There are vacation getaways for those who want to avoid the stress of humdrum life, and then there are vacation getaways for those who want to escape the prying eyes of the paparazzi.
The 13,600-acre Yellowstone Club in Montana sits solidly in the latter group, a private retreat for successful folks who want to return to simpler times when they could relax with family and friends in a casual (albeit majestic) outdoor setting.
Former "Entertainment Tonight" anchor Mary Hart and her television producer husband, Burt Sugarman, have put their 160-acre Elk Horn Ranch in the club on the market for $19.5 million. You won't find the property on the multiple listing service, because this exclusive club isn't for everybody, explains Bill Collins, vice president and director of sales with the club.
New owners will be invited to join the club, which adjoins a 254,000-acre national forest. The Sugarmans' ranch includes a 6,000-square-foot home with six bedrooms and a loft, along with seven bathrooms and a powder room. There's also a one-bedroom wranglers' cabin and a detached garage with an apartment above it.
The living room in the main house features a vaulted ceiling and opens to a large outdoor deck. The kitchen, which includes wood cabinetry and top-of-the-line appliances, leads to a bar area, which in turn connects to the living room. "It's rustic," says Collins, "but it's also sophisticated."
The residence, one of only 500 currently built in the club, was created as an equestrian property and is ideal for anyone who enjoys horses and wants to keep them on the property, Collins notes. Wildlife abounds in the area, making it perfect for nature lovers, too. "You see deer, elk, bear, bald eagles, fox," Collins adds.
The Elk Horn Ranch sits on the western edge of the club. Its entrance roadway is crossed by one of the many hiking trails in the club, and the area features other activities such as skiing Pioneer Mountain, biking, and fishing. The club includes many families with children, so family activities are a large part of the lifestyle there, Collins notes.
Despite the grandeur of the club, there's little pretense among members, Collins notes. "The people who come up here are sort of anti-Aspen," he says, joking about the renowned ski town in Colorado that attracts the glitterati. "The people who are up here are here to get away. Members who are celebrities want to be treated the way they were before they were celebrities. They want to be part of the community."
Hart was America's sweetheart for 30 years as host of "ET" and grew up in South Dakota, so it's understandable why a place like the Yellowstone Club was an attraction for her.