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The Lake Life Is The Great Life

Water is in our DNA. Water is life. Water is soothing. Water is great outdoor recreation.

So, it only makes sense that, as humans, we want to be on, in or near the water as much as possible.

Furthermore, it only makes sense that we want to reside by water.

Shown is the lake home of my in-laws on a private lake in Hall County, Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Noted Archaeologist Brian Fagan says: “Water is something that humanity has cherished since the beginning of history and it means something different to everyone. We all have our own unique relationship and set of memories with water. It’s where we came from originally and it’s where we naturally flock to recharge, rehydrate and reconnect.”

Family has gathered on the covered patio deck of a lake house in Dodge County, Nebraska owned by my daughter, Emma Nichols and son-in-law Tyler Nichols. Photo by by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I am one of the very fortunate people who have relatives, in-laws and good friends who live or have homes on lakes.

Here is a canal that connects lakes in a Lancaster County, Nebraska development where my brother-in-law, Dean Dennhardt, owns a lake home (seen in the background). Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Do you live on a lake? Perhaps you know someone who lives on the water? Maybe you know someone who has a cabin on a lake, pond, reservoir, river or stream?

Even if you don’t know anyone who lives near water, periodic, temporary waterfront or water body living (camping or staying in a cabin) can easily be attained and experienced in the 77 area Nebraska state park system. That’s simply because the majority of those areas are either on the water, offer a commanding view of water or provide access to water.

A waterfront cabin at Lewis and Clark Lake State Recreation Area near Crofton, NE. Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
rv at sunrise
Campers enjoy a lakeside view of the sunset at Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area near Valentine, NE. Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

I can only surmise that living day-to-day on an expanse of water is an amazing lifestyle. It is not just a home location, it seems to be  much more than that. I am sure glad I am allowed to visit (and fish) from time to time.

Displayed is a nice-sized black bass that I caught and released from a private sandpit lake in Douglas County, Nebraska where friends live in lakefront homes. Photo by Nebraska Conservation Officer Rich Berggren of Waterloo, NE.

Longtime realtor, Corky Grimes, of the Corky Grimes Group/CBS Home Real Estate Office based in Omaha, NE, has a home on a private lake in Cass County, Nebraska. Grimes says it’s his get-away place for decompression, and he and his wife love living on the water. “The lake home allows our family to have a destination where the kids, grandkids and other family members can come, have fun, bond with each other and experience what life is like on the water,” points out Grimes.

“There is usually one or more family members staying at the lake house fishing, enjoying water recreation or just relaxing nearly every weekend in the summer,” he adds.

Grimes says the lake life is being discovered by the general public. “Back it up to water, build it and they will come,” he remarks.

Now enter Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., a prominent marine biologist, researcher and author.

Nichols wrote Blue Mind, a fascinating, best-selling book about the emotional, behavioral, psychological and physical connections that keep humans so enchanted with water. He did an interesting interview with Condé Nast Traveler magazine about his book. In that interview, he says an immeasurable sense of peace is felt around water. Nichols calls this our “blue mind” — a chance to escape the hyper-connected, over-stimulated, fast-paced state of modern day life, in favor of rare moments of solitude. Studies continually find that humans are drawn toward expanses of water for, in part, their restorative benefits. Nicholas puts it this way: “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what is broken.”

My daughter, Emma Nichols and son-in-law Tyler Nichols, are pictured on the waterside portion of their new lake home in Dodge County, Nebraska. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Not only is it appeasing and beautiful to live or stay on a lake, but it provides you with endless outdoor recreational potential, neat wildlife watching opportunities,  a sense of community, increased property values (Market surveys have been conducted that show lakefront properties grow rapidly above the original purchase price) and plenty of entertainment, along with some other perks.

Here are seven reasons why people enjoy lake living, according to Glenn S. Phillips, who is the CEO of Lake Homes Realty:

1. Lake Fun

You will not be bored or lack something to do, ever with lakefront living. Residing on a lake has its benefits, and water recreational activities are definitely on the top of the list. The lake environment offers an avenue to have fun. enjoy the sun and get wet. Even in the winter there is ice fishing and ice skating that can be done! Here are just some of the activities you can do with having lake property:

  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Wading
  • Kayaking
  • Paddle boarding
  • Sailing
  • Boating
  • Scuba diving

Even in the winter there is ice fishing and ice skating that can be done!

2. Relaxation

There are studies that support the claim that water provides relaxation. Of course, it is quite obvious that it does. Remember those days when you visited a lake, all of those comforting feelings and how less tense and restful you felt?

A lake can give you this on a daily basis when you have lake property. After a long day’s work, coming home to see the peaceful and serene visuals the lake offers instantly calms the homeowner. Imagine sitting on the patio or deck and watching the sun set over the water in a spectrum of colors. When we are by the water, it cuts us off from the rattle and hum of modern society and offers an auditory break with waves lapping along the shoreline or seawall.

3. Privacy

Homes that are located on large lots by lakes typically include more isolation. You are further from folks. You have native mature trees and landscaping blocking your view of the neighbors; this means that you have more privacy. This natural privacy is also a “fence” that offers shielding from roads, trails and passerbys.

Keep in mind that you’ll always have more privacy than those with fences on all four sides. At least one side opens up to the gorgeous water, giving you some much needed breathing room.

4. Traffic

Traffic can be annoying, especially when you live along a busy road or near a highway. The traffic noises are intrusive and if you have animals or children, it can be quite dangerous. Say goodbye to all those semi-trucks, construction vehicles and public buses.

5. Wildlife

All life needs water to sustain itself. You live on a lake, so all of those interesting and majestic animals share your lakefront property. You will see waterfowl, shorebirds, white-tailed deer, bald eagles and so many other creatures of the wild.

6. Entertaining

You can host cookouts, birthday parties, annual summer barbecues, sporting event get-togethers and even more functions with the location of your lake home. You can even throw a camping-type party that involves an overnight where your guests can swim, fish, boat during the daytime and enjoy a  bonfire in the evening where hot dogs and marshmallows are roasted.

7. Community

In areas where lake homes exist, people tend to build very strong bonds with each other. You have a common bond; the love for water, nature and the outdoors. It is extremely easy to get to know your neighbors when you spend time on your dock or beach. You will pass by each other on the boats. It is not like a typical neighborhood setting where you will just wave to each when you get your mail, mow your lawn or put your garbage cans curbside.

Since Homo sapiens started exploring earth, we’ve followed water. We have settled next to water. We have established cities and commerce along water. We are inspired by water. We garner happiness from water. Having it, seeing it, playing in it, painting it, swimming, wading, boating or fishing in it, watching wildlife in and around it, writing about it, reading about it, photographing it and creating lasting memories along its edge. Water drives many of our decisions and desires. From the fish we like to eat to time spent with family and friends to our most romantic moments to the activities and sports we enjoy to the ways in which we travel or relax, and to where we live, being by water equals happiness.

Under the watchful eyes of his mother and my daughter-in–law, Kristin Wagner, my grandson, Jackson Wagner, runs through the clear, shallow water of a Dodge County, Nebraska sandpit lake beach where his aunt and uncle have a lake home. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Lara Rosenbaum, a well-known lifestyle magazine writer and editor, probably sums it up best when she states: “Water pulls on me the way the moon pulls on it. It’s just in my blood and bones. It makes me feel alive in a deep, calm way. It sort of brings me in.”

My daughter-in-law, Kristin Wagner, relaxes on the dock of her mother and father’s lake house at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Photo by Zach Wagner of Omaha, NE.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media sites, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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