Lake Minnetonka evening boat rideI’ve never really been that into the idea of a lake house…or a lake vacation for that matter. I grew up on a man-made lake in my parent’s neighborhood with a paddle boat and seaweed tickling my toes when I’d swim and that was good enough for me. It’s actually a little unfortunate for my lake loving husband Jeff to be married to a person with a low appreciation for lake life. Apparently I’ve been a bit of a show stopper for his entire adult life on all things lake — so he says. Things have been fine really, Jeff was starting to settle for the idea of a pool — living on water, just a different kind of hassle. But his lake dreams just got TURN’T UP when his brother Chris bought a lake house on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. Oh lawd, help meh! 

Fast forward to last week where we spent a week vacationing at Chris and my sister-in-law Jenny’s home for some lake fun; boating, water sports, and family bonding time. I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful this vacation was. I’m all about beach vacays somewhere South or West, but this was a lake vacation for the memory books… and I’m warming to the idea of lake living myself!

Boat ride with the family on our lake vacation

Mommy holding little Leo on the boat on our lake vacation

Paddle boarding with my daughter

Just live at the lake,  all year

My biggest dread about a lake house of my own was the idea of having a second home anywhere from 1-3 hours away from my main home. I don’t want to feel guilty if I’m not going enough in the summer and I don’t want to worry about maintenance checks throughout the year. But Chris and Jenny had a great idea — live on this big beautiful lake year round as their main home. No traveling, no second mortgage, no guilt — just a million dollar view every. single. day. OK, I’m listing…

Views of Lake Minnetonka on a sunny day

They purchased a 1925 lake cottage fixer upper and Jenny has been working her way through this thing making big strides in their first year. She’s already completely renovated the basement so it’s like this perfect little apartment for the revolving door of guests they will have all summer. It’s all white ship lap, sliding barn doors, and exposed beams — Chip & Joanna Gaines would approve! And a mini kitchen and fridge stalked with beer is the cherry on top! She’s already renovated two top floor bathrooms and plans to make the second and third level of the home equally as charming with this modern lake home vibe. But even with half the home in a pre-renovation phase it’s so welcoming and comfy. And their view is everything with wall to wall sliding glass doors begging you to come hither to the lake! If you want to check out some of her renovation and lake view pics you can follow her on Instagram. 🙂

We were worried that perhaps venturing up to Minnesota in the first week of June would be a bad idea because the lake water would still be cold and maybe the weather might be iffy. But we lucked out with 7 straight days of sunshine and 75-85 degree weather. That’s nearly unheard of in the Midwest for that many days in a row so I’m so thankful for a beautiful week. We lounged around the house in the mornings and planned fun afternoons venturing off to some cute little lake town nearby. That’s the great thing about Lake Minnetonka. It’s so freaking big that there’s so many cute little lake towns around it within a short drive or boat ride. A fun thing to do is boat to these places, dock, venture into the town for lunch and shopping, and hop back into the boat and head home. It’s a much more fun ride when you can crack open a cold beer from the cooler on your boat ride home!

Day one of my lake vacation

Feet up, relaxing on the boat on our lake vacation

Inter-tubing with cousins

As if the gorgeous lakes and adorable lake towns weren’t enough to warrant a family vacation or a move to Minnesota, how about this: NO RETAIL SALES TAX!! ! So when you pick up a shirt and the price tag says $39.50 that’s all you pay. It’s such a nice surprise when you’re not expecting that at the cash register. So of course I had to do a little shopping while there, including hitting up a lake town Anthropologie, Ever Eve, and this super cute boutique called Primp Boutique. Bye sales tax, BYE!

Top: Anthropologie, jeans: Express, Jewels: Stella & Dot, espadrilles: Tory Burch

Top: Anthropologie (on sale!) // Jeans: Express // Shoes: Tory Burch Espadrilles (on sale!)

We truly had the best time on this trip. It was like a country time lemonade commercial, only with shopping and lots of wine and beer! For the first time I developed a real appreciation for lake living. I loved watching my kids have fun on the water, especially my daughter who enjoys all aspects of lake life, from fast boat rides (she’s fearless!) to inter-tubing and stand up paddle boarding. Now I’m wishing there was a Lake Minnetonka in Indiana so I didn’t have to move 10 hours away from my friends and family! So Jeff is now determined to find a lake home that we can live 365 days a year that has all the functionality that we need for our main home, but with water and lake town charm to complete the picture! I think I’ve crossed over to the lakeside… I finally get what it’s all about!

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