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Dover Bay Resort delicately balances nature, history

Mon., May 3, 2010, 5:45 a.m.

Dover Bay, just south of Sandpoint, Idaho, offers breathtaking views of Lake Pend Oreille. The new development has units available for purchase or even weekend rentals for people wanting a nice getaway. (Renee Sande / Awayfinder Correspondent)
Dover Bay, just south of Sandpoint, Idaho, offers breathtaking views of Lake Pend Oreille. The new development has units available for purchase or even weekend rentals for people wanting a nice getaway. (Renee Sande / Awayfinder Correspondent)

Anyone who’s been to Lake Pend Oreille in North Idaho knows it’s something special. The reverence for the pristine waters of Lake Pend Oreille, and its surrounding natural beauty runs deep in the hearts of those who live and recreate here. Just ask Ralph Sleteger, longtime local-turned-businessman.

Sleteger grew up in Sandpoint, a community nestled on the shores of this 43-mile-long wonder, at the base of the Cabinet, Selkirk and Bitterroot mountains.

During college, he spent summers working at the mill in the neighboring town of Dover. It’s here that the owner/developer chose as the site for his new multi-phased, residential waterfront community, Dover Bay, first breaking ground in 2003. And this quiet little town hasn’t seen this much activity since its founding in 1922.

Dover’s history states that when a sawmill downstream in Laclede was destroyed by fire, the mill owner used a river barge and teams of horses to relocate his business, homes, church and community hall by to settle in what is its present site.

Even though the Dover sawmill closed in 1989, and a year later, burned to the ground, 10 of the original houses, the church and community hall still exist. However more importantly, it’s the tight-knit community spirit, spanning many generations, that remains.

Sleteger wants to make sure the Dover Bay waterfront community gives back to the City of Dover and complements the beautiful area with the sunny southern exposure. It requires a delicate balance with nature, history and Dover residents.

Dover Bay Waterfront Community truly is about community, encompassing the old and new with no walls or gates, offering the same amenities to all residents in the City of Dover, as well as seasonal vacationers.

“I grew up here,” said Sleteger. “To do an exclusive deal where I gate and wall off an area of people I’d known and grown up with wasn’t something I felt good about doing.”

With over half of the 285 acres that make up Dover Bay committed to preservation, the city of Dover will end up with one of the highest ratios of parkland to residents in North Idaho.

These open areas include 9 acres of public parklands, including wetlands, a nature preserve where inlet restoration has created several islands and Verwolf Vista Park, the highest point of Dover Park. There are also 7 ½ miles of public trails that meander over bridges and through wildlife viewing areas, connecting to paved routes leading to Sandpoint and beyond.

In addition, one of Sleteger’s visions for Dover Bay was to provide access to the water for everyone, so he created Dover City Beach—a stretch of 3,300 feet of public-use waterfront.

In an effort to fuse new with the old, regarding the architecture, Sleteger borrowed design elements from Dover’s original homes for the first of his 12 neighborhoods—“Cottages at Dover Meadows.”

Eleven other distinct neighborhoods, in different stages of development, include “Estuary Forest”—heavily wooded homesites which face a meandering inlet; “West Dover Bay”—exclusive waterfront estate sites for custom homes; “Marina Town Condominiums”—neighboring the Marina District and with a private beach; and “Cabins in the Woods”—set amid dense, mature forest on the waterfront, just to name a few, with prices starting at $198,500.

For seasonal vacationers, the “Beachside Bungalows,” adjacent to the marina, include all amenities and are available for a night, a week or more, with prices starting at $225/night.

And as the motto, “Live it up on the Lake!” implies, there is plenty to do at Dover Bay. Open for the season in May, the Dover Bay Community Marina features 274 boat slips, a public boat launch, Dover Bay Market, and the Dover Bay Café where you can find a steaming cup of coffee, a plate of Vanilla Cinnamon French toast or a glass of Chardonnay. Several cultural and artistic events keep things hoppin’ through the year, such as Dover Bay Days, the Wooden Boat Festival and Sunday Concerts on the Lawn.

There’s also the Lake Club Fitness Center, open to members, bungalow guests, daily-pay guests and Dover Bay residents. It features a year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tub, plus the latest in exercise equipment.

Other planned and potential additions to Dover Bay by 2012 include tennis courts, business offices and more public park development.

“We are gearing up for another great summer at the Dover Bay Resort,” said Alexandria Lett, Dover Bay operating manager. “We have been taking reservations daily on both our boat slips and our bungalow vacation rentals, we are also anticipating our busiest summer yet at the Dover Bay Café.”

For more information, or call (208) 265-1597


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