The Landing for a BAHM- Awesome...

In 1958, The Royal Valhalla Motor Lodge was built across the street from the Lake, conveniently located near the casinos.

In 2011, this old 1 star hotel was purchased by businessman Jim Demetriades, with the goal of turning it into a luxurious 5 star resort.  Tonight's Business After Hours Mixer showcased that very successful transformation into The Landing: Lake Tahoe Resort & Spa.
Volunteering with the Tahoe Chamber's Emily, I checked people in and enjoyed meeting a number of interesting guests.
While I worked, Bob, Jenny, Adele, Bruce and Steve dined on scrumptious delights presented by the excellent waitstaff.  With each tray of new offerings, they became more impressed.  
 Their view only added to the magicalness of the evening.
Many took this opportunity to savor the new place in town. We knew several of the attendees who came to be introduced to The Landing.
One of the desserts that thrilled me was the hot chocolate topped with a homemade marshmallow...  Decadently delicious. 
Afterward, several of us toured one of the lavish guest rooms.  I had to document the marble bathroom with heated floors with lit and heated toilet seats.  It was spectacular.

Owner Jim Demetriades said, "We've created The Landing out of our own desire for a five-star property located on the lake. We want to provide guests with luxurious accommodations that seamlessly integrate with the natural beauty of our unique lakeside setting."

After our time there, we felt Mr. Demetriades far surpassed his goal. Everyone left the event duly impressed.

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Wild Weather Winter Trek...

Last night, the promised snow arrived and with it winds.  As we gathered to take our 5th graders to the top of Heavenly, we were a bit apprehensive.

Trying to each the students about the snowshoes was difficult because the bindings were frozen and the wind was howling.  Their enthusiasm never waned, however.

And yet, in typical Tahoe fashion, the clouds began to lift and by the end of the day, we had glorious sunshine.  The ride down the gondola was very dramatic, the perfect conclusion to a rather exciting Winter Trek.

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Eagles and Agriculture...

Once a year, there exists the opportunity to see an influx of birds of prey that arrive for the calving season in the spectacularly scenic Carson Valley. This remarkable interaction between nature and agriculture attracts nature lovers, of all kinds, who come to observe eagles, hawks, falcons and a variety of other bird and wildlife species.
Most of the fields we drove by were filled with newly born calves.  I love these animals with their kind, sweet faces.

We saw many hawks and a few eagles in flight.  Yet, we only saw one young eagle perched.  We think we were a few days too late.  There were no calves birthing today.  The birds of prey consume the afterbirth.  Their timing was better than ours.

Every stream we drove by had the same majestic reflection upon it.  What a spectacular time of year to be exploring the valley. We were rewarded by such beauty.

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Mountain Biking to the Pet Cemetery...

In an effort to embrace the last days of sunshine before the upcoming, promised snow storm, Jenny and I went mountain biking through the Angora Burn Area. This terrible blaze began on Sunday, June 24, 2007 as a result of an illegal campfire.

The area is visible for miles, but this was the first time I had actually been in the charred 3,072 acres.  It was surreal and sad. 
We look happy because we survived an arduous path up the mountain side.
The cemetery is a little talked about casualty of the Angora fire that destroyed 254 homes. Disturbing reminders of this terrible event in Tahoe history remain in the form of burnt grave markers and felled, scorched trees.
For as long as many residents can remember, the pet cemetery has been the final resting place for countless pets. No one seems to know for sure how long the cemetery has been around, but one estimate went as high as 55 years. The cemetery is an informal one, started a long time ago under unknown and long-forgotten circumstances, and has grown into a fixture of the surrounding community. It sits on National Forest land, and is technically illegal, although the U.S. Forest Service has not to date made efforts to rid the forest of the cemetery.
In among the old wooden markers, whose identities have been destroyed, we found several replacements and even a couple of new ones.  It is evidence that the cemetery is slowly rebuilding and growing, much like the surrounding community... out of the ashes.

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Skunk Harbor Hike...

History, beauty, warmth... this was an ideal Tahoe day and our first visit to Skunk Harbor.

This easy, 1.5-mile trail  has a little bit of everything: history, water, flora and views. An elevation gain of just 600 feet makes it suitable for families.
This was Jenny's suggestion and the day could not have been more spectacular.
 "A picture is worth a thousand words."

Okay, so I promised history. Located in this isolated harbor is an amazing stone house, built for the George Newhall family, in 1922 (photo above c. 1925). Its sole purpose was to provide them with a hospitable boating destination from their Rubicon Point home (just across the lake). They tied up their boats at the pier and spent long summer days living the life of the idle rich during the Roaring Twenties (picture the Great Gatsby).

The family’s fortunes changed, following the stock market crash in 1929, and they sold the property to George Whittell, Jr., in the early 1930s. Whittell spent several summers in the house until his mansion was completed north of Skunk Harbor in 1939. Much of the Whittell estate was acquired by the U.S. Forest Service following his death in 1969 and is now public property.
We sat on rocks, had lunch, lingered in the sunshine and delighted in the day.

There is a false spring here that has made all creatures come out and play.
“A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature.
It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures
the depth of his own nature.”
-Henry David Thoreau

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New Motto???

This is the new sign in town.  Not bad words to live by.  Just something to think about.

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Wine in the Winter Sunshine...

While the East Coast is being blanketed in winter, we're experiencing Spring here in Tahoe.  It's the perfect opportunity to wine in the pine...

Snow, that lingers in the shade, makes a perfect 'cooler'.  What an ideal way to enjoy our afternoon.  Saluti!

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Winter Trek is FINALLY Here...

Now that we have a little snow,  my volunteering for the 5th Grade Environmental Education Program, Winter Trek Express, has started. The U.S. Forest Service, Heavenly Mountain Resort, the City of South Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Heritage Foundation are proud sponsors of this awesome opportunity for students (and volunteers).

This 3+hour environmental education program takes place at 9,000 ft elevation at the Heavenly Mountain Resort via a free Gondola ride from Stateline.
Forest Service rangers (me and Jenny) lead the class through the wilderness to learn snowshoe skills and discover winter adapting animals and signs of these animals.
Students fulfill science, language, social science and physical education requirements for 5th grade curriculum during the program.
Kathyrn Reed, of the Lake Tahoe News, was there to report about this incredible program.

Having lunch at 9,000' with friends, helping students better know and appreciate Lake Tahoe, all while delighting in a gorgeous day... I cannot think of a more ideal way to spend a Thursday!

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Echo Lake for Snowshoeing...

Wanting to experience 'winter' in our spring-like South Lake Tahoe, a group of us headed to Echo Lake (elevation 7539').

To meander through the forest, past scenic summer cabins, while laughing with friends, is something that makes me pretty darn happy.

Beyond us is Echo Lake, completely frozen and not discernible as a body of water... Winter distorts.
 Lunch was on a dock, complete with brandy, compliments of Cyndy.

Oh man, what more can I add.  I love living here.  Today was a great day!

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