Lakeside living: More than a home, a lifestyle

June 24, 2012 

  • On the water When folks say ‘The Lake,’ they mean Lake Murray, the big daddy of lakes in the Midlands, with 650 miles of shoreline spanning four counties. But there are plenty of other places where people can live by the water. Congaree Park downtown is a new subdivision being built on the West Columbia banks of the Congaree River. The Riverwalk, a picturesque walking trail that extends for more than three miles along the west bank, is just beyond the gate. Third-story views take in the city skyline, historic bridges and water birds. Lake Katharine is one of the largest lakes in a Richland County chain that runs from Arcadia Lakes through Forest Acres. People who live there find it’s like a remote resort, yet they can be downtown in minutes. The lake attracts cool breezes and wildlife galore, plus it’s deep enough to ski, fish ... and host neighborly cocktail cruises by pontoon. Lake Carolina, in Northeast Richland, is a series of neighborhoods built in a traditional downtown style with the lake as a scenic backdrop. Among the community amenities of the 200-acre lake are Sunset Park, with waterfront swings, picnic tables and walking trails. Like Lake Murray, Lake Wateree, about 30 miles northeast of Columbia, was created to generate energy. It was built in 1920, making it one of the oldest man-made lakes in South Carolina. Its 216 miles of shoreline includes a bird refuge and a couple of recreation areas. Lake Wateree takes in parts of Kershaw, Fairfield and Lancaster counties.
  • More information Dawn Hinshaw

As a child, Margaret Ravenel was part of a brood who gathered at her grandparents’ home on Lake Murray for holidays and the carefree weeks of summer.

When Ravenel acquired the property in 2005, she enlisted Columbia architect Michael Haigler and woodworker Allen Petroff to transform the modest brick house into a contemporary showplace with a sunset view of the water.

Ravenel added a second story topped by a private turret where her son Cory Alpert, 16, can survey the lake that takes in parts of four counties.

At one end of the house, she retained her grandmother’s cozy little den, which she uses as an art studio. The lawn is still lined by the daylilies and birdfeeders of her childhood, too.

A Newfoundland named Gus lumbers across the yard, hoping to hear the magic word (“boat”) that means he can climb aboard a pontoon docked in the cove behind the house.

Alpert, a senior at Irmo High School this fall, said a love of the water creates a sense of community on Lake Murray. “If you’re just driving by on your boat, everyone will wave to you, even if they have no clue who you are,” he said. “That’s our shared experience.”

Dawn Hinshaw writes about people, historic preservation and county government for The State.

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