“To breathe the same air as the angels, you must go to Tahoe.” ~ Mark Twain

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A recent business trip took us to Lake Tahoe, more specifically to Squaw Valley. I was the “tag-along”. Just hate to miss an opportunity to visit new areas.

As you can imagine being May, Squaw Valley – Ski Resort was celebrating their spring skiing season. So, mid-week, the village was quiet, with only a few people going up the tram or gondola towards the higher terrain that still was open in early May. After sending husband off to meetings, I took advantage of being in a beautiful place with all the time in the world. A concept I don’t normally find myself in!

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Ventured into Tahoe City. Small town just 5 miles or so away from the ski resort. Beautiful views of the northern part of the lake. Great core trail along the lake too. Passed the time just wandering. I think wandering is the best for the soul. Stopped at a local market and got some California cherries and a healthy-looking avocado-something wrap. Felt compelled to do so being in California and all.

Some great restaurants in Tahoe City for both lunch and dinner. After reading some online reviews, made reservations at Jake’s On The Lake for our 1st evening out. We were lucky to have a small table by the window, looking on to the lake. Food was delicious and the service was very good too. I find the food is important in any restaurant; it’s the reason we go out. But, the service is just as important. Jake’s has both. And then, there is dessert… The Hula Pie!! I’ve never heard of “hula pie”. Our waitress told us it was a must. OMG! This pie had a thin oreo cookie crust, followed by 6″ of macadamia nut / vanilla ice cream with a layer of chocolate fudge topping. A dessert with roots in Hawaii, like the owners of this fine establishment. If you are in the area, stop in.

Back at the village, enjoyed sitting outside sipping wine and enjoying the mountain views. Found this small wine bar called Uncorked with an exceptional wine selection and some great accompaniments. Another great place to relax.

I did do more than drink and eat, while my husband slaved away in meetings. Found a couple of great hiking trails. Didn’t venture too far off the trails, just in case bears were around. Not really prepared for that encounter. For the highlight of my adventures in Tahoe, I rode the aerial tram; never had even seen one. This thing was huge. I hear it holds 100 people plus skis/boards. Glad I did go up to the higher terrain. Amazing views of Lake Tahoe from 9,000 ft. Got to visit their Olympic Museum. And, they have a pool at their upper mountain base. That was weird in a fun kind of way.

Another stop took us to Truckee, CA. Just a 15 minute ride from Squaw Valley. Cute little town. Stopped at Burger Me because we had too since it was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I know, kind of weird reason. But, I really love the show and like to try local places that you normally wouldn’t know about. So, there!  Another great find was the locals breakfast/lunch hangout Squeeze In; delicious food!  If you stop over, say hello to Heidi.

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While in California, couldn’t leave without visiting some wineries. But, didn’t really want to drive all the way to Lodi or Napa, so after a quick Google maps search, we hit I80 and headed to Grass Valley, CA; another wonderful find. Small town, with a cute downtown where several local wineries had a store-front presence. We visited Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery Tasting. Had the pleasure to meet the owner while tasting their wonderful wines. We chatted about the history of the area, which my husband and I were oblivious to. We didn’t get to visit the vineyard since they were setting up for a wedding and we didn’t want to intrude. We will have to come back. On the way out we had just enough time for one more stop at Montoliva Vineyard & Winery. This is a small vineyard in the Chicago Park area owned and operated by Mark Henry. It had a charming tasting room with great tuscan-inspired wines. We hung out with several locals that were there to pick up their wine club wines, and even got to taste some brand new wine that Mark shared with all of us. Several bottles bought, another wine club subscription later, we left towards Reno, NV.

Reno is Reno. A few casinos downtown that I’m not that enthusiastic about, but for a night or so, we enjoyed it. I’m not much of a gambler, actually just better of finding a casino manager and giving them my $20. But, when in Rome… We visited several casinos and have to say, if you want a bright, less smokey, nice place to visit, the GSR (Grand Sierra Resort) is your place. Just off of I80, large and recently remodelled. Very different from the downtown casinos. Had dinner at their mexican restaurant and it was very good. But what I really liked was their bright hallways and the great ventilation system; 4-Stars!

Another wonderful trip was had by all. Thank you to Southwest Airlines for taking us to/from without incidents or headaches. Until next time…IMG_3429[1]

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