All posts by Wendy

Tahoe & the Three Bears

Move over Goldilocks, Lake Tahoe bears are not waiting for you and your friends to get off the beach. This momma bear and her cubs are ready for a swim and a snack.

Pope Beach Swim
Pope Beach Swim

Visit Lake Tahoe this summer and you may get a peek at our favorite forest neighbors. Three Tahoe black bears visited Pope Beach on Thursday to the surprise and delight of many two legged visitors.  Beach-goers respectfully maintained their distance as the trio cooled off in the water then made their way to the picnic area for a treat.

Looking for a picnic basket
Looking for a picnic basket

Lake Tahoe bears are a wonder to behold but let me caution you. Bears can be extremely dangerous to human beings if you get in a confrontation with them. People can be very dangerous to Lake Tahoe bears if you feed them. When bears become comfortable around people they are emboldened and will continue to visit populated areas placing people at risk. If a bear creates a nuisance, authorities will tag and re-locate the bear to a more remote habitat. If the bear continues to frequent areas populated with human beings, the bear could end up being euthanized. So please, do not encourage bears to co-habit with people by feeding them, this could ultimately lead to their demise.

Protect Lake Tahoe bears
Protect Lake Tahoe bears

Come visit Lake Tahoe during the summer and you may get a peak at one of our forest neighbors. It is certainly an unforgettable experience. Visit http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/08/04/mama-bear-2-cubs-join-the-crowd-at-lake-tahoe-beach/ to learn more about momma & her two cubs at Pope Beach.

 

 

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Go to the movies in South Lake Tahoe – Heavenly Village Cinemas

Hospitality is key when you visit Lake Tahoe. Heavenly Village Cinemas is a great place to enjoy some of that Tahoe hospitality we are famous for. So take a load off, have a snack and enjoy your favorite blockbuster films.

Heavenly Village Cinema exterior
Heavenly Village Cinema exterior

Visit Heavenly Village Cinema on the west end of the village a short stroll from Base Camp Pizza Company. Heavenly Village Cinema has 8 screens for your viewing pleasure. You will find movies from every genre, including family movies that the children will enjoy. All show before 6 pm are $9. After 6 pm, you will pay 12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3 to 11. Seniors have the discounted rate of $9.25 after 6 pm.

Heavenly Cinema Snack Bar
Heavenly Cinema Snack Bar

Heavenly Village Cinemas is the only place to see movies in South Lake Tahoe. The cinema is located within walking distance of dozens of restaurants. Get a bite to eat before you come, or enjoy a snack at the movies. Popcorn, candy, and hotdogs are all on tap at the Heavenly Village Cinemas snack bar.

You have been sunbathing or skiing all day. Now you’re ready to get out of the sun and give your feet a break. Do it. Visit Heavenly Village Cinema today.

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Best Pizza In Lake Tahoe – Base Camp Pizza

The cheesiest, crustiest, sauciest pizza in Tahoe is located at Base Camp Pizza Company in the heart of Heavenly Village.

Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe - Base Camp "Big Mountain" Pizza
Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe – Base Camp “Big Mountain” Pizza

When you visit Lake Tahoe you must try Base Camp Pizza Company. If you want to try the best pizza in Lake Tahoe – eat at Base Camp. If you love live music – eat at Base Camp. If you love hand-crafted drinks – eat at Base Camp.

Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe - Base Camp outdoor seating
Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe – Base Camp outdoor seating

If you enjoy hanging out with friends in beautiful Lake Tahoe, eating out of doors with live music, eating indoor while watching the game, or just having the perfectly prepared pizza, Base Camp Pizza has got you covered.

Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe - Base Camp live music - Mike Smith
Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe – Base Camp live music – Mike Smith

Base Camp Pizza has a large salad menu, appetizers and kids menu.  Vegan? No problem. Gluten free? No worries. Base Camp has you covered.

Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe - Base Camp indoor seating
Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe – Base Camp indoor seating

Perhaps you just need a place to relax and enjoy a beverage. Base Camp has a bar area with HDTVs where you can catch the game with your hand crafted drink. Need a bite to eat in the bar? No problem. Base Camp has you covered.

Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe - Base Camp bar
Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe – Base Camp bar

Base Camp has the best pizza in Lake Tahoe but don’t overlook their signature drinks. Try the Happiest Camper, my favorite. If you like root beer, they have a signature root beer drink for adults that you must try.

Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe - Base Camp "Happiest Camper" signature drink
Best Pizza in Lake Tahoe – Base Camp “Happiest Camper” signature drink

Base Camp Pizza Company is a “must eat” when you visit Lake Tahoe.

 

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Lake Tahoe Heavenly Resort – Ultimate Adventure

Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster –                 Ultimate Adventure at Heavenly

Epic Discovery Gondola Ride
Epic Discovery Gondola Ride

Spend the day at Lake Tahoe Heavenly Resort, zipping through the pine trees at 8000 feet, when you visit Lake Tahoe. The Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster is new this summer. Race down the 3400 foot track reaching 55 miles per hour in a car that replicates a toboggan. Each car has handbrakes that allow the rider to limit their speed for a truly customized ride.

Epic Discovery Ridge Rider Coaster
Epic Discovery Ridge Rider Coaster

Also new this summer is the Skyway Canopy Tour. The Skyway Tour is a type of challenge course through the Heavenly canopy using aerial bridges and zip lines. The Skyway Canopy Tour and the Blue Streak Zip Lines must be purchased separately.

Epic Discovery Canopy Tour
Epic Discovery Canopy Tour

Heavenly has packaged the fun into their Epic Discovery program. The Epic Discovery program’s goal is to “learn through play” by discovering new truths about the Lake Tahoe Basin while enjoying alpine adventures.  With 12 outdoor activities, Heavenly Epic Discovery is the only adventure park of its kind in the northern Sierras.

Epic Discovery Zip Line
Epic Discovery Zip Line

The Ultimate Adventure Pass includes all day access to the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster, Summer Tubing, Boulder Cove Ropes Course, Black Bear Ropes Course, the Hot Shot Zip Line, Discovery Forest Ropes Course, and the Granite Peak Climbing Wall. A scenic ride on the Heavenly Gondola is also included. You must be at least 8 years old and 45 inches or taller to enjoy the activities included in the Ultimate Adventure Pass.

Epic Discovery Day Camp
Epic Discovery Day Camp

Never fear little ones, the Little Explorer Pass is just for you! If you are younger than 8 and under 100 pounds, this is the pass for you. The Little Explorer Pass includes a scenic Gondola ride with unlimited all-day access to the Granite Peak Climbing Wall, Red Tail Zip Line and Bear Cub Ropes Course.

Epic Discovery Climbing Wall
Epic Discovery Climbing Wall

In partnership with the US Forest Service, the Sierra Nevada Nature Conservatory and the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Heavenly has provided various learning stations along the Epic Discovery path. Story Stakes and Animal Abilities, feature plants and animals that thrive here in Tahoe. Pathway Stones illuminates the history of Tahoe. Epic Discovery’s learning components are a work in progress. Expect these components to come on line throughout the summer. If you would rather keep your feet firmly on the ground, the Skyline Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the Tahoe Basin.

Tamarack Lodge
Tamarack Lodge

Tamarack Lodge at the top of Heavenly Mountain serves Barbecue meals, hand crafted drinks and a variety of delicious ice cream. You will also find a cell phone charging station at Tamarack Lodge. The Blue Mountain Café is located at the observation deck and offers a full coffee bar, snacks and smoothies.

Epic Discovery Summer Tubing
Epic Discovery Summer Tubing

To enjoy the fun, visit the Heavenly Gondola ticket window to purchase your package. Epic Discovery hours are June 18th – September 5th from 9 am to 5 pm. Epic Discovery will also be open September 9th – 25th, Fridays and Saturdays only, from 9 am to 5 pm. The all-day Ultimate Adventure Pass will cost you $89. The Little Explorer Pass is just $49. If you need a room, check out Harvey’s, located one block from Heavenly Gondola.

Epic Discovery Activity Map
Epic Discovery Activity Map

If you have already visited Heavenly Epic Discovery, please let us know what you thought. You can leave your comments above. Thanks!

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Lake Tahoe Weddings – Photography

Preserve your memories with a great Lake Tahoe photographer

mother & daughter of the bride
mother & daughter of the bride

When you visit Lake Tahoe to celebrate your wedding, honeymoon, or anniversary, you are insuring that your special day will be even more memorable. Romantic elopement or wedding for 200 guests at a country club, Lake Tahoe is the perfect destination. Perhaps the most important oversight of many couples is preserving the moment with pictures.

flower girl
flower girl

Let’s face it, weddings are expensive. Photographers are not cheap. You may be thinking about asking your friends and family to pull out their smart phones and capture the day. Good idea as long as you also hire a great Lake Tahoe photographer. It is difficult to plan a wedding in a location that you only visit but do not live. I would like to give you a little local advice when it comes to finding a photographer. Hire Makena Snipes.  She is talented, imaginative and reasonably priced.

Makena Snipes Photography
Makena Snipes Photography

Makena Snipes is a student at Whittell High School and a very talented photographer. She has been doing outdoor photo shoots for Senior Pictures for the past couple years and has branched out into sporting and family events. Samples of her work can be found at: Makena Snipes Photography (and on this page). I highly recommend you consider hiring Makena Snipes  when looking for a Lake Tahoe photographer.

To learn more about my experience with Makena Snipes Photography as well as bakery and venue suggestions visit: http://visit-lake-tahoe.net/lake-tahoe-weddings-photography

 

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Lake Tahoe Bears – Friend or Foe?

Everybody loves bears; stuffed bears, carved bears, bear jewelry, bear photos and bear stories. When you visit Lake Tahoe you encounter bears everywhere. Why? Because everyone LOVES bears. Or do they?

Annie the bear welcomes all my guests.
Annie the bear welcomes all my guests.

You notice I did not mention ‘live’ bears. My friends and family come to visit Lake Tahoe and buy bear necklaces, bear mugs, and bear sweatshirts, but freak out if they see any of our Lake Tahoe bears walking down the street. First they freeze in fear, then they begin walking slowly backward, before they turn and run full out for the house. This is usually followed by lots of screaming and hyperventilation.

Adult bear across the street from my house.
Adult bear across the street from my house.

Perhaps those who visit Lake Tahoe imagine the Tahoe National Forest operating like a large zoo; the bears stay on their side of the forest and the people stay on theirs. Has anyone mentioned this plan to the Lake Tahoe bears? More aptly, has anyone ask the bears if we could turn their home into a vacation destination, and pave over their food supply?

Bear cubs playing in soccer net at Kahle Community Center in Lake Tahoe
Bear cubs playing in soccer net at Kahle Community Center in Lake Tahoe

*Click on the picture above to see the video*

I LOVE living in Lake Tahoe and yes, I love Lake Tahoe bears. The Tahoe forest is home to the Black Bear whose fur can be blond, brown or black. These bears are generally peace loving and their cubs are playful and energetic. Black bears spend the winter in a state of light hibernation for which they must prepare by eating loads of food during the summer. This foraging for food takes them into populated areas, where they would generally prefer not to be. I don’t know if they like us, but they appear to want to eat and live in peace with us.

This bear cub is sitting in front of a neighbor’s house watching my children play soccer.
This bear cub is sitting in front of a neighbor’s house watching my children play soccer.

What do you think? Do you like bears? Do you hope to see one of our Lake Tahoe bears strolling down the street toward you or would you rather enjoy their beauty from afar….really far? I am interested to know what you think. Please add your comments and questions above.

https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/public-works/waste-not/bear-wildlife-awareness/bear-awareness-program
https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/public-works/waste-not/bear-wildlife-awareness/bear-awareness-program

Avoid Lake Tahoe bears by keeping food in secure bear bins and not in your car or tent. Do not chase down a bear or try to take a selfie with a bear. This could end very badly for you. Please do not try to make Lake Tahoe bears your friend. If a bear frequents populated areas too many times, it could mean the end of his/her life. For more information on our local bear program visit: https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/public-works/waste-not/bear-wildlife-awareness/bear-awareness-program

Young bear down the street from my house
Young bear down the street from my house

If you see one of our beloved Lake Tahoe Bears take the following advice from the US Forest Service.

In Your Yard: Do not run. Be aggressive and assert your dominance by standing tall and making noise that will scare the bear away. Banging pots and pans together and shouting loudly works well.

In the Woods: This is the bear’s territory, respect that and do not run. Make eye contact cut don’t stare, pick up small children, make yourself appear as large as possible, stay calm and quiet, back away and enjoy the experience from a safe distance.

Anywhere: If the bear attempts to get away, do not block the bear’s escape route! Bears will often climb a tree if frightened and usually won’t come down if humans or dogs are present.

For more information regarding Lake Tahoe bear safety please visit: http://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/bears

For more information about black bears: Black Bears (Falcon Pocket Guides) 

Please add your comments and questions to the comment box above.

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Best Mexican Food in Lake Tahoe – Azul Mexican Grill

Azul Mexican Grill offers authentic, gourmet Mexican food for your dining pleasure when you visit Lake Tahoe.

Azul Mexican Grill - Outdoor dining
Azul Mexican Grill – Outdoor dining

In July of 2015, Jose and his daughter came to Lake Tahoe on vacation. They were so enraptured with the beauty of Lake Tahoe that Jose decided that this would be the location of his next restaurant. Jose is a veteran restaurateur and talented chef. Agave Azul Mexican Grill was born.  It has been a favorite of my family since the first day we walked in the door. The food is unmatched and the service impeccable.

Azul Mexican Grill - Traditional Dining
Azul Mexican Grill – Traditional Dining

The Azul Mexican Grill serves the best Mexican food in Lake Tahoe with the perfect blend of elegant and comfortable ambiance. The traditional dining room has both tables and generous booths. It is the ideal location to bring your family and friends for a relaxing, delicious meal. Perhaps you want to catch the game with your meal. The Azul also offers a bar & grill dining area where you will find comfortable tables and HDTVs for your viewing pleasure.

Azul Mexican Grill - Bar & Grill seating
Azul Mexican Grill – Bar & Grill seating

Let’s face it, we really just want excellent food. The Azul Mexican Grill will not disappoint. Your meal begins with chips, salsa and this really great bean and cheese dip. The appetizers are heavenly. You must try the Agave Azul sampler (shown below). Yes, those are bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with mozzarella cheese.  This appetizer is generous enough to provide the entire meal for two people.

Azul Mexican Grill - Authentic Gourmet Mexican Food
Azul Mexican Grill – Authentic Gourmet Mexican Food

My favorite meal is the Agave Azul Enchiladas. My husband favors the Agave Azul fajitas with home made corn tortillas that melt in your mouth.  Whatever you order, make sure to ask for the home made corn tortillas. I did not even like corn tortillas until Jose convinced me to try his. Now I can’t get enough of them. I also highly recommend their ceviche.

Azul Mexican Grill - Full Bar Service
Azul Mexican Grill – Full Bar Service

The Azul Mexican Grill provides a full bar service. Their signature drinks are divine. My favorite is their Watermelon -Rita. (shown below) It has actual chunks of watermelon floating in the drink.  The best beverage after a day in the sun, to accompany the best Mexican food in Lake Tahoe.

Azul Mexican Grill - Azul Full Bar
Azul Mexican Grill – Azul Full Bar

Dinner at the Azul Mexican Grill will run you an average of $15 a plate plus drink and gratuity. Breakfast and lunch will cost less. Happy hour runs from 3 to 6 pm. The Azul Mexican Grill is open Monday through Friday fro 10:30 to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.

Azul Mexican Grill - Happy Hour Specials
Azul Mexican Grill – Happy Hour Specials

You will find the Azul Mexican Grill on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe, less than one mile from the state line. Be careful not to mistake it for Azul Latin Kitchen in Heavenly Village. The Latin Kitchen is more of a Cal-Mex blend, rather than authentic, gourmet Mexican like the Azul Mexican Grill.  Take Highway 50 out of California, into Nevada, 0.6 miles. It is just past the Lakeside Inn, next door to Sushi Pier, on the right hand side of the road.

177 Highway 50, Stateline, Nevada
177 Highway 50, Stateline, Nevada

Lake Tahoe Dance Festival – Tahoe City

Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.

-Charles Baudelaire

Lake Tahoe Dance Festival
Lake Tahoe Dance Festival

The 4th Annual Lake Tahoe Dance Festival will take place on the Gatekeeper’s Museum Grounds in Tahoe City. If you visit Lake Tahoe between July 27th and the 29th you will want to get tickets for this beautiful event. Students and teachers from the Tahoe Dance Collective will exhibit their talents and hard work through their innovative and classical performances. Imagine sitting on a blanket in the spectacular Tahoe National Forest while graceful artisans and beautiful music spin fascinating tales.

Tickets are available for $25 at the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival website. Bring a blanket or low back lawn chair to watch the performance in comfort. Park in the Gatekeeper’s Museum parking lot located at 130 West Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City, CA. If the Museum parking lost is full, you will find space at the Transit Center just south of the Museum on Highway 89.

Best Breakfast in Tahoe

Peace, Love and Waffles!

Red Hut Cafe - Ski Run location serves dinner also.
Red Hut Cafe – Ski Run location serves dinner also.

The Red Hut Cafe is a Tahoe fixture and a ‘must go’ when you visit Lake Tahoe. The Red Hut is historically a breakfast café but you can also enjoy a great lunch. You will find three Red Hut locations in South Lake Tahoe. The original cafe is located in the middle of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50 (Lake Tahoe Boulevard).

Original Red Hut Waffle Shop
Original Red Hut Waffle Shop

The Original Red Hut Waffle Shop

In 1959 Mac & Lorraine moved the old donut shop from the state line, 2.5 miles down Highway 50 to its current location. Lorraine and her daughters worked the dining room and Mac prepared the best breakfast in Tahoe. Lorraine and Mac sold the business in 1984 to the current owners, and long-time customers. The Gardner family still runs the business today, which looks and tastes very much as it did in 1959.

Red Hut Cafe - Kingsbury Grade location
Red Hut Cafe – Kingsbury Grade location

Additional Locations

The Gardner family has opened several additional locations since then. In 1990 the Kingsbury Grade location opened. This is my favorite Red Hut spot. It is a little roomier than the original location with peek-a-boo view of Lake Tahoe. The Ski Run Red Hut opened in 2009 and is the first Red Hut Cafe to offer dinner. (The Ski Run location also contains an old fashioned soda fountain.) Since then, Red Hut Cafés have opened in both Carson City and Reno, NV.

Best Breakfast in Tahoe - Kingsbury 4

Breakfast is King at Red Hut

Breakfast is the specialty of every Red Hut Café. Traditional breakfasts with waffles, pancakes, bacon & eggs, and omelets are served with excellence every day. These are breakfasts of huge proportions and ‘The Usual’ is a local favorite. If you are tanking up to hit the slopes for the day, the Red Hut has you covered. Daily specials often include fresh fruit and breakfast is served all day. Expect to pay about $10 for your meal and a couple bucks for your drink. My husband and I never pay more than $30 for the two of us: two meals, two coffees, one juice and a 20% tip all for just under $30! Life does not get much better than that.

Red Hut Cafe - Kingsbury Grade sign
Red Hut Cafe – Kingsbury Grade sign

Getting There

The Original Red Hut is located at 2723 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Red Hut Cafe Nevada is located at 229 Kingsbury Grade, Stateline, NV.

Red Hut Cafe Ski Run is located at 3660 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Corner Hwy 50 & Ski Run Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA.

Locations of 3 Red Hut Cafes in the Tahoe Basin.
Locations of 3 Red Hut Cafes in the Tahoe Basin.