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January 26, 2012 - Image 51

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-01-26

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Madonna's not the only Michigander (or former) who gets to wed in a
castle: Play up the magical fairytale wedding at the gorgeously romantic
Castle Farms in Charlevoix. The French Renaissance-style castle was built
in 1918 as a model farm to raise prize-winning livestock (and showcase
the newest farm equipment) by Albert Loeb, a Chicago attorney and then
the acting president of Sears Roebuck and Co. Using local fieldstone in
the construction and designs, based on the resplendent stone barns in
Normandy, the farm opened to the public, selling cheese and ice cream
and offering a picturesque spot to watch the local baseball team play.
Once the Depression hit, the Castle changed hands and uses a number
of -times over the years, including a period as a well-known venue for
concerts, playing host to Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and the Beach Boys. In
2001, Linda Mueller fell in love with the castle, snatched it up with her
husband, Richard, and painstakingly renovated it to its former splendor.
For your ceremony, choose from three outdoor courtyards, with details
like ornate crenellation that embellish the stone walls, magnificent arches
and a rustic central fountain or a picturesque gazebo in a garden enclosed
with arborvitae trees and flowers. Lighted fichus trees and wrought iron
chandeliers illuminate an indoor chapel with soaring ceilings, grand
cathedral window and original stone walls. Five reception options include
two garden rooms, a tavern and two castle rooms, all twinkling with tiny
lights and offering views of the gardens and courtyards.
Although Castle Farms does not offer lodging, Charlevoix and the sur-
rounding areas are chock-full of inns, bed-and-breakfasts and hotels that
run the gamut from quaint to elaborate.
CAPACITY Reception options seat up to 350 guests for dinner.
MENU While Castle Farms does not provide catering, it has vetted a
recommended list of caterers who are familiar with the venue and offer
exceptional service.
WHILE YOU'RE THERE A vacation mainstay for generations of Metro
Detroiters, Charlevoix has tons to offer all year long: beaches, sailing,
skiing, golfing, antiques shopping, restaurants, boutiques and plenty of
historic cottages and mansions to sight-see. Nearby Petoskey, Traverse
City, Walloon Lake and more make for picturesque day trips.
CONTACT (231) 237-0884; castlefarms.com.


Looking for luxe? Head to the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Ariz., for a fabulously
flawless Mediterranean-style wedding experience in the Valley of the Sun. Nestled at the
foot of the majestic Camelback Mountains in the Sonoran Desert, the Royal Palms began as
a winter respite for snowbirds Delos Willard Cooke, a New York industrialist and financier,
and his wife, Florence. Built in 1929 by Phoenix architectural firm Lescher & Mahoney as a
3,500-square-foot Spanish Revival villa, the mansion's driveway is lined with lofty palm trees
leading to a flowing 250-year-old fountain. Mahogany and iron double doors open to white-
plaster-covered brick, Granada-tiled roofs, elegant archways and high-beamed ceilings while
rare flora and a lush citrus grove exude grand elegance yet offer quiet seclusion. Changing
hands several times over the years, the villa opened its doors as the Royal Palms Inn in 1948
and welcomed such luminaries as Helena Rubenstein and Groucho Marx (and was popular
in the '50s among Jewish locals for their nondiscriminatory access to the country club ame-
Today, the Spanish-Mediterranean-designed Historic Hotels of America member is a
AAA Four-Diamond resort, and guests can roam the lush courtyards and stone-paved paths,
where exotic foliage and fragrant citrus grove connect 119 elegant casitas, hotel rooms and
villas, many brimming with pieces from the Cookes' original European antiques collection.
Weddings benefit from more than 20,000 square feet of ceremony and reception space on
the Palms' nine-acre property, including the Alegria Garden, a private outdoor courtyard
enclosed by stone walls and surrounded by blooms and citrus trees, with a brick aisle lead-
ing to an elevated stone platform; the Vernadero Lawn, which offers an unparalleled sunset
view of Camelback Mountain; and the Estrella Salon, whose wrought-iron chandeliers are
suspended from high-beamed ceilings, illuminating the rich Mediterranean palette while an
adjoining patio provides views of the Moorish-styled Reflecting Pool.
Couples also can take advantage of the Palms' own Romantication romance planner —
led by their director of romance — to fill their stay with details from placing rose petals
on a turned-down bed to a hot-air balloon ride followed by a gourmet brunch in the open
Sonoran desert.
Yet with all the luxuriously ornate touches, the Royal Palms still exudes an intimate, resi-
dential, almost homey ambience so that you and your guests will feel like pampered guests at
a private estate.
CAPACITY Various reception areas can seat up to 40 for an intimate celebration or rehearsal
dinner up to 180 for seated dinner and dancing.
MENU The Palms' award-winning T. Cook's Restaurant will customize a menu for every
event, from bridal showers to afternoon tea to a casual rehearsal dinner. Wedding packages,
including Scottish Salmon Tacos, Fried Goat Cheese with Grape Chutney, Braised Beef Short
Ribs and Pan-Roasted Bass, plus a show-stopping custom-designed wedding cake prepared
by the on-site pastry shop, start at $90 per person.
WHILE YOU'RE THERE Your guests can lounge at the heart-shaped pool; indulge in a
pre-party facial at the Palms' Alvadora Spa, where a full menu of treatments take advantage
of the herbs and oils indigenous to the region and guests can float weightlessly in the Watsu
pool; schedule a VIP tour of the world-class shopping in nearby Phoenix or Scottsdale with
the Palms' director of shopping; or hit the greens at the nearby TPC Scottsdale gold club's
two championship courses.
CONTACT (800) 672-6011; royalpalmshotel.com .

Itth IMOD I February 2012 19

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