You almost expect to see a dragon puffing smoke outside Fonthill, Henry Mercer's storybook home. Don't be at all surprised if you see one inside. Modeling the house after a 13th-century castle, Mercer began building in 1908. Outside, it bristles with turrets and balconies. Inside, the multilevel structure is truly mazelike. The concrete castle is built from the inside out—without using blueprints—resulting in a jumble of differently shaped rooms (44 in all) and stairways
(following close behind with 32). Gothic doorways, dead-end passages, and inglenooks add to the fairy-tale effect. Ancient tiles that Mercer found around the world as well as Arts and Crafts tiles from his own kilns (depicting scenes from the Bible to Bluebeard) seem to cover every surface—floors, walls, columns, and ceilings. To see this amazing incrustation, however, you must take an hour-long tour (reservations suggested). If you come the first Saturday of the month, opt for the Tower Tour. Fonthill celebrates its 100th birthday in 2012 with different tours and programs.