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Clubbing It

Private Clubs: A Place to Call Your Own



SOON ENOUGH, the kids will be out of school, and hot humid weather will make us long for relief. At that point, you may find yourself wishing you had a place to cool off and chill out. There are several options, including the YMCA, Four Seasons Racquet Club, and Merwin Meadows—all of which offer summer memberships and access to water, plus other activities. For those considering a bigger commitment, Wilton boasts three private clubs, each with a distinct mix of amenities from golf to tennis, paddle tennis, and horseback riding.

THE LAKE CLUB 
Situated on a small lake (hence it’s name) on Thayer Pond Road, the Lake Club originally opened in 1958 and offered only lake-related activities—fishing, boating, and skating. Over the years, the club expanded, adding a poolhouse with a snack bar and pavilion, a patio and grill area, 12 Har-tru tennis courts, five paddle-tennis courts, and a 25-meter swimming pool. Film buffs might recognize the pool; it was used as a location for the 1968 movie, The Swimmer, starring Burt Lancaster.
The club maintains a membership of 300 families, the majority from Wilton and New Canaan. Adults have the opportunity to play on competitive inter-club tennis and paddle teams. Their children can participate in swimming, water polo, and diving teams. With its wide range of family-oriented activities, plus events like the annual Fishing Derby, Ping Pong tournaments and Ice Cream social, and “its warmth and friendly spirit, the Lake Club easily becomes members’ home away from home,” says club president Penny Rashin.

WILTON RIDING CLUB
The Wilton Riding Club sits on 48 bucolic acres seemingly far removed from the stress and hubbub of everyday life. “The club was founded in 1929 to provide members with a low-key escape, a place to relax and spend time with friends and family,” says club president Tom McDevitt. Many of the 150 member families are legacies. Unlike the other two clubs, you must be a Wilton resident to apply.
The club sports eight tennis courts, four paddle courts, a swimming pool, and a 13-stall horse barn. Adults can participate in both social and competitive tennis and paddle leagues. Children have a variety of options, including swimming and diving teams, tennis and paddle leagues, and riding lessons. The centerpiece of WRC is the Clubhouse, a renovated barn that serves as the venue for many warmer-weather activities. Winter gatherings take place in the paddle hut, complete with indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

ROLLING HILLS COUNTRY CLUB
Rolling Hills Country Club, on Hurlbutt Road, sits on property leased from the Ambler Trust. Originally founded in 1960, RHCC features a bucolic and challenging 18-hole golf course, a driving range, and putting green, as well as eight tennis courts and a swimming pool. Last fall, the club completed renovation of its clubhouse, transforming the dated interior layout into elegant and intimate spaces that include a casual Grill Room, a Tap Room, a formal dining room, and a ballroom. The majority of the 360 member families live in Westport, Weston, and Wilton. Says club president Andrew Fishman, “Over the last five to seven years, Rolling Hills has seen a big shift in membership toward younger families with school-aged children. We have worked hard to provide a great experience for the entire family.”

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