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.

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.

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.

This post was last modified on October 28, 2019 11:46 pm

Sarah Conley

Sarah Conley is a veteran content creator and marketing consultant from Fayetteville, Arkansas. After publishing her first blog, Style It, for over 10 years, she launched Rascal Honey in early 2018 to offer a fresh perspective on style. Her writing has appeared on Time, Teen Vogue, The Huffington Post, Glamour, and Lucky. She's also appeared in tv interviews on CNBC, Fox News, Great Day Washington, The Huffington Post Live, and People Now. She's worked as a social media consultant for the past nine years, helping fashion & beauty brands like MAC Cosmetics, NARS, Prescriptives, Origins, David Yurman, ELOQUII, ellos, Nine West, Clé de Peau Beauté, Diane von Furstenberg, and many more create meaningful communities online. When she's not writing about style or shopping for makeup at Sephora, she's cheering on the Arkansas Razorbacks and perfecting her guacamole recipe.

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