we took a road trip to “the loveliest castle in the world”, leeds castle on sunday. it’s not anywhere near the big, northern city of leeds, but southeast of london, adjacent to the tiny village of leeds in kent. it was quite beautiful and in a picturesque setting: on an island surrounded by a lake. the sprawling grounds included a maze, a grotto, vineyards, gardens, a golf course, and an impressively stocked aviary(first time i’ve seen a toucan up close). they had peacocks roaming the grounds and even had the cool, black swan, which is the symbol of the castle. the castle also has an american connection. It was owned in the 1920s by an american heiress, lady baillie, who modernized the interior by adding central heating and ebony wood plank flooring, among other things. its history goes as far back as 860 and in the 18th century, the castle was passed on to lord fairfax who came into a large hunk of land in virginia. part of that land is now known as the county of fairfax, where i once made my home. i almost forgot the true highlight of our visit there: the world famous dog collar museum on the castle grounds (i kid you not. actually pretty cool).