Photo Credit: Larry Lambrecht
Imagine you have a home in beautiful Carmel. Now imagine that this home is one of only 300 situated within 20,000 acres of a pristine and natural landscape featuring a lake, redwood groves, and oak trees. Picture yourself golfing on a Tom Fazio-designed, 365-acre course that requires no tee time and is consistently named by Golf Digest as one of the top 100 in the country. Or perhaps you envision a horseback ride on 100 miles of trail that peak with views of Monterey Bay; an abundance of wildland creatures scamper and frolic in your midst.
This daydream requires no back-to-reality pinch, because this utopian place actually exists. It is Santa Lucia Preserve, and it is hidden within the Carmel Valley hills, just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Featuring a rich California Rancho history, Santa Lucia Preserve, known simply as ‘The Preserve,’ is an under-the-radar community with its own environmentally conscious infrastructure. The lucky families who live at The Preserve share a respect for the unspoiled open space; their investments in this sylvan locale ensure that 90% of the Manhattan-sized Preserve will remain undisturbed in perpetuity.
And while it’s true that investment in The Preserve is inherently virtuous and serves to function towards a greater good, unparalleled luxe and leisure come with the territory. Here are the top reasons that Santa Lucia is the haute monde’s chosen land:
- Getting away from it all: Santa Lucia’s residents speak of an overwhelming feeling of peace that begins the moment they glide through The Preserve’s gate. The eight-mile drive into the heart of The Preserve is cherished, ‘wind-down’ time. This is a place where captains of industry and tech titans bond over a glass of peerless pinot, or over shared photos of the kids and grandkids. Business is kept on the backburner; a venture capitalist’s latest coup is of no concern. It is understood that Preserve time is off-the-clock time.
- A Family Affair: Many of those kids and grandkids will carry with them glorious memories of holidays and family events at The Preserve. Life here is filled with activities and traditions that captivate all ages: summer camps, an annual dog show, movies in the historic barn, s’mores at the Lake, and weddings. The rich traditions of The Preserve, and the connections to the land and to other residents take hold. Souls are stirred deeply at Santa Lucia and it is the only place that many residents can imagine celebrating life’s treasured moments.
- Home is Where the Hacienda is: The beautifully appointed, tile roofed Spanish Colonial Hacienda is the heart of The Preserve and serves as its social center, as it has since 1924 when originally built by former land owner George Gordon Moore. The site of weekly socials, holiday events, and musical entertainment, the casually elegant Hacienda is also home to The Preserve’s fine dining restaurant where residents and their guests convene for Chef Jerry Regester’s exceptional, seasonal cuisine. A newly planted vegetable garden provides the kitchen with fresh ingredients – and stocks resident’s pantries as well through The Preserve’s own CSA program. (The Hacienda also features nine luxe guest rooms for member and guest use.)
- The Ritz Carlton of Equestrian Centers: With three center aisle barns and 30 owner stalls, a regulation dressage arena, training pen, exercise track and a dozen irrigated pastures for daily turnout, The Preserve’s Equestrian Center is a horse and horse lover’s dream. Managed by an expert team of wranglers who offer instruction, residents need not own their own horse to take advantage of the gentle trail horses who await their chance to carry riders to ridgelines offering unequaled views.
- Who needs Pebble Beach? The Preserve Golf Club rivals the best and most picturesque courses in the world. Meandering throughout 365 acres of oaks, redwoods, and streams, and surrounded by the majestic Santa Lucia range, this Golf Club requires no tee times. (Membership is limited to 300.) The next hole is rarely glimpsed, nor are other golfers. Imagine a day on the green without distraction. The Library/Great Room is a beautiful and cozy space in which to relive shots of the day and enjoy a meal at The Preserve’s second restaurant.
- No such thing as boredom: If trail riding and golf are not draws, then the heated pool with a water slide, hot tub, croquet court, tennis courts, bocce ball court, horseshoe pit and batting cages might pique some interest. The Sports Center also boasts a fully equipped workout room and a variety of fitness classes. And then there is the private 18-acre lake where members can boat, canoe, kayak, paddle board or fish.
- Truly for a greater good: The Preserve’s rich mosaic of coastal habitats, recognized as one of only six biodiversity ‘hotspots’ in the Nation, is actively protected by the non-profit Santa Lucia Conservancy – a land trust with a board of governors represented by scientists, conservation experts and Preserve landowners. The Conservancy ensures healthy ecosystems, and connects adults and local school children to nature through a variety of educational programs. Santa Lucia Preserve community members may share in a luxe life, but they are far from selfish.
Santa Lucia Preserve
One Rancho San Carlos Road, Carmel
For information about membership in The Preserve Ranch or Golf Clubs, email [email protected] or call (831) 620-6700.