Tahoe’s West Shore: A magical escape

LAKE TAHOE’S SERENE WEST SHORE HAS star power going back to 1951, when it was the backdrop for A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor. “Every time you leave me for a minute, it’s like goodbye,” Liz whispers to her lover, Montgomery Clift, from the archway of a lakefront estate.

Though the rest of Lake Tahoe has become busier, the West Shore has maintained a more innocent and romantic quality redolent of the ‘50s and earlier eras.

It is home to the exquisite Tahoe Maritime Museum, which celebrates the “woodies” that Henry J. Kaiser, Leland Stanford Scott and R. Stanley Dollar raced along the shoreline.

Emerald Bay is home to Vikingsholm, a majestic stone castle built as a summer home in 1929. Best of all, the West Shore is home to some of the finest beaches, camp sites, historical monuments, hiking and biking trails and sightseeing at Tahoe. Examples include Emerald Bay, D.L. Bliss State Park, Sugar Pine Point State Park and the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, Meeks Bay and Blackwood Canyon.

The West Shore embraces modern travelers’ needs, including Wi-Fi at Obexer’s Market. Visit TahoeWestShoreAssoc.com for more information.

Despite its “Old Tahoe” lifestyle, the West Shore has some exciting new attractions and events this summer.

• The popular West Shore Café and Inn has a new executive chef, Mike Davis, and a new summer menu. Items include Maine Lobster Gazpacho, potato-crusted Alaskan Halibut and house-made Fettucini Pasta. Full moon parties occur monthly with live music.

Sip a cocktail in front of the new fire pits. Artisan cocktails include Strawberry Fields with thyme garnish, Aloha Margarita and Sparkling Pear. Football legend Joe Montana enjoys dining on the pier. WestShoreCafe.com

• Music in the Park is a free Big Band concert at Sugar Pine Point on September 1, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, thanks to the nonprofit West Shore Association.

• The Lake Tahoe Music Festival returns to the West Shore with outdoor concerts on the lakefront at West Shore Café (July 10), under the stars in Tahoe Tree’s garden (July 12) and at Sugar Pine Point State Park (July 13). TahoeMusic.org

• The Tahoe Maritime Museum has a new exhibit, Tahoe Escape: Surviving the Great Depression. Archival footage, 1930s boats and oral histories tell the tale how many Americans escaped from their fears to Tahoe in a decade of hardship and uncertainty. TahoeMaritimeMuseum.org

(credit: Justin Dohms)

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