If you're trying to improve your tennis skills and get the kids interested or motivated in the sport, the 42-room Total Tennis Camp (Box 28 Saugerties, NY 12477; 800/221-6496; www.totaltennis.com) is the only year-round place within an easy, under-two-hour drive from New York City.
I liked total tennis in the spirit of the no-frills type weekend. The instruction is excellent and you will learn a lot. The instructors are very good with children. We went in the winter so we only played on covered courts but there are many outdoor ones, too.
This camp is centrally located in the Catskills, so in winter some family members might want to ski (Hunter Mountain is about 20 miles away) and in summer, some may want to play golf (the nine-hole Katsbaan course is nearby.) There are barrack-like rooms, which have air-conditioning and their own baths but little in the way of amenities. There is also a very nice common room where you can meet other families with children.
Total Tennis is really geared for adults and only accepts children 6 to 17-years-old during certain school holiday periods like Presidents Day, Spring Break and Easter. Over the winter holidays, some winter weekends and during many mid-week summer periods, kids can also come. Then, the programs usually run three days to one week, with about four hours of lessons per day. Children staying in your room usually pay about one-third less than the adult fee; for example, in summer the three-day family program costs $350/adult and $225/junior if you go midweek.
Another thing that makes it fun: there's really good cafeteria food because the chefs come from the nearby Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
So, we suggest you consider this only for the serious tennis family, it's not a resort in any sense of the word but you will have fun and leave as better players.
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