Archive for the ‘Tahoe City’ Category
Monday, August 9th, 2010
Yes, yes I know that if you’re from California you’re not accustomed to seeking out historical sites within the state. This is the New Coast - the brave new world where you were either a profit seeker, treasure hunter or just plain ole crazy enough to move All The Way Out. Well I’m hear to simply let you know that there are a few places right in Tahoe City to pique your interest: The Watson Cabin and the Gatekeeper’s Museum.
Watson Cabin Tahoe City (photo from North Tahoe Museums)
The Watson Cabin was built by Tahoe City’s first cop – Robert Montgomery Watson. The highest peak above town also bears his name, as does the beautiful reflection-pond near that summit (a great bike ride, incidentally, and also a fun semi-offroad adventure for anyone with a Jeep). The cabin stayed in the family until the late 1970′s when the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society purchased it. They do all sorts of little events that are very kid-friendly so keep an eye on their calendar.
The Gatekeeper’s Museum is beautiful building located right at the headwater of Tahoe’s sole outflow, the Truckee River. This is a really cool place to just meander – there are some placards if you feel like reading, some lawn for windsprints, a gorgeous rocky shore with a neat angle on Tahoe, oh and a museum! They showcase Washo Indian baskets, clothing, history exhibits of the resort boom, etc. The Truckee River outflow gates are right here and you can walk along the glass-lined structure where you’ll see the now-non-human-powered crank that winds the gates up and down.
Gatekeeper's Museum, Tahoe City (photo from North Tahoe Museums)
If you get into these places and want some more, check out the Ehrman Mansion down at Sugar Pine State Park and then reward yourself with a historical beverage at the old bar on Chamber’s Landing pier…
Sunday, August 1st, 2010
Tahoe might not be the Atacama Desert or Hawaii when it comes to stargazing, but it’s pretty darn good. We get a black sky (especially when Squaw’s not open for night skiing) unlike many other places. Our elevation seems to be juuuust enough to be above the haze, both natural and manmade, that skew so many other night skies. One of my favorite things to do on a calm, moonless night here (besides see a band) is to find a pier with a second story on the end. Get up there and look all around – then peer down into crystal clear, jet black Tahoe. Star reflections will stare back at you with that ethereal glow that only comes from peaceful water-swish.
A different way to get a great perspective on the night sky is by going with someone who actually knows what’s above us. The man around these parts is Tony Berendsen from Tahoe Star Tours. He does his thing all over Tahoe and there are a few upcoming that you should check out if you’re here:
August 5, 2010: The Milky Way Rises Over Lake Tahoe
Activity: Star Tour Kayak
Cost: $65 per person
Where: Tahoe Vista Recreation Area
August, 12, 2010: Squaw Valley Family Campout on top of the Mountain! (inquire with Squaw to find out if they have a star expert in attendance)
August 12, 2010: Deep Sky Wonders and the Perseid Meteor Shower
Activity: Star Tour Hike
Cost: $65 per person
Where: Tahoe Vista Regional Park
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Do you the power of Tahoe restaurant decks? If you do and haven’t been on one yet this summer then you have some explaining to do. If you have yet to harness this power then please, read on…
Within a five to ten minute bike ride from Granlibakken’s intersection with West Lake Blvd. you can pedal / coast your way to a many different slices of heaven. To the north you can go to Tahoe City and sit on the deck of Jake’s On the Lake to enjoy a lunch, dinner or some drinks overlooking the Tahoe Marina and a looooong expanse of Tahoe’s azure surface. Head back towards the Big G, where the Truckee Rover is born from Tahoe and you have two great choices – the outdoor bar of the Bridgetender and the Rover Grill. The first is Tahoe’s best burger joint with tables along the river. The latter is a little higher end with Tahoe’s favorite outdoor happy hour with a firepit and music every Wed – Sun (7pm-10pm), right over the river’s edge.
Heading south of Granlibakken you can pedal down to Sunnyside – my favorite moonrise deck – with it’s massive expanse of wood and lengthy outdoor bar. The arrangement here is classic: fancy dinner go-ers on one side, barstools and sandals on the other. If you were to drive a few miles south of here, you’d find yourself moored up at the oldest pier-bar on the West Shore : Chamber’s Landing. This is located at the end of a dock where you can arrive by pedal, foot, sail or motor vessel. This awesome place has cheap grilled lunch, a ton of outdoor hang-space and it gets the last sun on the West Shore because of its prominent location.
For you boaters, the Granlibakken blog will spare no expense in providing content based on strict research for another post about boating to all of Tahoe’s best water accessible speakeasies – more on that later…
Sunday, July 18th, 2010
Nordic Center Vista
This is just another one of those ridiculously sweet views of Tahoe that you can get from a twenty minute walk in the woods. It’s fine for lowlanders, big families and those who generally don’t want to push it too far on vacation. I’m tempted to give you the quick and dirty on how to do this exact one but must say that, a) it’s easy to lose one’s way in the woods, b) AlpenGlow Sports in Tahoe City is a great place for hiking advice, and c) I get lost all the time.
The famous Tahoe Rim Trail passes right through Granlibakken’s backyard and offers some of the best hiking in the country. I’ll do a full post on that another time. The trail these photos were taken from is well below the Rim Trail (yes I get lazy, too) on a knoll at the T.C. Nordic Center…oh yeah, let AlpenGlow tell you how to do it.
Looking toward Desolation Wilderness
© 2010 Alex West, copy and photos
Friday, July 9th, 2010
OK – we all heard about the 10-feet of snow that Squaw got in April. And May was no time to for a lengthy dip in the Lake. June had a ton of thunderstorms and unsettled weather. Just because Tahoe decided to skip spring doesn’t mean that anyone should skip summer here. And summer has truly arrived, albeit on “Tahoe Time.”
False Start Flip Flops
It’s in the ’80′s every day, boats are out in full force (as are the watercraft rental biz’s) and the water is, yes I dare say it: Warm! If you are one of these strange folks who think Tahoe is a lake to merely wonder at (the Hawaii-meets-Bermuda color) it’s time to get into those skivvies and give this ditch a dive. Seeking the warmest option? Well don’t swim on a windy day – upwelling currents bring the mobster-freezing gel from the depths right to the surface. And don’t swim next to a creek – not because of pollution you city slicker, rather because that water was snow about 5 hours ago. The warmest spots are Commons Beach in Tahoe City, King’s Beach, and the entire East Shore. So shovel off those flip flops and get up here…!
© 2010 Alex West, copy and photos
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Granlibakken is thrilled to be the host lodging site for the Lake Tahoe Music Festival Orchestra Academy and site of the Strictly Classical Performances taking place this month on July 21st and July 28th.
The Orchestra Academy, the only paid residency program on the West Coast, offers a 10-day intensive professional experience with training by world-class soloists. The Academy has recruited 36 of the most talented young musicians from across the country to live and rehearse at Granlibakken Resort.
July 21st’s performance is Classics New and Old featuring special guest Ariana Ghez, principal Oboist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
July 28th’s performance is Music in the Key of D featuring special guest Jerry Grossman, principal Cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Granlibakken’s Executive Lawn Venue is the perfect setting for this musical extravaganza. There will be a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres at 5pm before each concert. Concerts begin at 6pm and end at 7pm.
For those attending either performance, Granlibakken is offering a special Lake Tahoe Music Festival Lodging Package with rates starting at $122. This package includes lodging, full hot breakfast buffet and access to on-site amenities.
Tickets to Strictly Classical cost $10. Seating is limited. Contact tahoemusic.org to reserve your tickets.
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
If you’ve never been to Tahoe’s Snowfest celebration than you have to come check it out. If you have attended it then you need to come back and see all the stuff you missed last time. Snowfest is that big and there’s so much going on that takes a few years to catch it all.
It’s been around since 1982 and has grown each season, shedding some events to add others that are more fun. This year, some smaller events start before the big Torchlight Parade and fireworks at Squaw on Friday, March 5. But this parade is truly an experience and a large draw. One of the new gigs is an ‘80’s Retro Dance Party at the Cornice Cantina in Squaw’s parking lot right after the torchlight.
The next day it jumps into more downhill action with the Transworld Snowboarding Magazine TransAm and the Sick & Twisted Freestyke Tour / Rail Jam. But my favorite things to attend on that first Saturday are the Pancake Breakfast and Tahoe City Snowfest Parade. Since I’ve been here too long I don’t know how this sounds but: the coolest thing in the parade are the loaders hoisting and moving their huge buckets all over the place – actually the most impressive part to me is that half of them are run by twelve-year-old kids! Also on Saturday is the Polar Bear swim at GarWoods – brrrr!
On Sunday you can watch or sweat your pancakes off during the Great Race from Tahoe City to Truckee. This is for insaniacs with ski poles and my strangest friends usually partake. It’s one of the biggest races of its kind in the West. Then there’s the Dog Pull (ever seen a Chihuahua pull a keg in a sled? I didn’t think so.), Human Bowling and the Sunnyside Luau.
So these are the first three days of the 10-day celebration. For more check out the Snowfest website and especially the event schedule. See you somewhere!!!
Monday, September 21st, 2009
Ever think you deserve a quick zip to some resort for an easy getaway? It’s kind of a tough thought given the current economic climate – maybe the job’s a little shaky, or your tapping what’s left of the home equity line, or maybe you’re just keeping things a little tighter to the belt.
Three Lanes of Heaven
Well check this out: you can come to Granlibakken, stay for a great price and feast every morning on an expansive (and free) spread. If you’re feeling ambitious you should know that just about everything I’ve written about in the blog posts below is still a possibility. It’s a great time for mountain biking and hiking, you can swim in the Lake at any time of day and into the evening, the fishing is getting better and better (though not on the Truckee near Tahoe City), stand-up paddling is perfect, you can motorboat in the mornings and sail most afternoons. It’s heaven-time up here!
After you’ve (maybe) done one of these activities after breakfast, you can waltz on down to the crystal clear waters of Granlibakken’s pool-a-palooza. If you’re one of those people who think it’s always chilly in Tahoe then start in the mammoth hot tub replete with its own island. This ought to heat you up enough to hop in the pool (which is also heated & has some lanes) which for me is the perfect place to start (by the way, there’s also a kiddie pool). Then take your pick of the chaise lounges, umbrella’d tables or the lush grass which are all poolside. This time of year things are quiet enough in Tahoe that you’ll feel like it’s your very own personal r-e-s-o-r-t, ahhhh!
A Slab of Heaven
If you’re not like those lucky people who can sit by a pool for hours then choose from a list of mellow options to fill the rest of the afternoon – tramp on the famous Tahoe Rim Trail right from the ‘backyard,’ roll a cruiser bike to Tahoe City, stroll down to Granlibakken’s tennis courts for game or two. Or, since most of the rooms at Granlibakken are so nicely laid out, you can just chill back at the pad and listen to the wind blow through the trees…
Ahhh those sweet trees, Heavenly!
Sunday, September 13th, 2009
Those Darn Dam Gates
We’ve had the first of those warm fall days with a steady breeze and long, brown needles falling from the pines. But they aren’t going to take over the climate just yet. It’s also the beginning of the incredible Tahoe Indian Summer. This is the amazing time of year when “nobody’s” here, the days are still long, and the sun still powerful. For me, it’s the best time of year for golf, tennis, mountain biking and hiking. A dip in the Lake is as refreshing as one in May and some us call this the start to the fall surf season (more on that in another post).
One of the best lazy days you can have right now is by grabbing a copy of the Tahoe City Walking Tour brochure and making a day of it. You can start right at Granlibakken by walking or riding on the bike path into town. Park at the Marion Steinbach / Gatekeeper’s Museum and check out a unique angle on the lake – this is the exact northwest corner of the Big Blue. Then walk above the headwater /dam(!) of Tahoe’s only outflow, the Truckee River. You can check out the aging hardware that opens and closes the gates which control the Truckee’s volume. Stay on the paved walking path (yes, this is very stroller-friendly) and stroll out the first of a number of public piers in Tahoe City, this one right before Commons Beach. Stub your toe? Well, this is your day! The Fire Dept. is right here….
Commons Beach includes Tahoe’s original jail – this must be one of the smallest ancient jail cell’s in California. There is an awesome kids playground, a nice lawn, sand and rock beaches and also stairs up to Main Street and (right in front of the Blue Agave Restaurant & Bar and the Watson Cabin Museum). Keep on the trail past some natural rock caves, probablu carved when the Lake persisted at a higher rim elevation. These lead you to the second public pier at grove Street. Here you can change the whole day by renting a boat, jetski or other waterplay device at Tahoe Water Adventures.
Next you can grab a seat at Jake’s Restaurant or hit the Boatworks Mall and Lighthouse Center. Or hit the TC Library for a reading other adventure. You can come back on Main Street and choose another restaurant or coffee shop and then also take a gander at the Cobblestone Center (another nice shopping area). Score a huge hit with grandma, mom or sweetie by getting a Lake Tahoe emerald necklace at one of the jewelry joints.
The best place to finish the tour is the Bridgetender, especially when it’s warm enough to hang outside. They have a great on-river patio with its own bar. Grab a good burger and a tall brew, or change a diaper on the riverbank. You can it all done at the BT and what a strong finish the Tahoe City Walking Tour!
Monday, August 24th, 2009
Sounds like summer is in full swing in the City – word is that fog plus cold, blowy temps are a fixture of the Richmond district and all the other usual places these days. It’s one of the things that makes that place so darn romantic sometimes. Well, up here at Tahoe we have Summer in Disguise. Some days are full-blown four-alarm sunshine but we seem to be collecting a few more of those ‘other’ days where we actually see clouds.
Lots of us love it because not only is natural variety the spice of a place with little culture but also because it’s a change from the Big Tahoe Sun days of mid-summer. And the great thing about it is that you can do just about everything that’s so popular in the middle of summer – the difference now is that you have to be a little more self-reliant, oh, and there’s no traffic.
Want to raft the river?
Rafting co.’s are closed – bring your own floatation and you’re off!
Want to swim on top of Squaw?
Hike Shirley Canyon and get in the river!
But come to think of it, most other businesses are still open for one more week. Shakespeare performances at Sand Harbor are still happening. Boat, paddleboard, kayak, and bike rentals (Granlibakken also has rental bikes) are full swing. You can go high up on a parasail or hot air balloon over Tahoe. And most importantly, all the major restaurant decks are still open: Sunnyside, Jake’s, River Grill, River Ranch, The Bridgetender, GarWoods, Blue Onion, Caliente, Jason’s, Steamer’s, and on and on!
Not too busy in the lineup
One of the most summery things you can do up here is go surfing off the back of a boat. It sounds weird but with the right boat and the right driver you can do take up this sport easily. If you don’t have access to a boat you can still rent an instructor and boat right in Tahoe City or at the Sunnyside Marina, both within a ten minute spin down the bike path (or five minutes’ drive) from Granlibakken.
My little family got treated to an afternoon of wakesurfing with Surf Tahoe, located at the Grove Street pier in Tahoe City. Our instructor was Chris Lange who we met while he was bilging water into two huge fatsacks used the make one rear corner of the boat super-heavy so our wave would be huge. After some easy instruction we were on our way – just 20 feet of rope from the stern of the boat and chatting with Chris all the while, we could throw the rope back into the boat and surf Tahoe with only the ramp of the wake propelling us. This is Surfing Tahoe and it is very cool.
Although I don't look cool doing it...
If you do have a boat (and you’re still reading this) it probably isn’t built for wakesurfing. So have fun with it. Grab an old surfboard and pile some buddies on a rear corner of whatever old bucket you’re running. I did this the other day with a friend who’s engine stuck out the back of the craft – not the best set-up for having your face right off the rear transam while learning to surf. So we long-lined it at regular wakeboarding speed – it was hilarious. Massive higher-speed splashes, rope-splitting pulls on the line, and sore consequences from new moves tried – these were the name of the game that day. And although it wasn’t real wakesurfing the thrill was there.
So no matter how you end up going about it, give this new rave a try and how it catches you!
© 2009 Alex West