If you’ve ever driven on East Texas backroads, you know there are a few customs to follow. Number one, give a friendly wave to local traffic, especially cowboy hat-wearing gentlemen driving old pickup trucks. Number two, just know that Google Maps probably won’t help you here, and that’s certainly the case for getting to this east Texas luxury lake home we’re featuring today on CandysDirt.com. Trust us, the two hour trip out of Dallas is worth it for this 4,858-sq-ft lodge-style lakefront property that’s up for auction by Elite Auctions later this month.

OPEN HOUSE PREVIEW | 1-4 p.m., Nov. 10-11. The auction takes place 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, with final preview on Friday, Nov. 16. Visit EliteAuctions.com/109-Pennys-Path for pre-registration instructions and driving directions.

You’ll find peaceful landscape at 109 Penny’s Path near Marshall, Texas, where this lodge-style home is situated on a two-lot property totaling 2.84-acres. The auction lot includes this five-bedroom, five-and-half-bath home, nearly three acres of lakefront property, two-boat, covered slip dock on the water, and another lot that’s open for development or sale. Maybe it’s time to build that family compound at the lake!

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Find Exclusive Lakeside Living Just 1.5 Hours from DFW at the Links of Lake Athens | CandysDirt.com

An hour and 15 minutes east of Dallas, I’ve found a private waterfront golf resort on one of the most pristine lakes in Texas. Three parcels at the Links of Lake Athens have hit the market, offering exclusive, one-of-a-kind living for the right buyer or buyers. 

The Links of Lake Athens is a 52-acre, gated development subdivided into five separate parcels. Ownership of three of the parcels is being offered exclusively by Ashley and Malcolm Ross of The Ross Group at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate. The price for all three is $7.5 million, and includes a 7,200-square-foot, seven-bedroom home, plus two guest houses. The three parcels can also be purchased individually (details below). 

What’s so wonderful about the Links of Lake Athens? Privacy tops the list. This is the place you can get away from it all and enjoy total relaxation and peace. Amenities are another thing owners enjoy: think 2,500 feet of lake frontage, an eight-stable equestrian center, two grass tennis courts, and a lush four-hole golf course that plays like an 18-hole, par-72 course and practice area.

“The Links at Lake Athens is for the person or family who seek privacy, exclusivity, and is passionate about the outdoors,” said Malcolm Ross. “The gated property offers unparalleled lakefront views, an incredible golf course with practice area, stables, water sports, and so much more.” 

I’ve got a video and photos after the jump — so beautiful!

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Value and a pretty darn good view — beachfront or mountain — that’s what people generally want when they seek second home real estate. After all, that’s the whole point of buying a second home, getting out of Dodge and enjoying peace, quiet and nature. But one thing has changed since the real estate bubble burst: folks want smaller second homes. (Do you blame them? Give me a one-vacuum-cleaner home on the range.) Two to three bedrooms max, creative living space, multi-function rooms. According to the E360‚Äôs 2nd Home Trend Report,¬† 45% of homeowners believe this year — maybe 2011, also — is the best time to buy a second home. No brain-killer here: timing, cheap interest rates, close-out pre-foreclosure sales; property characteristics, location, and price were the major preferences or influencing factors.

God, I hope they didn’t pay someone to dig up this earth-shattering news. Cut the consultants, just chop the price.Because guess what, the buyers are out there on the fence:

“More impressively, of the remaining 54% who indicated that now would not be a good time to buy 79% indicated that they would be likely or very likely to purchase in the next 2 years. Martin says ‚Äúthis is a strong indication that demand will continue to grow over the next two years and will strengthen the second home market‚Äù.

Why do second home buyers buy homes? 46% for lifestyle and leisure, 41% for investing, 11% for retirement. Maybe it’s only 11% for retirement because so few of us will be able to retire.¬† They really don’t want much space. One trend I saw at a lovely East Texas shared ownership and conservation development called Cross Pines Ranch was the porch dining room — second home buyers love large kitchens with eating areas but skip building a formal dining room. The large, screened-in porch can be a second dining or living area, especially if there is an outdoor fireplace. Screened-in means not air conditioned and heated which means, non-taxable square footage.