Chasing Ghosts In The Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins

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As much as I respect the power of Instagram and tolerate Facebook, Twitter has always held a special place in my heart since I joined in 2007. On a random day in August, while trying to escape my depression by planning a road trip, I saw a photoset from writer Sarah Kendzior stream through my Tweetdeck.

Chasing Ghosts In The Ha Ha Tonka Ruins

Haunted? Castle? Cursed? Within driving distance of Northwest Arkansas? Sign me up. I mapped a route to Kansas City that allowed us to stop at several sights along Route 66 with a final stop at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Missouri exclusively to take photos at the castle. 

The story of the castle is as romantic and tragic as the best stories tend to be. The imposing ruins sprawl across a bluff overlooking a lake, allowing the light to stream unobscured through the remaining castle walls and down into the stables as a lingering reminder that something beautiful once existed there.

As golden hour approached and the sun’s rays moved further from reach, the bricks softly began to glow. I have memories tied to the emotion that the light at that moment made me feel, and the afternoon glow at Ha Ha Tonka has left an indelible mark on me.

The interior castle remains are fenced off from public access as the Missouri parks department asses how to stabilize the remaining structures. Although we visited on a weekday, the park was filled with fellow visitors taking in the splendor and the sadness. I highly recommend adding the castle ruins to your next road trip if you have the opportunity. Be sure to give yourself ample time to look, listen, and feel the stories the ruins have to tell. 

Fall Fashion Ha Ha Tonka

What I’m wearing:

Dress: ELOQUII (no longer available; similar style)

Shirt: Domino Dollhouse (no longer available; similar style on sale)

Faux fur jacket: ellos

Boots: Lane Bryant (no longer available; similar style on sale)

Hat: Zara (no longer available; similar style)

I’ve never been in a place whose journey resonated so strongly with my own. A castle, built from love outside of its time and in reverence to those built long before, reaches completion only to be destroyed by fire and yet, the exterior walls still remain in defiance to nature, time, and legend.

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Sarah Conleyhttps://rascalhoney.com
Focusing on style and self-esteem with her inimitable sass, Sarah has helped change the conversation about plus size fashion. She is a socially connected influencer, has been the star of viral videos, and helped lead an anti-body shaming campaign that earned an apology from O, the Oprah Magazine. With an approach that is more Role Model than Runway Model, Sarah has built a credible connection with the fashion community as a whole. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in TIME, CNN, Teen Vogue, Glamour, InStyle, Lucky, and more. As a consultant, her social strategies have been executed by former clients ELOQUII, Undone Beauty, NARS, MAC Cosmetics, David Yurman, Diane von Furstenberg, Nine West, Clé de Peau Beauté, and many more. Currently, she serves as the Director of Marketing for Arkansas’s only cut-to-order cheese shop, Sweet Freedom Cheese in Bentonville, Arkansas. When she’s not educating people on the wonders of artisanal cheese or taking her rescue dog, Blueberry Shortcake Flowers, for a walk, Sarah can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @imsarahconley.

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