Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Enjoy the Pleasures of Scottish Mansions

Good morning, Happy Mansion Lovers!

Are you feeling motivated this morning? I certainly hope so. I know that I am!

As someone whose family came from Scotland, sharing this blog post with you is a special pleasure.

One of the special treats of mansions in Scotland is that they are often, you guessed it, castles!

Even Shakespeare was fascinated by the special qualities of Scotland as he showed in his amazing portrayal of Macbeth.

Here's a little known secret. There's a National Trust for Scotland that plays a similar preservation role that the National Trust does for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Naturally, you can do all of the same things that I outlined in yesterday's blog . . . but the settings will be quite different.

Let me give you some guidance through the NTS web site. To find places to visit go to: http://www.nts.org.uk/web/site/home/visit/places/Places_home.asp?NavId=5020&NavPage=41

Once there, you'll find a map to show you the different regions. Click on the areas you think you want to explore and see what pops up!

Not everything you'll turn up is a castle though! The NTS also has urban mansions such as The Georgian House in Edinburgh and wildlife preserves in the Shetland islands. The NTS is very interested in preserving Scottish culture, and some sites combine museum quality paintings with views of prior living. A special treat can be found at The Hill House, arguably Scotland's finest private residence. This home was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Walter Blackie, a Glasgow publisher, and features a fine view of the Clyde estuary.

Scotland is also well known for its ruins. Battles often left castles in disrepair. The English later found this so charming that they built ruins onto their estates to capture this romantic element. A good choice for your visit is Strome Castle.

While you are there, be sure to enjoy the amazing Scottish gardens. One of the most interesting is Inverewe Garden on a rocky peninsula overlooking Loch Ewe. Enormous trees emerge from imposing rocks amid some of Scotland's finest scenery.

Don't forget the wonderful bird watching while you travel from mansion to mansion. NTS has many wonderful preserves. I especially recommend the ones on the islands to the north and west.

Of course, you'll want to stay in a Scottish castle. That's very easy to do! Here is a helpful site to make that even easier: http://www.castles.org/Chatelaine/accomm.htm

Perhaps you've heard of a little game where people chase a little white ball. The honorable game of golf had its origins at St. Andrews. No trip to Scotland is complete without seeing some of its famous courses. Perhaps you might also want to have your own adventures on them. If you have not been to Scotland before, I suggest that you have someone help you arrange the golfing part of your trip. That way you'll be sure to see the right courses and enjoy wonderful caddies! I highly recommend a firm I've used, Haversham & Baker. You can read about them at http://www.haversham.com/. They can also arrange amazing mansions to stay in near the courses you want to play!

Could a billionaire do better? I doubt it.

A billionaire would probably find Scotland to be too plain. Where else do people take great pleasure in their oatmeal and haggis! But for those who understand the joys of authenticity, you cannot beat Scotland.


N.B. As you can tell, I'm experimenting with color. Let me know what you like and what I should change about my use of color.

Please let me know what else you would like to learn, and I'll do my best to help in future blog entries.

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Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell