Thursday, February 21, 2013


We were up in the Sierras at Truckee so we decided to visit Emerald Bay, part of Lake Tahoe. Emerald bay is a very beautiful bay. The Vikingsholm Trail takes you from the Parking Lot off of Hwy 89 at Emerald Bay. The trail is a very steep. There was snow on the ground for us but there’s well defined 1 mile trail that leads down to the beach and the old stone house of Vikingsholm. 

Trail  to Vikingsholm

The way down is a nice hike, but the way back up can be difficult because it’s so steep. The scenery along the way is great, with views of Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, and surrounding mountains. The elevation is 6,300 feet.

Vikingsholm Boarded up for winter
Vikingsholm is the former summer home of millionaire heiress Lora Knight, and was built in 1929. Because the rugged mountain scenery and sheer granite cliffs surrounding Emerald Bay reminded her of the fjords in Norway, Mrs. Knight chose a Scandinavian design. It’s a house with many unusual features, including a sod roof seeded with wildflowers and carved dragon-heads at the peak of the roof. Vikingsholm is considered to be one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture existing in the United States.
The 38 room Vikingsholm mansion was home to a staff of about 15 every summer upon Mrs. Knight’s arrival. An enthusiastic entertainer, she also had guests often in the summer months; at times as many as twelve people would be staying at one time. 
Fannette Island from the Beach
From the beach at Vikingsholm there’s a beautiful view of the Tea House on Fannette Island, the only island to be found in all of Lake Tahoe.
Vikingsholm was closed to tours while we were there because it’s winter (we were the only people there) but I remember on an earlier trip that it’s filled with whimsical touches inside that are fantastic. Upstairs, the delicate colors of the stained paneling are beautiful, and Mrs. Knight’s collection of Scandinavian antiques and museum reproductions are interesting to see.
Emerald Bay and Fannette Island from the Trail
Emerald Bay is incredible. With clear and very cold water it was designated an underwater state park in 1994. It’s bottom is the resting place for many boats, launches and barges used in the lake before the turn of the century, during the heyday of Emerald Bay Resort and the construction of Vikingsholm.
Vikingsholm and Emerald Bay are highly recommended. A must see if you’re lucky enough to be at Lake Tahoe.  
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Virginia City

Virginia City

Virginia City Nevada is a happening old town that slowed but never really stopped. Today Virginia City is the County Seat of Storey County. Located just south east of Reno, this historic mining town is easily accessible by car from Lake Tahoe, Reno, or Carson City.  Some say Virginia City's rich gold and silver mines financed the Civil War. Rich in history, Virginia City and the Comstock Lode still maintains the flavor of the old mining days, when Mark Twain roamed the streets and everybody wanted a piece of the Richest Place on Earth.
"C" Street
Like many cities and towns in Nevada, Virginia City was a Mining Boomtown; it appeared virtually overnight as a result of the Comstock Lode strike of 1859. At its peak, Virginia City had a population of over 30,000 residents and was called the richest city in America. During the 20 years following the Comstock success "about $400 million was taken out of the ground." Most of the miners who came to the city were Cornish or Irish.
The Castle 1876
Folklore indicates that the town got its name from a man named James Finney who was nicknamed Old Virginy. Finney was credited with discovering the Comstock Lode. Or not. His real name was James Fennimore, and he had fled his home state of Virginia after killing a man there. 
Another house on Millionaire's Row
Historically, gold was found at the head of Six-Mile Canyon in 1859 by two miners named Pat McLaughlin and Peter O'Reilly. A fellow miner, Henry Comstock, stumbled upon their find and claimed it was on his property. So it wound up being called the Comstock Load. Between 1859 and 1875, Virginia City experienced five serious fires. The 1875 fire, dubbed the Great Fire of 1875, caused $12 million in damage.
Storey County Court House
At the peak of its glory, Virginia City was a boisterous town with something going on 24 hours a day both above &below ground for its nearly 30,000 residents. There were visiting celebrities, Shakespeare plays, opium dens, newspapers, competing fire companies, at least five police precincts & a thriving red-light district.The International Hotel was six stories high and boasted the West's first elevator, called a "rising room. 
Mackay Nansion
When the Comstock Lode ran out in 1898, the city's population declined sharply. Without the scores of grand buildings that had been constructed during the boom times, Virginia City might have disappeared without a trace, as many other Nevada mining towns already had. Instead, the town lingered on, gradually losing population and buildings over time.
Typical Virginia City Neighborhood
Now, many locals work at the shops in town that cater to tourists, while others seek jobs in the surrounding cities. Virginia City draws over 2 million visitors per year and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
Today, the population of Virginia City is about 855 people in the town. 4,000 live in Storey County. 
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cedar House Sport Hotel

The Cedar House Sport Hotel is a great weekend get-away in Truckee, near North Star. Very nice, comfortable hotel. Good value for the price.  Very beautiful modern design with lots of big wooden beams. 

Stella Kichen with Chef Jacob Burton
Stella, the restaurant was fully booked for dinner but we had a reservation and had a great great dinner with wine pairing--it’s so popular it’s suggested to book a restaurant res as soon as you book your room. You’ll be happy you did… good menu with a nice tasting menu where you choose your 4 courses from the menu itself. Great breakfasts too. Was expecting a continental breakfast with pastries and coffee, but there was so much more - eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, bread/pastries, yogurt, oatmeal, juice, milk, coffee, etc. Good way to start the day.
Cedar House Entrance
No Place Like It! The architecture is absolutely amazing.  Typically the pictures on the website are deceiving when you check out a hotel online, but the Cedar House is just the opposite. The pictures don't do it justice. Staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. Patty, the owner, is almost always available for anything you need, and is very knowledgeable about the area and local services. It’s a great hotel in beautiful surroundings.
Beautiful Bedroom
This turned out to be a great place to stay for skiing and hiking. The innovative hotel architecture combines the best of contemporary design along with beautiful European (German) style rooms. Each room has 2 personal down comforters, pillow-top mattresses, great spa bath amenities, safes, refrigerators, flat-screen LCD TVs and wireless high-speed Internet access included in the price. Again, we really appreciated the complimentary gourmet continental breakfast and the full bar with included snacks in the hotel's lobby. The Hotel is conveniently located near mountain hiking and outdoor sports. It’s 15 minutes from Lake Tahoe and close to many ski resorts in the area. 

Nice European Style Bath
We didn’t have our dog with us, but the Cedar House is a totally dog friendly hotel. We had a lot of fun having a drink and snacks in the bar and playing with the dogs and their owners. Very friendly group.
The Cedar House Sport Hotel is a great place to stay and eat. Highly recommended. We shall return.
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