Keep Tahoe Blue
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
It’s no secret I love where I live; I wrote about it here. It’s also no secret that even with all its ups and downs, I love traveling abroad. I wrote about that too, here.
Given this, I think it would be easy to lose sight of the great places there are to visit right here in the good ol’ US of A, so I try not to. One such place, which is a favorite of mine, is hands down South Lake Tahoe, CA.
It is a stunning place.
And it’s not just about the mountains or the lake, it’s about how they come together. It’s that first view of the lake sparkling ahead of you as you drive down through the mountain pass. It’s the blue of the water that in the evening reflects onto the peaks turning them blue as well.
It’s not just about the pine trees either, it’s about how there’s room between them. It’s as if they’re purposefully planted to be respectful of their neighbor. You can walk amongst them and feel like you’re in a separate place. There’s a hush that exists there.
It's also not just about the nature, it's about how the town feels like a throwback to the days of road trips and motels. It's the kitschy souvenir shops and the stores selling alpaca wool goods. It's how despite its growth and change, it's never lost its resort town spirit.
And during ski season, you’ve got Heavenly smack dab in the heart of it all. There’s an energy around skiing that is palpable. I love people in their gear, carrying skis and boards through the village right to where the gondola starts its impossible looking straight-up climb to the top of a mountain.
It’s amazing in the fall as well. Sunny perfect days, with just a touch of mountain crispness to the air as they come to a close. In my opinion, it’s the best time to take a stroll on the beach.
Of course, there’s good food too.
If you know me, you know I love breakfast - breakfast food, at breakfast restaurants - so you know I love Driftwood Cafe. It’s a rare place where locals and tourists co-exist and seem totally at ease with it. Super chill and they serve sourdough toast; what more can you ask for?
In the evening, it’s Base Camp Pizza and live music. Such great food, and such a great vibe after a day on the mountain.
But, there’s also good stuff away from the village.
If you ever get the pleasure, please take my word for it and stop in at Free Bird; a minuscule, easy to miss coffee shop right on the main road in and out of town. There I can get the most unique cup of chai I have ever encountered, made right there on their little premises.
I also get a welcome from the owner (who is the only person I can ever recall working there) that makes me feel like a regular. He is obviously a happy dude who is, as we like to say in the mountains, livin’ the dream. My visits there are one of those sweet and simple things that I look forward to each and every time.
One last thing that’s not actually in South Lake Tahoe at all, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give it a shout out, is the Squeeze Inn an hour or so drive up north along the lake in Truckee, CA. They are known for their tiny footprint, their huge menu of over-the-top omelettes, and the writing on their walls. My favorite message is from Shane McConkey: Know Fear.
Which is, I think, a splendid way to end our little tour of the best things about Tahoe according to me.