Gnomeversation: Small Talk with a Lake Tahoe Insider
Gnome’s Note: Hello chaps, it’s the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Even though I have a rather impressive list of travels under my belt, globetrotters like me still fancy a few new travel tidbits now and again. That’s why I’m interviewing Travelocity’s very own destination experts. Meet me here to learn insider tips about smashing places!
Take it from me – and Alaina Henry, one of Travelocity’s ski experts – Lake Tahoe is a simply splendid ski destination! Alaina tells me that the South Shore and North Shore offer visitors fantastically different experiences; she says to go to the south side of the lake for casinos and nightlife and to go to the north side for a more secluded, rustic vibe. Oh, and Lake Tahoe is also known for its amazing photo ops – an important tidbit for those of us who are especially photogenic.
Oh, look; there’s a handsome fellow enjoying one of those magnificent views Alaina speaks of. Wait…is that good looking devil me? I thought it was another chap in a pointy red hat!
Roaming Gnome: First things first: what’s the one thing you wouldn’t do in Lake Tahoe?
Alaina: I hate to say it for the traffic and pollution it may cause, but I wouldn’t come here, especially the North Shore, without a car. And, in the winter, a 4-wheel drive car is practically a must because of the huge storms that we count in feet. There is public transit (TART), but since the North Shore is a little more spread out, you want the flexibility of a vehicle to run around to the different areas. The South Shore is a little more compact and has the BlueGO trolly, so you could go carless there easier if you had to. There is currently no consistent public transit that goes around the lake.
Roaming Gnome: I’m often hungry. What’s the best thing to eat in Lake Tahoe?
Alaina: After a fun day skiing or biking, I love to grab a turkey burger and milkshake at Burger Me in Truckee. Or after a long day at work, I get my exercise and great night out by cross country skiing to Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar for some amazing “Slow Food” in the Village at Squaw Valley. My sweet treat crush is Poppy’s Frozen Yogurt and Waffle Shop. If you are a sushi fan, Mikuni’s in the Village at Northstar is some of the best you can get. Favorites in South Lake Tahoe: Freshies – yummy fish tacos and huge salads, or 19 Kitchen Bar in Harvey’s for exceptional views and food.
Roaming Gnome: As I’m sure you know, I love getting a little bit of the local flavor when I visit a destination. What are some of your favorite hangouts?
Alaina: Did I mention I love to ski? My favorite hang outs are on any of the 15 ski resorts in Tahoe, but particularly Squaw Valley. The local hangout for a quick break in the ski day is at Wildflour Bakery, Olympic House or High Camp at Squaw Valley, where they make the best cookies you’ve ever had! Hitting any of the sunny outdoor decks or various restaurants after the day for après-ski (refers to going out, having drinks, dancing and generally socializing after skiing) is a must.
Roaming Gnome: As much as I love my mumsy, I also love Mother Earth as well. Any green initiatives going on in Lake Tahoe that travelers should know about?
Alaina: This area has several reasons to think sustainably: the lake and the winter resorts. Without the snow, the area would lose the ski resorts and much of its tourism. Many resorts are participating in Sustainable Slopes, the Environmental Charter for Ski Areas.
Lake Tahoe prides itself on its clarity; waters of Tahoe were clear to an average depth of 70.1′ in 2007 and 68.1′ in 2009 and seems to be staying right around there. Tahoe is losing clarity because of the fine sediments from things like road sand runoff entering the lake and algae growth. Eco-tourism in this region can serve to protect this, too. Some of the most fun activities are eco-minded: cross country or backcountry skiing, biking, hiking, whitewater rafting and kayaking to name a few. There’s also a great selection of green hotels in Lake Tahoe.
Roaming Gnome: Say I want to go to Lake Tahoe. When’s the best time to do it?
Alaina: Every day of the year in Tahoe is my favorite time to be here. Winter is amazing for skiing and riding, cross country skiing, moonlight snowshoes and many other winter activities. In the summer, being on Lake Tahoe is phenomenal. Any way you choose to get on the lake (ski boat, kayak, stand up paddleboard or other means), brings an entirely different perspective and experience. Hiking, biking and golf are plentiful. Spring and fall, while quieter in town, is a great time to be in Tahoe for all there is to offer. In spring, you can ski and water-ski the same day! You cannot beat the great hotel and restaurant deals in the slow season.
MORE ARTICLES & TRAVEL DEALS
Ski Vacation Packages (Travelocity)
10 Ski Destinations in the U.S. (Aol Travel)
Photos: Popular Ski Spots (msnbc.com)
My name: The Travelocity Roaming Gnome
How I earn my keep: I roam the world finding great deals, upholding the Travelocity Guarantee, and looking rather handsome while doing it.
What kind of traveler I am: A small and perfectly-formed one.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Just because you can climb into the overhead baggage compartment and stay there for the rest of the flight, doesn’t mean you should.
Travel ambition: To never again miss my plane because I’ve stopped to take a photo with a fellow traveler who’s spotted me. Ah, it’s tough work being a charmingly lovable travel mascot, I’ll tell you that.
First thing I do in a new place: Make friends.
When I’m not traveling: I’m browsing the SkyMall catalogue, toasting crumpets, testing beard conditioners, and planning my next trip.