Courtesy of Discovery Land Company/Jessica Johnson.
Amenities at Driftwood, near Austin, Texas, combine luxury and eco-friendly practices.

Discovery Land Co. employs an environmentally-conscious approach alongside an emphasis on cultivating attributes unique to each locale.

J.D. Simkins  – August 12, 2021

Twenty-two miles southwest of Austin, Texas, is one of 25 (and counting) luxury residential properties from Discovery Land Co., and like the others, it is balancing luxury and sustainability. Nestled in the Texas Hill Country is Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club, an 800-acre private property of rolling hills, wildflowers, and soaring oak trees that offers unparalleled access to outdoor activity, fine dining, and opulent hospitality.

While Driftwood touts no shortage of lavishness (60 acres of vineyards, an 18-hole championship golf course, multiple concert venues, and 310 home sites) or outdoor pursuits (hiking trails, fishing, kayaking and boating, sports and fitness activity centers, and zip-lining) it is the property’s approach to sustainability and environmental stewardship that sets Discovery Land Co. apart.

Mountain biking is just one of Driftwood’s many outdoor pursuits.

Discovery Land Co. via Buff Strickland

Paving a New Path to Sustainability

Each property from Discovery Land Co., which was founded in 1994 by Mike Meldman, employs an environmentally-conscious approach alongside an emphasis on cultivating attributes unique to each locale.

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At Driftwood’s location in central Texas, for example, water conservation is of the essence. Acknowledging this, the property implemented a community-wide framework for water runoff to ensure that rainwater can enter the surrounding grounds naturally. Similarly, the property’s harvesting system is designed to collect a minimum of 50% of water runoff from the roofs of all 310 houses, which is then put directly back into the ground in a cyclical recharging of the community’s groundwater.

Even the property’s golf course has an irrigation system designed to use treated wastewater, a process that unfolds by delivering sewer water to a local wastewater plant that is then treated and returned to the golf course for irrigation.

“At Driftwood, sustainability is inherent to our DNA and is the right way to develop community, especially in the Austin Hill Country,” Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club President David Rhoades said. “It is not only about mindful and thoughtful planning, but how the community can continue to make contributions for generations to come.”

The approach to the property’s culinary scene is no less eco-conscious. Sourcing local farm-to-table food is an ongoing emphasis of chef Jim Tripi, who directs the property’s culinary pursuits.

Locally-sourced meals at Driftwood.

Discovery Land Co. via Buff Strickland

Menu options such as beef, pork, and wild game are sourced through local suppliers—versus long-distance exports—most of which are within 5 miles of the property. These meals are then rounded out with organic ingredients often sourced directly from the property’s regenerative gardens and greenhouse, where seasonally specific menu items incorporate an ongoing rotation of various crops. A community section of the garden even allows members to grow their own produce. Additionally, the aforementioned water sustainability practices apply to keeping the property’s produce watered, as the community garden is highlighted by an expansive cistern that collects reusable rainwater.

Such practices, as Tripi puts it, are designed to make members of Driftwood “stewards of the land.”

“Discovery gives [us a] way to build a program around local sources, artisans and seafood mongers, and as a chef, I fell in love with that,” Tripi said. “High quality doesn’t mean you need to ship it in—it could be around the corner.”

Chileno Bay in Cabo San Lucas.

Discovery Land Co. via Kim Sargent

A Universal Approach

An emphasis on sustainability isn’t unique to just Driftwood and Texas-based water conservation. The practice is implemented in some capacity across all Discovery Land properties, including destinations such as Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, Chileno Bay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, or Mākena Golf & Beach Club in Maui, where an 1,800-acre property blends into the lush surrounding landscape of Maui’s Mount Haleakalā.

There, property management maintains a working relationship with regional public parks and oceanic shoreline conservation to steward environmental improvements. On the luxury side, Mākena boasts intricate touches unique to its respective environment.

Outdoor opportunities beckon, with guided hikes, snorkeling, scuba diving, whale-watching, paddle boarding, sailing, and swimming (the poolside bar doesn’t hurt, either) available at every turn. And of course, there’s the 18-hole golf course for those looking to drop a few strokes of their game.

After working up an appetite, Mākena members can indulge in any number of island-inspired farm-to-table and dock-to-dish meals. Complement these culinary delicacies with a healthy drink from the property’s juice bar, or simply unwind at the luxury spa.

Chileno Bay Spa

Discovery Land Co. via Kim Sargent

Of course, Hawaii may not be the speed for all. For those interested in a mix of international appeal and proximity to the United States, there’s Chileno Bay, a 1,200-acre residential resort nestled in an inlet on the dazzling Sea of Cortez that tenders the eco-friendly practices and lavish amenities that Discovery Land is renowned for.

Positioned in the heart of the Los Cabos Golden Corridor, Chileno is flanked on its inland side by stunning mountains and two miles of coastline on the other. A state-of-the-art lap pool, fitness center, spa, and more bring health and wellness to the fore, while savory refueling amenities featuring casual and fine dining yield a bevy of terrain-to-table, locally sourced menu options.

Of course, outdoor pursuits are a priority here, too. Members can enjoy an array of land and sea adventures highlighted by deep-sea fishing, surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, yachting, hiking, whale-watching, archery, and mountain biking, among many more.

On the sustainability front, Chileno houses an organic farm that renders produce for the resort’s dining venues. Farm and garden composting practices are also abundant, as is solar field technology and the use of locally sourced materials.

Such approaches, at Chileno and in each Discovery Land property, are what make this organization the go-to for experiencing incomparable luxury alongside environmental mindfulness. And yet, at the true heart of Discovery Land is the pursuit of familial joy that can transcend generations.

“We don’t build buildings, but rather we build settings where families can create intergenerational memories and enrich their lives in exquisite and untouched sanctuaries,” the company’s mission statement reads. “Everything we do is driven by the fundamental desire to create spaces where families can be together.”

Learn more about Discovery Land Co.’s scintillating properties and groundbreaking environmental practices at discoverylandco.com.


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