From Vero Beach to Here

When they first laid eyes on the wooded lakeside frontier known as The Homesteads, Marc and Kathryn Vorkapich envisioned more than a home — they saw a place where they could build a family legacy.

Marc Vorkapich stands in his yard and takes in a moment. It’s a big moment in a big yard that’s linked to a forest on one side, to Lake Oconee on another, and to an open field at the top of a long hill. So, this is more than a moment. It’s a montage of life for the first family to settle into The Homesteads at Reynolds Lake Oconee.

“I don’t want to sound over-the-top,” Marc says, his face creased into a temple-to-temple smile, “but watching this is magical.”

He surveys the scene by pivoting 360 degrees. His wife, Kathryn, is throwing a spear into a giant mound of hay. Their son, Chandon, is driving a four-wheeler through a clearing where the only other signs of life are the deer who come to graze. Marc can hear his daughters, Palmer and Saylor, before he can spot them riding mountain bikes in the woods. And over there, his parents are relaxing on the porch of a cottage.

The Vorkapich family moved here in November 2021, but the incredulousness is still thick in the air.

“We can’t believe this is our home,” Marc says.

Specifically, this is their Homestead. Three years ago, when the Vorkapich’s first laid eyes and feet on this spot, it was raw frontier: Towering trees, enormous boulders, and the echoes of nature. There were no homes, no paved roads, and certainly no infinity pool out back.

“This is the culmination of all the things we envisioned for our family life someday,” Kathryn says, “but I’m not sure we ever envisioned all of this.”

[Kathryn] People call us “pioneers.” It’s fun being the first people to build a Homestead. Now we’re watching other families with big dreams come and discover the land. At first, though, it was just the wildlife and us out here. [Marc] At the same time, we could look across the lake and see The Ritz-Carlton, knowing that kind of lifestyle is as close — or as far — as we want it to be. Where else is that possible?

[Kathryn] This all happened unexpectedly. We were enjoying coastal life in Vero Beach, Florida, when COVID hit in the spring of 2020. Marc saw a website for Reynolds Lake Oconee and said, “Hey, let’s take a road trip and check it out.” [Marc] We thought the pictures must have been doctored — they couldn’t be legit. But when we drove around, we thought, “Wow, those pictures don’t do it justice.”

[Kathryn] Our tour of Reynolds took a different direction. The people showing us listened to everything we said about the dream we have for our family. After a little while they said, “We have something else you might be interested in.”

[Marc] They brought us back here on ATVs. Instead of looking at a physical home, we looked at a 3-acre lot covered in trees, with a view of the lake. We all looked at each other and just knew. This is where we can connect all the dots we’ve talked about over the years. [Kathryn] I’ll always remember standing on a platform with the kids and letting our imaginations run. They were ready to make the move right away, to do something adventurous.

From the time we were married, Marc talked about creating a generational altar for our family someday. We finally found the place where we can build it. Kathryn Vorkapich

[Marc] The quality of life is off the charts. As nice as beach life was, here we literally have everything at our fingertips. We can hike, boat, play catch, explore, swim, or go to The Sporting Grounds five minutes away. Or we can take our boat across the lake and, within two minutes, enjoy all the Club at Reynolds has to offer. [Kathryn] And there are no sharks and no sand to wash off at the end of the day. [

[Kathryn] The neighbors might wonder about my spears. I started to compete in Spartan Races and Savage Races about three years ago. The courses are as long as 13 miles, with obstacles like rope climbs, crawls, and spear throwing. That’s why you see climbing ropes hanging from a tree — it’s for me. [Marc] She can train in her element right here. We also built a gym with heavy rams, sandbags, and equipment for grip work. I wake up some mornings to the sound of my wife throwing weights around. It’s like thunder, but no one else is around to hear it.

[Kathryn] Marc’s parents might hear it. They’re in the cottage we built on the property. [Marc] That was a big draw for us into The Homesteads. We can use the land as a continuous canvas and create a multigenerational legacy. I already have ideas for a barn and the homes we can build for our kids when they grow up. It’s an answer to a prayer of ours: that we’d have a place they can come back to after spreading their wings. At the same time, we can honor our own parents here. [Kathryn] Marc has a big heart for that.

We have space to grow. Our long-term vision is to pick up a few more acres so we can build another cottage, a barn, and more answers to prayer. Marc Vorkapich

[Marc] I volunteered at a long-term acute care hospital in high school. Classmates might remember me as an athlete, but working in that environment shaped my life. The residents were like grandparents to me. To this day, I think about one lady crying in her room, telling me, “I used to be the life of the party, but now I feel invisible.” That experience has always motivated me to make life better for seniors. They should be honored. That’s why I pursued a career developing and operating senior-living communities.

[Kathryn] Marc is brilliant when it comes to vision. He’s constantly thinking of next steps for improvement, whether it’s for seniors or for our family. [Marc] That’s nice to hear, but I’m no genius. For our Homestead we needed a team of architects and builders who know the fabric of Reynolds. We gave them the big vision and they brought it to life.

[Marc] God has equipped us with perspective. Ours was sharpened when we found out Palmer had acute myeloid leukemia at six years old. It felt like getting hit by a train when we found out. [Kathryn] The prognosis wasn’t good. She spent five months in the hospital, which meant she was around a lot of kids who were suffering. Yet she had this gift of spreading joy to others. Palmer is blessed to be a survivor, so she’s been a spokesperson for Make A Wish. For us, the whole journey shifted the way we look at life. Do we really want to make education or predictability our primary focus? Or is there something else?

[Marc] That’s why finding The Homesteads means so much to us. It’s the answer to every question we’ve asked over the years, especially this one: How do we make the most out of every day? [Kathryn] It’s about creating a life and a legacy with the people we love.

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