle! The tours are still running and Peter Wing is hard at work getting his Bed and Breakfast annex completed. I highly recommend a visit to this magical place.

  15. Louise & Garmetti said:

    Hi TONY AND PETER,
    ERNIE AND I VISITED YOUR LOVELY CASTLE AND
    HOME BACK IN OCTOBER WITH MY SON CHRIS BAZZANI
    AND JUST TO SAY THANK YOU AND HOW MUCH WE ENJOYED
    VISITING WITH YOU. WHEN WE GOT BACK HOME, I WANTED
    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IT SO FOUND YOUR SITE AND THOROUGHLY ENJOYED READING ABOUT AND LISTENING TO THE FABULOUS DETAILS AND HISTORY OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. IT WAS TRULY AN INSPIRATION AND A BLESSING
    TO HAVE SHARED A BEAUTIFUL VISIT.
    THANK YOU AGAIN AND GOD BLESS YOU
    LOUISE AND ERNIE GARMETTI
    Hope you liked the cross.

  16. Erika and Brian said:

    We visited Wings Castle in 2000 on our second annual honeymoon. I have travelled all over the world and I can say that this was one of the most moving places I have ever seen. Peter gave us a tour of inside and out, including his work in progress on the area that was to be a B&B. I can’t imagine how he could leave it! I’ve always dreamed of returning – but it won’t be the same without Peter there to show us his magnificent craftsmanship.
    If he does (HAS?) moved to Montana, I want to know where, because I’m sure he will be conjuring up something incredible there, too!
    Erika and Brian
    Warwick, RI

  17. Tina Gardner said:

    I just watched a short bit about Wing’s Castle on Great Castles of America. My son Jake’s life goal is to build a castle, so of course I was very interested. We are also New Yorkers, although temporarily living elsewhere. Wing’s Castle looks gorgeous and inspirational, and it is all the more beautiful because it is “handmade.”

    If the Bed and Breakfast is open, I definitely want to make a reservation soon!

    Tina

  18. Kazik Skoczylas said:

    Does anyone know if Peter Wing was in the US Air Force and stationed at Westover AFB in 1963-1965? I was stationed there then and worked at the Short Order Station (radio) with a Peter Wing from upstate NY. I left to go to the Azores in 1965 but remember Peter and his friend Harry at Westover.

  19. Admin said:

    Hi Kazik,

    Try this:
    Wings Castle
    RR1 Box 174A
    Millbrook, New York 12545
    Phone 845-677-9085

    I think Pete has moved on but maybe they have some forwarding information.

  20. Elizabeth said:

    Not on topic, but I am looking to locate an old friend with the name Kazik Skoczylas. (Was in banking in Connecticut) If blog #18 is the same gentleman, please email me at wcoasttigger@aol.com. Would love to say hello and reconnect. Thank you!!

  21. Frances Dell'Amico said:

    I am interested (very much) in visiting Wing Castle but am not clear if it is open/available for touring. Would appreciate if you can clear up the mystery. The visit would be my daughter and my annual combined celebration of her birthday and mother’s day – but we could be available to go anytime, hopefully this spring. Thanks in advance,
    s/Frances Dell’Amico

  22. Donna said:

    I love this place ! So amazing -

  23. nk said:

    The Castle is still open for tours. We just visited it today. It does not look like Peter and Toni are planning on selling. The work on B&B is almost complete and they plan to open it soon.
    The Castle is really amazing. And the collection inside the house is even more unbelievable then the house itself. Toni and Peter both are amazing and very talented people.

  24. Susan Duval said:

    For Pete Wing, Thank you so much for the tour of your castle last weekend. It was the highlight of our visit to Rhinebeck and area. I just can’t wrap my mind around all that you have accomplished, both in building the castle and the skills you possess and have learned. My husband and I hope to come back again next summer with our son, a history teacher, who is amazed at our photos and all that you’ve collected. He was especially interested in the photo I took of the mantel and the knives, gas mask, etc. So sorry to have never seen the episode(s) on the Travel Channel and Martha Stewart. Such a brilliant man keeps too low a profile. Thanks again for the tour and a glimpse of the world through your eyes.

  25. Tom & Ellen Wolfe said:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this film– makes us want to go back to the castle and see inside it again. It looks gorgeous in the snow. Quite a work of art and architecture– both. Can see how it would take years of work to build. Enjoyed the anecdotes as much as the visuals.

  26. Nan said:

    That was a really nice documentary. We drove by it today and saw it from the road. We hope it will be open for tours this year and we can see the inside. It is really amazing from a distance.

  27. Kris Klein said:

    Peter Wing is a genius! My mother was friends with him years ago when we lived in Upstate NY.I stll remember as a very young child visiting him as he was initially building.He was also a very “nice man”.He is Ultimate Creativity.

  28. jeff philipbar said:

    I grew up with Peter, going to the same small town high school in Millbrook, NY. Without a doubt, the most talented, gifted person I have known. I can remember him doing a watercolor painting of the street of our town, while in high school. He finished it in a very short time, and it was out of this world.
    Our local area has been sprinkled by the outstanding creations of Pete, including wooden statues for town’s businesses, murals of many of the local establishments, bronze statues and sculptures. God bless you and your wife with many more years of great work!

  29. Peter Wing said:

    Hello All, Peter Wing here, yes we are still here and yes we give tours, go to wingscastle.com for details, as far as creativity, we are less than specks of sparks in the grand scheme of things, I suggest that you do not take it all for granted and not use or live your lives, to the fullest, thank you for your comments , flattering and a bit humbling…

  30. Gene Mathis said:

    Pete don’t know if you remember me from VA112, long time ago.
    Love the Castle Gene

  31. Peter Wing said:

    Hello – its another Peter Wing here in the U.K. I was fascinated by the Castle and also the fact that we share the same (unusual name???).Hope to visit one day!
    Thanks and regards

  32. Rob Rolleri said:

    Just saw the video and loved it – never knew it was made, K

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