Courtesy of The Mansion at Elfindale
By Nichole Ballard
As a photographer I get sent to take pictures of interesting things that go on all over our state. I am fairly new in this career, but one of the greatest parts of the job for me is what happens behind the camera and the logistics of getting somewhere and staying there. Case in point: The Elfindale Mansion in Springfield.
Let me explain this to you, slowly—there is a castle. Smack dab in the middle. Of the third largest city in Missouri.
Ok, so I drive about three hours from Columbia to get into Springfield. The drive is nice, pretty low key. I arrive in the city well after dark around 9 PM. Sometimes finding a place that you’ve been assigned to stay in to cover a story is just as difficult as a three hour drive across the state. It seems that this particular bed-and-breakfast is located just inside and down the drive of two stone pillars. The little windy road is just wide enough to fit two horses side-by-side.
As I look up at the lighted archway of Christmas lights that this little path has taken me down, I begin to think this cannot be the right place. Lucky me, I don’t use a cell phone—not by choice—so I can’t call my writer or the front desk number I was given. But, it has to be the right place because I can’t see anyone inscribing huge letters spelling out “Elfindale” in stone just to deter travelers as a strange form of amusement. As I drive a little further into a line of trees masking the major, busy street I’ve been driving parallel to, I begin to think maybe they did.
A little further and through another illuminated archway I see, to my left, a castle. No it’s a church. Ok this can’t be it. To the right of the church I see a castle. “Holy crap it’s a castle,” I say to my car radio, my only company for the past three hours.
Apparently, the Elfindale considers itself a mansion, ergo the title “The Mansion at Elfindale”. I maintain the firm belief that it’s a miniature castle. It has a tower, ‘nuff said.
Inside the rooms is what you would expect of a small-scale castle. The room itself is very large and has its own living area apart from a queen or king size bed. The room I stayed in was the d’Chantal room. The bed I slept on was for that of a queen. (Yes, I make the point to say “queen” because it was made very clear that the rooms were assigned based on what gender was appropriate to the specific décor of the room and size of bed—I got stuck with the d’Chantal while the writer got John O’Daye. I will say that my room was quite comfy and not lined in pink like some of the others I got a peek at, so I was OK with it.)
As I spit out a profanity when the door kept sticking, I turned around and saw the Word of God mocking me on the bed, neatly opened to some Psalm which I’m sure was specifically scolding me for my use of vulgarity. I suppose it shouldn’t have been very surprising that the motif was Holy considering my B&B was attached to a church and has its own wedding chapel. But I must say, after I got over the idea of Jesus watching me everywhere I went, I slept like royalty in my Queen bed.