There was a moment while I was dining at The National Tavern in Reynolds Lake Oconee that I thought, “It doesn’t get much better than this.” Taking a bite of the celebrated pork chop between sips of the signature Pecan Old Fashioned, I marveled at how everyone in this glorious golf community sports bar embraced the neighborly vibe, as if each person who walked through the door would be greeted like Norm from Cheers.
“It really doesn’t get much better than this,” I again whispered, this time between sips of my blackberry old fashioned—one of the greatest cocktails I’ll ever find in a golf course setting. But the next morning I’d discover just how I wrong I was.
When I visited Richland Pointe, it was but a small portion of a far greater concept. A massive infinity pool was still being tiled, landscaping was still being considered, Executive Chef Zouhair Bellout was still tinkering with his clubhouse menu, and only a few homes were under construction. And yet, even as I tried to picture what this newest neighborhood would look like, I could feel the energy and the positive vibes coming from everyone who played a role in its creation.
It’s Something a Little Different
Anyone who has visited Reynolds Lake Oconee knows what to expect from the homes in the various neighborhoods, especially the trademark mansions that sit on the water. They’re huge and unmistakably Southern, somehow understated despite their excess, but most of all they’re just plain awesome. It’s impossible not to look at them and imagine owning one before attempting yet another belly flop from the second story of a party pontoon.
But that’s not really the case with Richland Pointe. The cottage-inspired homes are hardly massive, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be magnificent. Excess is also not the point of this neighborhood (pun very much intended). This is a concept created with wellness as a centerpiece and combined with the trademark communal warmth of Reynolds Lake Oconee. Neighbors will not only live together, but they’ll have the option to dine, play, and even exercise together.
If that all seems a little Utopian, that’s fair—it first reminded me of Hank Scorpio’s Cypress Creek. A more accurate description, however, is optimistically harmonious. Residents will gather at the community infinity pool that appears to spill into the neighboring lake, before grabbing healthy snacks and drinks at the waterside restaurants with a massive outdoor bar. Wider sidewalks and paths encourage residents to not only use their feet to get from Points A to B, but also take casual strolls and even power walk with family and neighbors. And many of us would probably love to have a built-in fitness program that blows away anything at the neighborhood gym.
How Very European of You
Before a home had even been completed, Richland Pointe’s wellness center became the first facility in the United States to offer Technogym’s Biocircuit program. Don’t worry—I wasn’t hip to the lingo either, but, boy, was I impressed with the efficiency and scope of this offering. In a nutshell, this has all the benefits of a personal trainer commitment without the personal trainer.
As guests enter the fitness facility, they’ll join the “adaptive circuit training experience,” which means they’ll start their workouts at one of 12 stations, follow the simple instructions to feel the burn, and when time expires, each person moves on to the next machine. At face value, it’s an awesome way to ensure that everyone gets a turn on each machine, but what’s most important is how they’re also getting the best of all 12 in one convenient session.
In addition to the Biocircuit experience, residents can also take part in a variety of classes, including yoga, spin, and stretching, while topping it all off with a full spa menu. For wellness alone—not to mention access to the community’s six amazing golf courses—Richland Pointe will feel like living in a resort, but with the bonus of not being surrounded by other tourists.
Food, Glorious Food
One might assume that there’s a trickiness to creating a restaurant menu in a neighborhood founded with wellness as a central component, but the thing about Chef Bellout is he makes everything seem easy. It’s as if the Moroccan-born culinary genius is a wizard who snaps his fingers and astounding meals appear out of thin air. In reality, he’s merely a world traveler who has picked up a few tricks along the way to Reynolds Lake Oconee.
From the bar bites to dinner, the international influence of his menu is obvious, and guests will love the diversity. Standard bar fare like crispy chicken bites will be perfect for afternoons spent sipping beers and cheering on everyone’s favorite golfers in the weekend’s PGA tournament being shown across the many bar televisions, while the Mediterranean steamed mussels and Indian butter chicken might tempt carnivores away from the grilled steak with chimichurri (believe me, there’s no wrong choice).
The biggest crowd pleasers will undoubtedly be the myriad options on the rolls, sushi, and sashimi menu, as well as the extensive wine list. Oh, and let’s not forget the fantastically creative cocktail list, which features some truly eclectic drinks with global inspirations, including Chef Bellout’s Gettin’ Figgy with It.
The Center of Attention
As a vacation spot, Reynolds Lake Oconee easily checks off the basics: a spectacular resort, great dining options, seemingly endless water, magnificent pools, and even some sand (a lake beach counts). All that is usually enough to keep families entertained for up to a week, but the fun hardly ends there. The six amazing golf courses are so beautiful and alluring, even golfers with handicaps that push triple digits will have a great time sending ball after ball to a watery afterlife.
And then there’s the Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds. The brainchild of international shooting champion Justin Jones, this amenity on steroids exists on 100 acres and showcases the typically beautiful natural elements of the region while using it as the setting for thrilling adventure. Guests can join the staff experts for shooting, fishing, archery, and even a very bumpy ride on the offroad course (uneasy stomachs might want to sit that last one out). This offering alone cements Reynolds Lake Oconee’s status the ultimate vacation playground.
Now, imagine having all this as for regular weekend fun. Richland Pointe is going to make many families want to forget about vacations and call this special community something even better: Home.