The Boulevard Village & Tennis Club/New England Tennis Holidays
Vero Beach, Florida
By Roger Cox, Editor
I just missed the Tuesday afternoon mixed doubles social at then new Boulevard Village & Tennis Club in Florida's Vero Beach. A couple of dozen people were still milling about in the high-ceilinged Sports Bar that looks out on courts in two directions or on the broad decks that border it. Kurt Grabher, founder of New England Tennis Holidays and the force behind this new tennis complex, was behind the bar, happy to see this long-planned project open and lively. "My dream has been to be the club where people come to eat, drink and play tennis," he told me.
Pro Shop: 772-234-6867
This $4 million club, with its 13 Har-Tru courts, pro shop, adjacent fitness center (its suite of equipment chosen specifically to meet the needs of tennis players), and a free-form swimming pool, is the focal point of 32 courtside villas and what will eventually be another 66 townhomes, whose appearance was inspired by the architecture in Key West. As a guest, you effectively become a member, eligible for any of the programs on the weekly calendar, like the two-hour Rock 'n' Roll drill sessions, where I occasionally ended up being paired with Sally Fish (mother of current touring pro Mardy Fish, who lives in Vero Beach) in some of the competitive games. Former touring pro Mikael Pernfors wandered by one afternoon, having himself purchased a three-bedroom townhome here.
Originally, Grabher focused on custom-tailored programs designed around the needs of individuals, groups or teams. Beginning in the fall of 2009, he began offering four-hour-a-day camp programs similar to those at his New England Tennis Holiday operations in New Hampshire and Vermont. You can bed down next to the courts in a one-to-three-bedroom villa or a little farther away in a two-to-three-bedroom townhome, both having fully equipped kitchens and washer dryers. Dining is limited to sandwiches and salads at lunch in the clubhouse, supplemented a few nights a week by similarly light dinners. But there are numerous restaurants and a beach a mere five-minute drive away.
What you feel here, though, is a deep passion for tennis and tennis players. Even if you're not on court, there's often tennis to watch: High-school kids show up play matches here one afternoon a week, juniors have their own programs during the afternoon, and there are league matches and pickup games to delight anyone who loves being around the sport.
Tennis Staff. taking the same hands-on, what-can-we-do-better approach that has made his New England Tennis Holidays operations so popular. Many of seasoned pros from the summer camp join Grabher in Vero Beach.
Tennis Programs. These fall into two categories: The calendar of weekly activities available to members and guests and custom-designed packages. During the October-May season, the weekly calendar includes social tennis on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and several afternoon junior tennis clinics for various ages. In season, there is also typically a tournament or mixer on Saturdays, and, often, a special event or exhibition on Friday evenings.
Courts & Fees. There are 13 Har-Tru clay courts outdoors 7 with high-quality lighting for night play. Court fees: None.
Fitness Center. The well-equipped fitness center with windows on the outdoor swimming pool has a stretch rack, Cybex machines, dumbbells, and freeweights all chosen with the needs of tennis players in mind.
And ... There is a free-form swimming pool adjacent to the tennis courts.
This 22-acre triangular-shaped property has courts at one end bordered by 32 one-to-three-bedroom villas and 66 town homes, also one-to-three bedroom but with attached two-car garages, at the other. The villa I stayed in had a fully equipped kitchen, washer-dryer, and patio facing the courts.
The Sports Bar in the tennis clubhouse serves lunch daily and light dinners (sandwiches, salads) a couple of nights a week. The villa had coffee and a coffeemaker but you'll otherwise need to lay in your own supplies for breakfast. Kurt Grabher and the other staff can provide recommendations for dinner, often at restaurants near the beach a 10-minute drive away.
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Rates and Reservations
New England Tennis Holidays runs "Stay and Play" programs from October through April. That package include 4 hours/day of tennis clinics, lunch, lodging in a 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom villa, and access to the pool and fitness center. Alternative lodging available in a nearby Marriott hotel. Rates below are per person/double occupancy; lower rates for larger groups. Tennis only rates are also available.
Oct. 15, 2012-May 10, 2013
2-day: $489-$539/person. 3-day: $689-$759/person. 5-day: $1,009-$1,159/person.
1620 Boulevard Village Lane
Vero Beach, FL 32967
Web Link: The Boulevard Village & Tennis Club
Travel Instructions. From I-95 take the Vero Beach exit 147. Head east on Rte. 60/Osceola Parkway for 8.4 miles. Turn left (north) on Indian River Blvd. and continue for 2.7 miles. The club is on the left.