Archive » February 16, 2012
Golf & Travel
By Ray Navis, Contributing Writer
Football season has come and gone once again, but the vibrancy of college town life continues. This is particularly true at the larger more prestigious southern universities where generations of families attend the same school. In Auburn, Ala., you can take in this collegiate flavor and stay on a luxurious estate just a few miles away.
The mansionFountainview Mansion is a 16,000 square-foot traditional French Country Southern estate and was created by Gary and Julie Klarenbeek. The hilltop location makes for an impressive entrance as you make your way up the 1-mile driveway passing by more than 100 acres. Old World touches abound throughout the property, starting with the large fountain in front of the circular entry way.
The Klarenbeeks have spared no detail here in their effort to recreate an elegant European chateau experience. Each room is decorated with antiques carefully selected to serve modern-day needs but be true to the mansion’s theme. The foyer makes for a dramatic entrance with its 25’ ceiling, 7’ hand-cut crystal chandelier and travertine marble floors. The formal living room features a marble fireplace and is furnished by a 6-piece Louis XV-style salon set. The dining room’s centerpiece is a monumental hand-carved Rosetta marble mantel from Italy and includes custom artwork by Georgia artist Rachel Settle.
During our stay, I was able to spend some time with the owners much of it during the sumptuous morning breakfast they prepare each day and serve in the dining room. The Klarenbeeks are friendly and unassuming amidst all this grandeur. It would be hard to imagine having better hosts and they really seem to enjoy what they are doing. The breakfast was excellent and included fruit parfaits, cinnamon rolls, blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese soufflés, choice of juice and coffee.
The roomsThe accommodations include four rooms and two suites. We stayed in the Carlisle, which is ideal for families and located on the east side of the mansion. This two-room suite provides a separate sleeping area with two queen beds. The large living room includes a wet bar, comfortable lounge area and two twin beds. Each room has flat-screen TVs with DirecTV and DVD players should the need arise. The bedroom and bathroom look out to the estates large pool.
The Balmoral, Windsor, Coventry, and Kensington Palace rooms are located upstairs and offer panoramic vistas of the pastoral estate. Each room has its own theme with the Kensington Palace topping this choice and including a large flat-screen TV and DVD player. The Buckingham Suite is the largest accommodation with more than 2,000 square feet of regal comfort. The English furnishings are hand-carved from rosewood and mahogany. A fireplace, crystal chandelier, and two large-screen plasma TVs complete the living area. This suite also includes a 400 square-foot bathroom with a two-person steam shower, huge whirlpool tub and separate dressing vanities. Visit FountainViewMansion.com for complete details.
The schoolAuburn University opened its doors in 1859 and its architectural style is true to that time period. Traditional brick buildings are everywhere as are wide-eyed boys and girls happy to be here. Many of the students are the second or third generation from their family to attend. The school took on its present name in 1960 and is best known for its engineering and agricultural programs. Wait, did I forget to mention football? The team has a religious following which runs the length of the state. This fervor was never greater than the 2010-11 season, which saw them go undefeated, including a win in the BCS National Championship game over Oregon.
The golfThe best golf option when staying at Fountainview Mansion is found at Moores Mill Club nearby. Normally reserved for members, it is open to Fountainview guests and worthy of a few hours leisure time. The course is located on a former site of a mill and includes wetlands and creeks as it winds its way through rolling terrain, mature hardwoods and towering southern pines. This is probably the best maintained course in the area and houses the finest practice facility one could find.
The clubhouse is a cottage-style, cobblestone building meant to remind one of the French countryside. It houses the Clubhouse Dining Room and Cabana Bar and Grille, which are popular dinner choices for Foutainview Mansion guests.
Visit MooresMillClub.com for more information.