My 6,000th Geocache Find: Hiking Madame Sherri’s Forest & Castle

A few weeks ago I was approaching my 6,000th geocache find. I was planning to go back down to New York City and hit some old haunts and make the find at a location that meant something to me. COVID-19 made sure that wasn’t going to happen. In looking for a location closer to home, I found a virtual cache at a place that had intrigued me for some time. It was still a good distance away, so the first weekend hotels were allowed to accept guests again, I stayed a couple of nights near there.

Lupines in Vermont. Photo by author.

The plan had been to have a caching frenzy in a nearby state park with lots of Class VI roads I could drive my Jeep down. A storm in May had apparently caused some blow-downs in the park and the roads were gated when I arrived. I ended up on a road trip in Vermont instead, then coming back to Madame Sherri’s Forest.

The weekend I was there it was in the high 90’s. As much as I hated it, I think I was lucky because this popular site wasn’t crowded. I managed to get a spot in the parking lot. There was a “gas saver” geocache in the parking lot, besides a regular sized one near the ruins as well as a virtual cache at the ruins themselves.

Madame Sherri was at one time a costume designer for the Zeigfeld Follies and other roadway shows back in the early 1900’s. After the death of her husband (and partner in the costume business) in 1924, Madame Sherri wanted to leave New York City. Five years later, construction began on her “castle” in Chesterfield, New Hampshire.

Madame Sherri was known as a rather colorful resident of the area, between her demands for construction of the “castle” to the parties she threw there, as well as her eccentricities observed by residents, her notoriety grew. Unfortunately, her fortune did not. By the end of World War II, it was learned that much of her money had been spent a long time ago and she was being subsidized in life by her protegee, Charles LeMaire, a Hollywood costume designer. She died penniless and on public assistance in a nursing home in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Her once beautiful castle was vandalized, then struck by fire in 1962. All that remained were the stone foundations and a beautiful stone staircase. The property was foreclosed on by Lemaire and eventually sold to Ann Stokes.

It’s a short walk from the main parking lot to the ruins of the Castle. It is a beautiful sight to behold even in ruins. The home must have been simply gorgeous in its day.

Standing in what would have been the home at one time, it is a grand space. There are remnants of the stone support columns for the roof as well as a beautiful fireplace. The day I was there, the smell of wood burning in the fireplace was strong. I suspect someone had a fire out there the night before (this isn’t allowed, but things happen).

I collected my information for the virtual geocache here; my 6,000th find since I started caching in 2011. For 6,001 I found the regular-sized geocache located nearby. Onward and upward.

If it had been a cooler day, I would have hiked the Ann Stokes loop. It’s only about 2.3 miles and not much uphill, with a few geocaches located along it. When it’s above about 85, I have little patience for walking around and sweating, and the high 90’s will make me put the roof on the Wrangler and run the air conditioning.

All in all, though, it was a good weekend. I wish I could have done the caching frenzy, but I did get to some really nice caches in Vermont, including a few Challenge Caches.

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