Archive for the ‘Mt. Tallac Historic Site’ Tag

Leaf Peeping at Lake Tahoe and Truckee   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi

On a trip to New England in the fall some years back, I had to laugh at what the locals call the tourists at that time of year. ‘Leaf Peepers’ is a humorous reference to the throngs of people who come to the area to take in the yearly spectacular display of fall colors.

While our area may not sport the vivid reds of sugar maples (unless they’ve been planted by you or your neighbors) we here at the Tahoe basin are still treated to fall’s marvelous show.  Vast stands of aspens grace our area along with many other shrubs and trees that turn color, a visual witness to the change of seasons. If you grew up in southern California like I did, where there aren’t really seasons, (unless you count temperatures that go from ‘hot’ to ‘not quite so hot’ and fall just means the leaves turn brown and fall off the trees), then the changing of seasons will come as a revelation.

The summer tourists abandon the area, completely unaware of what local’s know. That this is one of the best times of the year to get outside, go for a hike, a ride a bike, or even just take a stroll. The temperatures are still sunny and warm during most days, but with a refreshing nip in the air. Enjoying the area’s quieter times surrounded by such beauty seems almost spiritual and meditative.

There are some favorite places where the colors seem especially vivid and you’ll be sure to see photographers snapping away. Here are some of mine.



Aspen Grove on Hwy. 267

HWY 267.  Just after the Northstar turn off on the way to Lake Tahoe. For whatever reason, this area seems to turn earlier than others and is going off right now. What’s left of the shell of a funky old cabin adds visual interest to any photo.

MOUNT ROSE – Also one of the early turning areas due to its higher elevation.

THE WEST SHORE – The bike trail isn’t technically open, but it’s a lovely ride along the lake, where you’ll be sure to see birch and aspens turning a little later. As I write this, the area hasn’t quite done so yet.




Kokanee Salmon in Taylor Creek

TAYLOR CREEK – South Lake Tahoe, next to the Mt. Tallac Historic Site. Also an area heavily populated by deciduous trees, it’s a lovely walk along the trail. The Kokanee salmon are just starting their spawning run, with a few individuals making it to the stream chamber as of Oct. 1st.  Rangers believe this weeks cold temperatures will lure them in, and the trees and shrubs will most likely change to greet them. Be sure to hike or drive to The Tallac Historic Site next door. The vintage cabins are now closed for the season, but the park is open for strolling and the grounds are alive with color.

FALLEN LEAF LAKE.  South Lake Tahoe across the highway from the Mt. Tallac Historic Site. Near the entrance to the lake is a large stand of aspens, with a vast grove along it where horses graze in the autumn sun. Last year’s poor snow pack meant no colors at all as the leaves withered and died in August, but this year looks to have afforded them enough water that the aspens still sport their leaves. Not quite turned yet as of Oct.1, but I’m keeping my eye out for this area. (I’m hoping the S. Lake Tahoe peeps can give me a heads up when they do).



Spooner Lake. The aspens haven’t turned yet. 

SPOONER LAKE – at the juncture of Hwy. 28 and Hwy 50. We went for a lovely hike last week along the lake, not only spotting a slew of ducks, but a very skittish blue heron. The leaves weren’t quite turning yet except for a few random trees, so keep an eye out for this to go off in the next week or two. If you’re feeling especially vigorous, Marlette Lake is a 5 mile jaunt away.


HOPE VALLEY –  I confess to not having been to this area during the fall yet, but I hear it’s spectacular. Located on Hwy. 88 off Hwy. 89 out of south shore. A side trip to the vintage Sorenson’s Resort on Hwy. 88 north of Hope Valley is also a treat.


Do you have a favorite place for leaf peeping? Let us know in the comments section.


Leaf detail near Telluride Colorado. 



Lake Tahoe’s Taylor Creek Fall Fish Festival 2014   2 comments

By Michelle Portesi


Kokanee salmon spawning in Taylor Creek, CA

Kokanee salmon spawning in Taylor Creek, CA


Last Year’s Fall Fish Festival was cancelled due to the government shutdown. Wouldn’t you know, Taylor Creek Visitor’s Center is one of the few National Parks in the Tahoe basin, as most are state run. But this year it’s on for this weekend October 4th and 5th from 10am until 4pm.  The visitor center will play host to a full day of family fun sure to be both entertaining and informative. If you’ve never been there, do be sure to go to the river viewing chamber where you can watch what goes on under the water of a river bed.  Fall is the best time to walk along the lovely trails that follow the river as the area is laden with aspens. Watch out for bears though, as fall is the time they engorge themselves on the spawning salmon in the creek as they fatten up for their winter hibernation.

Right next door is the Historic Baldwin Estate. While the tours through the old mansion have ended for the season, the grounds are still open for wandering. It’s one of the most peaceful and beautiful areas when you have it all to meander by yourself.


Lake Tahoe and Truckee abound in bike trails, perfect for a ride or a leisurely stroll.

Lake Tahoe and Truckee abound in bike trails, perfect for a ride or a leisurely stroll.


If a bike ride is more in your plans, there is a wonderful bike trail that follows that entire area of South Lake Tahoe’s  Historic Area. Camp Richardson is just down the road a piece, and will also be hosting its Octoberfest celebration this weekend as well. And a bike may be the best way to get around all of what’s going on there this weekend, as parking for your car can be a bit dicey with so many events in the area. If you do drive, plan to come early.

For more information, read up on everything that’s happening in the area here:

The Examiner- Fall Fish Festival at Taylor Creek Visitors Center

Octoberfest at Historic Camp Richardson Resort

Tahoe Heritage Foundation


June Kicks Off Wedding Season At Lake Tahoe and Truckee!   Leave a comment

Contributing writer: Michelle Portesi


Wedding blog post 1


The Lake Tahoe area becomes Wedding Day Central during the summer months. June Brides (July, August and September too) will find a plethora of picture perfect places to have their special day in the scenic Lake Tahoe region. Outdoor and indoor wedding venues abound, whether you want a casual outdoor garden wedding or a formal sit down dinner in opulent indoor settings…and everything in between.

The area also has no end of caterers, restaurants, florists, musicians, wedding planners and photographers, rental purveyors, bartenders, bands and bakers…well, just about everything you’ll ever need to host a memorable and exquisite wedding and reception. Interview your choices for venues and purveyors of services that interest you and be sure to book them early. Our warm but wonderful season is brief, so those in the industry have their calendars fill up fast.

buttonhole-63985579 Fancy an outdoor setting? I’m partial to Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe myself. I’ve been to several weddings at the historic estate, and with the vintage Ehrman Mansion as your backdrop, weddings there always  feel like you just strolled into an opulent  garden party a la the Great Gatsby Era.  Most state parks don’t allow amplified music, but fear not, wonderful 4 piece string quartets play lilting melodies while you overlook the spectacular grounds along the waters edge, completing the bygone era appeal.

Sugar Pine Point however, is not the only vintage style wedding areas at the lake, There are other state parks that also cater to the soon to be married such as Valhalla at the Tallac Historic Site. Whatever area strikes your fancy, be aware that some areas of the park may stay open to the public, and be sure that the park’s stipulations can meet all of the criteria you want for your wedding and reception. If you prefer a DJ or live band with a dance floor, inquire if your favorite venue will accommodate your needs. You will also need to submit a wedding date application in advance. Go to the California State Parks Website to download forms and learn more about other places in the area that offers wedding facilities. Feel good about the fact that the revenue raised from weddings and events helps to fund our state parks.

Though not part of the state park system, The Thunderbird Lodge is also a favorite historic wedding site as well.

Also be aware that our weather is very changeable, and for outdoor weddings, rented tent awnings…or a backup plan B are always a good idea.


If you would prefer a nice restaurant or other popular indoor venue for your wedding, June is the perfect month to plan for it. It’s still considered the shoulder season at the lake. The summer high season doesn’t officially kick off full tilt until July 4th. As a result, many restaurants don’t have as much steady business and are willing to close their doors to the public for weddings and other special events.  Lodging is also more plentiful and often less expensive that time of year for you and your out of town guests.

Hope for warm and sunny days, but plan on some chilly ones (it’s not unheard of to get snow in June!). Do remember also that no matter how warm it is during the day, even in the middle of summer, temperatures can drop drastically once the sun goes down. Outdoor heaters are common for evening weddings and should be planned into your budget.

Don’t overlook ski resorts as an option. We have the most ski resorts concentrated in one place in the entire U.S.   Most have large banquet facilities that are still open for business during the summer, even when the majority of the ski area is shut down. You can find their links in the column to the left.

Charming chapels with tall windows and scenic views are also scattered throughout the area if you prefer a church wedding.

282812051570564235_q1QiFhbs_fObviously these are more traditional weddings that require months of planning. If you decide on a whim that you’d like to tie the knot, don’t discount the ever popular impromptu weddings that also make Lake Tahoe a popular wedding destination. (The close proximity to Nevada helps get a quick marriage license in hand.) There are private lakefront estates that are available to rent, scenic beaches are everywhere and even the Emerald Bay Tea House Island has often been a site for small nuptials. A few family, friends and a parson and you’re good to go.

In short, Lake Tahoe can accommodate everything from the most over the top extravaganza to an intimate budget minded affair.

While the following list doesn’t even begin to cover all the possible options, it’s a good place to start to peruse some of the areas many wedding day charms.


After all, it’s your day. Do it your way!





MUSIC: The String Beings. I love these guys!

(Gabi does mostly sports photography, but she’d love the opportunity to do weddings. It’s a safe bet that the bridal party won’t be racing at 50 mph! However, if such a themed sports wedding is part of your plan, she’s your gal!)!/index


lynn script


Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee


Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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