Thirty minutes after leaving the private airstrip near Birmingham, Alabama, the plane zooms in on one of the South’s grand estates. Nine hundred acres of greenery secluded by the Appalachian Mountain Range spread out beneath you. At the heart, a four-story mansion rises out of the verdant pastorale to form a seven-acre Eden a mile back from the road. A mirror image of the famous historic Melrose Mansion that was built in 1845 for a wealthy plantation owner and his family, the stately showpiece is one of the finest exemplars of Greek Revival architecture in the South. Dominating the front façade is a soaring entrance portico that is supported by four Doric columns. Side panel windows and a transom flanking the entrance door suffuse light into the grand hall. Once inside, the power of the architecture is fully realized. A baronial staircase and elevator lead to four stories brimming with vintage charm. Resplendent rooms echo Melrose with heartwarming radiance and unstinting authenticity. Each of the stately downstairs rooms is a 14-foot-high sanctum of museumlike beauty separated by eight-foot-wide openings and nine-foot-high pocket doors. Gothic columns, heart-pine floors, deep millwork, and 12 fireplaces lend further distinction. One of the most compelling attributes of the dining room is a Punca Fan—discovered by the British in India—above the banquet table. From the parlor and dining hall flow the formal music room and commercial kitchen. A caterer’s kitchen occupies the basement, along with media and billiards rooms and a health center with mirrored gymnasium, heated spa, sauna, showers, and tanning bed. Five bedroom suites, each created to be an opulent oasis unto itself, replicate the grandeur of the main rooms on a more intimate scale. The owners’ suite is particularly noteworthy with its imported chandelier from Indonesia and its exquisitely appointed spa bathroom and luxurious dressing areas. The rear of the mansion is as splendid as the entrance, featuring a two-story colonnaded porch overlooking a heated swimming pool with limestone deck, cascading waterfall, and poolside party center and bathhouse. Adjacent to the main house are dual two-story side-gabled brick guesthouses separated by a courtyard fountain. A carriage house with two greenhouses supplies flowers and a cornucopia of other delights. Beyond, a gated entrance leads to the equestrian complex, where several barns house some 50 stalls, tack rooms, equipment, hay storage, and veterinarian facilities. An indoor arena complete with bleachers and an outdoor round pen are complemented by three offices, a three-bedroom ranch manager’s residence, a trainer’s residence, and three homes for ranch hands and their families. If arriving at the extraordinary estate took your breath away, leaving takes your heart away. The mansion is a giant jewel box. The days are filled with formal flair and fashionable play. The evenings are magical. The celestial private world is at once a splendorous return to yesteryear and a glowing celebration of the present. But most of all, the grand and glorious Alabama kingdom—like the legendary Melrose Mansion itself—was fashioned as a place to call home.