On the eastern slope of Wantastiquet Mountain known to the locals in Chesterfield, NH as Rattlesnake Mountain, you will find Madame Sherri’s Forest. This 513 acre woodland once housed a magnificent castle that was a second home for Madame Sherri. While this lot is a fabulous way for hikers to get out and enjoy all that NH Nature has to offer, there’s more to this location than just the hiking trails. This location offers a pretty controversial history that involved the lifestyle of Madame Sherri. Today I wanted to share a few fun facts about Madame Sherri, because our family has visited this spot about three times now and each time we are simply in awe of the location and history of this publicly open location.
Situated in what seems like the middle of nowhere you will happen upon the beautiful remains of Madame Sherri’s castle. The stairway that led up to what seems like a second floor of a once glorious castle still stands, albeit unstable so please be weary of climbing on this old structure. When you walk up the trail towards the remains of Madame Sherri’s castle you will have your breath taken away at the fantastic view you see …
Fun Facts about Madame Sherri
- Madame Sherri was born Antoinette Bramare in France in 1878. She took the name Antonia De Lilas for her career as a Parisian music hall singer.
- Soon after arriving in American in 1911, the Madame and her husband changed their names to Andre and Antoinette Sherri and began designing elaborate theatrical costumes for the Zeigfeld Follies and many of the other major Broadway shows of the era.
- The castle was built in 1931 after Madame fell in love with the forest in Chesterfield, NH as a means to be a summer retreat.
- Madame Sherri became famous for her parties she threw for rich friends in the forest of Chesterfield, NH at her castle in the woods. She was often found greeting guests dressed in theatrical costumes standing atop the spiral stone staircase.
- Rumors have it that Madame Sherri did a bit more than just entertain her guests, perhaps she dabbled in being a real Madame. Inviting young women and men to do naughty deeds within the castle walls.
- Madame Sherri would often be seen in her custom cream-colored Packard, driven by a young man while she was wearing nothing but her fur coat with a monkey on her shoulder.
- The more scandalous Madame Sherri’s life got, the more the community adored her. Yet she only used the castle for entertaining guests, she actually lived in a pretty modest, run down farmhouse on the other end of the property.
- Madame Sherri died in poverty, a ward of the town of Brattleboro, in 1965 at the age of 84 and her castle fell victim to vandalism and a final fire in October 1962 destroyed most of what remained.
Spooky Madame Sherri’s Forest
Whatever truths or myths there are about Madame Sherri, I think we can all agree she was a pretty fascinating person. Often times I imagine what her castle life would have been like when we go out to the remains. It’s almost a different sort of energy around this forest location. It’s as if there are still spirits here partying it up and enjoying life after death. I suppose that depends what you believe in when it comes to life and death, but one thing is for sure I am not keen on the idea of ever being alone in that forest after dark.
Purchase the book Madame Sherri on Amazon to read more about this fascinating woman.
See more photos of then and now from Jeffrey Newcomer by clicking here.
Visit Madame Sherri’s Forest
Directions: Access the Madame Sherri Forest at the entrance on Gulf Road in Chesterfield, NH.
From the east: Take Rte. 63 south from Rte. 9 through Chesterfield Village past the town hall (or north from Hinsdale). At 1.6 miles from Rte. 9, take a right on Stage Rd. and then shortly after bear left onto Castle Rd. Castle Rd will join Gulf Rd and continues 2.6 miles (from Rte. 63) to the Madame Sherri Forest. There will be a red gate on the left.
From the west: Take Rte. 9 across the Connecticut River from Brattleboro. Take a right just after the Riverside Store (right along the river). Immediately take a left on Gulf Rd. and continue for 2.2 miles to the forest entrance (on the right).