Best Place to Pretend You're Rich and Famous - 2002
Cherokee Ranch and Castle
The home of late socialite Tweet Kimball is arguably the most spectacular in Colorado. Modeled after a Scottish castle, it sits on a bluff that offers mind-boggling views of the Front Range, from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak. Kimball could have sold the 3,000-acre property for millions of dollars but instead chose to create a foundation that has preserved the ranch as open space; it recently opened the stone castle to the public. A devoted Anglophile, Kimball lived in England for several years, and the castle's designer, Denver architect Burnham Hoyt, included a cavernous Great Hall, complete with a minstrel balcony for visiting musicians. One whole room is filled with photos of Winston Churchill and Princess Anne, who visited the ranch and rode horses there. A winding stairway that circles up inside a turret is reminiscent of the Tower of London. The antique furniture and art are suitably grand, with overstuffed armchairs and elaborately carved serving tables. Cherokee Ranch and Castle is also a perfect place for afternoon tea, which is served every Thursday in the Great Hall and includes salmon, scones, clotted cream, jam and sweets. Tours of the castle are offered several times a week, but call ahead, because reservations -- and directions to the hard-to-find mansion -- are required. If you want to be king or queen for a day, this is the place.