This article originally appeared in Reynolds Living Magazine, a free thrice-yearly publication - subscribe here.

Bob and Jalena Bradley had just moved from Tampa to their home in Horseshoe Bend a year ago. They’d built a life together in Florida for 23 years, so naturally they wondered how long it would take to build new relationships at Reynolds. The answer came the very first time they soaked in their pool, which appears to be scooped out of a hillside. A boat pulled up near the dock below and a voice rose up to Bob and Jalena: “Excuse us! Can we be your friends?”

The Bradleys had to be thinking, “Is it us they want? Or is it the pool?”

It’s a compliment no matter how they look at it. The Bradleys are among hundreds of Reynolds Members who have taken the idea of “cool” to a whole new level in recent years. There are now swim-up pool bars, infinity edge pools, lap pools, and pools in the sky. Architects have designed pools so Members can take in views of Lake Oconee, the six world-class golf courses, and wall-to-wall sports on big-screen TVs.

These are just three of the many standouts.

THE FRIEND MAGNET
Daily Escape For:
Bob and Jalena Bradley
Modeled After:
A relaxing resort in Mexico and an active resort just around the corner.
Personal Touch:
Blue tile under the waterfall to contrast with the stone edge.

Nine months ago, Bob and Jalena Bradley took the first steps into their completed home. The footsteps behind them have been nonstop ever since.

“We’ve made more good friends in less than a year at Reynolds than we had after 23 years together in Florida,” Bob says. It’s no accident. The Bradleys wanted a home where they could host family and friends. Originally, they planned to live here part-time, but then they caught on to what everyone thinks when they drop by: Why would we ever want to leave?

The pool itself creates a forever-on-vacation vibe. You don’t find these colors, these relaxing sounds, and that firepit placement in most backyards. Jalena says, “A few people have told us, ‘Now we don’t have to go to The Ritz-Carlton to get away.’ We love hearing that.”

The friendships, old and new, have led to a new necessity for the Bradleys to keep their lives organized: A calendar for the next six months with days marked “vacancy” or “no vacancy.”

We’ve made more good friends in less than a year at Reynolds than we had after 23 years together in Florida. Bob and Jalena Bradley

A FEW STEPS CLOSER TO PARADISE
Daily Escape For:
Sean and Erica Woolverton
Modeled After:
: Favorite physical features from their previous homes.
Personal Touch:
Terraced levels from the living room to the deck to the pool to the dock … and then back up.

“When our daughters come with their friends,” Erica Woolverton says, “they wake up and they’re either here … or there.” Well, that sounds obvious. But the statement is far more profound when you can see where Erica is looking as she makes this point. “Here” is the pool with infinity edges that lead into blue sky. “There” is down a long slope to the Nautique waiting at the dock — presumably, for a half a dozen girls and a tube. A few steps above where Erica is standing with her husband, Sean, are the bedrooms where everyone begins the day.

“We didn’t want the limitations of a walkout,” Sean says. The Woolvertons thought instead in terms of “lookouts,” which meant using the topography of their property to create a variety of elevated perspectives. Then they borrowed their favorite nuances from previous homes in Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa — like fire bowls and pool loungers.

“When we’re up here or down there, it feels like we’ve gone far away,” Sean says, “but either way, we’re at home.”

THE SCIENCE OF COOL
Daily Escape For:
: Lou and Cindy DiRenzo
Modeled After:
: A luxury resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Personal Touch:
The 65-inch TV that swivels and retracts into the swim-up bar.

Lou DiRenzo pushes a few buttons, pulls some levers and, just as you might expect from the hands of a scientist like him, a few wonders begin to appear: A huge TV, huge bubblers, and four huge umbrellas that shade an entire side of the pool that Lou and his wife, Cindy, dreamed up when they decided to move here from Pennsylvania.

“They’re like shade trees, but without leaves,” Cindy says. The umbrellas hover smartly over a 16-footlong bar and six stools submerged just below the water surface. From their seats, the DiRenzos and friends can watch college football games and then, during timeouts, spin 180 degrees and take in the commanding views of boats on the lake. They never have to stand up and never have to leave the comfort of the water. They could presumably stay for hours.

“Cindy wanted a pool and deck like you’d find at a nice resort,” Lou says. “And if you look near the infinity edge of the pool, you can see a lap lane. That’s for me.”

All science experiments should be so cool.

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Reynolds Living magazine provides a special glimpse into the unique year-round vacation lifestyle offered at Reynolds Lake Oconee. Giving a taste of what it's like to call Reynolds Lake Oconee home, our readers will enjoy featured stories and spectacular imagery of the people, places and events that make up our community.

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