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Boundaries: North: Plymouth, Medina; East: Minnetonka city limits; South: lake Minnetonka; West: Orono city limits; area: 3.2 square miles
With wooded hills and Lake Minnetonka lapping at its doorsteps, Wayzata, pronounced ''Y-zeta," (it's a Sioux word meaning "north shore") satisfies people's desire to get away from it all, while still living only a 20 minute commute from the Twin Cities.
The city of Wayzata has 4,000 residents and is located 12 miles west of Minneapolis, at the northeast end of Lake Minnetonka. But, when people refer to Wayzata, they are usually talking about the general area of Wayzata: Orono, Long lake, Maple Plain, Medina, Minnetonka Beach, Deephaven, and Woodland. This entire area is known among Realtors as a "transferee area" because so many corporate families whose jobs move them to Minneapolis choose to live here.
In the 1800s, the railroad was key to the growth of the area. It carried well-to-do passengers daily between Minneapolis and Wayzata, linking them with The Lady of the Lake and other streetcar boats, which transported them farther to their weekend retreats and grand hotels. Today, the Minnehaha, a restored streetcar boat, picks up passengers at the Wayzata Depot and takes them across the lake to Excelsior, five miles away, May to September. The railroad, which is active, is still a factor in life here. The train depot, built on Lake Street in 1906, is home to the Historical Society, and outdoor concerts for boaters and picnickers take place here on Wednesday nights in the summer.
Though the resort era ended In the late 1800s, its legacy continues as 1- 394 brings tourists out to Wayzata's dense selection of classy shops, rest.aurants and recreation amenities. In particular, Wayzata's antique stores attract collectors from all over the country (see Shopping for the Home).
Though the Wayzata area has one of the highest average home sale prices in the Twin Cities, it does offer a full range of housing, including rentals. Expensive condominiums with commanding views, small homes, businesses and rental apartments are all to be found in the central business district that includes City Hall, the fire station, the library, post office, and St Bartholomew Catholic Church and school. While not the prettiest, this part of town does have two things that are rare in the western suburbs- sidewalks and city water. Across Wayzata Boulevard, the northern half of this neighborhood offers tidy Cape Cod's lining quiet streets in a neighborhood that is rapidly being gentrified by singles and young families. As it extends west and north this quarter becomes North Ferndale/Far HIiis. Many of these spacious homes were built in the 1970s. The east end of Wayzata is pricey, being on the lake, near the yacht club, but includes the East Circle Drive neighborhood which is one of the best bargains around. Here older Cape Cods and ramblers sit on small lots mixed with apartments. A few of them enjoy lake views without carrying the burden of lakeshore taxes. A number of young families and singles live here. The principal drawback is that this neighborhood is everybody's favorite shortcut, though stop signs on every block are helping to solve that problem. East of Highway 101, off McGinty Road, Holdridge and Minnetonka's Gray's Landing are known for their cul-de-sacs of recently built executives' homes, artistically dispersed around marshes and Gray's Bay, a part of Lake Minnetonka which offers powerboat, but not sailboat access to the main lake.
Located at the west end of town is Wayzata's premier neighborhood, Ferndale. View this neighborhood from the lake, and you will see vast houses with manicured lawns sloping down to the water. Back from the lake, immaculately-tended architect-designed homes on the gently curving streets of Highcroft/Peavy lane, look like they're dressed up to go to Grandmother's house for Sunday dinner. A number of families with children, live here, adjacent to the Highcroft (Pre K-5) campus of the Blake Schools, a fine college preparatory private school whose other campus is located in Hopkins. If it's sailing, you love, Harrington Road has a perfect view of the regattas which are usually held off this shore. There is a variety of housing here, including some older, smaller homes. Wayzata likes to think of itself as a city for all seasons, and its recreation possibilities mirror this attitude. The city maintains an extensive public beach and boat dock complex for residents at the west end of Lake Street and, in winter, plows fairways out on the ice for the Chilly Open golf tournament. Other public facilities include tennis courts and hockey rinks at the middle school; a tiny meditJJtion park on Minnetonka Avenue across from the post office; and Life Time Fitness Center /Plymouth Ice Center, 612-509-5250, a pool/ice arena/fitness center actually located inside the city of Plymouth. This center is the unique product of a public-private partnership between the cities, the Wayzata school district, and a health club. Private recreation facilities include two country clubs on the edge of town and the Wayzata Yacht Club, 952-473-0352. Minnesota's most exclusive country club, Woodhill, is tucked into lush wooded hills at the western edge of the city off Highway 15. It is surrounded by gracious country homes on large plots of land. This is the beginning of Minnesota's horse country, which extends to the north and west through Orono, Long Lake, Hamel, Maple Plain, and Medina.
The Fall Home Buying Puzzle With summer in the rearview mirror, the fall home buying season is in full swing. As we move into the last quarter of the year, many disappointed summer home shoppers wonder if they should suspend their search to renew ... Read More