AAA Traveler - Summer 2021 - 6

TRAVEL BUZZ
America's Castles
If you found yourself binge-watching the goings-on of the
Bridgerton clan in the hit Regency-era drama on Netflix
and can't get enough of the balls and drawing room
intrigue, consider exploring some enchanting castles right
here in the U.S. while you wait for season two.
Biltmore Estate
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside
Asheville, the 250-room French Renaissancestyle
chateau was built in 1889 after George
Vanderbilt visited the area and became
enchanted by its beauty. Today, the estate
encompasses about 8,000 acres, including
formal and informal gardens designed by
Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape
architecture in America.
Fairmont Sonoma
Mission Inn & Spa
Located just an hour north
of San Francisco, the
Fairmont Sonoma Mission
Inn & Spa has been
catering to discerning travelers for
decades - they've been a AAA Four
Diamond-rated property since 1986.
Of the luxury hotels and resorts in
Sonoma Valley and neighboring Napa
Valley, the Fairmont is among the
ultimate Wine Country destination
with a vintage golf club, a spa and a
Michelin award winning restaurant.
Formal touches adorn the Spanish
Mission-style inn, like the exposedbeam
ceiling and large fireplace in the
reception area, and extend to the
accommodations, which include
marble baths and Provence-style
furnishings. Many of the recently
renovated rooms include fireplaces
and some suites have four-poster
beds, balconies or sunken tubs. The
onsite Willow Stream Spa boasts an
enviable location atop an ancient
thermal mineral spring, flowing from
more than 1,000 feet below the
surface. Sonoma Golf Club, a private
club open to guests staying at the
Fairmont, is widely considered a
treasured relic of the golden age of
golf course architecture.
Grey Towers Castle
Tucked away in a suburb north of Philadelphia,
this National Historic Landmark was built in the
late 1800s by sugar refining magnate William
Welsh Harrison. Philadelphia architect Horace
Trumbauer modeled the castle after Alnwick
Castle in England - Hogwarts in the first two
Harry Potter films.
Boldt Castle
Situated on Heart Island about a mile from the
New York/Canada border, Boldt Castle was
intended to be a display of love for the wife of
George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the
Waldorf Astoria Hotel. But four years after
construction of the Rhineland-style castle got
underway, Louise died suddenly. The brokenhearted
Boldt stopped all work on the site. The
castle sat unoccupied until the Thousand Islands
Bridge Authority purchased the property and
restored the 120-room castle to its current glory.
Hearst Castle
Set on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the
Hearst Castle estate was built between 1919 and 1947
for newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. By
the time it was completed, the estate was comprised
of four buildings, 165 rooms and more than 125 acres
of beautifully terraced gardens. The Gothic study in
the main castle building features a vaulted Spanish
ceiling dating back to the early 1400s.
Iolani Palace
Hawaii's official royal residence (and the only royal
residence on U.S. soil) was built in 1882 by King
Kalakaua. When the monarchy was overthrown
in 1893, the American Florentine-style
palace in downtown Honolulu
served as the capitol building until
1968. It was renovated and opened
to the public in 1978.
FAIRRMONT SONOMA MISSION INN & SPA

AAA Traveler - Summer 2021

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