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After more than a year of searching for a lakeside retreat, Meg and Mark Robinton decided a modest house on the shores of Forest Lake was the place for them.

The biggest selling point was that it was on a sandy lake with a beach.

"It does get deeper in the middle of the lake by and large, but it has a pretty shallow shoreline. Our kids were so young it was nice that it was knee deep and we didn't have to worry about their safety," Meg said, adding that the sand beach also meant there was not a lot of algae.

Another plus was the location, just 45 minutes from their home in Eden Prairie.

"If we did the typical cabin thing a few hours away, we were honest with ourselves that we wouldn't probably use it as much as we intended," Meg said. "This was an easy commute for sure."

A well-kept house lined with wood floors were also draws.

"It had been updated by the previous owners, so it felt really new and fresh," Meg said. "They made some great improvements by finishing off the four-season porch like a sunroom."

Since purchasing the home in late 2019, the family has spent countless hours at their lakeside lot. They found that the 1,600-square-foot, one-level house built in 1977 was just the right size for them.

"It makes it a great space for all ages," she said. "We're a family of five and almost every time we will host another family of four or five when we're out there on weekends, and we all have plenty of space. So, while small, it's the perfect amount of space in the right places for our family and friends."

Lake life

As they settled in, they soaked up lake life.

"You have people fishing, boating, tubing and jet skiing. There are boat races. There's someone on the lake who owns a seaplane so we'll see a seaplane take off and land on the water," Meg said.

But their connection to their cabin was year-round.

"Just like in the summer, winter is huge," she said. "It's a big ice fishing lake and there are tons of ice houses out on the water."

When the pandemic hit, lake residents organized a boat parade that's still a tradition every July 4th.

"Everyone decorates their boats and stuff, so all of us love to run out to the dock and watch the boat parade go by," Meg said.

Another Independence Day tradition is watching a fireworks display courtesy of the city and local American Legion that the Robintons can see perfectly from their yard.

They also took advantage of the nearby access to biking trails, and appreciated that the home was in walking distance to downtown Forest Lake. "That has been so amazing with the kids. We were able to walk and go get ice cream or go to restaurants or get snacks," she said.

Moving on

With their three kids now ages 5 to 11, the Robintons are so busy that they've listed their Forest Lake waterfront property.

"It was such a hard decision because if we were to own a lake place, this one checks all our boxes and more. But what we're finding is we're in the era of our kids in sports, and so our second home is now soccer fields and baseball fields on the weekends," Meg said. "We feel it can go to a family that can use it much more than we can."

The Robintons will take the memories with them — the kids fishing off the dock, making s'mores around the firepit and renting a pontoon and swimming off the boat, to name a few.

"It's the simple stuff, nothing fancy but spending time together around the fire and being on the water fishing, tubing, skiing," she said.

Listing agent Bob Muske added that the property lends itself to a variety of possibilities, from those looking for a cabin retreat to others wanting to downsize and move into one-level living. However one chooses to utilize the space, he said, they're getting a well-maintained home that also comes with a unique lake life.

"The biggest thing about this area is the lake bottom is super sandy. It's what we call a sugar sand base because the sand is very fine like sugar," he said. "It's very rare for this area and it's safe; it's shallow; it's not really deep."

Bob Muske (; 612-919-3353) of RE/MAX Synergy has the $749,900 listing.