Little Getaways-Summer Trip to Lake Tahoe-Part 2

by Teri E. Popp, Tastemaker in Residence

Once our side trip up to Squaw Valley was complete, we returned to circle Lake Tahoe viewing the ultra aqua waters of Rubicon Bay (possibly the prettiest bay I've ever seen, and I've seen many) and the turquoise green waters of Emerald Bay (this time from above and on land, rather than from in the water on a paddle boat).  We ate lunch in South Tahoe at an exceptional rib joint named Sonny's BBQ Shack, the last city on the California side before returning to Nevada, and our hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village.

The Hyatt offers many nice restaurants on, or near, the property, but clearly the finest dining is offered at the Lone Eagle Grill, located right on the shore of Lake Tahoe.  From Ahi Tuna Poke to Seared La Belle Farm Fois Gras to an impressive array of entrees including lamb, pork chops, elk strip loin, and bison, this is the place to eat in Incline Village.  It also offers a large array of very fine wines and spirits.  But the absolutely best part of the evening was dessert!!!  We ordered the Baked Tahoe, possibly one of the most decedent desserts I've ever eaten (and I've eaten my fair share of desserts)!  Modeled on old style Baked Alaska, this new take included a buckwheat brownie, French vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and meringue torched to look like a pine cone!  It was scrumptious and fun!  It was such a hit that most diners would order it after they observed others ordering it!!

On our second, and last, full day in Lake Tahoe, we decided to return to South Tahoe to take the gondola to the top of Heavenly Ski Resort.  Located just above the city of South Tahoe, the resort is both a winter (for skiing) and summer haven (offering Epic Discovery with rock wall climbing, zip lining, ropes courses and other athletic activities for adventurers of all ages).  The gondola at Heavenly offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe from high atop the mountain at an elevation of over 10,000 feet above sea level.

Heavenly Gondola Views!

Epic Discovery

As we'd traveled around, over, and above Lake Tahoe in our first 2 days, we decided to spend half a day traveling over to Virginia City, a Victorian town built in 1862, and rebuilt in 1875 after it burned to the ground.  This former silver and gold mining city, home to the Comstock Lode, stays true to its Victorian roots!  Wood plank sidewalks bordering saloons and old style candy stores with period decorated restaurants offer full family fun.  Enjoy an open tram tour around the city for an explanation of the history of this entertaining town.  And, if you've ever been to any Renaissance Festival, you'll be delighted to see that, not only do employees of the local establishments dress in period outfits, many tourists and visitors do as well.  Enjoy a sarsaparilla or a locally brewed beer, tour a mine, take a train ride, pan for gold, or catch a local gunfight (staged, of course) for a fun day with the whole family!!

We ended the day by driving in for a short visit to the Grand Sierra Resort, a huge casino and entertainment complex located in Reno.  Who could go to Nevada without visiting at least one casino!  GSR not only offers a casino, but also multiple fine and casual dining options, plenty of shopping, bowling, theaters, and big name shows (think Santana, Matt Nathanson, and Phillip Phillips to name a few).  Reno felt a bit like Las Vegas "lite."  Lots more families and an overall quieter character, but still all of the fun!

We returned that evening for our final dinner at Austin's located near the Hyatt in Incline Village (about a 3 minute walk across one street).  Incredibly reasonably priced, it offered fine home cooked fare including meatloaf, chicken fried chicken, and chicken friend steak, plus a great selection of vegetarian options, and a full bar.  It was the perfect way to end our little getaway to Lake Tahoe! Enjoy the drive around Tahoe view!