Things to do on Tahoe’s West Shore this summer

THE WEST SHORE OF LAKE TAHOE was home to the S.S. Tahoe, a famous steamship that opened the area to tourism in 1900. It was home to the rustically elegant Tahoe Tavern, whose passengers arrived by train from San Francisco after a stopover in Truckee.

The West Shore hosted the Nordic trails in the 1960 Winter Olympics. And it was the backdrop for The Godfather 2 in 1974 at the Henry J. Kaiser estate.

This summer the West Shore will shine, as the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance returns to Obexer’s Boat Company in Homewood, the birthplace of wooden boats in the region.

The West Shore has some of the finest beaches, campsites, historical monuments, hiking and biking trails and sightseeing at Tahoe including Emerald Bay, D.L. Bliss State Park, Sugar Pine Point State Park and the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, Meeks Bay and Blackwood Canyon.

But it also is becoming a focal point for food, arts and culture, music and museums.

The lakefront restaurant includes seasonal offerings in an exquisite dining room with floor- to-ceiling windows. You can arrive by car or boat, and either way, there is a complimentary valet service.

We spoke to Executive Chef Mike Davis, who discussed the innovative summer menu. Examples include Seafood Indulgence, featuring fresh oysters, lobster, crab and shrimp for four; pan-seared Alaskan halibut and roasted King salmon; and grilled beef tenderloin with bone marrow.

Lighter fare includes lobster Gazpacho, and a sublime fruit salad with fresh Rainier cherries, oranges and baby greens, topped with crème fraîche dressing.

Complimentary s’mores will be available at the restaurant’s lakeside fire pits on Sunday through Thursdays from 8:30-9 p.m. Lakefront yoga classes will be offered Wednesdays and Saturdays through August 30.

The West Shore Café and Inn also is a designated stop for the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle. Other stops include Tahoe City Marina, GarWoods Grill and the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area.

The West Shore also is home to the Tahoe Maritime Museum. The museum’s exterior is redolent of an old boathouse, well-suited to its surroundings, with a spacious, airy interior—5,800 square feet in total—that lets you explore the boats and exhibits from all angles.

The museum’s 2014-15 exhibit, is titled Ghost Ships. It focuses on boats that sank in Lake Tahoe and around the United States. Using oral histories, underwater footage and additional artifacts, Ghost Ships covers a broad spectrum of Tahoe’s history.

The Lake Tahoe Music Festival’s 20-Piece Academy Orchestra presents a 5-day concert series, with three programs on the West Shore (Tahoe Tree Company on July 22, Sugar Pine Point State Park on July 23 and the West Shore Café on July 24). Bring your picnic, low-back chair and a bottle of wine.

The premier outdoor activity rental outfitter on Tahoe’s West Shore, with locations in Homewood, Sunnyside and Sugar Pine Point State Park.

It rents kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, bikes and more. Accessories include sunglasses, hats and hoodies, hydration packs, bike helmets, repair parts, maps and bottled water.

Continuing one of Tahoe’s newest traditions, Homewood Mountain Resort is expanding its lineup of mountaintop farm-to-table dinners this summer.

Guests at the Farm to Peak dinners-set for Saturdays, Aug. 9 and Aug. 30-will experience a scenic chairlift ride on Homewood’s Quail Chair before sitting down to a five-course meal with wine or beer pairings. Visit for more information and reservations.

(Photos: cocktails by Lisa Nigon; Ghost Ships by Ben Rodgers; dinner by Paul Raymore)

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