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Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
Eric Poole is a reporter and columnist for the Ellwood City (Pa.) Ledger, a small newspaper nestled near the Ohio state line in the heart of Steelers Country. He has a wife, a son and a daughter (so there will be some daddy stuff on this blog). A former steelworker and retired rugby player, Poole has a wide range of interests, which was reflected in the 2008 Pennsylvania Newspaper Association awards, when Poole won first-prize honors for best columns and best special project. His upcoming book, "Company of Heroes," due out March 17, 2015, from Osprey Publishing, tells the story of Vietnam War hero Leslie Sabo and his comrades. Sabo was awarded the Medal of Honor May 16, 2012, in a White House ceremony.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Her castle was her home

AOL ran a piece last weekend about the most world’s most rare and/or expensive items. All the old standbys were there – Honus Wagner’s baseball card, the double-eagle coin, the red diamond – but the one that caught my attention was the rarest piece of real estate, identified as Bran Castle in Romania’s Transylvania region.
Some 150 years ago, Bram Stoker stayed at the castle and used it as inspiration for the book Dracula.
As I type this, I’m sitting at the foot of a hill where Princess Illeana of Romania, the former owner of Bram Castle, died. After her second marriage ended in divorce in 1965, she became an Orthodox nun and used part of her fortune to buy land just outside Ellwood City, Pa., and founded the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration.
Although she returned to her homeland after the fall of Communism in 1989, Illeana lived at the monastery until her death in 1991. Sam Teolis – a local funeral director, former Ellwood City mayor and local raconteur – said she picked out the site for her monastery because it reminded her of her homeland.
So, if you have piles of money – but not enough to afford Bran Castle – you might want to settle for building your own medieval castle on the banks of the scenic Slippery Rock Creek.
Just a thought ...