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Five Classic Lake Houses for Languid Summer Lounging

The lake house is an American classic—perhaps spawned from childhood summer camps—and provides a relaxing rural getaway. No, there's no sand and surf, but there also aren't the crowds usually associated with the beach in summer. If there aren't crowds to be found near the Northbrook Lodge (above) in Paul Smiths, N.Y., it may be because this particular town is almost six hours from NYC and Boston. That a Canadian parliamentarian built this impressive lakefront compound isn't surprising, as it's less than three hours drive from Ottawa. Built in the 1920s, the stone and wood houses sit on seven wooded acres and 4,000 feet of frontage on Osgood Pond, with stunning period details throughout.

? This 1919 house in Sebago, Maine is rocking a similar stone and wood aesthetic, but with a pious twist. Atheists need not apply to purchase this $1.85M compound, which has Christian motifs built in to both of the imposing rough-stone fireplaces. Despite the preachy details, this place comes in at a pretty low price considering the almost 10 acres of land, lake frontage, multiple outbuildings, and rare waterfront boathouse.

? For a more pastoral take on the lake house, check out this Panton, Vermont gentleman's farm, currently on the market for $4.9M. Located an hour's drive south of Burlington, the 125-acre property lies on a private peninsula and features a 1920s main house with six bedrooms, a heated swimming pool, lakeside gazebo, and 5,200 feet of shoreline. That lakefront includes a marker that designates the spot where infamous traitor Benedict Arnold scuttled his fleet in 1776.

? The West has its fair share of lakes too, the mightiest of which is Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada state line. The next owner of this 6,600-square-foot spread will enjoy Nevada's lower taxes, but might not enjoy the price of admission: $11M. For that the Crystal Bay property has direct lake access and glorious sunset views over the water. Plus, unlike some of the spots on our list, this one is practical for winter use too, as ski resorts like Squaw Valley are just a short drive away.

? If you really want to do it up on a lake, the private compound fronting on a private lake. That means there's no public access to the water, ensuring only surrounding property owners make it out on the water. That sort of exclusivity might go out the window if the next owners of this massive Litchfield, Conn. estate utilize its full potential. With a go-kart racing track, multiple tennis courts, basketball courts, and a baseball diamond, even Richie Rich would be content with the diversions on hand. Well, so long as the $18.5M price tag doesn't stretch his finances a little too thin.

· Northbrook Lodge [Landvest]
· Rockcraft [Landvest]
· Bay Point [Landvest]
· 570 Gonowabie Rd [Homes & Land]
· Private Retreat [Sotheby's]