By Roger Cox, Editor
Owl's Nest Resort in central New Hampshire held the grand opening of its racquet-sports complex late in the summer of 2022. This attractively designed campus consists of eight well-built red-clay courts laid out in pairs. They are supplemented by 13 pickleball courts and four year-round paddle tennis courts. The sports facility as a whole—which include the golf and tennis pro shop and golf-cart barn—anchors a resort/residential development that butts up against the Pemigewasset River and the wooded foothills of the White Mountains. A scenic 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course undulates through the forested perimeter, an amenity supplemented by a 10-acre man-made lake with a boathouse, a heated year-round Olympic pool, a Jacuzzi, a modest fitness center (slated to be relocated and expanded), an indoor golf center, and a restaurant Panorama Six82, whose changing menu focuses on the best ingredients the season has to offer. In addition, guests have access to a second 18-hole golf course, this one designed by Geoffrey Cornish and located at White Mountain Country Club in Compton, 10 miles away.
Conceived to be family—and wedding—friendly, Owl's Nest Resort accommodates guests in guest rooms, kitchen-equipped suites, and houses, the largest of which can sleep as many as a dozen people. Private homes dot the property; however the usual development formula—sell lots and then add amenities—has been turned on its head. At Owl's Nest Resort, most of the amenities have come first. The resort has been open and operating despite the fact that plans for such lodging and creature comforts as a hotel and spa are still on the drawing board. This iconoclastic approach can be traced directly to owner Brian Lash, a dynamic entrepreneur and avid tennis player. When asked why he would build such an extraordinary tennis facility before embarking on developing and selling real-estate, he began by characterizing his likely clientele as "conservative New Englanders." and then went on to explain "They're not going to be convinced to buy based on renderings. The only way to prove what I promised to do was to do it." What he has delivered so far is an extraordinary contribution to the already rich New England tennis-resort landscape.
Pro Shop: 603-726-3076
To manage the racquet-sports complex, Owl's Nest Resort hired Luana Stanciu as director. Originally from Bucharest, Romania, where she was a top-ranked junior, she came to the U.S. to play tennis, first for the University of Louisiana and then the University of South Dakota. After graduating with an M.A. in Kinesiology & Sports Management, she signed on with Cliff Drysdale Tennis (CDT) working at various the management-company's clubs and the Omni Amelia Island Racquet Club in Florida and joining CDT's sister organization Peter Burwash International. At Owl's Nest Resort, she has charmed players with her cheerful and outgoing personality and abetted their tennis needs with some kind of activity every day, with private lessons, of course, but also a weekly roster of clinics at all levels (including beginners), drill sessions, men's and ladies' nights, and, during the summer, two weeks of junior day camps. For pickleball, she stages introductory clinics as well as open play sessions, and over the winter she adds instruction in paddle tennis.
Courts & Fees. The sports complex includes a combined golf and tennis pro shop, with decks that overlook the courts. Two of the eight red-clay courts there are separately fenced and each has bleachers capable of seating up to 200. The pickleball also has a pair of exhibition courts, separate from the others and lighted for night play.
Spa & Fitness
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Owl's Nest Resort
40 Clubhouse Lane
Seasons. The outdoor tennis season runs from May into October; however, paddle tennis is available year-round.
Travel Instructions. The nearest airport is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) in Manchester, NH, 73 miles to the south. Other options are Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, ME, 104 miles to the southeast, Burlington International Airport, 114 miles to the west, and Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), 120 miles to the south.
General Tourist Information. Visit the New Hampshire Office of Travel & Tourism website.