The many benefits of owning riverfront property

By Todd Lewys

Many recent studies have lauded the benefits of spending time in nature.

Turns out, when we take walks in the woods or sit in solitude overlooking a lake or river as it flows serenely past our private vantage point, several things happen: stress levels go down, mental energy is restored, body inflammation is reduced, and short-term memory improves.

Here’s some good news: you don’t necessarily have to go to the lake to find a place of renewal. Instead, you can purchase a riverfront property in the pursuit of creating your own everyday sanctuary of sanity.

Not surprisingly, there are many benefits associated with buying a home with a river view. Here are a few of them:

• An abundance of fresh air. If you’ve ever spent time in a cottage that’s situated next to a lake or river, no doubt you’ve noticed that the air that’s blown into the cottage is cool and refreshing. That’s priceless early in the morning or on hot days, when the cool air acts as a natural coolant.

• Great views. Imagine waking up to views of beautiful trees, foliage and mist rising off the water. Better yet, you have total privacy with no neighbours behind you. If you so desire, you can sit out on your deck in your robe without worrying that neighbours will see you in a semi-disheveled state.

• Built in fitness/recreational opportunities. In the summer, you can fish, go canoeing or kayaking, or head down to the dock to hop in your boat to go for a jaunt down the river. In winter, you can put in a hockey rink for the kids, go for a skate down to the Forks on the Red River Mutual Trail, or even go ice fishing. Trails often run along rivers, making for great hiking or mountain biking opportunities.

• Watch wildlife. Every river comes with its own built-in ecosystem. Consequently, all you need to do is sit on your patio or deck and watch as various forms of wildlife meander past: deer, rabbits, beavers, foxes, ducks, geese, an assortment of birds, and, of course squirrels and the odd racoon. You can put out feeders for birds and scope out the different bird species with a pair of binoculars.

• Automatic therapy. Knowing you’re going home to such a beautiful, natural setting gives you something to look forward to at the end of a long workday. Being in your own little world helps you regain equilibrium and put the day’s challenges behind you.

• Opportunity to create your own backyard retreat. With a little imagination — not to mention elbow grease — you can create your own backyard getaway. Put in a multi-tiered deck, or choose to install a covered, screened in porch. Add a patio with fire pit, and maybe even throw in a portable hot tub for good measure. Finish the area off with some tasteful landscaping and voila – you have your own private shangri-la, a place that both you, your family and friends can enjoy.

• License for a healthy lifestyle. Simply put, living in a natural area next to a river is good for you. Not only does such a location lend itself to myriad activities year-round, but many riverside neighbourhoods are mature areas with tree-lined streets and plenty of parks and trails. Such a setting enables you to live a life that offers an ideal balance of relaxation and activity. You can relax in your tranquil backyard or go for a walk or hit the water in your kayak. The choice is yours.

Granted, there’s no such thing as a perfect home.

A riverside residence might require a bit more upkeep than a home on a parkland lot, but that’s something that comes with making the conscious decision to purchase a riverfront property.

At the end of the day, you have a peaceful, restorative place to come home to. That’s worth its weight in gold in today’s stressful, high-paced world.