Thoroughbred Living

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
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Trip End Dec 25, 1998


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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Friday, November 13, 1998

Go with me? Polo? Montmorenci wines? Yes, we're going for a wine-and-horses weekend in Aiken, South Carolina, a real-life center of equestrian sports. It will be our pre-holiday indulgence, a chance to relax and pamper before the rush begins.

We can sleep in a four-poster bed at the Willcox Inn, as John Jacob Astor once did, and sit in the lobby's leather chairs by a wood-burning fireplace before going to dinner in the Pheasant Room. Or we can stay at the Sandhurst Estate, where the baths are marble and the furnishings antique. Sandhurst is surrounded by magnolia trees and located next door to beautiful Hopeland Gardens, twenty-four acres of pools, sculptures, plantings, and the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame.

Ah yes, the famous horses. This town has revered them for more than a century. One of the local heroes is Pleasant Colony, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1981. The equestrian-minded turn to steeplechase and harness racing in the springtime, but September through November is polo time. There's a game at Whitney Field every Sunday afternoon at 3 pm, admission $2. It's fast-paced and glorious!

Go to Montmorenci Vineyards on Saturday (closed Sunday), then shop at Sanford-Oakes Ltd. on Laurens Street and other stores on The Alley. The food in Aiken is part of the indulgence; Malia's menu is international and Sunday brunch at the Willcox Inn is the talk of the town. If you stay at Sandhurst, you're treated to afternoon tea and hors d'oeuvres and a gourmet breakfast. See you there.

Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, Aiken, South Carolina
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