The Bridges Family Resort & Tennis Club
By Roger Cox, Editor
Although located near the ski slopes at Sugarbush, the Bridges focuses on tennis during the summer. It comprises 100 condominiums all within easy walking distance of a recreation center and a dozen hard and clay courts, two of them indoors. Those courts and a popular swimming pool are its principal amenities, and that, when coupled with excellent children's programs, accounts for the large number of families who own or rent. Its tennis got a boost in 2008 when Josh Hanna, who played tennis for the University of Vermont, took over as director and began to run programs on a year-round basis. By building up a loyal local following, he's also energized the programs overall.
The Bridges has invested more than $2.5 million in enhancements and upgrades over the last few years, much of it cosmetic or structural. But among the significant changes are brighter and more energy-efficient lighting on the indoor courts, a refurbishment of the fitness center, and the installation of a mini tennis pro shop just off the cafe near the swimming pool.
Pro Shop: 802-583-2922
Tennis Director Josh Hanna came to The Bridges in 2000, after captaining the University of Vermont Men's Tennis Team. A New Jersey native, Josh's love of Vermont and of tennis is a perfect combination for The Bridges Resort. He teaches "the modern game," and likes to make sure every lesson he teaches comes with some intensity and a lot of enjoyment.
Tennis Staff. Hanna beefs up his staff in summer with as many as five additional pros (evidence of the popularity of tennis here). They include coaches and former ATP Tour players, which makes for a very solid teaching contingent.
Tennis Programs. Their signature event is the Wide Open Workout (WOW), a 90-minute clinic that focuses on doubles strategy while ratcheting up the intensity to ensure that players are tired at the end. In addition, the weekly summer calendar includes several doubles mixers, among them a parent/child round robin (loaner children available to those who did not bring their own), and during July and August a well-attended pro exhibition. "The exhibitions have become quite entertaining now that we have a couple of world-class players," Hanna told me.
There are also four junior programs: the Green Mountain Tennis Adventure for advanced juniors ages 12 and up; Super Champs, an hour-long skill development clinic for those ages 12 and under; Champs, for kids ages 8-11, which runs full and half days midweek; and Camp Bridges, a half-day program of swima nd tennis instruction that includes tennis for those ages 5-12. There's also a junior tennis team that plays matches against other camps, like Windridge. Though focused on kids of members or owners, there are opportunities to draft children of guests as well.
Courts & Fees. The courts at the Bridges occupy two locations. There are five clay courts at the recreation center: 2 indoors and 3 outdoors. Those outdoor courts nestle against a hillside inset with terraced wooden seating capable of holding up to 500 spectators. Across from the recreation center a pathway leads up a low hill to an additional 7 courts—2 hard and 5 clay—grouped around a pavilion with umbrella-shaded picnic tables. Court fees: Outdoor courts are free to guests; indoor, $20/hr.
Golf Courses. The Bridges does not have a golf course but guests can play at the nearby Sugarbush course.
Sugarbush Golf Course: Robert Trent Jones designed this 18-hole course. It has a classic mountain layout, notable for its great views and for punishing errant shots. Par: 72. Length: 5,187-6,524 yards. Open May to October.
Fitness Center. There is a small, unattended fitness center in a mirrored room that looks out at the yard around the swimming pool. It contains an assortment of cardiovascular equipment, some Paramount weight-training stations, and some free weights. Aerobic classes are also available in a newly renovated fitness studio.
And ... The recreation center has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, saunas, hot tub, game room, and an outdoor playground.
The resort runs a half-day Kids Camp from Monday through Friday in summer, with half day and full day options. It's geared for kids ages 5-12 and focuses on tennis and swimming.
There are roughly 100 condos altogether at the Bridges, all of them built in two phases—one on the same level as the recreation center, the other on the bluff behind—beginning in 1973. They have 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms and come with a total of six floor plans. Although all of these have been furnished and decorated by the owners, they have to meet minimal standards of quality and upkeep for the resort to agree to rent them. General manager Jim Halavonich also tells me that he's seeing more younger families buying units, often making upgrades to the interiors.
Faced with gray stucco or weathered wood, these units have fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, full decks, and barbecues. All come with televisions and DVDs (a selection of DVDs is available from the main desk). In multi-bath units one or more of baths will have shower only. Master bedroom in some has private entrance. Although bedrooms tend to be small, the condos as a whole are well laid out and inviting. All have a sleeper sofa and one-day supply of coffee on check in. Late arrivals can fill out shopping list and arrive to a condo stocked with what they need. WiFi is available in each unit as well as in the recreation center.
Dining at the Bridges itself is limited to a tiny cafe that serves sandwiches, salads, and light fare. There are numerous restaurants in the valley, however.
For other unpretentious, child-friendly resorts in the mountains with solid tennis and condominium lodging, look at:
- Callaway Gardens, Georgia
- Northstar California, California
- Sunriver, Oregon
- Sun Valley Resort, Idaho
- Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire
For something on the beach, look at:
Rates and Reservations
These rates are for two-night minimum stays and do not include include 9% tax and 4% service charge. No pets allowed. Family Plans and Grand Slam Tennis Packages are also available
Apr. 12-June 20, 2013
2 nights: 1-bdrm $340-$360; 2-bdrm $390-$540; 3-bdrm $650
June 21-October 10, 2013
2 nights: 1-bdrm $380-$400; 2-bdrm $470-$625; 3-bdrm $770
October 11-November 7, 2013
2 nights: 1-bdrm $340-$360; 2-bdrm $390-$540; 3-bdrm $650
Warren, VT 05674
Web Link: The Bridges Family Resort & Tennis Club
Seasons. Although the Bridges is open all year, with tennis available on its two indoor courts, the height of the tennis season runs from June to mid October.
Travel Instructions. By Air: The nearest major airport is Burlington, Vermont, 45 miles to the northwest. By Car: The resort is 140 miles from Montreal, 190 miles from Boston, and 300 miles from New York City.
General Tourist Information. Visit the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing website or contact them at 6 Baldwin Street, Drawer 33, Montpelier, VT 05633-1301; Phone 800-VERMONT (800-837-6668).