Christmas Fun, Sun and Snow in South Lake Tahoe  

Posted by Heidi


We haven't been to Tahoe for about four years.  It is a gorgeous place and only a four hour drive from where we live.  However, the last trip we took there was disastrous.  You can read about that HERE.  Come to think of it, so was the one prior to that.  That one was so bad, it was worthy of three blog posts.  (I just reread them and was struck by a number of things.  1) everything was so much cheaper 11 years ago. 2) The prospect of snow is truly enchanting in that it has you in some kind of spell that makes you want to see it/smell it/touch it despite every truly bad experience you have ever had in its frozen depths.  3) It *is* possible to laugh at your own words while the tears of hysteria pour down your face.) However, the main reason we haven't been back for so long is because there hasn't been much snow.  THIS time, my travel-bug daughter gifted our family of five a trip for Christmas.  While we were there, she wanted to snowboard and toboggan and snowmobile.  I planned to sit in the lovely resort watching the snow fall outside with the Big Guy whilst she and my husband and 14 year old son would do the athletic stuff.  (This rings bells and if you have read the posts I linked to, you know why.) Since Tahoe had just received as much snow in December as it had all of last winter, it was a go!


We spent Christmas at home and with extended family, but shortly thereafter, we hit the road.  The morning we left the S.F. bay area was an unusually cold one.  The sun rose, but it was obscured by strange clouds.  We played Christmas tunes on the radio and very quickly got into the winter vibe.


The drive from the San Francisco east bay area through the Delta, past Sacramento and into the mountians is a beautiful one.  It was worth the trip just to sit and watch the landscape fly by.  I was very taken with all of it, including this house with its peeling, chippy paint.


Like almost everyone else in America, I am a bit obsessed with Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper.  She loves graying board with white peely paint.  If she didn't have a farm, a bed and breakfast, a bakery, office space in a pair of vintage silos, a renovation business, a home decor business, a home decor/vintage store and her own T.V. show, I am certain she would want to move here directly.


I wish I could have taken more photos of the incredible charm of the ghost towns, water-side homes, quaint restaurants and darling Christmas decor we saw along the way, but the car was moving too fast.


Finally, we hit snow! I remember how the song "Winter Wonderland" started to play right about this point.  It was magical.


In spite of the anxiety-ridden dreams I had had the night before of our car running off the road into a body of freezing water, I was totally entranced by this river.  (I am going to guess that it is the Sacramento River, but don't quote me.)


The water looked so black and glassy and downright gorgeous.




I finally decided to ask my husband to pull over so I could get out of the car and take a proper photo.  Worth it.  It was shortly after this that we began to drive through the towering mountains.  The theme song from How the Grinch Stole Christmas started to play just as I turned my head and saw a peak with a very Grinch-like snow-covered mountain top.  Goosebumps.  (Yeah, you can tell that I don't live in snow country.  Corny me.)


This cute display was one of the first things we saw as we pulled into town.  Prior to that we saw so many darling houses, cabins and cottages covered in snow and dripping with icicles like so many gingerbread houses nestled in a forest of bottle brush trees.


It didn't take us long to locate our hotel.  Our room was large--almost as big as our little house (I kid you not), but it was necessary.  Our last trip was marred by the sharing of one room that was flooded with the snoring of the Big Guy.  (For some reason I failed to mention this in my blog post about that particular trip.)  Only the Little Guy, who sleeps in the same room as the BG on a nightly basis, got any sleep at all that night.  My daughter's approach to this trip was "go big or go home" and there were no complaints from the rest of us.



One of the views from one of the windows of our room (or, rooms).  See!  Cute gingerbread houses!


The next day, our daughter took the tougher specimens out snowmobiling whilst I sipped hot chocolate and watched the snow fall in thick, lazy drifts all day long.  Heaven.


Aren't they cute?


My husband.  It snowed just enough to be make you feel like you were in a snowglobe, but not so much that it made you cry. Miraculous!  Also, we didn't need chains on our drive in!  And it only took the four or so hours it should have!  And it was Free!!  Merry Christmas to us!


I spent most of my time in the hotel watching re-runs of Fixer Upper (happiness!) so I don't have any photos of the next day's activities--skiing (my 14 year old turned out to be quite good at it) and snowboarding (did I say in my former blog post about snowy mishaps that my daughter would never mention the desire to go again?  I guess it takes 11 years to forget.  I will let you know if she brings it up 11 years from now.) which did not go well at all.  C'est la vie. 


As we headed out of town the next day, we stopped at the lake, which is blue and beautiful and bodacious any day of the year.


As is the sky above.





As we hoofed it back from the beach to our car, we had a last view of the resort in which we stayed.  It was very warm, especially compared to our house now that we are back and enduring a cold snap.
(I am a California hot house flower.  My HOUSE is a California hot house flower, and so is my house's insulaton.)


I was very happy to get a photo of some icicles--it's like one of my glittery paper pulp houses I put out for Christmas.


The drive home was just as stress free as the one we took out to Tahoe.  Snow is so darn beautiful when it is undisturbed and viewed from a warm car.


Despite my certainty that it did not snow on the Christ child in his manger, a scene like this is almost Christmas itself.


 I got another snap of one of those gingerbread houses in the snow--yay!


We looked for a good spot to pull out the toboggans on the way home.  She did a great job of creating a safe route downhill.


After a few runs, I felt confident that I could follow in her path and avoid the huge pit at the bottom.


I started off and for some reason I can't explain, my toboggan headed directly for the pit.  My husband merely stood and photographed my imminent death.  With no rescue at hand, I threw myself off of the darn thing.  Here I am attempting to untangle my feet from the lead-string.  Note that I am wearing jeans, not water-proof pants.  I didn't get warm again until sometime during the middle of the night.

Near the very last of the snow, we stopped to take photos of Bridal Veil Falls.  Note:  this is not the one in Utah.  If there are others (as I am sure there are) I would love to hear about it.  This, of course, was much prettier in reality.



This is such a horrible photo, I probably should not have posted it.  However, I want to document, in some small way, the amazing Christmas spirit of Placerville, CA.  If you can make out the Christmas trees along the side of the road, you can see that they are all decorated differently.  These go on for at least half a mile.  It is a stunning scene at night when they are lighted.


We arrived home safely and have no horror stories to tell of this particular trip.  Also, I brought home this darling glittery, paper pulp house that looks like a cabin in Tahoe.  How perfect is that?

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 31, 2015 at Thursday, December 31, 2015 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Sounds like a memorable family trip, Heidi. (Nice that it was memorable for good reasons this time!) Happy New Year from a fellow Fixer Upper fan!

January 1, 2016 at 6:22 AM

Nice picks Heidi!

January 4, 2016 at 2:06 PM

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