More about Tahoe Queen Motel
Tahoe Queen Cruise
The Tahoe Queen is a paddleboat moored at the end of Ski Run Road. This line is unique as it runs every day of the year. Part music and dancing, part dinner cruise, part guided tour ... this boat has it all!
We went on the sunset dinner cruise, and had a wedding onboard the Queen. They cordoned off part of the thrid deck (top) and arranged seating for our guests. The captain and crew were amazing to us as we prepped for the ceremony, the captain even gave us his office behind the wheel house to hide the bride and perform our final wedding prep! The groom was hinding in the little gift shop 2 decks below us, which is on the same deck as the band who played dance music as the boat cruised about. With the music playing, other folks on the cruise danced on the top deck, and on the dancefloor below. The lower deck was the dining room for our dinner cruise.
Other passengers joined in wishing our bride and groom best wishes: the couple there for their first anniversary, the Korean golfers from LA who were gambling and dancing, the children playing, and even the band!
As the colors of sunset faded, we sat down for the second dinner seating and our meal. The wedding cake was brought in by our party, and the food provided by the ship's crew was yummy! We were provided with select tables inthe rear of the dining room with windows that overlooked the lake, and even out at the paddles that move the boat. As dusk fell we ate, enjoyed our wedding reception, and visited.
We returned to dock about 11pm and were full, happy and simply pleased with our excursion, and our event. The folks of the Tahoe Queen were amazing, the scenery was stunning, and the company was beyond wonderful :)
My description of our guided tour made this tip too long, so look elsewhere in my tips for that part of the cruise. The attached website is an overview of the various cruises offered in this part of Lake Tahoe ... enjoy!
Emerald Bay as seen from the Tahoe Queen
We viewed Emerald Bay from the deck of the Tahoe Queen during our wedding / dinner cruise through Lake Tahoe.
The guided tour began as we entered Emerald Bay in the protected State Park region of the lake. The bay and the grounds used to be private property, but through time and kindness, they were donated to the state to create a protected recreation area. Emerald Bay State park was formed in 1969. In 1996 the area became and underwater preserve due to the sunken ships in the bay. The bay is shallow in comparison to the rest of Lake Tahoe, and in the 'old days' reckless ships struck ground. During heavy winters, the bay freezes while the rest of the lake does not.
The only way to the campground there is by foot or boat as there are no roads to the area. The path to the park begins behind Harvey's West, and is about a mile long. There is a large granite island in the bay, where in the past a previous owner built a tea room for her and her guests. Over time, vandalism has damaged the little structure, but except during geese mating and brooding season, if you can reach it you can visit it!
There is another structure in the bay, a mansion actually, named Vikingsolm Castle. Built in the 1920's in a Scandinavian style, this home has some portions with sod roofing and some of the original furnishings ... THAT is some placeI wanna see next time I come out here!
The hike looks memorable .... sigh .... I barely spied the falls through the trees from the bay. But research on my return home shows the hiking trail access that takes you to the falls, Vikingsholm, and the bay itself ... so enjoy the parts I couldn't and let me know how you felt about it!
Vikingsholm and Eagle Creek falls can be reached by parking in the Harvey West parking lot by Highway 89 at Emerald Bay. Take the trail, which is one mile in length and drops 500 feet in elevation to the house.
Romance and Beauty in South Lake Tahoe
Living in the desert, I forget there are old growth trees taller than my house, and that green is a normal color for a huge chunk of the natural world. I also forget that large bodies of water are normal for most folks. In a way, that makes these little trips so much more fun - the shock and awe of these little things that others might take for granted :)
With 72 miles of coast, and straddling 2 very different states, Lake Tahoe is amazing. This lake is fed only by snow melt and rain fall, therefore the waters are amazingly clear.
I regret not having more time to enjoy the beaches, hikes, and natural beauty of the area ... if I get another opportunity those will be my priorities! My brush with nature was brief, but worthy: I was part of a wedding of a dear friend on the Tahoe Queen's sunset dinner cruise. Aaaahhhhh, amazing ....
The town of South Lake Tahoe is one of those anomolies: part of the town is actually Stateline Nevada (gambling, booze, shows, clubbing, more gambling) and the larger part is in California. This town is small and has a tourist based economy ... between the lake, nearby state park, and well known skiing in the winter .... this town has something for everyone!
Our Hen Party was nothing traditional ... well except for the booze and dancing :) Jen, our bride Janet, and our surrogate girl for the weekend James were only a little tipsy as we danced til the wee hours in one of the casino clubs. Certain members of our party were paying for this night of fun in the morning though!!!
As we drove from the Reno, Nevada airoport to Lake Tahoe we enjoyed the changes in scenery and small town businesses that we passed. Of course, we spotted this gent from the road and had to stop and visit him in person!
As you can see, we had fun during our visit w/ this local gent .... or IS this a gent??? There seems to be a slight anatomical .... um ...... difference, that leads us to believe this might actually be a female prosepector! Things that make you go Hmmmmmmm.
The lake is amazing ..... this was my first leisurely view of Lake Tahoe: through the window of a bar at our first hotel ..... just amazing!
Street art is fun in most places ... South Lake Tahoe has themed fiberglass figures and large carved pine critters. Of course, I loved the bears! I found about 20 of them as I wandered town this particular morning ....... but this guy stole my heart :) A balloon fan! Just like me! But this bear is the balloon pilot - sigh - doubt that's in my cards, but we had a nice visit.
I found this moose carving while wandering off the main drag. The main street is typical tourist town, with stores and galleries, and eateries. The side streets are amazingly quiet, lined with lots of trees, and filled with local residences as well as various motels. I nice little walk to work off those choccies I bought the day before!
Just an intersting little place tucked between the trees ......
My friend's wedding was on this boat ... during the sunset dinner cruise. Amazing views of the lake, fesh air, and fun folks filled our evening ... the Tahoe Queen would be fun even without this very special event to bring you out to it ;)
Ski-ing Lake Tahoe
Myself and 7 UK-based colleagues / partners had airmiles up the wazoo. We all liked ski-ing so came up with the idea of a 14-day US ski trip.
In the end it cost us about DOUBLE what a package would have cost, so the idea of using miles wasn't such a clever one.
Also - there was a HUGE dump of snow almost every day, making access to the slopes tricky. Nonetheless we had some very good times. We hired a couple of 4WD at the airport and rented a chalet, complete with outdoor jacuzzi in South Tahoe.
Probably the weather made it even worse but the drive up the mountain can be treacherous! This note especially applies to us 'foreigners' who might think we know better than the locals about hazards :-)
Once settled in to our accomodation though, the vehicles were a great boon for exploring the local area.
Access to the slopes of Heavenly was easy from downtown.
The comparison of US vs European ski resports always includes mention of the small lines in the queue and the friendliness and professionalism of the mountain staff - Heavenly is no exception to this and it's an excellent resport from this perspective.
The range of runs is pretty good too, with some off-piste opportunities too. The unique aspect of Tahoe is, though, the ability to cross seamlessly between California and Nevada with glorious views into the bowl of the lake on one side and the desert stretching to the horizon from the other side. Being able to see the desert while standing on snow is weird. Like in NZ seeing the ocean beaches from the slopes.
The staff tried to groom the slopes but our weather defeated them most days. The exception was one gloriously sunny day which was worth the other 11 of ploughing through chest-deep snow!
We took a trip on the Tahoe Queen across to Squaw Valley one day. That was a mistake!! It included vouchers for Squaw ski-passes. Squaw had one lift open (presumably to void any refund potential). Ski-ing was hopeless. We didn't wait the hours for the boring boat to return but hired a minibus taxi to take us back to South Tahoe.
Sunset from the Tahoe Queen
Tahoe Queen in dock
Family accommodations in August
We're heading to Lake Tahoe in mid-August for a little R&R before husband deploys to Iraq. Any suggestions where to stay for a family of 4 with a son (age 15) & daughter (age 12)that will need individual beds? We're planning on doing mostly water sports with a little sight seeing since we'll be driving from Colorado. Somewhere within walking distance to beach would be nice, but our top priority would be the accommodations. I'm considering Harrah's or Harvey's but would appreciate any other suggestions you might have.
RE: Family accommodations in August
You might want to consider the Embassy Suites at south Lake Tahoe it is just across the parking lot from Harrah's and sits on the CA side. It might afford you more room and with the full breakfast and cocktails might save some expenses. I really can't think of any place within walking distance of the beach, but then it has been awhile since I have been up there.
Take the kids on the stern wheel paddle boat sunset cruise on the lake. I think it is called the Tahoe Queen they should enjoy it. Also take the tram up to the top of Heavenly Valley ski run and have lunch or just look around. It over looks the entire lake and is an awsome view.
Good luck on the deployment, my son just returned to Ft. Carson after a year in Iraq. He was with the 3d ACR but is headed now to Ft. Knox.
RE: RE: Family accommodations in August
Sorry I can't help with exact places to stay that meet your needs. But, if smoking/non-smoking is an issue, for non-smoking rooms that don't smell like smoke stay on the California side. I've never been successful getting a n/s room on the Nevada side that doesn't smell.
Best of luck. Thank You to your husband for serving and to you for sharing him.
RE: RE: Family accommodations in August
No advice.. . . but best wishes and gratitude to your family and especially your husband. I hope you have a wonderful trip in August.
South Lake Tahoe
We (2 adults and 1 boy of 10yrs) will be driving from San Francisco in April and want to spend a day and night in/around South Lake Tahoe before continuing to Yosemite.Not interested in casinos at all. Just want to take in beautiful views and do something nice for son (eg paddle steamer).
Can anyone recommend good place to stay overnight (modest budget) and nice activity. Or maybe we could visit Lake but stay further out.
Also, might we have any difficulties with driving and snow in early April?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Re: South Lake Tahoe
Do what I do: take advantage of the highly-discounted hotels and restaurants in the casinos and just don't gamble. In fact, take some satisfaction of walking through/near a casino and not gambling a cent!!
Re: South Lake Tahoe
Good suggestions so far, although I personally wouldn't waste a 10-yr old's time with Ponderosa ranch (it's better for the 3-7 yr olds). Check out www.laketahoecruises.com and see if you want to ride the M.S. Dixie or Tahoe Queen paddleboats. The weather can be iffy in April, so hiking some of the many trails in the area may or may not be an option - see if the forest service visitor center is open (off Hwy 89, towards Emerald Bay, past Fallen Leaf Rd) for info - http://www.tahoeinfo.com/visit/naturetrails.htm . For a glimpse of old Tahoe, the Tallac historic site is near there as well. For great food, try the Red Hut for breakfast, Izzy's Burger Spa for lunch, and eat your fill at one of the casino buffets for dinner. Please visit my VT page for other suggestions. Have a great time - Tahoe is beautiful any time of the year!
Re: Re: South Lake Tahoe
Thanks for your reply. Very helpful.
Will snow chains be necessary? We'll be hiring a normal mid-size car from LA where our holiday begins. We don't really plan to go off the beaten track because we won't really have time.
Also, any idea what we are likely to encounter weather-wise when continuing to Oakhurst (Yosemite).
Re: Re: South Lake Tahoe
"Will snow chains be necessary?"
Springtime in the Sierras (Tahoe, Yosemite & inbetween) can dish up any type of weather, although it's usually nice and cool. (When I lived at Lake Tahoe, we almost always had one snowfall during June/July!) When you rent the car, ask the agency about the current weather predictions & the possiblity of needing chains. Even on the well-beaten path, you'll need them if your timing's bad - it's either that or wait until the snow removal equipment do their thing. Depending on the cost of renting them, you could just check the weather the day before & if necessary, buy a pair of chains at an autostore before you pass Sacramento or Placerville. Have fun!