The name of the three-mile long lane leading to the main house says it all: Attitude Adjustment Road.
It’s definitely a road less traveled that takes you to Savannah Dhu, a rustic 3,900-acre retreat and outdoor sportsman’s paradise in Central New York’s Finger Lakes Region. An hour’s flight from Manhattan, it sits between Syracuse and Rochester.
Everything about this massive compound is other-worldly. And that starts with its $65 million asking price. Its two main buildings that sit alongside a 150-acre, man-made lake, have more than 25,000 square feet each. Its multitude of outbuildings—we lost count at 20—can sleep more than 300 of your closest friends, making it ripe for your summer camp, college dorm or family reunions. Or scratching the itch of wanting to own a private resort.
Savannah Dhu is the somewhat eccentric creation of Bob Congel, founder of Pyramid Companies, one of the leading developers of shopping malls in the northeast US. Back in 1984, Congel, now 83, began acquiring more than 80 parcels of land to create the ultimate, get-away-from-it-all retreat for family and friends.
The main home, Pines Lodge, is described as “one of the most complex and architecturally striking buildings of its kind in the world.” The 25,000-square-foot, four-story log cabin was built using 200-year-old spruce logs that form the 20-inch thick walls. A convoy of 54 tractor-trailers brought them in from Colorado.
The highlight of the exterior is arguably the 70-foot-high fireplace made up of locally-sourced boulders weighing as much as 25 tons each. Inside, the chandelier for the Great Room weighs more than 3,500 pounds.
Pines Lodge also comes with 10 bedrooms, nine-and-a-half bathrooms, a 24-seat movie theater, vast wine cellar and tasting room, spa and huge Great Room for relaxing.
With dreams of turning Savannah Dhu into a “visionary space for international guests to meet, discuss and develop ways to enhance the world,” Congel added the Conference Barn to the property.
This 2,700-square-foot Pennsylvania-New York Dutch-style barn features 11 ensuite bedrooms and a dining room big enough to entertain up to 300 people for a formal dinner. It features a true commercial-grade kitchen along with a smoke house, meat processing plant and endless rooms for food preparation. The maple syrup they make is to die for.
And where do all these guests park when they come to stay? There’s a vast underground parking garage hidden beneath the lawns between the Barn and Pine Lodge with parking for almost 60 vehicles.
Put on your hiking boots, and a quarter-mile stroll takes you to the secluded Bear Camp with accommodations for 40 people. Another mile’s hike and you reach Hadden House, an 1800s farm house that was original to the estate and has been completely preserved.
Close by is West Lodge, a pure country cabin with beds for a further 12. Then there’s Camp Georgiana, a cozy lakefront cottage with boat dock. And you’ll need that boat to reach the Ice House, a floating cottage for guests wanting to try their hand at catching bass, walleye, white bass, pike or tiger muskie in the well-stocked lake.
And scattered throughout the entire property are 20 so-called Intellectual Exchange Houses intended for “contemplation, relaxation and being at one with nature.” These self-contained rooms on stilts are a perfect place to viewing the vast range of wildlife.
“Savannah Dhu is a world-class ranch estate like no other east of the Mississippi, or perhaps in the world. It is a place for people to gather, relax, celebrate and rejuvenate. But above all else, it is an integral link between man and nature,” explains listing agent Lou Izzo, president of Select Sotheby’s International Realty.
So who’s going to buy it? According to Izzo, it could be someone like the owner; “a person who desires the best in life and is looking to enjoy the best life has to offer for family and friends.”
He also thinks the property has tremendous commercial opportunities, either as a corporate or educational retreat, a world-class conference center, or just the ultimate wedding/birthday/anniversary venue.
“Just as the road sign says, this is the ultimate place for an adjustment in attitude,” adds Izzo.