Lake Oconee truly second home

“We never knew we would love it so much.”

That’s how Mark and Karen Allen feel about their home at Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee. The Buckhead residents were thinking about buying a second home and considering Lake Lanier when one of their friends brought them to Cuscowilla.

“We fell in love with everything. There are seven golf courses, it’s close to Atlanta and the people here are great. We built our first house here in 2004 and then built this one in 2007. The house is something we love, but we love the lifestyle here more than we could ever dream,” said Mark.

An easy trip from Buckhead: The Allens make the door-to-door trip in an hour and 15 minutes. Mark is with Flagstar Bank, and Karen does interior design and event planning. They're spending more and more of their time at Lake Oconee since Karen does a lot of work at nearby Reynolds Plantation and serves on the board of directors of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes there. Mark now spends about three days a week in town, and he works from the lake the rest of the time.

Can't stay away: When they sold their first house and were building their second, the Allens still spent every weekend at Cuscowilla, staying with friends and overseeing the construction. "We do almost everything within the property here. From a social perspective, there are restaurants and fun places to go; everything's within the gates," said Karen.

So many ways to enjoy the lake: Boating is a prime activity, but golf is big with an 18-hole golf course on the property and other courses nearby. Karen is social coordinator for the community's women's club, and there are parties once a month, supper clubs and lots of socializing at the golf grill.

A like-minded community: "Cuscowilla is really a very close-knit community. The people who buy here are a little younger, more of a working crowd, and there are lots of families with kids. Quite a few people who live here full time are in sales and travel for their work. The drive from here to the airport is no worse than the drive from north Alpharetta," said Mark. "Although we didn't expect it, we've learned that we couldn't live without the lake, and we couldn't live without the people," he added.

At a glance

The Allens’ two-level house has three bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths and a two-car garage. The house was designed for entertaining with its formal dining room large enough to seat 12, seating for six in the kitchen itself and a patio where everyone gathers around the stone grill and fire pit. The back deck overlooks the lake and the waterfalls and pond that dot the property. Lots of stone and custom wood cabinets and beams lend their elegant touch to the interiors.


Community information

The Allens' home is in Cuscowilla, one of several golf communities found on the shores of Lake Oconee. These communities provide another way to enjoy the natural beauty of the lake. “With [Lake Oconee's] 19,000 acres and 374 miles of shoreline, there is something for everyone in both personal preference and price,” said Realtor Chris Oliver of Century 21, Minchey Properties in Eatonton. “Hunting, fishing, biking, hiking, golfing, bird-watching and nature at its best, it's all found here, and with multiple clubhouses, restaurants, marinas and shopping just minutes away, any trip here is a treat.”

Cuscowilla and the other golf communities in the area offer a mix of architectural styles and prices from spectacular waterfront showplaces to smaller condos and townhomes. “A 1,500-square-foot condo in Reynolds Plantation may be had for as little as $279,000, and the custom estates on the water top out at about $5 million. Waterfront homes outside of the gated communities generally range from $225,000 to $600,000 depending on the home and views with a few higher or lower on either side,” she added.

Getting there

Take I-20 East to Exit 130 (Ga. 44) and turn right. Travel approximately12 miles to the third traffic light at Old Phoenix Road. Turn left and travel 1/2 mile to the Cuscowilla entrance on the left.

For sale

$434,900: 1041 Fairway Ridge, Reynolds Landing, Greensboro. Two acres on golf course with private pool and spa, house-length deck. Three-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath home with all stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hardwood floors.

$479,000: 125 and 127 Arbor Lane, Cuscowilla, Eatonton. Two 2,500-square-foot condos in The Arbors at Cuscowilla. Each has three bedrooms, cathedral ceilings, a fireplace, patio/deck overlooking the community pond and waterfall, travertine baths, hardwood floors and attached garage. Discounted golf membership will save the owners $15,000.

Recent sale

$335,000: 107 Seven Oaks Drive, Reynolds Plantation/Great Waters, Eatonton. Four-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath cottage on the marina. Deck, big water views and day dock. Sold June 2010.