Lake Tahoe, NV: Deep Waters and Dense Pines
Snow or no snow, the Tahoe area is an enchanted landscape of mountain peaks, abundant wildlife, and perky pines encircling a deep and lofty lake cherished for its adventures and aesthetics.
Dress code: Snowy sidewalks and pinecone-strewn hiking trails make high heels a fashion faux pas. The vibe in Tahoe is really, really casual and you have to look hard to find even a “mountain formal” venue that won’t accept your jeans-clad self. In summer, flip flops and khakis hold sway. In winter, boots and stocking caps are ubiquitous.
Editor’s favorite watering holes: Don’t let the mounted animal trophies on the walls deter you–The Tourist Club in Truckee was once a post office and is now a delightful dive bar promising “free beer tomorrow.” For a taste of the Old World, The Auld Dubliner at Squaw features live accordion music and Irish food.
Where the locals go: Your best chance to overhear pro skiers swapping schuss tales over pizza and beer is at Le Chamoix, which is located in the old Olympic area. If burgers are more your thing, then the patio at the Bridgetender is a biker’s and hiker’s haven along the Truckee River. And, if you’re into fish, Mama Sake and Hiro Sushi are super spots for sushi.
Where to blow a paycheck: Like little cities unto themselves, the major mountain resorts have more than enough to make the whole family happy. From spas, ski trails, skating rinks, and s’mores kiosks to kids’ camps, swimming pools, gondolas, and restaurants galore, everything you need is right at hand, including comfortable lodging and jaw-dropping lake and Sierra Nevada vistas.
Did we mention it’s free?: Emerald Bay in South Lake is resplendent with relatively easy hiking trails that lead past stands of aspen (come in fall, when they’re golden), granite rocks, and flowing waterfalls. In the summer, you can join a tour to the historic Scandinavian Vikingsholm and see the charming little tea house on Fannette Island.
Chill-out spot: The Tahoe Rim Trail passes through Page Meadows, where dense trees give way to a series of alpine meadows chained together. The relative flatness of the meadows makes it a springtime mecca for moms and baby carriages. In summer, wildflowers bloom in all colors. At any time of year, watch the tree trunks for the old carvings of Basque shepherds.
Off the beaten path: The Riverside Studios along the Truckee is a collective of talented local artists who occasionally hold shows and sales. Call ahead to make sure they’re open, then peruse the innovative ceramics, sculptures, paintings, and more. After, take a stroll through the historic district.
Good to know: During ski season, your chance of hitting a snowstorm beats all the casino odds. If you plan on doing any winter driving, make sure you’ve got either a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or that you know how to put chains on your tires.
SINGLE OCCUPANT IS AT AN ADDITIONAL COST