Pixel Tracker

Friday, March 22 , 2019, 6:12 am | Fair 44º


Judy Crowell: Lake Tahoe Shines as Summer Destination

Mountain retreat is refreshing any season of the year, but now is a great time to experience all that its surroundings have to offer

Lake Tahoe’s cobalt blue waters run 1,645 feet deep, making it the second-largest lake in the United States.
Lake Tahoe’s cobalt blue waters run 1,645 feet deep, making it the second-largest lake in the United States. (Judy Crowell / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Lake Tahoe rests half in California and half in Nevada, the second-deepest lake in the United States at 1,645 feet deep. At 6,222 feet above sea level and surrounded by the Sierra mountains, its cobalt blue water is so clear that a white dinner plate can be seen 78 feet below the surface.

For more than a century, tourists have flocked to Lake Tahoe and surrounding areas for skiing, water sports, hiking, fishing, golf, gambling and nightlife as well as quickie divorces in neighboring Reno.

Our proclivities were for the former, so my daughter and I chose the tranquility of the north shore and the tucked-in-the-forest Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe.

This premier mountain retreat is perfect for a family summer vacation. Ritz Kids (for children ages 5 to 12) offers activities based on water, land, environmental responsibility and culture, with wildlife and forest adventures, storytelling, crafts and culinary art, including designing your own pizza at the Backyard Bar & BBQ.

For a lakeside experience, try the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino at Incline Village. Nearby, catch a ride on the M.S. Dixie for a daytime or dinner-and-dancing paddle wheel cruise.

Scott is one of the friendly drivers/guides for Action Watersports.
Scott is one of the friendly drivers/guides for Action Watersports. (Lisa Crowell / Noozhawk photo)

Our best day was thanks to Action Watersports, located behind the Hyatt, where we rented a 21-foot Sea Ray and the nautical services of Scott, a delightful and informative driver/guide for a three-hour spin.

He took us by Thunderbird Lodge (the “Castle-in-the-Sky"), a Gatsby-era landmark where the likes of Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack would do some serious partying.

Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed sites in the United States, enchanted us with its pristine emerald green waters and the tiny island in the center of the bay, topped by an equally tiny Vikingsholm Castle.

All of these and many more sights made for a perfect morning, but I’ll never forget the sight of my daughter floating blissfully, all alone in the middle of Lake Tahoe. If you’re looking for more action than bliss, you’ll find it all at this rental: jet skiing, parasailing, paddle boards, kayaks, water skiing, surfing and fishing packages.

Shopping is eclectic and Alpiney and kind of touristy, although, to be honest, we were so taken by the mountains and the water experiences that we really didn’t do much shopping.

Lake Tahoe is a busy place, especially in the summer, and reservations and plans are essential. When in Manhattan, you don’t waste time going back and forth cross-town.

Likewise, in Tahoe you don’t want to spend your day going back and forth from the north shore to the east shore to the south shore. You’ll be caught in traffic.

Keep this in mind when dining out, and there are great spots to eat.

At the Ritz, Manzanita offers delicious cuisine in a spectacular setting and s’mores and St. Louis-style ribs at the Backyard Bar & BBQ.

The West Shore Café is a lovely spot, and Chambers Landing Bar and Restaurant is one of the oldest bars in Tahoe, located at the end of a dock. Try the "chambers punch," but be careful when you leave. The water is a misstep away!

Steamers Beach Side Bar and Oven is a local favorite for burgers and pizza.

For old-world charm, try The Pfeifer House with schnitzel, sauerbraten and other delights on the menu. The Soule Domain, a log cabin tucked in the woods, offers creative American dining in a romantic setting.

You absolutely must try Squeeze In for "The Best Omelettes on the Planet," and they’re not kidding!

Also not to be missed is Jake’s On the Lake, family owned since 1978 with gorgeous lake views. Its menu is inspired by California/Hawaiian flavors and features the freshest salmon, sea bass and crab cakes.

I opted for beef, the short ribs with sweet ginger-chili glaze, and wanted to extend our Ritz reservation to return here for more of the same.

Fall is the best-kept secret in Lake Tahoe, when the Aspens turn golden, but really, any season at Lake Tahoe is "the fairest picture the whole Earth affords,” as Mark Twain once observed.

— Judy Crowell is a Noozhawk contributing writer, author, freelance travel writer and Santa Barbara resident. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are her own.

Jake’s On the Lake restaurant has been family owned since 1978 with gorgeous lake views. Its menu is inspired by California/Hawaiian flavors. Click to view larger
Jake’s On the Lake restaurant has been family owned since 1978 with gorgeous lake views. Its menu is inspired by California/Hawaiian flavors. (Lisa Crowell / Noozhawk photo)

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Patricia Griffin
Patricia Griffin
"I am very hands on and feel that each transaction is special and different. My clients goals are foremost in what I do to bring about a successful transaction and I maintain relationships for many years."

Full Profile >

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >