Sugar Pine Point, a Spirit Bear & Squaw

When one vacations with us for an entire week, it allows for a more thorough explore. Today, we headed to the West Shore and began our day at Sugar Pine Point.

In 1897, San Francisco businessman I. W. Hellman began buying property at Sugar Pine Point and by 1913 had acquired nearly 2000 acres. His grand but informal summer home, called Pine Lodge, was completed in 1903 and was considered to be one of the finest in the high Sierra. His daughter, Florence Hellman Ehrman inherited the estate and she and her husband Sydney spent many summers here entertaining family and friends.
Lori toured the wonderful mansion. She loved the history and all the interior elements that transport guests back to the home's glory days.
In 1965, the house and 1,975 acres of the estate were acquired by the California State Park System. Today the estate is maintained as a house museum and as an example of the opulent tradition in Tahoe summer homes.

As always, I found the gardens to be enchanting.

I am always excited when I spot a Sphinx Moth. These hawkmoths first seem to be a hummingbird until you really observe them. So very cool.

As we were driving along, I spotted this little guy. We had seen a black bear with this same coloring in the Nature Center and I commented that I had never seen a bear like this and then there he was. Wow!
When I showed this photo to Jenny, she thought it was a Spirit Bear. I had to do some research... The Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), also known as the spirit bear (particularly in British Columbia), is a rare subspecies of the American black bear living in the Central and North Coast regions of British Columbia, Canada. Kermode bears hold a prominent place in the oral traditions of the indigenous peoples of the area. 

Whether or not our bear was a true Spirit Bear, it is a very cool tie-in with the specialness of our Native American experience Sunday.
We wanted to continue the history lesson so off we went to Squaw Valley, the site of the incredibly important 1960 Winter Olympics.
We keep returning to Squaw for its unique place in history and because it's just a really cool spot to visit.
Showing off Lake Tahoe makes us, as hosts, look great. We are continuously impressed with all it has to offer and all it allows us to share.

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Emerald Bay & Books...

Lori and I began the day in Emerald Bay. While the Lake Tahoe Basin is blanketed in smoke (and our hearts go out to all), being in the Bay seemed a bit better.

In the middle of my volunteering, we took time to picnic in front of Vikingsholm Castle.
Lori took the tour and learned even more amazing history of Lake life, way back when.
My friend, Karen, told us about a super cool event happening at the Minden Library. After a speedy dinner at Francisco's, we headed over for a wonderful night of creativity.
The talented artists of My Thousand Words, Debbie (mom) and Rachel (daughter) Lambin, showed us how to create unique sculptures from used books and magazines. 

I just had to use Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Fun stuff.
On display were amazing works by the Lambins. Oh man, we have a lot to aspire to. Wow, right?

“But every memory of friendship shared,
even for a short time, is a treasure,
like sunshine and warmth in our lives,
like a cool breeze on a humid day,
like a shower of rain refreshing the earth.”

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Wa She Shu It’ Deh Cultural Heritage Celebration at Valhalla

"Lake Tahoe was and is sacred ground for the Washoe Tribe. This culture and heritage celebration, on its shore, is hosted by the Washoe Tribe of Nevada. Representatives from tribes across the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America gather to celebrate native traditions. This longstanding festival, open to the public, features native American dancing, master basket weaving display, food, crafts, and music."

If we were to chose a favorite of the day's events, Lori and I agreed it had to be the Aztec Dancers.
Among the Aztecs music, song, and dance played a very important role. Centuries before the European conquest, there flourished a rich music culture in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan and the centers of neighboring kingships in the Valley of Mexico and beyond. Aztec musical thought was of a high philosophical level. Musical sounds, song and dance movements were of religious meaning and often accompanied ritual acts, such as offerings and sacrifices. Music and dance were understood as a sacrificial gift to the gods. Interestingly, there was no Aztec word for music. Music was the “art of song” (cuicatlamatiliztli) and musicians did not play but “sang” on their instruments. To dance was “to sing with the feet”.
These talented dancers expressed their passion so powerfully that we were actually moved emotionally. Wow.

No Washoe event is complete without hoop dancing. I am always impressed by this.
Lunch was delicious, special tacos, made on frybread, a flat dough bread, fried in oil, shortening, or lard. Made with simple ingredients, frybread can be eaten alone or with various toppings such as honey, jam, powdered sugar, venison, or beef. We had the beef. Frybread can also be made into tacos, like Navajo (Indian) tacos. That was what we all devoured and they were exceptional.
According to Navajo tradition, frybread was created in 1864 using the flour, sugar, salt and lard that was given to them by the United States government when the Navajo, who were living in Arizona, were forced to make the 300-mile journey known as the Long Walk to relocate to New Mexico (onto land that could not easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans). For many Native Americans, "frybread links generation with generation and also connects the present to the painful narrative of Native American history". It is often served both at home and at gatherings. History is found in all aspects of this Celebration.
The basket display was incredibly beautiful, with weavers there to answer any questions.
We strolled the grounds of the Tallac site to learn more about the Washoe and their presence here.

We then learned about the wealthy Americans who made their summer homes here, too.

We ended the day with a stroll through the garden. Beauty was everywhere today.

"If you want to understand today,
you have to search yesterday."
~Pearl Buck

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California Auto Museum & Beyond...

When Julie planned her visit to Lake Tahoe, I texted my Temecula friend, Lori, and I said, "Hey, I'm going to be at the Sacramento Airport on July 28th, why don't you fly in." She booked a ticket and we all picked her up this morning.

Julie's flight wasn't leaving until the evening so we had the entire day to explore. I did some research and planned a super fun day.
After a delicious lunch of Mexican food, we headed to the California Auto Museum, in the heart of Sacramento. How could we resist a place whose mission is, “... to preserve, exhibit, and teach the story of the automobile and its influence on our lives".
We all agreed this was a super cool space and loved every aspect of this museum. Oh, and this Marquis Custom was my favorite. So dang groovy.

This custom 1978 motor home was just too weird for being only 40 years old. Right?

This truck needs to be a character in the next Cars movie. So cute.

There were so many unique vehicles, showcased with their interesting histories. We all thoroughly enjoyed this museum. I really believe it's a must, especially if you have time to kill in Sacramento.
Before dropping Julie off back at the airport, we strolled through Old Sac, learning some history before saying goodbye.
Happy days indeed!

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