Jul 10, 2018

Payette Lake Waterfront Homes - Part One

While we were out on the lake this past 4th of July week, I snapped photos of some of the waterfront cabins we passed by from the water. We started out in Pilgrim Cove, headed down to North Beach, and finished up our shore tour at Legacy Park downtown. 

Much of Payette Lake shoreline is owned by the state of Idaho and still undeveloped. Ponderosa State Park takes up a big chunk of it. Many of the older cabins were built on leased state land and were owned by the same old Idaho families, sometimes for over a hundred years. That land is now being sold off by the state at auction for funds to be spent on state education. Sometimes the original family can afford to hold on to their cabins, and some lose out to a higher bidder. The new owner must simply pay the loser the appraised value of the cabin, which is often very modest, and the rest goes to the state. Sometimes it's heartbreaking to watch these humble families being forced out of their family cabins, but the most recent interpretation of Idaho state law requires selling the land to the highest bidder.

Quite a few of those quaint old cabins that were happily lived in by generations of the same family are being torn down by the new wealthier owners and replaced by huge modern homes. More than once I've wished we had a Payette Lake Historic District that would protect the lake's old cabins and put a stop to this practice. It had been about ten years since we'd driven around the old Pilgrim Cove neighborhood when we bought our little cabin in the fall of 2016, and we were jaw-dropping shocked to see how many of the modest old cabins had been torn down and replaced with huge modern nondescript homes. Much of the forest that once stood between the smaller cabins and used to ring out with the laughter of children playing in the summer is simply gone, replaced by the huge foundations of the new homes! We could hardly remember the way it had been. 

There are plenty of beautiful nearby view lots available for building huge homes with all the modern amenities people desire without destroying the local history of our Payette Lake shoreline. I've never heard anyone else share my opinion about that, though, so I'm guessing it's not a popular one. 

So, today, I'm sharing both new and old. I'm sure we can all imagine ourselves living in a huge lakeside cabin with a vaulted great room, a chef's kitchen, a bathroom for every bedroom, and our own movie theater. But my heart belongs to the little cabins from days gone by.

(These photos were taken with my phone from a bouncing boat on a windy day so are not perfectly focused, but I hope you will enjoy them anyway.)

Payette Lake is a natural lake surrounded by forest and granite mountains. Much of it is still undeveloped. Building lots and cabins rarely become available for sale and are highly sought after by buyers from all over the country. Waterfront properties are usually priced in the one to ten million-dollar range.

McCall is the small town located on the south shore of Payette Lake. The city park, public beach, and marinas, (pictured here) are located on the site of the old lumber mill. Most of the cabins I'm sharing today are located on the other side of the Ponderosa State Park peninsula in Pilgrim Cove.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I tried to include a little of everything -  lodge, log, traditional, modern, big and small. Did you spot some favorites? Can you picture yourself spending your summers in one of these cabins on Payette Lake? 

I'll be back tomorrow to share some more waterfront homes from the other side of the lake. See you then!

{See Part Two of the tour HERE!}

Let's go to a summer link party!

Our Home Away From Home
A Stroll Thru Life
Between Naps On The Porch
The Scoop
Amaze Me Monday


  1. Beautiful photos. Give me an older cabin any time. The stories they could tell are priceless and their character can't be rebuilt. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Laurel,
    I am so glad you dropped by my blog today. I realized that your blog had dropped off my reading list on the side. I lost a lot of blogs that I follow when I made some changes and I am slowly getting them all back there as people pop in and I realize I haven't seen them in a while.

    I love all your pictures. They are just lovely---from the humble cabins to the big homes there is really a beauty in each of them. That being said, there is such a sense of loss when all the "old timers" cabins disappear and are replaced by the big new homes. It changes the whole ambiance of what lake life used to be like. Our kids grew up spending summers in our small cottage and it was so much fun. Nothing fancy--lots of trees to swing on and water to swim in-meals were easy and breezy. I always hated to see summer end and have to go back to town full time. It's a different world today and I sometimes miss the old one. xo Diana

  3. Bouncing boat or not, your photos are just outstanding. I live in a small beach community and we are seeing the same thing happen here...all over our area really. The smaller homes (my favorites) are being bought up and replaced with enormous ones. I miss the charm of the old summer cottages, but the times change, I guess. The lake is lovely and the new homes are, as well. I guess to each his own...I'm just an old fashioned girl!

  4. Such beautiful and peaceful area. I too, feel bad for the families getting pushed out. I understand change in my brain but having the old mixed in with new is okay. I wish new could keep some quaintness without going over the top.
    Big doesn't always mean better. I would love to vacation there. Such beauty all around.


  5. That makes me sad too, Laurel. I saw the cutest A frame cabin in your post. Several that I would happily spend the summer in too. I like the old ones - who wants so big you miss out on your family? Seems like a lot of old homes are getting torn down for the big and modern. So sad.

  6. So sad, i like the older ones so i can rest and relax, isn't that what you go to the lake for!!!

  7. I love all of the styles. I see a big variety on our lake, too. Most of all, I love those huge pines!!! Spectacular!

    Fun post, Laurel!



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