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Lake House Dreaming.

I was born less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean. I have spent the majority of my life less than a half hour from a beach. And all of our family vacations when I were growing up were to Cape Cod. So you could say that I am a beach girl through and through.

And yet, recently I find myself craving a bit of lake side solitude.

There is something so cozy and perfect to me about a little house in the woods next to a lake. It’s so different from the breezy open space of the beach. Now, don’t get me wrong—I loved my Cape Cod childhood and living a ten minute bike ride from the beach was amazing.

But then I see pictures like this:

So beautiful. I think part of it is trying to fill the hole left when my parents sold our family house on Cape Cod. I confess I love Cape Cod. It is in my blood.  I think I can count on one hand the summers I didn’t spend there in my life. It was such a part of my family life. So many childhood memories going to the same places and getting those great onion rings at Nauset Beach.  Trips to the Christmas Tree Shop to buy mugs and puzzles.  Eric proposed to me there.  Losing the Cape house was like losing a part of my childhood and in a little tiny bit, a part of my family.  It was the only place where we, as a family would meet after all of the kids grew up and lived all over the U.S.  It was also where we spent all of our Christmases for almost twenty years.

Losing the Cape house felt like losing my last link to living back East. This happened around the same time I gave birth.  A time when you just want to create your own family traditions. Alix goes every summer to visit her parents at their lake house and it looks so marvelous. Seeing her photos, and all other these lake houses makes me realize that I need to reclaim summer vacations and start my own traditions with my little family.

And I think that perhaps it just might start with finding a little spot on a lake.

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25 Responses

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  1. Jenny Goldsmith says

    If you want to get Midwesty, Wisconsin has lots of little lake communities tucked into the woods. There are also 1950-1970s Supper Clubs scattered throughout the countryside so you are never far from your Friday Fish fry.

    • Amber Liddle says

      Yes there are!! I’m in Milwaukee and we love going just a bit north to get to where the supper clubs are :) So fun.

  2. megan says

    Agreed. Grew up and have lived in CA all my life, and I have always dreamed of a lake house. I have realized that California is not the best place to fulfill that dream, unfortunately. Even Tahoe is not quite the same because it’s so dang cold. Have to go to the upper midwest and north atlantic to really find the perfect lake. But let me know if you ever find a good one in CA.

    • Dottie says

      Megan, I’m so glad I’m not alone. It really helps me feel like I’m not crazy!

      I will say that Lake Almanor up near Chico has some potential. And of course Lake Shasta. But I’m kinda thinking Oregon.

  3. Alix says

    One word: MICHIGAN!!!!!!! The irony of course being that I am sitting here AT THE LAKE HOUSE while reading this. I fear I will be making you extremely jealous soon as I post my lakehouse reality! haha. It’s so beautiful here.

    Don’t go for the vintage cabin, go for the proper HOUSE! Lake + Cabin = more camping (albeit fancy). I think you’d love a proper house with a big deck or porch. (you can go rustic and get a cabiny house!)

    But the post you MUST do is CAPE COD DREAMS!!!! I LOVE coming to the lakehouse but I have to admit I have always been intrigued as can be by the East Coast summers. I’d looooove to see your version of Cape Cod. Were you watching The Next FoodNetwork Star? That show that was on the food of Cape Cod and New England looked pretty intriging!!!! We’ll get ya to the lake house some day! You guys should come out and visit one summer.
    : )

    • Dottie says

      I will totally do that! But I want to get pics from my parents to really do justice to it! Because it really is wonderful. I guess we always want what we don’t have.

      But I’m surprised that you didn’t go to the Cape when you were in college. I’m sure tons of people did!

      • Alix says

        I went to the Cape once when my folks visited (and remember it being super pretty), but really most of us didn’t travel much in college….for starters, no one had a car and most of us were poor students without bonus moolah for exploring (i know there were some rich kids, sadly none were my pals! hah!). Also, since we were all from far flung places, I think we got into exploring the cambridge/boston area the most. Like, we were so close to NYC too, but no one ever went there either. Someday I’ll head back there with the family! I’d love to show it to greg and wolfie!

  4. Carra says

    I am, and always have been, obsessed with lake house summer vacations. I hope to be able to find my own little slice of cabin-by the-lake heaven someday. Love all of these photos!

    • Dottie says

      I’m so glad you get it and are equally obsessed and liked the photos. Man, I had so much fun getting them!

  5. heather says

    born and raised in california by the beach but i have ALWAYS dreamed of a lake house!

    • Dottie says

      Heather–you are not alone! It turns out a lot of us do! I’m so glad I did this post to just hear that other people feel the same way! Thank you so much for your response!

  6. Tara says

    Growing up (with the exception of birth through age 3) I never lived farther than 10 miles from Galveston Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes, thunderstorms, humidity & mosquitoes were as part of my childhood as breathing. I spent summers at my best friend’s parents’ beach house. But honestly? I hate the beach. The gritty feeling of sand on my skin and the sea air in my hair is just disgusting to me.

    I love Central Texas rivers. You put me on a river in a tube with something cool to drink and I’m a happy girl. The Guadalupe, the Comal, the Frio, you name it, I’m content. It’s where my roots are (my mother’s family settled in Central Texas), it’s where I was educated and it’s where we want to retire to, with a river as a backyard, so our grandchildren can know the joys of a river as well.

    • Dottie says

      Hahahaha!!! It is gritty! Thank you for saying that! And I totally agree with you–a good river totally rocks! Especially if you are tubing! Tee hee!

  7. stoptheclock says

    I was just going to suggest Lake Michigan! I grew up there and it’s beautiful!

  8. Jody says

    We have some lakes in these parts (and quite a few rivers)…. but I’m just angling for you to come visit me!

  9. elizabeth b says

    I’m kind of a lake house AND beach girl….because the family cottage is on Lake Michigan (the Michigan side). So plenty of sand to play in but a nice lake to swim in and amazing sunsets! I feel really lucky every time I get to go hang out there. I hope you get the lake house of your dreams someday!

  10. Cedar says

    I lived in a lake house for 7 or 8 of my childhood years, before returning to southern California. I can honestly say it was magical. We had forest all around us, we spent summers boating and swimming to friends house, and one winter the lake even froze, and we played on the ice. Living in San Diego is really hard for me, and I am counting down the days (or years) until we can leave and live in an area that actually has lakes–and trees! We lived in Washington state, but I think when we move it will be east coast, a bit too much grey weather in the north west!

    • Dottie says

      Lady, I completely hear you. When we lived in Connecticut we lived near the woods. A friend of mine had a house with a little creek running through it and I’ve never been so jealous!

  11. tina aka forrestina vintage says

    Beautiful examples of lake houses. I love the beach, too, but something about being in the forest…especially if there is a lake or a river, it’s just magical. :)

  12. Stephanie says

    We did Lake Huron in Ontario and Keuka Lake in NY this summer. Georgian Bay on Lake Huron is the better lake I think but the towns in the Finger Lakes are sweet. I’m a lake house girl too!

    • Dottie says

      Oh, wow! Those are two great options! I particularly like the idea of Keuka Lake. I love the idea of the little towns too.

    • Dottie says

      Tiffany–that sounds perfect! I wish our family Cape house was still there–but a lake in NH sounds like a little bit of heaven. I read about your vacation and truly it sounded like perfection. Sgh!

  13. Tiffanie says

    I HEAR YOU! I finally got to go back and spend a week on the I grew up on (Lake Winnipesaukee) this summer, and up until then it had just been an urgent fantasy. It would’ve been great to have taken a vacation somewhere new and exciting, but I had to go share that part of my childhood with my children this year, just had to. It’s so hard when you can’t go home any more, especially to somewhere as beautiful as the Cape, or in my case, New Hampshire.

    A vacation on a lake is a beautiful thing and totally worth it, a great new tradition for you and yours. I do recommend firming up a plan early in the new year, because in some towns the cottages go very quickly!

  14. Jen V says

    Minnesota is the land of a 1,000 lakes…it is a lakehouse girl’s paradise

  15. jess s says

    Yep, basically Camp Wandawega is where I vacation in my fantasies!!



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