At Bear Lake Reserve we love getting to know our guests, so we want you to get to know us, too! Introducing our newest series of blog posts: Meet the Bears. Once a month, we’ll chat with one of the many great people that help make all aspects of Bear Lake Reserve special, from the Lake Club to the golf course. In our first installment of Meet the Bears, I caught up with Jo-Ann Lefner: the friendly face behind The Boutique By The Lake!
How did your journey at Bear Lake begin?
We came to Bear Lake after seeing about this beautiful property on the internet as an escape from Florida almost two years ago on Valentine’s weekend. We fell immediately in love with the mountains, the Lake and the peacefulness of this hidden treasure I now call home. It took only four days for us to come to the decision to go back to Florida, sell our home in a week, and close two business to be back living here at Bear Lake full time by that May!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
When I take on a project, I go all in so that’s exactly what happened when I took on The Boutique By The Lake! After owning two stores in my past in Charleston, SC and Anna Maria Island, Florida I truly enjoy being the merchandise buyer here at Bear Lake.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
When I get time to escape from work, I enjoy the peace and serenity of Mill Pond on property. To walk through, sit by the ponds and take in the quietness of this area revitalizes my soul. Another favorite escape for me is taking one of our pontoon boats out on the lake, floating around in a quiet cove, and thumbing through Plateau Magazine with a great glass of wine in hand!
What’s your favorite memory you’ve made at Bear Lake Reserve?
Probably my favorite memory was seeing the faces of my children and grandchildren when they arrived at Bear Lake to see where their parents had settled into once again. We have moved to new adventures 13 times in the 46 years we have been married!
What do you enjoy most about the local community of Sylva and Jackson County?
When we venture off property to nearby Sylva, we have seen in just a short time the change in this area. With all the new restaurants and businesses coming into this area, it is now providing folks with everything you would want and need. From dinner at Ilda to jazz at The Wine Bar, we frequent these businesses after shopping and running errands in town.
How does your department strive to enhance the Bear Lake Reserve experience?
The Boutique By The Lake has enhanced the experience for homeowners and guests that come to our property by providing a wide variety of wares and keepsakes to remember their stay when they leave!
If you could add one amenity to Bear Lake Reserve, what would it be?
If I wished for anything to be added to our Bear Lake Property it would be to have a Summit Club built. The area on top of the mountain with the spectacular views, has so much more to offer. We enjoy going up on Wednesday evenings to have a bonfire and watching the sunset after a long day!
Is there anything else you’d like current and future guests to know?
We welcome everyone to come and visit… and I bet you’ll wanna stay! We did!