RE/MAX Hall of Fame & Lifetime Achievement
For most leisure boaters in the Iowa Great Lakes, there are 2 main hot spots to go throw an anchor, sit back, and just relax. Sometimes this will result in numerous boats tying up to one another (you may not even know your neighbor), and sometimes it results in a little more privacy where you can chill just by yourself. Every weekend, boaters make the trek across the deepest parts of West Lake to either Gull Point (North AND South side) and Miller's Bay. Thought there are many other great areas to throw an anchor, relax, and swim, these are the two hot spots. If you aren't sure where to go on a Saturday afternoon or wonder where your friends might be, these two spots would be a good start.
Haywards Bay on West Lake Okoboji boasts low approaches and one of the few areas on West Lake to offer sand beaches. Renowned for the "bay of the flags", you will know you are in Haywards bay because of the all the American flags on the end of the docks. Fishing is great in Haywards Bay and the sunsets are one in a million. To get to Haywards Bay by car, one would drive the east side of the lake on Lakeshore Dr.
"The Tressle" bridge used to carry the old railroad that traversed the area. Now the tressle is home to some of the areas best fishing. Served as a hot spot for fisherman, and a trail for walkers and bikers, the tressle is a classic structure of the Okobojis. We spent days jumping off of the tressle doing cannonballs, preachers, flips and the like. I know in my life my friends and I have caught literally tens of thousands of crappie and blue gill off the tressle bridge.
Emerald Hills Golf Course is one of the premier golf courses in the Iowa Great Lakes. Golfers throughout Okoboji will tell you that compared to the rest of the golf courses around, Emerald Hills is probably the most challenging. When I grew up as a kid, we lived just a half block from the back side of the course. We would sneak on with a couple short little clubs and balls we found walking the course and sometimes spent more time being chased by the sprinklers than trying to hit golf balls. Emerald Hills was owned by Gordy and Bette Benit many years ago and they can be credited with growing this course into the masterpiece it has become. Later purchased by Randy Rohlfsen and a few others, Emerald has flourished as one of the best courses around. If memory serves me right, Randy has been there since the early 1990's and has always had a strong conviction to help young golfers. He has taught and coached numerous high school teams, and they also put on a 5 day junior camp every year which has been a tremendous hit. I grew up on this course and can honestly say, you better be hitting the ball straight!
Here's the scenario. You are building a house or remodeling your house. Material costs are up. Labor costs are up. You ask yourself, where can I save a buck? Before answering this question, you must be careful, especially if your home is located in an area where other quality homes are built, whether on the lake, off the lake, or in higher valued developments such as golf course developments, etc. Growing up in construction and with a plethora of new construction and remodels under my belt, let me share with you some of the easy things that your future buyers will recognize when they are looking for quality.
1. One of the first things buyers of higher end homes will look for is to determine if the owner used hollow core doors. It's an immediate sign that the seller was looking for ways to save money (where else then did they cut back that I can't see???)
2. The second most obvious is the counter tops. Did the sellers spend for a quality granite, quartz, or other hard surface, or was formica used?
3. The third item that might stick out is the cabinetry. Do the drawers have dovetail construction with hardwoods? Did they use "soft close" drawers? Are there pull outs for the pots and pans?
4. Flooring is an easy one also. Was laminate used, or is it engineered or hardwoods? Does the carpet convey a quality feel and plushness? Is there a nice thick pad underneath the carpet?
5. Though there are many other items to look at, cheap vs quality lighting and plumbing fixtures are probably the next major focus.
There is nothing wrong with with using lower cost materials, especially when trying to keep a project within budget, especially when trying to build more house for less money. Just be aware that most buyers looking to spend in excess of $300k for off lake homes and $500+ for East Lake chain homes, and $1M+ for West and Big Spirit will expect the very best materials and finishes.
The harbor is a man made inlet located on the north end of West Lake. A board walk surrounds the harbor and this is one of the most tranquil parts of the lake. Homeowners in the harbor have a more affordable way to have access to West Lake, and still get to enjoy the clean waters West Lake has to offer. Homes in the Harbor typically range from about $350k to as much as $700k.
Boulders Inn and Suites promises to make your Okoboji vacation comfortable and relaxing. This new hotel just south of Emerald Hills golf course between Milford and Arnolds Park offers 40 rooms with suites to meet your individual needs. One of the best things about Boulders Inn is that it is within walking distance of the Taco House. For some of you, I know that can be a big deal!
Having lived in Okoboji all my life, there are a wealth of memories of Arnolds Park. I, like many of the locals, miss the nostalgia of the old Roof Garden, the fun house, the water slide and much, much more. With time comes change, and the amusement park continues to reinvent itself. Currently with over 20 rides to choose from, the family is sure to have a good time. The main attraction, The Legend Roller Coaster, is the 7th oldest coaster in the United States and apparently the 13th oldest in the world. Reaching speeds of up to 50 mph, the roller coaster has undergone substantial renovations in the last year. In front of the amusement park on West Lake is the Queen II excursion boat, and Pirate Jacks Bar. The sunsets here are unparalleled. If you have a chance to visit, make sure to check out the tipsy house, the three sons, and all of the shops. Just to the east is the green space, which provides great entertainment and in 2013 OAR came to play, which is a pretty big name for Okoboji.
Arrowood is a year-round conference center and hotel with over 100 guest rooms, whirlpool suites and a "Great Room" for hosting group events and hospitality suites. Formerly known as Village East, the resort offers an outdoor pool, deck, playground, volleyball and croquet courts and a heated indoor pool area. Hotel goers can also enjoy an on-site salon, Minervas Bar and Eatery and lit parking. Located on Brooks National Golf Course, Arrowwood Resort offers some of the finest lodging around. Years ago, Brooks Golf Course clubhouse was actually housed on the rear side of Arrowood, but since then, the course has been converted to 27 holes with a a new separate clubhouse. Also, the Racquet Club was a part of the facility, offering workout facilities, racquet ball, and tennis. However, with the addition of the YMCA, the racquet club was unsustainable and converted into retail.