Summer is here and the sirens of Lake Tahoe are calling.
Their chorus of activities can be almost overwhelming. From kayaking to biking, hiking, horseback riding and stand-up paddling, days in Tahoe are spent outdoors. Add in the nightlife from gambling at casinos, to going to outdoor events, to sipping wine with locals and fellow tourists, and it appears that a ton of luggage is going to be required to fit in all the different outfits needed.
With the Kipling Madison 22 Wheeled Duffel,you have the perfect bag. Its large U-shaped main compartment allows rooms for the casual clothes and various footwear a vacation in Tahoe demands.
Don’t give yourself a headache deciding how many shoes to bring. Pack three pairs: one to hike with, one to walk around with and a third to get wet. Without any humidity the latter is sure to dry between water activities.
Number one rule here is few rules exist.
A laid back attitude is applied to everything from clothing to telling the time whether you stay on the California or Nevada side of the US’s 2nd largest alpine lake.
People are extremely friendly. It’s like everyone’s attitude gets nicer as the altitude increases.
Speaking of altitude, it can affect newcomers for a few hours.
Relax and drink plenty of water and then repeat the process. Breathe deep and let the pine scented air coupled with the majestic sight of towering Sierra Nevada peaks reflected in the crystal clear teal and cerulean blue waters work their magic.
I am sharing some of my favorite places around the Lake. Most are not posh, but give a true flavor of the region.
Let’s start on the Nevada side along the Eastern and North Shore.
The Thunderbird Lodge, near Incline Village, was built for an eccentric millionaire misanthrope, Captain Whittell, during the Great Depression. He honked loud horns at those coming too close to his shoreline, and inside his home he kept a secret tunnel with a then-legal opium den. My favorite fact is that his closest friend was a full grown lion named Bill often seen with his mane flying as he and the Captain drove in an open convertible.
Incline Village’s Mark Twain Cultural Center honors the late author, who once declared that Lake Tahoe could restore a mummy, by offering weekly cultural events in the evenings. From musical groups, historians and evenings with the ghost of Twain himself, the Center is like the old mining camps of old with their vast array of top-notch entertainment. Both visitors and residents gather earlier to enjoy picnic or potluck suppers. This is a terrific way to get to share adventures and gather valuable insider insight.
Need a quick sandwich or a hit of something sweet? Let the Brockway Bakery in Kings Beach offer temptations sure to deflate any diet plans. Then again, you are on vacation – so who cares? Order a few of the blueberry tarts and enjoy.
The Chinese Cuisine Restaurant in California’s Tahoe City Lighthouse Shopping Center has one of the best soups I have ever enjoyed. It is hot and spicy, but not overly so, and filled with veggies and toasted tofu. Laughter surrounds the owner as she brings water, tea and a friendly chat to her patrons.
Continuing on, the lake’s western shore is the home of the Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park, which has something for everyone. By taking the great hiking trails under towering pines, you’ll have the chance to stroll along the Lake and see famous wooden and aluminum boats from Tahoe’s past and, most importantly, have the ability to imagine what life as a San Francisco millionaire in the late 19th century and the 1930s was like.
Unlike the Captain, the Hellman and Ehrman families, who vacationed here for over 50 years, welcomed everyone with a graciousness that is still visible today. Every July, a Living History Day is celebrated, and all can witness the elegant manners and customs of a bygone era. The event is free which is perfect for every tourist’s budget.
Emerald Bay has been declared one of the most photographed places in America by Kodak. My advice is to get there either in early morning or as the sun dances westward. The crowds will have died down, parking is plentiful and, for birders, this is the time to have binoculars and life lists at the ready as flocks of our feathered friends circle around.
At Camp Richardson, one can lie on a sandy beach or rent bikes, horses, or kayaks and enjoy the great outdoors. As daylight fades, finding a seat on the deck of the Beacon Bar and Grill while enjoying their famed, or infamous, Rum Runner is a Tahoe tradition.
Since the Rum Runners can be potent, it is also good to note that Camp Richardson has a rustic hotel and campgrounds available nearby.
Speaking of accommodations, few can compete on either shore with the view offered by the Crown Ferrari Motel in Kings Beach.
The hotel is retro vintage, and you expect to find stars from a 60’s sitcom also staying there. Super clean with a helpful staff and scrumptious bedding, it is the view, however, that truly makes the Crown shine especially bright. Ask for a lake view and then leave the drapes partially open. When morning’s first light greets you with a wondrous panorama of water, mountains and sky, you will thank me for my suggestion.
Celebrate the end of a perfect Tahoe day at South Shore’s Aprẻs Wine Company on Ski Run Boulevard. Over 50 wines from the bounties of Northern California and around the world are offered by the glass or the ounce with the Italian built Enomatic. Their tempting menu and knowledgeable, yet never elitist, staff create an atmosphere in which you will want to linger even if you do not know a Cab Franc from a Sauvignon Blanc. Take time for a wine tastings, join Thursday’ Girls Night Out or sip and listen to live music.
With all Lake Tahoe has to offer during the summer why are you still reading?
You should be packing your Kipling Madison Duffel and hitting the road.
Join us next week for a cheap tour of New York City.