Life on Lake Minnetonka is one of the most desired and treasured lifestyles in the state of Minnesota. While the scenic lake and picturesque shores offer a strong incentive to live there, it’s the dynamic community that exists on the lake which truly brings the most value. Lake Minnetonka has a very active and engaging community, and has been described as a 14,500 acre playground for Minnesota’s elite. Encompassing the cities of Deephaven, Excelsior, Greenwood, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, Mound, Orono, Plymouth, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Victoria, Wayzata, and Woodland, the Lake Minnetonka community is united around the common waters in which all of the cities share. With a wealth of amenities for the surrounding residents to enjoy, it is no wonder that the community in Lake Minnetonka is so exclusive and active. Some of the notable community builders in and around the lake are the businesses, restaurants, and events.
There are a number of businesses around Lake Minnetonka that offer visitors greater connection to the lakeshore community. On such business is the Lake Minnetonka Magazine. A monthly publication detailing community events as well as news, this magazine is a central news source for residents on Lake Minnetonka. It offers a wealth of information for locals and specializes in the local community that has developed on the lake’s waters. In addition to being a leading authority on everything Lake Minnetonka-related, Lake Minnetonka Magazine also publishes an annual article highlighting each year’s “Best of Lake Minnetonka”. With categories such as Food and Dining, Retail, Home, Health & Wellness, and more, the winners are decided by the reader’s themselves. This annual issue is a highlight for locals because it provides an authoritative look at the best Lake Minnetonka has to offer.
Another popular business in the area is the Museum of Lake Minnetonka. As the owners and operators of the historical steamboat Minnehaha, the Museum of Lake Minnetonka also houses a collection of historical Lake Minnetonka artifacts. Their unique approach to a “living history” museum makes learning about the history of the area very exciting and engaging. The Minnehaha steamboat offers tours of the lake as well as afternoon cruises to the public.
Wayzata is home to another historical landmark of the Lake Minnetonka area. The Wayzata Depot and Railroad Museum is located on the shoreline of the Wayzata Bay. Residents enjoy the beautiful gardens as well as sitting and watching the historic steamboat Minnehaha and sailboats come in and out of the bay. In addition, the Railroad Museum provides a historical look at what Wayzata’s train station once was, with an interactive outdoor model.
One of the longest standing businesses on the shores of the lake is the Lafayette Club. The Lafayette Club is the city of Minnetonka Beach’s most well-known business. A full-service resort located on Lake Minnetonka, the Lafayette Club showcases a Spanish-style clubhouse built in 1924. Featuring a large ballroom, meeting and hotel rooms, fine and casual dining, an indoor pool, and a fitness center, this clubhouse offers rich amenities for the Club’s members and guests. The Club’s grounds include a 9 hole lakeside golf course, outdoor pool, patio, docks, and tennis facility. A popular location for wedding receptions, golf tournaments, and lakeside getaways, the Lafayette Club is a unique retreat for all seasons and occasions
Lake Minnetonka is home to a number of yacht clubs. The Minnetonka Yacht Club is located at Carson’s Bay Bridge Landing. It specializes in sailboat racing as well as providing a community for those who love the sport of sailing. Races take place all throughout the summer on Lake Minnetonka, and Yacht Club members are able to participate in a host of social events in addition to racing. Another yacht club is the Wayzata Yacht Club. It is a nonprofit sailboat racing club that is owned and operated by its members. The club has resulted in Wayzata being ranked as a top sailing town in the nation.
The shores of Lake Minnetonka are also host to a number of acclaimed restaurants. One of the most popular is Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge in Spring Park. A beautiful resort and collection of restaurants found right on the shore of Lake Minnetonka, Old Fletcher’s has been a staple of the local community since 1978 and offers fine-dining options. Visitors can choose to dine in the inside fine dining with rustic and beautiful art on the walls, or they can opt for the more casual wharf dining and experience lakeside food service.
Maynard’s is another critically acclaimed restaurant on Lake Minnetonka. Housed on what used to be the city of Excelsior’s amusement park from 1925-1973, Maynard’s features wharf dining as well as seated, indoor dining. Specializing in casual American cuisine, Maynard’s is a great place for a summer evening with the family.
The Bayside Grille is another restaurant on Lake Minnetonka’s shores that features dockside dining. Visitors can simply drive their boats up to the dock and dine as opposed to driving. While the novelty adds to the experience, it is the beautiful views of Lake Minnetonka that truly make this restaurant so special.
The events that take place in and around the lake are one of the biggest contributing factors to Lake Minnetonka’s unique community. With the scenic peninsulas and bays that encircle the lake, numerous triathlon and half marathon competitions take place throughout the year. The most famous is the Lake Minnetonka half marathon which takes runners around the scenic lake from Wayzata to Excelsior.
For those who may be inclined towards fishing, the lake offers great fishing destinations and numerous competitions throughout the year. It is not uncommon to find a wide range of species including black bullhead, black crappie, bluegill, bowfin, common carp, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, pumpkinseed, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, white sucker, yellow bullhead, and yellow perch. There is even an urban legend about a giant sturgeon that lives in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Lovingly referred to as Lou by the locals, this sturgeon is allegedly over 10 feet long and has been spotted on and off since the 1980’s.
Perhaps the most common activity on the lake, however, is boating. Boats of all sizes and horsepower may be legally launched on Lake Minnetonka, although speed and noise restrictions apply. Some of the larger bays are even used for sailing. During the summer months, residents on the shores of Lake Minnetonka are often treated to views of sailboats on the horizon of the lake. It is truly a gorgeous sight to behold. Common boating activities on the lake include water skiing, wake boarding, tubing, and wake surfing.
Lake Minnetonka is also the home of the Minnesota wake surfing competition each year. Some of the favorite community events that take place on the lake include the Lake Minnetonka 4th of July Fireworks, farmer’s markets, James J. Hill Days, Arctic Fever, and the February Chilly Open.
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