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Lake Tahoe Activities and News

Archive for the ‘Tahoe City’ Category

Take a Walk on the Mild Side

Sunday, September 13th, 2009
Those Darn Dam Gates

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….

The Hardware

The Hardware

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.

Gatekeeper's Museum

Gatekeeper's Museum

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!

“Shhh…it’s still summer!”

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

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 it doesn't LOOK that 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

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