For years, Shari Chase has sold homes along the shores of Lake Tahoe, and she says the area has attracted prospective homeowners for the same reason year after year. “It changes the way that you live,” she says. “Your stress level and the harmony that you have with nature change dramatically. The minute that you arrive and put your feet on the soil, your body and spirit are transformed. People come for that rejuvenation in a way because it’s so different. You see the stars like you’ve never seen them before. There’s no light pollution. Everything is clean and the air is fresh.”
Lakefront living offers plenty in the way of “kicking back” and “getting away from it all,” but if there’s a drawback, Chase says it’s the necessity to plan ahead, especially when it comes to running a handful of everyday errands. “It’s not like you can just pop out and visit the grocery store,” she says. “It’s not urban living. Nothing is going to be that far away, but when you’re coming from the city, it may be far away from your perspective.”
Nevertheless, a lakefront home provides the perfect escape for those who are tired of urban living; and because there is only a limited amount of land with direct water access, those waterfront properties never seem to lose their value. While Chase cannot speak to the lifestyles found in all lakefront communities, she can say that when it comes to Lake Tahoe, the region attracts a wide variety of people, all with plenty of diverse interests.
“You can be the athlete [out on the water] or just sit back and kick your feet up and sit your martini on the deck,” she says. “There really is something for everyone.”
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Ask any current resident of Lake Tahoe and they’ll tell you that the area offers a plethora of amenities. Located about 30 miles from the international airport in Reno, Nev., and only a 3.5-hour drive from San Francisco, Lake Tahoe offers homeowners all of the traditional, summertime lakefront activities, as well as a 165-mile-long hiking trail through the surrounding Sierra mountains.
During the winter, those same mountains provide the lake’s residents with great skiing opportunities only a short distance from home. The area also welcomes various cultural events throughout the year, including performances by the San Francisco philharmonic Shakespeare festivals, and a monthlong music festival during the summer, which has featured the likes of Boz Scaggs and Blues Traveler.
Built along the shoreline of Incline Village, a residential community named for the Great Incline Tramway built by loggers in 1878, this 7,100-square-foot home boasts more than 650 feet of lake frontage—an expansive amount of waterfront for the area. Situated on eight acres of land, the three-story, contemporary-style home includes separate guest quarters, a conference center, and a private pier. The home’s great room is accented by cathedral ceilings, a fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling windows, while the rest of the floor plan includes nine bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, and—for those who would rather not take a dip in the lake—an indoor swimming pool.
Price: $34 million
Offered by: Chase International/Luxury Portfolio International (www.luxuryportfolio.com)
Chappaqua, New York
Located an hour’s drive north of Manhattan, the town of Chappaqua flourished during the railroad age of the mid-19th century, when businessmen the likes of Horace Greeley—the founder and editor of the New York Tribune—could enjoy all the amenities of pastoral living without sacrificing their urban-based careers. Today, the town is home to a variety of notable individuals, including corporate executives, former professional athletes, musicians, actors, and politicians.
Set on an 87-acre lot with a tranquil lake, this Georgian-style stone manor was designed by Boris Baranovich in 2004. Each of the home’s 20-plus rooms, which together amount to more than 20,000 square feet, includes custom-crafted millwork and high-end finishes. The main floor features a grand salon, a two-story mahogany library, a billiard room, and a gourmet kitchen with a butler’s pantry, among other rooms. Upstairs are six bedrooms, all complete with en suite bathrooms, while the master suite includes its own salon and balcony. Elsewhere within the home, residents can enjoy eight fireplaces, a wine cellar, a media room, and an indoor basketball court. Of the total 87 acres, 15 are manicured and include tennis courts and an infinity pool and spa with an adjacent pool house.
Price: $27.5 million
Offered by: Christie’s International Real Estate (www.christiesrealestate.com)
Lake Como, Italy
Perched on the western shores of Lake Como in Lombardy, this restored villa offers vistas of the Italian Alps and the village of Bellagio, a historic commune that once served as a holiday resort for wealthy Romans. The property is accented by numerous cypress and palm trees, as well as flowering gardens and well-manicured lawns. Its location—a secluded tract of land at the lake’s edge—offers an element of privacy that few other villas in the area can match.
Inside, large windows have been installed, which take full advantage of the home’s location and offer views of the lake, the village of Bellagio, and the mountains beyond. Seven bedrooms provide accommodations for as many as 14 people, and families will appreciate the dedicated family level with a children’s playroom. The home also includes a library, a custom-insulated and climate-controlled wine cellar, and an infinity pool that spills out toward the lake. Separate buildings on the property also house a spa and a climate-controlled, window-walled fitness center. Milan’s international airports are slightly more than an hour’s drive to the south, but an on-site helipad can welcome residents who would rather avoid any traffic on their way home.
Price: €25 million (about $32.8 million)
Offered by: Christie’s International Real Estate (www.christiesrealestate.com)
With six courses and 117 holes designed by golf course architects such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, and Rees Jones, Reynolds Plantation has rightfully secured its place as a golfer’s paradise; but the gated community has plenty to offer beyond its fairways and greens. Built around the shores of Lake Oconee in eastern Georgia, the community provides access to four marinas, which open up a variety of boating and fishing opportunities—fishing that includes bass, catfish, and other species.
Set on more than five acres along the shores of the lake, this Tuscan-inspired home offers its owners easy access to the water, thanks to two boat docks. Built in 2002, the home includes seven bedrooms and eight full bathrooms, as well as a ballroom-sized trophy room, a master wing located on the main level, and a finished basement complete with a wine cellar and tasting room.
Price: $13 million
Offered by: Harry Norman Realtors (www.harrynorman.com)
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Lake Tahoe may be viewed as a sanctuary by those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban living, but this particular home, situated only a stone’s throw from the lake, takes it to another level. Built upon a 210-acre site with a private lake of its own, the French Provincial estate comprises eight buildings—a main residence, a conservatory, a guest residence, an art studio, a boathouse pavilion, a fitness center (complete with an indoor basketball court), a stable, and an additional residence for guests and staff. The main residence spans 38,000 square feet and includes nine bedrooms and nine full baths, as well as a 16-car garage. The property also includes two par-3 golf holes.
For residents who wish to explore beyond their 200-plus-acre compound, Zephyr Cove offers a mile of private beach, wakeboarding and Jet Skiing on Lake Tahoe, and, in the winter, direct access to 25 groomed acres of snowmobiling terrain.
Price: $75 million
Offered by: Chaste International/Luxury Portfolio International (www.luxuryportfolio.com)
The driveway for this Mediterranean-style home meanders through the five-acre property and takes residents and guests past a two-bedroom guest cottage before arriving at the front door of the five-bedroom, six-bathroom home. In keeping with the Mediterranean motif, the interior of the home is accented by detailed ironwork, carved niches and columns, and arched windows and doors.
The 11,600-square-foot home includes a mahogany-paneled library, a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, designed around an open floor plan, and an indoor swimming pool accented by numerous floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights. Also on the property are an outdoor pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a garage capable of storing at least five automobiles.
Price: $10.75 million
Offered by: Sotheby’s International Realty (www.sothebysrealty.com)
Kelowna, British Columbia
British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley has become Canada’s prominent wine region, centered around Okanagan Lake, a 136-square-mile body of water known for its beaches and boating, as well as various species of fish that include rainbow trout and sockeye salmon. With more than 100 feet of frontage along the lake, this 6,100-square-foot home offers residents easy access to the water, thanks to a unique anchor-designed boat dock with multiple lifts and docking slips.
The home is ideal for those who wish to host parties. A finished entertaining area built around an infinity-edge swimming pool includes an outdoor kitchen complete with a built-in, 54-inch barbecue grill. Inside, other entertaining areas include a media room and wine cellar, while a rooftop patio area includes a gas fire pit and plenty of room to take in a view of the lake (and perhaps catch a sighting of the lake’s alleged sea monster, known to locals as Ogopogo).
Price: $6.29 million
Offered by: Jane Hoffman Group (www.janehoffman.com)