California Travels

Lake Tahoe Blues.

Lake Tahoe is summer paradise in its purest form. From deep azure waters of every shade, to the crispest mountain air, Tahoe is the perfect place for a summertime weekend retreat.

With the help of VRBO I found a quaint cabin just a block from the lake up on a hill with panoramic views of Carnelian Bay in north Tahoe. Our cabin was complete with stone floors and fireplace, airy loft style rooms, and amazing lake views from nearly every window.

Arriving late, we picked up CB’s Pizza, a local favorite in Carnelian Bay. The crispy crust paired with a sumptuous dry rosato from St. Helena’s V. Sattui was a meal to remember out on the deck. Although it got chilly, we bundled up to enjoy the sunset. Facing east, we didn’t get a traditional sunset, but rather a gorgeous gradual lightening of the sky into sherbet colors, and a slow fade into night.

Keen to explore, the next morning we set out early to enjoy the lakeside. We headed to Speedboat Beach, which is right on the border of California and Nevada. Gorgeous and desolate in the morning hours, it was a nice place to relax and enjoy our beautiful surroundings. We continued into Nevada, and around the lake, stopping intermittently as the morning gave way to afternoon. As the day went on, the crowds emerged, so we decided on a scenic drive the rest of the way around the lake. I was enchanted by the vistas and relative desolation of the eastern shores of Lake Tahoe.

We stopped for lunch at Brook’s Bar & Deck at Edgewood Tahoe, and enjoyed our meal with panoramic lake and pristine golf course views. The portions were giant – we shared just an appetizer and one entrée. After lunch, we stepped out to the dock and beach, and took in the sights. Edgewood is located along the bluest waters in Lake Tahoe with some of the highest peaks immediately across the water, making for a stunning viewpoint.

As we continued our drive along the lake, and ventured into crowded South Lake Tahoe, I was immediately very happy that we had chosen the much quieter North shore. Once we passed the madness, we continued to drive, and stopped at the unreal vistas of Emerald Bay. Perched far above the lake, we got a sense of the scale of how large this massive body of water truly is!

After driving 190 miles around the lake, I thought my feeling not-so-hot was the result of the twisty roads. But, after talking to locals at the drugstore, I discovered that a mild case of altitude sickness was probably it. Living at sea level and spending as much free time around or in the ocean made this unexpected, as we very rarely venture to altitude. After hydration and some rest, I felt much better, although sadly not well enough to go out to a nice anniversary dinner as planned. Instead, we crafted a cheese & charcuterie plate with ingredients from Tahoe Central Market. We a enjoyed eating out on the deck, and then ventured inside for a husband v. wife game of Monopoly, which I, naturally, won.

Feeling better the next morning, we relaxed on the beach in Tahoe Vista. Since we had missed our opportunity for a nice anniversary dinner out, I was determined to find the perfect patio for lunch. This was easily found at the Lone Eagle Grille at the Hyatt Incline Village, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch on the patio overlooking the Hyatt’s poshly appointed beach. We enjoyed everything from tuna poke and pork tenderloins, to a delicious cheesecake for desert. For ambiance, food quality, and service, I definitely recommend Lone Eagle Grille for an upscale lunch in Incline Village.

In search of relative desolation on our way home, we made a stop at Donner Lake. Rather than stopping at one of the public beaches, we continued along the road around the lake until we reached a fire road that, upon walking along it, lead to one of the beaches in the state park. It was gorgeous, and uncrowded, a perfect place to spend an hour or so before our drive home.

Again seeking desolation, we chose not to drive home on Highway 80, and instead ended up on scenic Highway 20. Thought a bit windy at sections, and with a slower speed limit, it was a relaxing way to cut through the traffic in lushly forested surroundings. Little did we know, we were passing near the Lowell wildfire! Luckily, despite reports of local evacuations, there were no road closures, and the smoke provided a filter for the sun that cast beautiful crimson shadows all around.

Lake Tahoe was a lovely place to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. Although one could see the crowds as a caveat, I would say that it not only led us to explore more deeply into lesser known places, but also to spend more time relaxing on the amazing deck at our cabin, and to take well needed quality time together as a couple.

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