A couple of weekends ago we spent a weekend in Lake Tahoe with friends. James, Kristen, Logan and Dominic joined us along with James’ cousin Matthew, his girlfriend Erin and friends Alvin and Jonathan. Mathew and Erin flew out from Richmond, Virginia to spend a week’s vacation in California, so they drove to Tahoe with James and Kristen. Jonathan joined Bill, Tommy and me as we flew to Sacramento and then drove the rest of the way to Lake Tahoe. In lieu of getting a handful of hotel rooms, Bill found a large house available for rent in South Lake Tahoe that ended up being a lot less expensive overall after the costs were split between everyone. It also allowed us to have a full kitchen and plenty of space for the kids to play.
Bill, Jonathan, Tommy and I stopped for a late breakfast in Sacramento at a small place called Mighty Kong Cafe. I had a decent french toast. But Bill and Jonathan both had biscuits and gravy, and they both agreed it was probably the best sausage gravy they’d ever had. It was peppery and spicy and really delicious. They are supposedly pretty famous for their different flavored bran muffins, but I wasn’t impressed. I’m not a fan of bran muffins in general though.
We all arrived Friday afternoon and made a stop at a random liquor store in South Lake Tahoe. Attached to the liquor store is a kitchen where one guy cooks pasta all day. The little shop is called Fasta Pasta. We ordered one of each of the pastas on his menu board with a variety of different sauces. We also ordered lasagna, ravioli, two pizzas and three orders of his famous garlic bread.
As we watched him work, we saw just how he makes this amazing garlic bread (highly reviewed on Yelp). He basically takes a chunk of pizza dough, flattens it a bit in his hands and then places it in a hot flying pan with olive oil, fresh garlic and herbs. Here’s what the table looked like once we got settled and were ready to eat.
I can’t tell you what everything is, but I can tell you that it was all delicious. This place was a really wonderful find. Since we ate lunch rather late, none of us was really hungry when dinner time rolled around. A few of us had some more pasta, but most of us were still in food comas. After Tommy went to bed, Bill took Matthew and Erin to the casinos to play some games. We were sad to see that a favorite casino of ours, Bill’s Casino, had closed. Years ago Bill and I loved to play there with it’s laid-back atmosphere and $2 blackjack.
Saturday morning, the boys piled in the van and drove to Reno to compete in a shooting match. The girls and I stayed back and let the kids play for a while. Kristen, Erin and I discussed our options on where to go. First we had a late breakfast at the Red Hut Cafe just over the state line. I had a really delicious and crispy waffle that had whole slices of bacon in it. Tommy even enjoyed a couple of bites. The weather was too chilly to spend it playing at the beach. We talked about driving to Squaw Valley and riding their gondola so Logan and Tommy could play in the snow. But we didn’t want to drive the forty miles to get there. In the end we decided to drive just across the Nevada state line and take the Heavenly Valley gondola. It’s really expensive ($32 for adults, $20 for kids), but we figured that Logan would really love it and give him and Tommy an opportunity to play in the snow at the top of Heavenly Valley. And it would give Erin a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe from 14,000 feet since this was her first trip. My first mistake was hyping the ride to Logan. Once we got there, we discovered the gondola was closed for maintenance. I felt SO bad for Logan, he was SO excited. And at not-quite-five years old, it took him a little while to understand that we had no control over making the gondola work again. After a few minutes, he was good and happy to run around a nearby fountain with Tommy.
Logan thought it was pretty awesome that there were icicles on the rocks. Yes, it was that cold.
I tried SO hard to get a photo of both boys smiling wearing their matching Spiderman beanies. All Tommy wanted to do was pull his off.
Finally we drove to a recreation area and took a walk along the water. The wind coming off the water was extremely cold, my hands were numb within a few minutes, so we made it a short walk.
At least Logan got to play in some snow. It was filthy snowplow snow, but it was enough for him.
A panoramic I pieced together:
When we were done, we headed back to the house for naps. Well, I think just Tommy and I napped. Bill snapped this photo of Tommy right before he woke up.
The boys got back right around dinner time and we loaded up the vans and drove to Harrah’s for dinner at their buffet. The Harrah’s buffet is on the top floor of the hotel and has a gorgeous view of the lake; and we arrived right at sunset. We all enjoyed a tasty and filling dinner.
On Sunday morning we packed up for the drives/flights home. As we were getting ready, Tommy tried to help.
Logan and Tommy playing in the huge windows:
Once we were all packed we headed to the Red Hut Cafe for breakfast. This time we went to the location in South Lake Tahoe on Ski Run Road. This location opened just a few years ago and could actually accommodate our large group. They also have a gift shop where I picked up a couple of t-shirts and some long-john PJs for Tommy. I’ll post photos of him wearing the PJs soon, they’re adorable! I thoroughly enjoyed a bacon waffle again and Bill had eggs, hash browns and biscuits with gravy.
I believe Dominic had a puree of peaches for breakfast.
and Logan had french toast.
Once I was finished, I took Dominic for a bit so Kristen could eat with both hands. He proceeded to fall asleep on my chest and I reminisced about the days when Tommy used to do that. I also remembered just how heavy babies get once they fall asleep.
After breakfast we started driving around the lake, counter-clockwise. Our first destination was a scenic outlook just beyond Sand Harbor. It was fun to climb on the rocks and snap a lot of photos. We were blessed with a really beautiful day.
Since we were so far around the lake, we decided to continue around. Our next stop was Emerald Bay. From our vantage point, we had an amazing view of the bay and Eagle Falls. It was flowing in full force with the snow melt. We had fun climbing on rocks and taking a lot of photos.
Eagle Falls flows into Emerald Bay and can be viewed from a couple of places. On another trip, I’d like to take the one mile hike down to the water. There you can hike much closer to the waterfall and picnic near the beach. There’s also the Vikingsholm mansion to explore. I’ve done it once before, but not with James & Kristen. Some day I’d also love to camp at Emerald Bay. There’s a small campground that is only accessible by boat.
Afterward, we turned onto highway 50 and headed toward home. Bill, Tommy, Jonathan and I got the very last seats on our flight back to Long Beach which was a relief since I didn’t want to have to take the 6am flight in the morning. The trip was tiring and much too short, but we were glad to have made it. Staying at a house rather than a hotel made the whole experience much more comfortable. We will look into doing that again for future trips.