By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
Last weekend’s 48th annual Lake Arrowhead Home Tour, with its theme of “Living at the Lake,” lured some 600 Southland residents to the lake’s legendary North Shore Estates to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to live at the lake.
The tour began at 9 a.m., dockside at Lake Arrowhead Village, where ticketholders boarded one of four boats that would transport them, quickly across the lake, to the first four of five stately homes to be exhibited in this exclusive, gated, lakefront community, known for its colorful history of playing home to the rich and famous, including many Hollywood celebrities.
After docking at the North Shore, tour guests were escorted a short distance on the lake’s dirt path to a series of concrete steps leading upward to the opulent “Lakefront Lodge,” which dates back to 1941. Before entering this lavish home, which was purchased by its current owner four years ago, guests were instructed to install cloth “booties” on their shoes to protect the home’s wooden flooring. (This practice would be repeated at each of the next four homes to be toured.
Each area of the home had a tour guide who described the unique features in each room to be explored. Upon entering the “Lodge,” one couldn’t help but notice the massive wooden beams supporting the two-story-high ceiling, from which an antler chandelier was suspended in the living room. Next, was the kitchen with its huge center island and state-of-the-art appliances. Just off the kitchen was a beautiful spiral staircase leading to a series of children’s and guest bedrooms, many of which featured pillows with slogans such as “Lake Life” and “Jump in the Lake.” A tour guide pointed out a raised area between bedrooms, which once housed an indoor jacuzzi that overlooked the lake.
A short jaunt down the trail was the next home, “Old Arrowhead at the Lake,” a mostly white home, inside and out, that was built in 1963 and was once occupied by actor Gary Burghoff (“Radar” O’Reilly on M*A*S*H) Both entryways to the home are lined with hand-cut quartz stones and huge, handcrafted bronze pinecones.
A visit to the next home required another quick boat ride back to Lake Arrowhead Village, where you would drive to Sandals Church on the North Shore and then catch a van shuttle to the 3,900-square-foot “Storybook Lodge,” which was constructed in 1987 and remodeled in 2022. This home, also located in North Shore Estates, has a black exterior and mostly white interior. The living room features a black, antique gas stove that’s shaped like a king or queen’s crown, as well as a truly spacious and unique bathroom, featuring an enclosed fireplace and a huge, glass-enclosed shower, literally big enough for 10 persons (if so inclined).
Just down the street from Storybook Lodge is the 1,300-square-foot Frogmore Cottage, also known as “The Little Blue Cottage.” Though it was built in 1967, some of the interior rooms, especially the kitchen, have a 1950s feel to them.
The final home on the tour, “Lakeside Chalet,” required a short shuttle van ride from Lake Arrowhead Community Presbyterian Church to the chalet, which was reportedly the first Lake Arrowhead home with a black exterior. Upon our arrival at the chalet, we met Cindy from Anaheim Hills. When asked how she liked the chalet, she said, “I’ve been coming to the Home Tour every year for the past 10 years and I was surprised to find out that this home is an Airbnb that rents for $3,000 per weekend.”
The chalet, which has five bedrooms and five bathrooms located on four floors, with a TV in every room, features a chef’s kitchen, game room, movie room and a mother-in-law unit with its own kitchen and bathroom.
Up on the fourth-floor deck, we encountered Rim High School music scholar Ara Tokatlian, who entertained guests by playing keyboard and singing.
When the first tour of the day concluded around noon, we drove to The Tudor House in Arrowhead Villas for sandwiches and drinks with other folks we had met on the early morning tour.