5 Facts About Lake Anna

Photo courtesy of Navionics

For miles of gorgeous shoreline, plenty of fishing opportunities, and an interesting slice of history, look no further than Lake Anna. One of the largest freshwater reservoirs in Virginia, Lake Anna is a popular recreational spot with close proximity to major cities such as Richmond and Charlottesville. Between fishing, swimming, boating, and water sports (including several triathlon competitions), there’s something for everyone on this beautiful southeastern lake.

Close Proximity to Historic Landmarks

Image from National Park Service/Buddy Secor via Lake Anna Guide

A short day trip away from Lake Anna is Spotsylvania, also known as the “Crossroads of the Civil War.” Many major battles were fought at this location including the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, the site of 20 hours of brutal hand-to-hand combat. Other interesting attractions like the Historic Courthouse, the Old Jail, and the National Park Service Spotsylvania Battlefield will delight all history buff visitors. While you’re there, stop for some beer, wine, and spirit tasting at the Grapes and Grains Trail.

Second-Largest Lake in Virginia

Photo courtesy of Virginia.org

Surpassed only by Kerr Lake, Lake Anna is the second largest lake in the state of Virginia. Overall, the lake measures 17 miles long with about 200 miles of shoreline. This shoreline is divided into public and private sectors, with the latter being closed off to commercial operation and available only to private residents. With this division, boats on one side cannot cross over to the other. If you’re not a private resident, you’re still in luck. One of the most popular spots on the public shoreline is Lake Anna State Park, full of sandy beaches, swimming, and hiking trails.

History of Gold

Photo courtesy of Lake Anna Rentals

When you think of Gold Mining, perhaps the famous California Gold Rush comes to mind. However, the west wasn’t the only place in the country where people discovered gold. In 1829, gold was discovered in Louisa County, Virginia during the peak of gold mining in the U.S. Between 1830 and 1849, the Goodman Gold mine, also known as “Gold Hill” was the third-largest gold mine in the country. The Goodman Gold mine flourished for about a century until the 1940s, replaced three decades later by the man-made Lake Anna.

Hotspot for Fishing

Photo courtesy of stepoutside.org

Of course, most of our lakes are known for their abundance of fishing opportunities. But Lake Anna in particular is special in this regard. It’s lauded as one of the top spots to fish for largemouth bass on the East Coast. Besides largemouth bass, crappie and stripers are the most popular catches on this lake, and many anglers come to Lake Anna specifically to reel in a bass. About 99% of fishing on Lake Anna is catch and release, but if you want to take one home for the grill, you’ll need to meet the minimum size requirement. If you’re new to fishing on this lake, get in touch with a fishing guide from the Lake Anna Visitor’s Center. 

If you’re searching for a lively, picturesque lake home near Virginia, you might find your dream home on Lake Anna. Check out our available listings in this area, and consult with one of our lake expert agents!

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Lake Placid: History of the Winter Olympics

Photo courtesy of AP via ABC News

Once every four years, people across the globe come together in shared excitement about the Winter Olympics. This major international event involves multiple snow and ice sports competing for the most prestigious sporting medals in the world. Inspired by the ancient Olympic games  held in Olympia, Greece, the modern games began in the late 1800s and have been thriving ever since. But the Winter Olympics began slightly later. In Chamonix, France, the first ever Winter Olympics were held in 1924, featuring nine categories of sports including cross-country skiing, curling, and bobsleighing. Since its inception, 12 countries on three continents have hosted the Winter Olympics. This year, the world is gearing up for Beijing, China’s hosting in February 2022. 

Of all the cities that have historically hosted the Winter Olympics, only three have hosted twice. Besides St. Morris and Innsbruck, the third is Lake Placid. This village nestled in New York’s Adirondack Mountains is home to a gorgeous lake by the same name. Today, we’re delving into Lake Placid’s history with the Winter Olympics, and why this lake area deserved two spots in the games’ history.

Lake Placid: Winter Olympics 1932

4 Feb 1932: National Delegations parading in the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 1932 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York State, USA. \ Mandatory Credit: IOC Olympic Museum /Allsport via The Atlantic

For Lake Placid’s first hosting of the Winter Olympics, we have a man named Godfrey Dewy to thank. In 1929, this president of the Lake Placid Organizing committee gave a passionate speech pitching Lake Placid as the Winter Olympics destination. His speech, paired with the area’s reputation as a premier winter sports venue, landed this region the gig. Even in the middle of the Great Depression, this small town of 4,000 people was an excellent site for the games, and Mr. Godfrey donated his family’s plot of land for the bobsleigh track. Not only was the event a success for Lake Placid, but also for the U.S. as a whole. The 1932 Winter Olympic Games marked the first year that the U.S. won the medal tally.

Lake Placid: Winter Olympics 1980

Photo courtesy of STAFF/AFP/Getty Images via Daily News

In 1980, Lake Placid earned its spot as an Olympic destination for the second time. However, unlike the 1932 Olympics, global conflicts and the emergence of television made it more difficult for this small, upstate town to host such a major event. With even more attendees to the event and a wider audience through T.V., transportation was inadequate to meet these demands. In terms of global politics, it was also the height of the Cold War and the Soviet Union had just invaded Afghanistan. However, despite these constraints and setbacks, the Winter Olympics in 1980 were ultimately a success at Lake Placid. The U.S. ice hockey team won against the Soviet team which had previously dominated the olympic scene. Additionally, U.S. speed skater Eric Heiden won the gold for five consecutive races, setting an Olympic world record.

Will Lake Placid Host Again?

Photo courtesy of LakePlacid.com

Lake Placid has already established its Winter Olympic legacy as the destination for the 1932 and 1980 games. However, its hosting history may not be over. Lake Placid is home to several original venues including the Olympic Sports Complex, Whiteface Mountain, and the Olympic Center. Although its small size might be a hindrance to the future Olympic games, those advocating for Lake Placid’s hosting in 2026 suggest partnering with other areas in the region to accommodate more guests and more resources for athletes. So, it’s safe to say that this may not be the end of Lake Placid’s Winter Olympics career! 

At Lake Placid, its history in the Winter Olympics is only one interesting aspect of this beautiful upstate lake region. To learn more about what makes Lake Placid special, check out our listings in the area at Lakehomes.com!

The World’s Smallest and Largest Underground Lakes

Photo courtesy of John Karakatsanis Travelgrove

Did you know that 71% of the earth’s surface is made up of water? Mostly referring to the oceanic waters of the world, this statistic reminds us how integral that water is to life on earth. However, not all water is surface-based. In fact, there are multiple bodies of water that exist beneath the surface of the earth. From subglacial lakes to cave lakes, hundreds of intriguing bodies of water lie tucked away in the most unexpected spots on earth. Today, in honor of all the lakes we can’t see, we’re covering the smallest and largest underground lakes!

The Largest Subglacial Lake

Image courtesy of Live Science

Given the expansiveness of Antarctic lakes, it’s no surprise that the largest underground lake in the world is subglacial. As opposed to typical underground lakes, a subglacial lake simply refers to one that is covered by a layer of ice. In the case of Lake Vostok, this layer happens to be 2.5 miles. Because of this lake’s hidden nature, its existence was unknown until the 1990s when a Russian pilot and geographer noticed a unique oblong shape from the air.

Today, the lake is part of Vostok Station, a Russian research hub in central Antarctica. Although scientists disagree about whether the lake existed before or after the East Antarctic Ice Sheet was formed, they do agree on one thing — the lake’s ecosystem is fascinating. With a temperature of -89 degrees Fahrenheit, the presence of life in earth’s coldest temperatures has implications for the possibility of life on other planets.

The Largest Non-Subglacial Underground Lake

Photo courtesy of Gondwana Collection

The country of Namibia is famous for a lot of natural wonders — the treacherous skeleton coast, the world’s highest sand dunes, and most of the endangered black rhino population. Beyond these wonders, the country is also home to the largest non-subglacial underground lake. Located in the Otjozondjupa Region in Namibia, Dragon’s Breath Cave was discovered in 1986 and named for the moist air that can be seen from the cave’s entrance, resembling dragon’s breath. At least 16 invertebrate species live in these zero-sunlight conditions, as well as a few other species such as golden catfish, the most isolated fish in the world.

The Smallest Underground Lake

Photo courtesy of Awe-inspiring places

In a small island in the southwest Pacific, the Moqua Well sits on the island of Nauru. In this tropical location, a limestone plateau formed low cliffs, which later produced caves. Inside, Moqua Well is a 16 foot deep freshwater lake. During World War II, this lake was a primary source of freshwater for the people living on Nauru island. Its integral nature during the war earned its name “well” instead of “lake.” After the war, it was primarily a destination for partiers to drink. However, after an inebriated man fatally fell into the well, the lake is now closed access.

The Smallest and Clearest Underground Lake

Photo courtesy of PandoTrip

Although it is larger than Moqua Well, Melissani Lake is another one of the world’s smallest underground lakes. It also happens to be a fascinating tourist attraction. Close to the mainland of Greece, it’s located in Melissani Cave on the Greek island of Kefalonia. According to Greek mythology, Melissani was the cave of the nymphs, female deities who are usually personifications of nature. Tourists have remarked on the clarity of the water, which can make boats look as though they’re floating on air. While its length is only 3 miles long, it’s beauty is breathtaking and certainly worth a visit for any travelers to Eastern Europe. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of these underground lakes across the world!

5 Interesting Facts About Puget Sound, WA

(ALL INTERNAL & LIMITED EXTERNAL RIGHTS) Breaching orca near the San Juan Islands, Washington. Photo Credit: © Walt Kochan

If you’ve been to the Pacific Northwest and skipped Puget Sound, you’re missing out. It’s simply magnificent. Stretching along Washington state’s northwest coast, this expansive inlet borders large cities like Seattle and natural attractions like Mount Rainier

As Lake Homes Realty moves into Washington State, we’re excited to announce our presence on Puget Sound. To celebrate our launch in this region, check out these five facts!

It’s Actually Not a Lake

Image courtesy of Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.

Although Puget Sound is one of our lake markets, it’s not technically a lake. Instead, it is a 100-mile system of islands, channels, inlets, and estuaries fed by freshwater from the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Its 2,500-mile shoreline extends from the northern Deception Path to the southernmost Olympia, making it the second-largest estuary in the U.S. just after the Chesapeake Bay

It’s also a considerably deep body of water. The deepest point, between Whidbey Island and Tacoma, is 600 feet. That’s deep enough to submerge the entire Washington Monument!

It’s Home to Unique Marine Life

Photo courtesy of seattlepi.com.

Marine life is abundant in Puget Sound. On the small (animal) end of the scale, it’s home to more than 3,000 types of invertebrates, including clams, oysters, sea urchins, and octopus. On the larger end, 13 types of sea mammals live in the sound. Every year, visitors flock to Puget Sound for whale watching and excitedly wait to see orca whales, sea otters, and seals. For anglers, the sound’s various species of salmon are attractive. 

Overall, Puget Sound has a thriving ecosystem. In part, this is due to the abundance of underwater nutrients from plants like seagrass and kelp—fun fact — the latter is a superfood for humans and fish.

It was Named for a British Lieutenant

Image courtesy of SteamboatIsland.org.

In the late 1700s, British explorer George Vancouver completed an expedition to the Pacific Northwest. Along his journey, he named 75 islands and water bodies, one of them being Puget Sound. He named this particular waterway in honor of Peter Puget, a Royal Navy lieutenant who accompanied him on the expedition. 

However, this is not the only name for Puget Sound. Native Americans indigenous to the area referred to the sound as Whulge or Whulj, long before Peter Puget’s arrival. The name comes from the Lushootseed word meaning “sea, saltwater, or ocean.” A third name for the sound is the “Salish Sea.” By definition, the Salish Sea encompasses the San Juan Islands and a few Vancouver waterways and Puget Sound. 

It’s Not Just Water– It’s a Whole Region

Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Regional Council.

The term “Puget Sound” refers to this body of water and the surrounding region. It’s no small town. Puget Sound borders four major Washington cities — Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and Everett. Due to its popularity in the state, two-thirds of Washington’s population lives in the Puget Sound area. 

At the southern end, the capital, Olympia, is known for government landmarks, the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, and the Percival Landing Park with a public art boardwalk. 

Although Olympia has several notable attractions, it’s often overshadowed by Seattle, the state’s largest city. Seattle is a favorite among Puget Sound residents and visitors alike. Notably, it’s known for its culinary scene, world-class museums like the Seattle Art Museum and Glass Museum, and the iconic Space Needle

If you relocate to the area, you’ll have access to quality education, as the University of Washington and the University of Puget Sound are top schools in the region. The former even has a nationally ranked medical center.

Yes, You Can Swim in Puget Sound!

Photo courtesy of patch.com.

Seattle residents love the urban beach lifestyle. Although boating and kayaking are most popular, Washingtonians also enjoy swimming in some regions of Puget Sound. One popular destination is Deception Pass State Park on the waterway’s northern tip. Of course, keep in mind that Puget Sound’s salty water and currents make it more akin to ocean swimming. Plus, you’ll need to keep a watch out for predators like jellyfish and sharks. Not sure of the safest places to swim? Check out Swim Guide, an app that integrates public data to determine Northwest residents’ best swimming spots. 

Puget Sound is worth considering if you’re seeking the best in city life combined with stunning natural features. From its unique wildlife to incredible mountain views, there’s simply nothing else like it. Check out our Puget Sound listings today! 

Something in the Water: Mythical Lake Monsters in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Magazine.

That’s right. Nessie, the infamous “Loch Ness Monster” of Scotland, isn’t the only lake-lurking sea serpent. In several lakes across the U.S., boaters, and pedestrians alike have reported mythical lake monsters’ sightings. Several of our Lake Homes Realty listings are available on lakes with these alleged monsters. 

If you’re looking for a lake home where you can add “monster hunting” to your list of lake activities, we’ve got the details. Who knows — you may be lucky enough to see one!

Raystown Lake, PA – “Ray”

Photo courtesy of Penn Live.

You may think lake monsters only exist in ancient waters, but these legends persist in man-made lakes as well. The first sighting of Ray, the Raystown Lake monster, was reported in 1962 when the lake was created. Those who organized the Raystown Ski Club Water Show almost canceled the event when they allegedly spotted Ray hiding out by the jump ramps. 

Since then, sightings have been sparse, with the most recent report in 2015. The good news is, visitors shouldn’t fear for their lives. Jeff Krause, Raystown Lake resident and wildlife biologist, commented in a press release that Ray is most certainly a herbivore. Real or not, Ray is part of the lake’s charm, and you can buy patches, t-shirts, and postcards featuring him.

Lake Mendota, WI – “Bozho”

Sightings of this Lake Mendota serpent began in the 1860s when canoers reportedly ran into Bozho with their oar, mistaking him for a log before he dipped underwater. “This was a monster of some sort, we have no doubt,” the canoers later wrote, according to The Bozho, a local news and culture website named for the monster. But this lake creature is allegedly more playful than vindictive. Residents say that Bozho is a prankster.

According to pamphlets published by the Wisconsin Historical Society, a sunbathing college student noticed the serpent licking her feet. She described Bozho’s face as having “a friendly, humorous look in its big eyes.” What else would you expect from a creature with the same name as a famous clown?

Lake Ontario, NY – “Kingstie”

Photo courtesy of Torontoist.

This Great Lake’s legend of Kingstie begins long before European colonizers landed in Canada. The Native American Seneca tribe passed down tales of an angry, fire-breathing dragon called Gaasyendietha in Lake Ontario’s waters. But sightings didn’t end there.

In the early 19th century, ship crews reported seeing a monster in the waters, though descriptions are inconsistent. The name “Kingstie” comes from a 1932 sighting near Kingston, Ontario (although this particular sighting turned out to be a hoax).

Unfortunately, no one has spotted Kingstie since 1968. That sighting was from a resident near former Scarborough, Ontario, who described a 20-foot long eel-like creature in the water.

Lake Champlain, NY & VT – “Champ”

Photo courtesy of The Adirondack Coast.

Described as a serpent between 20-40 feet with a long neck, Champ is one of the most famous lake monsters. Its renown even captured P.T. Barnum’s interest, who offered a reward if anyone could capture the beast.

The first documented sightings in Lake Champlain began in the early 1800s when a sea captain and sheriff claimed to witness Champ. These reports led to several more sightings across the centuries. 

In 2003, the nonprofit Fauna Communications Research Institute reported sounds similar to beluga whales, suggesting that Champ may be capable of echolocation.

Champ’s legend attracts many visitors each year. Port Henry has a giant model of Champ and holds an annual “Champ Day” on the first Saturday of every August. Vermont’s minor league baseball team is even called the Lake Monsters.

Lake Manitou, IN – Meshekenabek

Photo courtesy of The Pine Barrens Institute.

This human-made lake arose from a treaty between the U.S. government and the Potawatomi Native American tribe. The government agreed to build a mill that the tribe could use for corn and constructed a dam for water power. 

Lake Manitou’s name means both “good spirit” and “evil spirit.” Rumors of the monster began shortly after the lake’s emergence, and its name, Meshekenabek, means “great serpent” in the tribe’s language. 

In 1827, both tribe members and mill construction workers claimed to see the creature, describing it as 30 feet long, a dark color, with a long neck. Sightings have been rare since then, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try! 

What do you think — lake monsters or myths?

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4 Fun Facts about Maine Lakes

Photo courtesy of onlyinourstate.com.

For some, a dream lake house means countless boats on the water, a thriving city nearby, and a sense that there’s always something going on. But others prefer a secluded, quiet slice of paradise. If you’d choose the latter, a home on one of the Maine lakes might be perfect. As the least populated state in the country, you’re likely to have more outdoor space to yourself. Bordered by the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, the state is surrounded by majestic nature, and its lakes are no exception. Check out these fun facts about four Maine lakes!

Henry David Thoreau Loved Moosehead Lake

Henry David Thoreau, the famous American poet, philosopher, and essayist in the 1800s, was famous for his pastoral lifestyle. His book, Walden, describes the simple joys of existing in nature. On one of his many outdoor journeys, he visited Moosehead Lake, where he climbed the state’s highest peak, Mt. Katahdin. In his book, The Maine Woods, he fondly refers to Moosehead Lake’s nature as “uninterrupted” and a “gleaming silver platter at the end of a table.”

Although he wrote these words over 100 years ago, he isn’t wrong today. According to the New York Times, an average of 4 people per square mile live in Piscataquis County, where you will find Moosehead Lake. The landscape is scattered with tall spruces, firs, and pines. Wildlife like moose and bald eagles inhabit these spaces. If you’re looking to live on a peaceful, rustic lake, endorsed by Henry David Thoreau himself, Moosehead Lake is the one to check out.

Damariscotta Lake is Home to a Rare Alewives Run

Photo courtesy of The Lincoln County News.

Of the Maine lakes, this one is slightly lesser-known, and you may see fewer boats on the water. But despite its isolation, Damariscotta Lake is not one to skip. The lake’s remarkably clear waters allow you to see 10 feet below the surface. This clarity is an especially useful feature for witnessing the famous annual Alewives Run. 

Alewives, members of the herring family, are seawater fish that travel to freshwater to spawn each year. Although the alewife population has thrived in the past, they have significantly decreased in Maine over the last 200 years. Most recently, the Damariscotta Mills fish ladder has revived this population. This year alone, the ladder has helped 1,069,488 alewives into Damariscotta Lake. You can witness their migration annually over Memorial Day weekend. As part of the annual Alewife Festival, the Damariscotta Mills community hosts a 5K run, a cookout, and a chance to watch the fish.

Of the Maine lakes, this one is slightly lesser-known, and you may see fewer boats on the water. But despite its isolation, Damariscotta Lake is not one to skip. The lake’s remarkably clear waters allow you to see 10 feet below the surface. This clarity is an especially useful feature for witnessing the famous annual Alewives Run. 

Alewives, members of the herring family, are seawater fish that travel to freshwater to spawn each year. Although the alewife population has thrived in the past, they have significantly decreased in Maine over the last 200 years. The Damariscotta Mills fish ladder has revived this population. This year alone, the ladder has helped 1,069,488 alewives into Damariscotta Lake. You can witness their migration annually over Memorial Day weekend. As part of the annual Alewife Festival, the Damariscotta Mills community hosts a 5K run, a cookout, and a chance to watch the fish.

Sebago Lake is the Deepest in New England

Sebago Lake – YouTube

Just northwest of Portland is Sebago Lake, which is the deepest lake in New England. Its depth of 316 feet is enough to hold the Statue of Liberty, plus the base. It contains almost a trillion gallons of clear water that provides the Greater Portland Area’s water supply. As well, it’s the second largest lake in Maine at 28,771 acres. The lake’s depths make it very popular for fishing lake trout. Sebago Lake’s underwater islands and coves also make it home to multiple other fish breeds like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and crappie. If you’re choosing one of the Maine lakes for fishing, look no further.

The First Registered Maine Guide is from Rangeley Lake

If you’re seeking outdoor sports on the Maine lakes, you may have heard of the Rangeley Lake Resort. It’s a prime destination for travelers who ski and snowboard in winter and fish and kayak in summer. Today, it’s a revered travel destination. But at one point in time, Rangeley Lake wasn’t on the map. 

In the 1850s, the presence of 12-pound brook trout in the lake brought a slough of anglers to Rangeley Lake. Over the following decades, the region brought on local guides. One of them was Cornelia Crosby, also known as “Fly Rod Crosby.” She gave up a steady job in baking to fish Lake Rangeley, caught hundreds of fish per day, and wrote popular journal articles about her sport. She later became the first registered Maine guide — a prestigious feat, especially for a woman in the 1800s. You can find her namesake trail by the lake, the Fly Rod Crosby Trail.

Learn more about lake living on Maine lakes at Lakehomes.com

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6 Things You May Not Know About The Highland Lakes’ History

Photo courtesy of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

What do Buchanan, LBJ, and Lady Bird all have in common? Besides being presidential figures, they’re also all names of beloved lakes on Texas’s Colorado River. Lake BuchananInks LakeLake LBJLake Marble FallsLake Travis, and Lake Austin make up the Highland Lakes, the largest chain of lakes in all of Texas. (Lady Bird Lake is technically not a Highland Lake since it’s controlled by the City of Austin rather than the Lower Colorado River Authority, but it’s still an honorary member). These human-made lakes are about more than recreation. Over 1 million Texans in the surrounding communities rely on the Highland Lakes for their farming and businesses. Although these lakes are essential and cherished among Austin residents, do you know about the history of the Highland Lakes?

Austin’s First Dam Was a Big Failure

Austin Dam Memorial Park
Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor.com.

In Texas, only one natural lake exists — Lake Caddo. As such, all the Highland Lakes are human-made, designed to provide hydroelectricity and prevent flooding. However, the state’s first attempt to create a dam didn’t work out. In the 1890s, mayor John McDonald built a dam on Lake Austin (then named it Lake McDonald, after himself) to promote Austin as an industrial city. However, in 1900, the dam collapsed in massive storms, and Lake McDonald evaporated. This event is known as the Great Granite Dam Failure. It wasn’t until Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1940 that things got better. In 1942, the Mansfield Dam was constructed, giving rise to Lake Travis. In 1960, the Longhorn Dam was built, and Lady Bird Lake came into existence. But you can still visit the Austin Dam Memorial today.

Marble Falls’ Waterfalls Are Submerged

Photo courtesy of 101HighlandLakes.com.

Visitors to this region may wonder — why is it called Marble Falls if there are no falls? There are! They’re just hidden beneath the water’s surface. However, in the 1800s, water levels were lower, and the falls were visible. Settlers fell in love with them, referring to them as “marble falls,” mistaking the limestone construction for marble. In 1854, Adam “Stovepipe” Johnson was so mesmerized by the falls that he launched a town around them. But in the 1950s when the Colorado River Authority dams were built, the falls became submerged. Although you can’t see the falls today (unless the lake’s depth is lowered by 7 feet), there’s plenty to do in town. For instance, Marble Lake is known for its nearby vineyard where you can book wine tours

There are Islands on Lake Travis… Sometimes

Photo courtesy of kut.org.

Depending on the rainfall, you could visit several small islands on Highland Lakes. These landmasses appear on Lake Travis— well, sometimes. Aptly called the Sometimes Islands, this irregular topography beneath the lake’s surface becomes elevated when water levels are low. During a 2011 drought, so much of the Sometimes Islands were exposed that it created a peninsula. In 2014, an entire field of bluebonnets grew on a nearby piece of exposed land. Although these islands may not be the most idyllic beaches, they’re certainly an intriguing feature of this particular Highland Lake. 

A Woman Became Mayor Before Women Could Vote

Ophelia “Birdie” Harwood
Photo courtesy of kut.org.

In Marble Falls, Ophelia “Birdie” Harwood became mayor in 1917, just three years before the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. During her short two year term, she made an impact on the town. One of her achievements was creating comprehensive traffic laws in an area without stop signs and traffic signals. She was also known for her belief in a transparent government. By publishing the city’s budget twice a year, she practiced what she preached. As an equestrian, the townspeople could see Mayor Harwood often riding her horse through town. But her career didn’t end at Marble Falls. In 1936, she became the first female municipal court judge.

Old Rules Still Apply at Lady Bird Lake

Photo courtesy of kut.org.

When you think of lake activities, swimming likely comes to mind. However, this isn’t true for Lady Bird Lake (also known as Town Lake, if you’re a local). Since four years after its creation in 1960, swimming in Lady Bird Lake has been illegal. Unfortunately, there are tragic beginnings of this law when Inez and Cynthia Rendon were swept away by the water’s currents. In addition to this heavily enforced law, it’s illegal to have motor vessels on Lady Bird Lake. Despite the downsides of these restrictions, these laws make the lake excellent for paddle boatingkayaking, and canoeing

A Lost Civilization is Buried Under Lake Buchanan

Photo courtesy of TexasObserver.org.

Before the Buchanan Dam was built in 1939, a small town of Bluffton thrived. Corn farming, pecan trees, a school, a cotton gin, and a community center served the town’s 50 families. But when dam construction began, residents of Bluffton had to sell their land to the Colorado River Authority and move to higher ground. While residents built New Bluffton 7 miles away, remnants of Old Bluffton sank beneath Lake Buchanan. However, when Texas droughts hit in the late 2000s, the town’s remains resurfaced. The Texas Historical Commission excavated the land and found tombstones, homes, and remains of a hotel. Today, you can discover these findings on a history cruise

Click here to learn more about the Highland Lakes region: Lake BuchananInks LakeLake LBJLake Marble FallsLake Travis, and Lake Austin.

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President’s Day Special: Lakes Named for the Nation’s Leaders

Originally observed in honor of George Washington’s February 22 birthday, President’s Day, was first celebrated, following his death, in 1799.

Appropriately dubbed “Washington’s Birthday,” the day was declared a federal holiday in the Washington D.C. area in the late 1970s.

The holiday gained national recognition in 1885, and in 1971 the Uniform Monday Holiday Act renamed the celebration President’s Day.President's Day Drawing

Now observed on the third Monday of February, President’s Day recognizes former presidents Washington, Lincoln, Reagan and William Henry Harrison’s birthdays.

But what about the former leaders of our nation who don’t have a national holiday celebrating them?

For many, there are streets, counties and state capitals named after them; but a select few will continue to give back to Americans for decades to come through the memories made on the bodies of water which bear their names.

Theodore Roosevelt Lake

Formed by Roosevelt Dam, Theodore Roosevelt Lake encompasses 21,493 surface area-acres in Gila County, Arizona.

Legislation to provide irrigation to settlements in the dry western United States prompted the dam’s construction in 1906.

Since it’s completion in 1911, Roosevelt Dam, and the lake it produced, has served as water storage, flood control and produced hydroelectric power to the surrounding areas.

In its original state, the completed structure reached 280 feet tall and 723 feet long; however, after extensive safety repairs made from 1989 to 1996, Roosevelt Dam stands today at 357 feet tall and 1,210 feet long, making it the highest masonry dam in the world.

Theodore Roosevelt Lake, also referred to as Roosevelt Lake and Lake Roosevelt reaches maximum depths of 349 feet and runs along 128 miles of shoreline.

In it’s rich history, Roosevelt Dam has received (and lost) a National Historic Landmarks designation and the lake was, for a time, the world’s largest man-made body of water, containing more than million acre-feet of water.

Today, the reservoir is a popular fishing spot offering anglers populations of carp, sunfish, channel and flathead catfish, and large and smallmouth bass.

Lake Lyndon B. Johnson

Formerly Lake Granite Shoals, Lake LBJ is located near Austin, Texas and serves as a hydroelectric power producer and coolant for the Thomas Ferguson Power Plant.

Construction began on what was once the Granite Shoals Dam in 1949.

It was completed in 1951, and in 1952 the structure was renamed Wirtz Dam after Alvin J. Wirtz, the man largely responsible for creation the LCRA, the organization that runs the power plant the lake now cools.

Thirteen years later, Lake Granite Shoals was renamed Lake Lyndon B. Johnson for the former president’s advocacy of the LCRA.

Lake LBJ welcomes a number of lake activities, including boating, fishing and jet skiing. The lake also hosts an annual 4th of July festival, complete with fireworks, parades and a poker run!

The reservoir covers more than 6,000 acres and reaches 90 feet at its deepest point.

Lady Bird Lake

Though she wasn’t a president, Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson, is an icon in American history.

Lady Bird Lake, which more closely resembles a river, spans more than 400 acres in downtown Austin, Texas.

Lady Bird Lake with Skyline

The reservoir, formed by Longhorn Dam, was named Town Lake until the former First Lady’s death in 2007, at which time it was renamed for her service on the Town Lake Beautification Committee.

Popular activities enjoyed on Lady Bird Lake include sailing, biking, paddleboarding and canoeing.

Hoover Dam

Lastly, we cannot have a President’s Day Special without at least mentioning Hoover Dam.

Named for the 31st president, Herbert Hoover, Hoover Dam is located near Las Vegas, Nevada and attracts more than seven million visitors from around the world each year.

Ground broke on the massive structure in 1931, and over the course of the next four years, more than 20,000 people worked on the project.

The Dam’s construction cost $49 million by its completion in 1935, an amount that would exceed $800 million today.

Hoover Dam primarily serves as a hydroelectric power producer, generating approximately four billion kilowatts of energy annually and providing power to more than 1.3 million homes across the Southwest.

The Dam is also responsible for the creation of Lake Mead, one of the world’s largest man-made lakes and the largest reservoir in the U.S.

Lake Mead encompasses nearly 250 square miles of surface area and reaches depths of 590 feet, according to one USA Today article.

Each year, more than 10 million visitors flock to Lake Mead to fish, ski, swim and boat along the body of water’s more than 500 miles of shoreline.