Heart of a Gypsy Part 8 Lake Tahoe
Sanity comes in many forms, over this summer saving my sanity came in just one: Lake Tahoe. I have camped and traveled my entire life. In fact I lived a few short hours from Lake Tahoe as a child. My father had an aversion to the “uppity” nature of Lake Tahoe and preferred camp grounds without running water. Until I moved here last year, I had never actually been to the lake part of Lake Tahoe. I do have a memory of going to the Ponderosa from the TV show Bonanza when I was 15. The Ponderosa like so many things has closed its doors. Truth be told, I found the animatronic Lorne Greene a little eerie. But I digress…
This vacation destination is only twenty minutes from my house. As you can imagine we explored Lake Tahoe all summer. I still have not seen it all. Somewhere up there is a restaurant where you eat in the dark (cuts down on lawsuits from the hair in your meal). And I am not opposed to parasailing or jet skiing (these can be rented). However, motorized water craft seem to take something away from the peace at Lake Tahoe.
For people who have their own boats there is an inspection fee to keep the muscles and barnacles out of the water. Even though I love Kayaking, I did not make it up to Tahoe with the Kayaks this year. Kayaks and boards can also be rented up at the lake. The water is so inviting that I found the boating unnecessary. Expect the water there to be a cool even in mid-summer. The outside temperatures hovered from 60-80 degrees. For some of you that might seem cold.
My favorite place is Sand Harbor day use area on the Nevada North Shore side of the lake. Although it is a rare occurrence, the first time we went to Sand Harbor there were three foot swells and it was just like being at the beach complete with the rickety worn picket beach fence. The sand is amazing, it’s the kind of sand you can get buried in or just dig your feet into. The down side of Sand Harbor is that you can’t bring dogs, I guess that could be an upside as well for some people. Sand Harbor gets packed early in the day. I found that a lot of people are gone by 3pm (in the summer the sun is out until 8:30-9pm). Rather than beat the crowds we got there after they left and stayed until dark.
Nevada beach also has a nice day use area that includes my husband’s favorite thing; grills. The beach is not sand, it looks like sand but, is really tiny rocks. I don’t advise going without shoes at Nevada Beach. You can also camp here if you want to make a vacation out of it. If you go south into California there are a variety of beaches that can be accessed without a fee. This is where the locals go. Dogs are welcome at more of the south beach locations.
Lake Tahoe has a fabulous array of shops. At Heavenly Village there are great specialty shops. Everything from Tahoe treasures to alpaca blankets can be found at Heavenly. There are also quite a few restaurants in the area. I enjoyed the Hard Rock Café at Harvey’s because who would not want to have dinner next to Joe Walshes 70's pants? There is also a variety of fine dining including the restaurant at the top of Heavenly (the tram is open year round).
Just the drive around the lake is a relaxing experience. Every time we head up to the lake we discover new shops and places. I recommend the Holidays gift store at Heavenly (Next to Baja Fresh) . Holidays Gift Store is filled with unique items from local crafters as well as fun things you will not find elsewhere. They have a wonderful staff and a great atmosphere. In that same shopping center there are several amazing clothing stores, Beads Ect, and Tahoe Trading post.
If you go into Lake Tahoe on the California side there are wine and cheese stores all over the place. My favorite is the Cork and More tucked back behind the Denny’s in the Ross parking lot (Denny’s is on the highway). The Cork and More has just about every cheese you can imagine as well as fun stuff for your kitchen. I especially like to stop there at Christmas when they have their seasonal stuff in.
If you be a pirate, there is CC’s pirate treasures. This store is on the highway but, it is in an enclosed strip mall. The pirate enthusiast will find everything from baby clothes to flamingo skeletons for the lawn. My kids always get caught up in trying things on when we go there. From the relaxing to the ridiculous Lake Tahoe has it all. Enjoy your day in Lake Tahoe!
Links to the stores: