The Function of Lakes in Urban Environments

Lake Union, Seattle, photo courtesy of

The role that urban lakes play in cities big and small goes beyond adding aesthetic value and a healthy dose of flora to the otherwise sparse urban landscape. From increasing biodiversity to aiding with flood control to providing a space for recreation and community businesses to thrive, lakes can be a vital – and beautiful – part of the urban fabric.

Biodiversity and Flood Control

Lady Bird Lake, Austin, TX, courtesy of .

In addition to offering a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, lakes bring biodiversity to the urban ecosystem. The fish and algae that thrive in lakes attract birds and other wildlife to the city area. Waterbirds flock to urban lakes during both breeding and non-breeding seasons, seeking year-round refuge around their waters. Lake wildlife extends out to the benefit of the greater community. The same birds who feed and thrive among the lake waters help to increase the greenery throughout the city by spreading and dropping seeds, out of which new trees and vegetation grow – and we all reap the benefits of their oxygen production and air purification.

Urban lakes and their surrounding wetlands provide not only aesthetic and recreational value but also aid urban infrastructure by helping to control flooding and run-off. Lakes provide a basin to collect heavy rainfall so that flooding in their surrounding areas is mitigated. Alternatively, urban lakes also act as vital water reserves during times of drought. Access to lake water, especially in land-locked areas, has proven very beneficial in metropolitan areas across the country.

Recreation and Business

Prospect Park Lake, New York, courtesy of

Urban lakes grant city-dwellers and visitors a place to fish, exercise, and enjoy time outdoors. Often surrounded by parks or lively restaurants and bars, these lakes can make you feel far from city life in the best way possible. Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, is a perfect example of an urban lake that has much to offer to the community. From hiking, biking, kayaking, walking along the boardwalk and even bat watching, Lady Bird Lake is an urban lake that offers myriad activities that one might typically have to drive for miles outside of the city limits to access. Fishing is another activity to take advantage of when visiting an urban lake. Even in some of the most densely populated cities in America, fishing is allowed. Take Prospect Park Lake in New York City, for example – though only catch-and-release is allowed, the lake is home to an array of species, including the popular largemouth bass.

Bodies of water are spaces that people naturally flock to, for the beauty and respite they provide from daily life. This popularity makes urban lakes ideal places for small local businesses to thrive. From lakeside eateries to boat tours and waterski rentals, lakes bring jobs to cities that help the economy and community. Lake Champlain in Vermont, for instance, boasts many lakeside restaurants and bars in the Burlington area that draws visitors from across the region.

An Oasis from City Life

Lakes in densely populated areas provide a welcome retreat from the regular hustle and bustle of city living. Though city-dwellers tend to be exposed to more day-to-day stressors, having access to a body of water is proven to affect mental health positively. Urban lakes serve as a place of respite for city communities, bringing nature, wildlife, and surrounding greenery into what may otherwise be a concrete jungle – they are truly diamonds in the rough!

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Brighten Up Your Lake Home with Dried Florals

living room lake house decorate ideas - dried florals flowers ideas arrangements
Photo courtesy of Botanical Tales.

In most parts of the country, it may not be warm enough to keep fresh flowers thriving. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the joy of decorating with florals in your home. Dried flowers can add a beautiful spring-like touch to your lake home, even when the weather hasn’t quite caught up yet. It would help if you didn’t have to compromise when it comes to spring florals, and by drying your flowers and stems, you don’t have to sacrifice your aesthetic. We have some advice on how to select, dry, and arrange your dried florals to add an element of joy to your lake home that will carry you through to summer.

Continue reading “Brighten Up Your Lake Home with Dried Florals”

Strike Gold in Lake Anna, Virginia

Lake Anna, Virginia during sunset
Photo courtesy of Lake Anna Guide.

The largest lake in the state of Virginia, and just 80 miles from Washington DC (only 50 miles from Richmond), Lake Anna is a top-notch locale to call home. Lake Anna spans 17 miles and three counties in Virginia – Louisa, Spotsylvania, and Orange. This area, once flush with gold, now boasts a rich history and beautiful surroundings, making it well worth a visit or a full-time living arrangement!

The “Gold Hill” Era

Gold Hill Virginia
Photo courtesy of Terrain360.

Lake Anna State Park once carried the moniker “Gold Hill” after becoming a famous mining area when gold was first discovered there in 1829. The Lake Anna gold rush lasted over a century, until coming to a halt in the 1940s when the last bits of gold were found in a local zinc mine. The freshwater lake, now known as Lake Anna was created three decades later in 1972. A dam was built on the North Anna River, forming a lake west of the dam. Shortly after its creation, the Lake Anna area was developed into a state park, opening to its first visitors in 1983. Today, it is an idyllic locale to spend time or set up roots of your own. Owning a home on Lake Anna means having countless opportunities for adventure at your fingertips – for all ages, and all interests.

Fisher’s Paradise

two little boys fishing in lake
Photo courtesy of Step Outside.

The ways to enjoy Lake Anna and its surrounding areas are boundless. Spend the day at the sandy beach of Lake Anna State Park, take advantage of the 15 miles of hiking trails, or explore the many bike paths in the area. There is a fishing pond in the park, which is ideal for the young ones in your life. You will also find campsites that provide a base for outdoor adventurers. The state park is filled with history and is home to the former Goodman Gold Mine. Go on a tour of the land where the mine once existed. Learn why Virginia was once a top gold-mining state. Beyond the gold rush, this lake is a perfect spot for boating and fishing – it has been particularly regarded as a prime destination for bass fishing.

Must-Visit Local Wineries

Lake Anna winery
Photo courtesy of Family Detour.

Just a short drive outside the lake area, enjoy the highly regarded local wineries of central Virginia. Lake Anna Winery, Fifty-Third Winery and Vineyard, and Chateau Merrilanne – to name a few – are all a stone’s throw away from the lake area. Most wineries in the region offer tours and tastings, as well as transportation opportunities that make for a great day trip.

Immerse in Culture and History

Goolrick's Pharmacy
Photo courtesy of

Lake Anna’s surrounding towns are a must-visit for any history buffs. A hop and a skip away, take a walking tour of downtown Louisa or explore nearby Fredericksburg, a town with impressive culture and history. While you’re there, enjoy a tour of the Mary Washington House, purchased by George Washington for his mother in 1772. See the same sights our forefathers did that still exist in Fredericksburg to this day. The area is also home to four significant Civil War battlefields – Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania – as well as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Military Park. The region’s local breweries are well worth a visit. Have a beer at one of the several in the area, such as Alstadt, Highmark, or Maltese Brewing Co. You’ll want to check out the culinary scene the area has to offer, while you’re at it – don’t skip out on the local barbecue spots like Allman’s or Billiken’s. 

With Washington, D.C. only a two-hour drive away, Lake Anna is an easy trip from the city. Spend time relaxing by the lake while having plenty of other activities at your fingertips. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, it’s sure to be golden!

“Hygge”: Bringing this Cozy Concept into your Lake Home

two people in front of fireplace

Soft blankets, hot tea, time spent relaxing around a fire, and scented candles– what do all these things have in common? Besides sounding like wonderful, relaxing ways to spend time (especially in chilly February), a comfy, cozy, state of being can be summed up by one Danish word: “hygge.” In Danish culture, hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is an integral part of thriving and staying happy throughout the winter months. During a time when fewer hours of sunlight can get us all down, take a queue from the Danish. Your lake home is the perfect place to incorporate this Scandinavian art of being cozy, happy, and feeling your best self for the rest of the winter — because all seasons at the lake should be enjoyed. Read on for small ways you can adopt hygge into your lakeside lifestyle this winter.

Create Your Own Nook

hygge nook in Incline Village, Nevada lake home
Photo courtesy of Mountain Living.

Nothing quite says comfort like creating your own cozy lakeside nook – for reading, journaling, knitting – whatever it is that you enjoy doing to relax. Find some throw blankets and extra soft pillows to set an idyllic scene that makes you want to curl up and find your slice of heaven. Create your hygge-inspired space near a window in your home, and enjoy all the natural beauty the lake has to offer. Having a space that makes you appreciate the simple act of getting deep into a good book is what hygge is all about. Make a soothing cup of your favorite herbal tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, and let yourself fall into a happy, healthy rhythm. If you’d like to go the extra mile and keep the cozy energy going all year round, consider installing a window seat near your favorite look-out spot!

Include Some Friends

You can live out your hygge aspirations while being social with your lakeside community, too. In fact, to the Danish, the community is key to keeping spirits high throughout the winter – and seeing as Scandinavian countries are consistently voted the happiest in the world, we’re all ears! Host a game night with friends and family, cook a delicious meal together with locally produced ingredients, or spend time connecting with far-away loved ones over the phone. Conversation and togetherness are valuable tenets of hygge that keep us vibrating at a healthy frequency throughout the cold months. Hosting nights-in during the winter also gives you a great excuse to show off your indoor winter decor, and even start planning for fun activities out on the lake, come spring.

Friends and family toasting at dinner party

The best thing is, hygge is meant to be enjoyed indoors. While outdoor activity plans can be thrown off course due to unpredictable winter weather, you can bet a snow storm will make your plans to journal by candlelight that much more delightful. The joys of having a lake home are season-less, and you should enjoy all your home has to offer you – outside, and inside.

Your lake home is the perfect place to get into the spirit of hygge this winter. By leaning into being cozy and taking a breather, you can allow yourself to appreciate the art of doing less and enjoy your magnificent surroundings all year long. The only thing standing between “cabin fever” and joyful, healthy home life this winter is perspective. So put on some wool socks, bring some aromatherapy to the mix with your most-loved scented candles, and enjoy every minute.

Ways to Stay Active at the Lake this Winter

Emerald Bay Sunset | Lake Homes Realty

With winter comes shorter, darker days that make you want to spend your days cozying up and laying low. These cooler days also make fitting in exercise a little more complicated, and as a result, less desirable. However, it can be possible (and fun!) to keep up with your fitness goals even in the colder months, thanks to simple workouts you can opt to do inside – or out. Here are some ways to keep moving when the temperatures drop:

Take a Morning Walk

Couple holding hands morning fitness exercise at the lake

The bright side (literally and figuratively) of shorter days is the beautiful sunrises that winter brings. Give yourself a pick-me-up before the rest of the world opens its eyes by taking in the natural surroundings of your lakeside abode in the morning light. Not only do you fit in some exercise early-on in the day, but this is also a great time to set your intentions for the entire day with a clear mind while appreciating your gorgeous surroundings. Early morning exercise also leads to increased productivity in the hours that follow. Just remember to pile on your winter layers first and wear shoes with hearty traction should you come upon any slippery patches of ice or wet leaves.

If the temperatures dip too low or the weather is too nasty to walk outside comfortably, an indoor treadmill is a great alternative. Setting your treadmill to an incline can help increase the burn for an even more effective indoor walk. Either way, you’ll be achieving your goal of keeping your body moving and healthy!

Take a Spin on a Stationary Bike

Photo courtesy of Lake Lawn Resort.

A major incentive of having a lake home is the ability to enjoy the outdoors, but when the temperature drops a little too low for comfort, you can still find opportunities to break a sweat in the great indoors. Setting up a stationary cycle near a window with a scenic view is the perfect way to appreciate the surrounding beauty of your property while staying comfortable on cooler days. There are wide variety of stationary bikes available that are designed to fold up for easy storage when not in use. These are great options when you know you’ll only be using the bike a few months out of the year, or if you simply want the option to create more space when entertaining.

Set up a Yoga Retreat in Your Home

3 women doing yoga lake fitness active exercise at the lake

In addition to being an effective method to becoming more mindful, yoga is a great way to increase blood flow, flexibility and keep your body strong. Best of all, you’ll need very little equipment to have your yoga sessions at home. All you need is a yoga mat (or a padded surface with some grip), and a guide or video to follow. Whether you can set aside 15 minutes or an entire hour, you’ll feel the difference and your body will thank you. Spend the winter fine-tuning your yoga practice and by the time the weather warms up you’ll be ready to take your mat outside… and it doesn’t get much better than yoga in the fresh lakeside air!

Whatever it is you choose to do to stay healthy and active at your lake home this winter, you should be sure to have fun with it and celebrate your commitment to taking care of yourself. Keep yourself accountable by finding a friend, partner, or family member – near or far – who has similar exercise goals as your own. Whether it be going on walks, practicing yoga together, or simply discussing what you’ve been doing to stay fit, having someone to share in your efforts and accomplishments can make all the difference.

Here’s to a fun, active and healthy 2020!