Member Spotlight – Welcoming The Lunkas

Six months into the year, The Cliffs has welcomed more than 60 new families into its community. Those who call The Cliffs home are as diverse as the regions, communities and neighborhoods they chose to make their own. From the ridgeline of Asheville to the shoreline of Lake Keowee, our members hand-select their everyday experience, choosing to wake up to sweeping views of Pisgah National Forest or opting to dock their boat in their backyard. They may come to regularly ride alongside Tour de France champions or imbibe in the culinary masterpieces present at Chaine events. Or they may choose to try it all, or nothing – simply enjoying the peace and quiet found on a western-facing deck. There are as many reasons to join The Cliffs community as there are ways to personalize the lifestyle. It is our pleasure to introduce you to one of our newest members families, The Lunkas – and provide a little insight into their ‘why.’

Derek and Lauren Lunka are currently building a home in The Cliffs at Keowee Springs. Derek works in Clemson as an investment advisor and financial planner, and Lauren works in HR for a multinational robotics integrator and custom automation firm, splitting her time between offices in Greenville and Liberty. Their two-and-a-half year old son Caleb currently spends his free time at The Beach Club.

What brought you to the Upstate?

We moved to the upstate for Derek’s work. Derek works with his father who relocated their investment advising business from Cleveland, Ohio to Clemson in an effort to enjoy the Carolina lifestyle and climate.

What is your favorite part about living in Upstate SC?

There are too many to list! We find our corner of the Carolinas to be a happy medium between the extreme heat of Texas summers and extreme cold of Ohio winters that we had been accustomed to. When you pair our climate with the natural beauty of Lake Keowee and the surrounding mountains, it creates a location that is nearly unrivaled nationally. We have also grown to love the urban oasis and amenities that Greenville offers, which is easily accessible from The Cliffs at Keowee Springs. In addition to all this, we like being centrally located in a region where Atlanta, Charlotte, Asheville, Charleston, Nashville, and Savannah are all within a few hours’ drive.

What brought you to The Cliffs?

We relocated to the area from Austin, Texas, where we grew to love boating and spending summer holidays with friends on nearby Lake Travis. So, when Derek’s career brought us to the western Carolinas and we found Lake Keowee, it was an obvious choice to plant our roots. We bought our first home in a neighborhood on the western side of Lake Keowee in 2011. Shortly thereafter we got married in Glassy Chapel, so The Cliffs has been a special place for us ever since we landed in South Carolina.

After some changes with Lauren’s commute and our first child being born, the time was right to start looking at getting closer to Greenville and Clemson than our current residence. We did meet with a realtor in Greenville at the time, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to abandon Lake Keowee and the network of friends we’d built here. After three years of searching the eastern side of the lake (and a few fun trips to the Keowee Springs Beach Club with our Cliffs realtor, Justin Coleman) we finally found our lot in The Cliffs at Keowee Springs.

We also love the nearby mountain towns of Highlands, Cashiers, and Asheville and we feel like The Cliffs at Keowee Springs is close enough to all three for us to make an easy day or weekend trip.

What are you most looking forward to, community-wise?

Our son, Caleb, would say the Beach Club in a heartbeat. Lauren looks forward to the group fitness classes, which she’s already begun participating in. We also like the ability to be tucked away on the northern part of the lake, but also be a quick 15-minute drive into downtown Clemson and 40 minutes to Greenville and Costco. Speaking of Caleb, we felt The Cliffs at Keowee Springs’ access into Clemson Area Schools was critical for us. We are also very much looking forward to seeing what new amenities are in store for the neighborhood!

How did you find out about the Chaîne des Rotisseurs and do you LOVE it?

We are not big golfers, so the food and wine program at The Cliffs was a huge attraction for us. We found out about the Chaîne des Rotisseurs from one of The Cliffs periodicals shortly after we bought our lot. After reading the brief article, we immediately contacted Eric Cooperman and wanted to learn more. Eric invited us to attend the Chaîne “meet and greet” at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards outdoor kitchen where Chef Francis Turck served prosciutto wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese while we were sipping on vintage Alsatian wine and it was at that very moment we were hooked. We are well traveled and have been to some excellent restaurants, but few meals have rivaled the Chaîne dinners that Chef Francis, Eric, and the team have hosted. The Cliffs is spoiled to have this level of talent in-house, so, yes, we LOVE it!

Favorite family activities?

Our family loves spending summer days on the lake with friends and family, whether it’s at the Beach Club or out on the boat swimming in a quiet cove. We also love cooking and have an affinity for wine and good music! During the spring and fall, we love to hike the various trails both inside and outside The Cliffs gates.

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