Aerial view of The Ritz Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

Ritzy casual. Rather remote. Rewarding for both adults and kids. Really expensive. We’re talking about the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, on Lake Oconee, near Greensboro, Georgia. Located about 85 miles from Atlanta, this unique resort mixes nature with quiet laid-back charm and abundant luxuries.

Here’s the draw:


The sparkling water of Lake Oconee, a man-made reservoir created in 1979, covers 19,050 acres. With 375 miles of shoreline, the lake offers rich opportunity for outdoor fun including swimming, boating, water sports, and the best fishing in the Southeast United States (350 pounds of fish per acre). The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee sits waterfront offering guests easy access to lake activities.

Lake Oconee as seen from the shore behind some Georgia Pines


This Ritz Reynolds offers a variety of lodging choices, including a four-bedroom grand lake house, two three-bedroom freestanding cottages, and well-appointed rooms and suites inside the 5-star hotel. Many guest rooms come with balconies overlooking the lake and some have private firepits and flower boxes outside their back door. Although the resort replaces big-city razzamatazz with a rustic natural ambience, all feels quietly plush and super family friendly. Attention to detail, such as white to grey and natural wood tones color schemes (all relaxing; nothing jarring), extravagantly soft white linens, and indulgent toiletries (Molton Brown—on last visit) account for the feeling of luxury.

The bed in a suite at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee


More intimate than large and bustling, the spa features a full menu of pampering body treatments, including luxurious facials, rejuvenating massages and the like. Dedicated steam rooms, saunas and a large, beautiful indoor pool adds to the relaxing grace of the space.

A large and lovely indoor pool at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee


Five championship courses with 90 holes of play enhanced by natural woods, rolling hills, and the lake.  Let me repeat: 5 courses. 90 holes. Luscious scenery. Something for every level of play.

Aerial view of the Great Waters Golf Course Hole 9


From casual fare at the coffee shop and family friendly options at the pool’s Splash Shack to the white tablecloth Linger Longer Steakhouse and Italian-focused Amore del Lago, a choice of dining experiences aims to please guests, be they picky eaters or discerning diners.

The outdoor dining at Gabby by the Lake at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee

Gaby’s by the Lake


Be it groups gathering for business or pleasure, the resort offers top-notch facilities. And I should know as my dearest and only granddaughter was married there. Oh, the glory! Oh, the joy!

First dance at wedding at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee


As icing on the cake—or rather marshmallows on the graham crackers—the resort offers a complementary nighttime snack of s’mores roasted at a firepit. These are not your same ol’ same ol’ camp s’mores, but, like everything else at a ritzy Ritz, upgraded.

Toasting marshmallows over a fire pit at The Ritz Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

You can elevate your own home-cooked s’mores by copying the resort and offering a selection of premium chocolates and a variety of flavorful marshmallows. Let your imaging float free as to ingredients, adding candies and sprinkles if you like. But most importantly, make your Graham crackers and marshmallows from scratch. Here’s how:


Yield: 24.

2 cups whole wheat flourA box filled with homemade Graham crackers

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ firmly packed dark brown sugar

½ cup butter, softened

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

7 to 8 tablespoons milk

Flour for rolling out dough

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl

Put sugar, butter, honey, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until ingredients are well blended and fluffy.

Add one fourth of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Beat in 2 tablespoons of milk. Continue beating in small portions of flour followed by milk until all ingredients are used. If dough seems too dry, beat in a little more milk. If dough is too stiff for mixer, knead with hands until smooth.

Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Wrap three of the balls in plastic wrap while you roll out the fourth piece.

On a lightly floured flat surface with a floured rolling pin, gently roll unwrapped dough ball into a 15-by-5-inch rectangle. (Don’t press hard or dough will stick.)

With a sharp knife and the straight edge of a ruler, trim edges of rectangle to be even. Cut rectangle crosswise in to 6 smaller rectangles each measuring 5 by 2-1/2 inches. With small spatula, gently transfer each small rectangle to an ungreased baking sheet. With the knife, mark a line across the center of each rectangle (don’t cut through) marking the rectangle into two equal squares. With the tines of a fork, poke a pattern of holes into each square. Repeat until all the dough has been used.

Put baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake until crackers are beginning to brown around the edges, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer crackers to a rack to cool completely.


Two huge S'mores sitting on top of each other oozing toasted marshmallowsMARSHMALLOWS

For a great recipe, click HERE.



Put chocolate (and any additions you like) on a Graham cracker. Slip a marshmallow onto a stick and roast it over an open fire until browned and puffy. Transfer the hot marshmallow to top of chocolate. Add a Graham cracker to top of marshmallow, squishing lightly to make a melting, messy, and totally marvelous sandwich.


For more information about The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, click HERE.

Balconies and patios at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

Balconies and patios at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee