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Vermont's Quechee Lakes offers quiet, rural lifestyle, plus superior four-season activities and amenities
By Leigh MacKay,
Quechee Lakes in the Upper Valley village of Quechee, Vermont, has become one of the most popular four-season, first- and second-home communities in New England.
Since it opened in 1970 to founder L. John Davidson's vision of "including the traditions, scenery and many-faceted benefits of rural New England living," Quechee Lakes has turned the once rustic area into 5,200 acres of homes and amenities for more than 1,300 families.
The Quechee Lakes Landowners' Association (QLLA) manages the common land and amenities, and anyone who owns a home site, a home or a townhome belongs to the QLLA. Property ownership also includes membership to the exclusive Quechee Club. Along with the flagship 36-hole golf and the recently refurbished clubhouse, the club provides an abundance of recreational activities.
This Quechee Lakes lifestyle, which caters to adults, juniors and children, has twice earned a place in "America's Top 100 Master Planned Communities" by Where to Retire magazine and is the only Vermont destination to be so honored.
Golf courses at Quechee Lakes are top notch
The two championship courses, Highland and Lakeland, were designed by New England legend Geoffrey Cornish and were totally renovated by his partner Brian Silva in 2012. Seven sets of tees allow each golfer to find his distance comfort zone. In addition, both courses are beautifully manicured and have large, subtly undulating bentgrass greens that roll between 9.5 to 11 on the Stimpmeter.
The Highland is a perennial top-10 pick in Vermont by Golf Digest. The front side begins by the Ottauquechee River that runs through the valley and then heads into the hills. The backside goes straight up and then down the mountain near the ski slopes. Tree-lined fairways, rock walls, dramatic elevation changes from tee to green, deep ravines, side-hill lies and panoramic views are all part of the Highland experience.
Quechee Lakes' Lakeland Course is relatively flat as it wends through the valley around the 50-acre Lake Pinneo, the Ottauquechee and multiple creeks. The Lakeland has rolling and generous fairways, but the strategy is to avoid the water hazards and the ubiquitous bunkers.
Four seasons of recreation and fun
Other summertime pursuits at Quechee Lakes include boating, kayaking, fishing, swimming and horseback riding. Hikers and bikers have access to 35 miles of trails. The Tennis Center features 11 tennis and two platform tennis courts. Murphy Farm is the home for Mini Crew and Q-Crew Kids' Camps. Lake Pinneo offers a beach and bathhouse, picnic area, playground, volleyball nets, horseshoe pits, boat rentals, paddleboards and canoes.
The clubhouse is the place for casual food fare as Dewey's Deck overlooks the Lakeland layout. For haute cuisine and more formal dining, the membership enjoys Davidson's.
Quechee Lakes suffers no down time when the Vermont winter moves in. The golf courses and forested areas are converted into groomed Nordic and wilderness trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Quechee Ski Area contains 13 trails for Alpine skiing and snowboarding, the four-person Quadzilla chairlift, a ski school and a rentals outlet. Ice-skating and hockey ponds, horse-drawn sleigh rides and sledding hills complete the outdoor fun.
Respites from the cold can be found in The Health & Fitness Club, which is open all year long, with its indoor lap pool, squash court, cardiovascular and circuit training equipment, massage, sauna and locker rooms. Après-ski casual dining is available at the circa 1800s Murphy's Tavern near Lake Pinneo and the Base Lodge at the bottom of the ski area. Regardless of the season, Quechee Lakes offers a full recreation calendar for all ages with programs and instruction, including off-campus trips.
Quechee Lakes: Real estate, tariffs and location
Quechee Lakes' real estate revolves around the sale of lots, existing single-family dwellings and townhomes. Unbuildable membership lots sell between $5,000-$10,000, and prime lots start at $20,000. Condos begin at $90,000, and the best selling single-family homes range from $225,000-$395,000. Homes around the $500,000 mark have done well recently, and prices of luxury homes have risen to as high as $6 million.
A property owner's base dues are $4,530 a year, which covers all amenities except golf and ski. Golf is an extra $1,700 for a single and $2,720 for a family; including Quadzilla, the ski tariff is a flat rate of $450. To attract non-members into the Quechee Lakes lifestyle, the new Certified Quechee Property Program has created renter, visitor and stay-and-play options by pairing guests with premier lodging and by offering use of all club facilities.
Located just off Exit 1 on I-89, only minutes away from the intersection of I-91, Quechee Lakes is about 10 miles from historic Woodstock, Vt., as well as the airport in Lebanon, N.H. The drive from Boston and Montreal is about two hours, and daily flights from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Lebanon take less than an hour.
Leigh MacKay is a freelance golf writer who specializes in features and travel reviews. A member of Golf Writers Association of America, Golf Travel Writers, and International Network of Golf, he writes a monthly column, "Celebrity Golfer," for New England Golf Monthly and splits his time between Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Plymouth, Mass.
December 1, 2014
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.