Cliffs Living: Asked & Answered

Home at The Cliffs with Michael & Denise Hallisey  | The Cliffs at Keowee Falls


Michael Hallisey had just joined a medical practice in Hartford, Connecticut, when a senior doctor gave him some great advice. “He told me, ‘Go on vacation with your family in places you may want to retire,’” Michael says. That advice led Michael, his wife, Denise, and their four boys to visit destinations from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Broadmoor, Colorado, before finding the perfect spot: The Cliffs at Keowee Falls. Michael and Denise, who now live full time at Keowee Falls, say they’ve found an “outdoor paradise.”


CL: How did you know The Cliffs was the place you wanted to retire?

Michael: Each place we visited seemed to be missing something. In 2010, we visited The Cliffs and it had everything we were looking for: watersports, multiple golf courses, hiking, biking, an active social community, four seasons, and long light in the evenings. 

Denise: When our four young men were encouraging us to buy a house, we knew we’d found the right place.


CL: Did you buy or build at The Cliffs? 

Denise: We bought a homesite in Keowee Falls in 2011. We started building in 2016 and then a huge coincidence happened: Our son Patrick was playing golf for Boston College and they were invited to play in the Clemson Invitational held at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls that year!  


CL: What are some aspects of your home that you love?

Michael: We love living on the water. When the sun rises over Lake Keowee each morning, it wakes us up. And when the moon rises over Lake Keowee it lights up our house. We built our house so that the lower level has bunk beds for the children and grandchildren. We’ve already had graduation and bachelor parties there!


CL: What do you most enjoy doing at The Cliffs?

Michael: Denise and I love taking to the hiking paths carved out of the wooded areas at Keowee Falls. As a family, we love going to dinner on the porch at the Keowee Falls Clubhouse or the Keowee Vineyards Lakehouse and watching the sun set on our way home.


CL: Denise, you and your sons moved from your homes in the Northeast to The Cliffs when the pandemic began. What was that like?

Denise: The house at The Cliffs was a safe place where they could continue to work. The living rooms became offices for the young men with folding tables for Zoom and Teams meetings.   

Michael: Meanwhile, I kept working at Hartford Hospital. It was eerie, like “The Andromeda Strain” movie. I wore two surgical gowns, double masked, showered in and out. When I drove to work, there was no one on the roads.


CL: Michael, you’ve retired pretty recently and joined Denise at The Cliffs full time. How has it been?

Michael: I’ve found that neighbors invite you out to play golf, go to dinner, and go boating. That’s been great for me to meet new people. 

CL: We understand there’s a new family business just down the road in Greenville. 

Denise: I found that nearby Greenville is a foodie town. But, it was missing one thing: a fromagerie. So my oldest son, Michael Davitt, and I saw an opportunity. I researched and invested while my son did an apprenticeship in cheese. We opened The Cheese Wheel in 2022 and it’s been very well received.

Michael: Many of The Cliffs members travel to nearby Greenville and stop at The Cheese Wheel to get the best artisan cheeses in the world. Added bonus: Our motto is “feel free to sample before buying!”


This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To see more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.

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