Loveridge Plantation is a 4,563± acre turn-key wild quail plantation located in the heart of the Red Hills plantation belt and bordered by other similarly exceptional quail plantations. The plantation has been intensely managed for quail for nearly 100 years and all 14 courses on the plantation consistently produce strong bird numbers. The landscape is high, rolling, and open with longleaf, shortleaf, and slash pines and the occasional stately oak. The property’s Lake Thompson is a historic and renowned 100± acre duck hunting impoundment. With an incredible view, the main house is situated on a ridge along the 1.25± miles of frontage on the 6,000± acre Lake Miccosukee. Located on the Florida side of the plantation belt, its location in the heart of the Red Hills is convenient to both Tallahassee and Thomasville’s amenities. Many of the surrounding properties are protected from development by a conservation easement. Loveridge is not yet encumbered by an easement.
*Select photography provided by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Just the Facts
- 4,563± acre quail plantation located in the Red Hills in northeast Leon County, Florida offered turnkey and ready to hunt
- Borders Sunny Hill, Foshalee, Beechwood, Borderline, Norias, and Ring Oak Plantations
- 1.25± miles of frontage on the 6,000± acre Lake Miccosukee
- Exclusively managed for quail for nearly 100 years and totaling 14 hunting courses that grow exceptional upland cover with strong bird numbers
- ~90% in upland pine habitat
- Lake Thompson, 100± acres, a historic and renowned duck hunting impoundment on key Red Hills’ waterfowl flyway
- Originally part of Sunny Hill Plantation, established by L. S. Thompson, one of the sportsmen credited with bringing Herbert Stoddard to the region to do his famous quail research
- Beautiful rolling topography with some of the best vistas in North Florida
- Formerly owned by New Jersey Governor Walter Edge from 1937-1956
- Homeplace purchased by George H. Love (Chairman of the M.A. Hanna Co, Consolidated Coal, and Chrysler) in 1946 and then the core hunting tract in 1956
- 5,794± square foot, four bedroom/four full two half bath main house overlooking Lake Miccosukee
- Other improvements include four additional staff houses, stables and fenced pastures, 28-run kennel, several barns, extensive road system, and more
- Beautiful, idyllic oak avenue leading to historic site of the original “Sunny Hill” plantation house, lost to fire
- Great staff: First-class multi-generational plantation manager and esteemed dog handler
- From the gates of the home place, about 20 minutes to Thomasville’s Broad Street shopping and restaurants and also 20 minutes to north Tallahassee’s Bradfordvillle area
- Frontage on Hwy 59/Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, Old Centerville Road, and the main house’s stately entrance is on the historic and canopied Old Magnolia Road, one of the oldest roads in the Red Hills
- Located within 6.4 miles of Tallahassee’s city limits. Not yet protected by a conservation easement; exceptional and strategic conservation easement donation-potential for a new owner
This location is the portion of the quail belt that people aspire to own, and the quality and diversity of the wing-shooting on Loveridge is hard to find elsewhere in this country. Loveridge is truly a legacy property within the Red Hills and this offering is a unique opportunity to own a critical piece of the Red Hills landscape.
Loveridge is located in northeastern Leon County, Florida, right in the heart of the Red Hills plantation belt, in a neighborhood of other world-class plantations all actively managing the land for the propagation of wild quail. Loveridge is bordered by Sunny Hill, Foshalee, Borderline, Beechwood, Norias, and Ring Oak Plantations. The Florida side of the belt is generally more sought-after due to a more friendly personal tax environment than Georgia. The Home Place is situated on a beautifully scenic stretch of Old Magnolia Road, one of the oldest roads in the Red Hills and was historically traveled over by wagons transporting cotton from Thomasville to shipping ports at the coast. The Core Tract is located on Old Centerville Road and Veterans Memorial Highway, also known as Hwy 59.
The Thomasville Municipal Airport is about 30 minutes from Loveridge and has a 6,004’ runway for private aviation. Tallahassee International Airport is 35 minutes from the plantation offering both private and public air transportation.
Located between Thomasville, Georgia and Tallahassee, Florida, the Red Hills Region is a 300,000-acre area known for its rolling hills, red clay soils, and diverse ecosystems. It had long been a winter destination for wealthy northerners who came for the mild weather and quail hunting. Sportsmen found that quail flourished in the region and the fast burst on a covey rise was an excitement beyond comparison. It motivated these early landowners to pull together the resources to study and detail the best land management practices in these upland ecosystems. This is ultimately credited with leading to a restoration and preservation of inspiring proportions in the region. The Red Hills was designated one of America’s “Last Great Places” by the Nature Conservancy, and what it offers for a wing-shooting enthusiast simply cannot be found elsewhere.
The cities anchoring this block of land offer great entertainment and cultural events. Tallahassee is Florida’s capital city and is home to three universities, museums, two large hospitals, and a variety of shopping and dining options. Thomasville is a charming southern town and was recently labeled the second best historic small town in the country by USA Today. Its original bricked roads have been uncovered along many of the downtown streets that take visitors to delightful dining options, boutiques, and shops featuring local handcrafted works.
The Red Hills region has a humid subtropical climate and offers long warm summers and the most pleasant and mild of winters. Between November and March, the daily high temperatures average 68 degrees and low temperatures on average are 43 degrees. Rainfall usually peaks in March and during the summer months, with an average annual rainfall of 53 inches.
Loveridge Plantation’s lands are among some of the first purchased for sporting by wealthy northerners who came south to winter. In 1913, Lewis S. Thompson (Lew), started buying lands in the Red Hills, eventually amassing 20,000 acres. He called his plantation Sunny Hill.
In his book, This Land I Have Loved, Robert C. Balfour, Jr., describes L.S. Thompson as “the greatest field shot of them all…He never pretended to work but spent his time in the outdoors hunting, and got to be one of the best marksmen in America.” Lew was an heir of William P. Thompson’s fortune, founder of the National Lead Company, which later merged with John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust.
Lew is credited with convincing many of those with ties to Standard Oil to purchase land in the Red Hills. He was a great influencer and contributor to the people and places around him. In 1916, he hosted the first meeting of the Georgia-Florida Field Trial Club at Sunny Hill. The participants enjoyed the competition so much that first year, they resolved to make it an annual event that still takes place today. And, when quail numbers were declining after years of no daily limits, Thompson and a handful of other plantation owners led the charge to seek out the best naturalist available to study the quail, with the goal of increasing the supply. In 1924, Herbert Stoddard was brought to the Red Hills, first to research quail, and then he stayed to develop a method of land management that stressed ecological diversity and reintroduced fire in the longleaf-grassland ecosystem. This early investment by Thompson and his peers is still providing returns to the Red Hills region today.
Soon after the end of World War I, Thompson sold a portion of his landholdings to New Jersey Governor Walter Edge and Chairman of Standard Oil, Walter C. Teagle. They named their place Norias. Edge eventually gave up his interest in Norias and bought Sunny Hill from Thompson’s widow in 1937. In the meantime, in 1946, businessman and industrialist George H. Love, who led both Consolidated Coal and Chrysler back to profitability, bought land on Lake Miccosukee and named it Loveridge. When Governor Edge passed away in 1956, Mr. Love purchased 10,500 acres of Sunny Hill to add to his Loveridge holdings. This 4,563± acres of land has been held by the Love family since. This is one of the first times that this land has been made available to the public and not privately traded among friends/neighbors.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Main House: The plantation’s entrance off Old Magnolia Road is a beautiful tree-lined drive to the main house, situated on a high hill overlooking Lake Miccosukee. It is a 5,794± square foot ranch-style brick lodge with four bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, and two additional half baths. It was built in 1979 by the Love family after the original house burned.
Caretaker’s House/Guest House: Approximately 2,850± square foot with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and located adjacent to the main house.
Dog Manager’s House: Approximately 2,414± square foot recently renovated with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. There is a detached garage/carport.
Other housing: There are two additional older houses: 1,104± square foot three bedroom/one bath cottage with adjacent open barn/carport, and 1,059± square foot two bedroom/one bath house.
Other improvements: Other improvements include a ten-stall horse barn with an enclosed tack room with water and electric, a secondary horse barn, 28-run dog kennel and a 6-run secondary kennel, large tractor barn with enclosed shop, several other pole barns, a staff building, pigeon/training coop, lakeside cook shack/screened pavilion, lunch cabin, 1,200 bushel grain bin, five 500 gallon fuel storage tanks and a five stand skeet range with hi-low houses and a bonus duck tower. There are over 10 miles of graded road.
Based upon recent years, the annual property taxes for Loveridge are estimated at $44,286.
Located in the heart of the Red Hills, Loveridge is some of the most coveted quail hunting land in the Thomasville and Tallahassee region. It is surrounded entirely by other quality plantations with some of these neighbors being known for record-breaking quail populations. Loveridge has a total of fourteen quail courses that run with the natural topography of the land. With around 90% of the property in upland pine habitat, this landscape maximizes quail management opportunities and thus, hunting results. Loveridge is blessed to have a world-class dog handler with a kennel that includes 49 dogs: 3 English cocker retrievers, 26 seasoned pointers, 11 derby dogs in training, and 9 puppies. The dog handler likes to raise his own puppies, so he will typically have one to two litters each year with the assistance of outside breeding stock to keep the gene pool strong. He maintains some type of year-round work with the dogs.
Lake Thompson has existed well prior to the start of people purchasing land in this area for hunting and it is depicted on some very old plantation maps. Lake Thompson is a 100± acre wet weather pond that was converted to a duck hunting impoundment. Over the decades, this lake has produced sensational duck hunting. Its location is in a key flyway for the ringnecks that visit the Red Hills. In recent years, the impoundment has not been entirely managed and it needs a modest investment to be restored to its glory days. It is nearly impossible to find a 100± acre duck impoundment in the Red Hills, particularly with such a good location within the local flyway.
There are several good dove fields managed on Loveridge, and the property has a prolific population of whitetail deer. The deer genetics are impressive and 150 class deer have been harvested regularly. There are a few turkeys as well.
This story has a happy ending for everyone involved. Both buyer and seller can rest assured that the Diamond S is in good hands moving forward.
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