When top golf instructor Michael Breed came to Syracuse, New York, in the middle of a blustery bone-chilling day this past February, his first words as he stood on the stage about to give a clinic to attendees at the NY Golf & Travel Show were, “I don’t see how you people do it.” He meant of course, how could anyone who loved golf possibly survive here when golf shuts down for several months.
Well, some head south for a few months, but most tough it out and may take up skiing while some simply love the weather just the way it is — or live here because of work and family commitments. And there is this: by the time spring rolls around and the tulips fairly rocket out of the ground and the grass turns lush and green, there is no better place to be. So we say, “When it’s golf weather in the northeast, why not live it up.”
Heritage Village, Southbury
Living | An amenity-rich retirement community of more than 2,580 condominiums, Heritage Village in the Litchfield Hills sits on 1,000 acres. There are 11 different plans of resale homes featuring open floor plans with private patios or decks, air conditioning, fireplaces and covered parking with prices ranging from $100,000. Find tennis, a fitness center, four swimming pools and a pavilion. With more than 100 activities, clubs and organizations people can be as active as they wish.
Playing | Golfers covet both an 18-hole golf course designed by Al Zikorus as well as a challenging 9-hole golf course with an option of joining one or both. The courses wind through the communities with several holes cut through the hills and along the Pomeraug River.
Off Track | Explore coastal beaches, Mystic Seaport, Six Flags amusement park; hike in Kettletown State Park; and attend regional concerts and performances. Also try your luck at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos. Heritagevillage.org
The Residences at Fox Hopyard, East Haddam
Living | The energy-efficient Residences at Fox Hopyard occupy 230 acres of meadows and forests highlighted by a superb golf course where a first year golf club membership is included for all buyers. More than 50 home sites are clustered in cul-de-sac neighborhoods ducking in, out and around fairways and woods. Exteriors are typically clapboard, stone or cedar shingles in a variety of Coastal New England one-and two-story designs while interiors are light-filled, open and airy. Prices start around the mid $500,000s.
Playing | From tee off to finish this scenic track by Roger Rulewich carves determinedly through tall stands of trees, over hills, meadows and wetlands. Elevated tees and deep wide swales create drama yet the scenery and generous bailout areas eliminate a lot of angst. Facilities include a handsome shingled clubhouse, pro shop and a large driving range.
Off Track | Visit the Gillette Castle State Park, the Goodspeed Opera House, Essex, an historic shipbuilding and seafaring town, Devils Hopyard State Park, and the Connecticut shoreline. Foxhopyardhomes.com
Sunday River Club: The Village off the Green & The Glades at Ridge Run, Newry
Living | With a dramatic mountain setting, Sunday River operates as a ski area in the winter and a golf resort in the summer. The Village Off The Green rides up a wooded hillside from the seventeenth fairway where homes reveal sweeping views down the Sunday River Valley. The Glades at Ridge Run goes another route nestling into a wooded enclave on the slope along Ridge Run ski trail.
Playing | Sunday River designed by RT Jones Jr. rides through forests of the Mahoosuc Range overlooking the Sunday River Valley. You’ve gotta love it, especially in the fall when the mountains are carpeted in vibrant oranges, yellows and reds. For a mountain track, it is remarkably playable for all levels.
Off Track | Bike in the Sunday River Mountain Bike Park, fish, canoe, go zip lining, or hiking, try you r skills on the Climbing Wall and play some disc golf. Sundayriver.com
Living | Close to Cape Cod, classy, gated Willowbend has been a thriving world-class golf and tennis community since it opened more than 20 years ago. With 27 holes of great golf, a 46,000 square foot clubhouse, eight Har-Tru tennis courts and a stadium court, fitness center, an Olympicsized pool, recreation center and private guest villas, home options include condominiums, villas and single-family homes. Two-story classic New Englandstyle homes start at more than $1 million while new fairway luxury townhomes of 2,735 square feet are priced from $895,000.
Playing | Winding along Shoestring Bay and through the property’s cranberry bogs, the beautifully maintained and scenic three nines, Bay, Bend and Bog courses are private.
Off Track | Cape Cod’s beaches and dunes as well as a plethora of water sports and Plimoth Plantation are just a few minutes away. Willowbendcapecod.com
The Overlook at Renaissance, Haverhill
Living | Residents who move into The Overlook at Renaissance will celebrate beautiful views of the Merrimack River Valley and Southern New Hampshire as well as the golf course stretching out below. There are just 63 single-family residences and home sites on 65 acres Just 40 minutes from Boston. Home sites are priced from $225,000.
Playing | There is a private 210-acre tree-lined Brian Silva-designed classic-style course (2006) along with a 30,000 square-foot shingled Clubhouse and a nine-acre practice facility. Find a unique mix of open fescue-lined broad-sweeping holes with large waste bunkers and tree-lined parkland-style holes.
Off Track | Browse through the studios of artists in Rockport and visit historic Marblehead. Sail on a schooner from Gloucester and stroll Northshore beaches. Or head into Boston for all sorts of activities and sights. Renaissancema.com
Living | Located in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region, Eastman’s single-family homes, condominiums and lots overlook fairways and a two-mile lake. With more than 3,700 acres of environmentally protected woodlands laced by nature trails, Eastman residents share a love of the outdoors. There is a tennis center with eight Har-Tru courts and two hard courts, a Nordic ski center and the South Cove Activity Center. Homes are priced from about $130,000; condos from $115,000 and lots from $11,500.
Playing | Eastman Golf Links is a public course with affordable membership options, including discounted rates for Eastman property owners. The course is cut through rolling hills and woodlands with plenty of lovely vistas.
Off Track | Eastman has boating and fishing, nature trails, baseball, volleyball courts, shared gardens, basketball, evening lectures and other events while educational and entertainment opportunities are available in Hanover and New London. Eastmannh.org
Quechee Lakes, Hartford
Living | Quechee Lakes is a 5,500-acre treasure trove for those who like to play golf, fish in the pools of the Ottaquechee River and soak up nature. Residents enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, squash court, health club and hiking trails. There are 600 single-family homes along with condominium villages set into the hills with prices ranging from the low $100,000s to more than $1 million.
Playing | Tee up at two scenic courses designed by Geoffrey Cornish: Highland traversing the pineclad hillsides and Lakeland set around the Ottauquechee River and Lake Pinneo.
Off Track | Activities include tennis, swimming, rowing, and water sports as well as snowboarding and skiing in the winter. Nearby visit the Simon Pearce glass headquarters, Woodstock, Vermont, Dartmouth College and Quechee State Park. Quecheelakes.com
Whiteface Club & Resort, Lake Placid
Living | On the west shore of Lake Placid, many of the homes at Whiteface Club & Resort evoke the Great Camp era in the Adirondacks when the hopelessly rich came to “rough” it in comfort. Welcoming many famous guests over the years since the late 1800s, the architecture of the Whiteface Club reflects the rustic style of historic great camps with stone and timber exteriors, twisted wood branch railings and high vaulted ceilings. Condos typically sell from the mid $500,000s.
Playing | Ranked the 4th Best Classic Course in the state, The Whiteface Experience dates from 1898 while the backdrop of high-pitched mountains are ageless. The course is memorable for its cloverleaf – shaped greens and bunkers.
Off Track | Visit Olympic venues, walk to High Falls Gorge, and take in the free outdoor concerts by the Lake Placid Sinfonietta as well as exhibitions at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. whitefaceclubresort.com
Bristol Harbour Village, Canandaigua
Living | Waterfront condominiums, lakeview and golf-side townhouses, patio homes and wooded and waterfront estate lots are all part of Bristol Harbour Village that sits on 450 acres. Residents have easy access to the lake as well as the golf course, LifePath Spa, fitness room, marina and Lodge Restaurant. Prices are in the mid-$100,000s to about $500,000.
Playing | Twenty-five years ago when Robert Trent Jones came to Canandaigua, looking from the hilltop site down to the lake, he said, “In all the world and of all the properties I’ve seen, this one has just been waiting for a golf course.” Today this lovely rolling track stands as one of the most scenic in the state.
Off Track | There are more than 100 vineyards and a vibrant new craft beer industry in the region along with several state and local parks where the hiking trails and waterfalls are splendid. Stop at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua for an overview. Bristolharbour.com
Fenner Hill Country Club, Hopkinton
Living | The condominium community of Fenner Hill is situated on 30 acres punctuated by aged trees, meadows and stonewalls. One- and twolevel homes feature open floor plans, large windows, gables, patios and garages. The gracious clubhouse and popular Fratelli’s Pub & Grille is located in a restored farmhouse where the patio overlooks the 18th green.
Playing | Opening in 1999 and playing 6,650 from he tips, this semi-private course is designed for all levels of play. Cut through rock outcroppings, and woodlands and accented by meandering streams and bridges, there are no forced carries from the front but a few from the back. A variety of membership packages are available.
Off track | Discover Mystic, Connecticut and Providence and enjoy the array of water sports Rhode Island offers like boating, fishing and beaches. Fennerhil.com
Spruce Peak at Stowe
Living | For those who love the outdoors and privacy a mountain environment brings, Spruce Peak invites you to ski in the winter, golf in the summer. This high-net-worth community offers 3,000 square foot penthouses, condominiums, mountain cabin townhomes, club residences, Mountain Lodge residences and estate homes with knockout views of ski trails and mountainsides.
Playing | When Bob Cupp put his finishing touches on Spruce Peak he said, “ There may be no finer collection of short par fours anywhere in America.” The beauty of the site with Mount Mansfield in the distance continues to astonish as the course climbs from the first tee through woodlands and over hills and craggy rocks of the valley.
Off Track | The stunning alpine setting affords high-spirited residents incredible opportunities off course including pools, restaurants, fitness center, skiing, skating, hiking, and performances at the Performing Arts Center. Sprucepeak.com