We originally were going to stay at the same hotel we usually stay at out there, the Cal-Neva. It's where we stayed when Hubby (then boyfriend) took me four years ago to get engaged. We also returned there three years ago to get married, so as you can guess, the place has some pretty special feelings from us. But, this time we were bringing back Baby Girl and we kinda thought maybe having a bit more space for her to run around in was in order. Plus, we didn't want to have to eat out every single meal out there, or schlep through a casino any time we wanted to go anywhere. Mind you, I like casinos, but they're not exactly kid-friendly kinds of places!
So, about three weeks before we were scheduled to leave, Hubby and I decided to rent a house. Pickings were a little slim, given that most people planning such a vacation actually plan it in advance, but we managed to find a house on the North shore that we really liked.
When we got to Tahoe, there was plenty of snow on the ground and about an hour after we got over the mountains from Reno, a new storm got kicked up. But we made it to the rental office and then to the house with no problems. Which for us is a pretty good thing! Hubby and I get along really well, but when we travel, sometimes our Type A personalities conflict. Not this time though! I think we're getting better at reading one another and picking which things to assert our preferences on and which ones to just let go. Anyhow, after we got to the house, I headed off to the grocery store to provision-up for the week. I've never really driven in the snow and was a bit nervous about the prospect, but after a little bit of trouble (I couldn't get the car turned around and wasn't confident enough to back the whole way down the long driveway) I did really well and by the end of the week felt just fine driving in the white stuff.
We (meaning I) cooked most of our meals during the week. At first, I was convinced that was going to be a bad thing (who wants to do housework on their vacation, after all) but it really did turn out to be the best thing. It took about half an hour to get Baby Girl ready each time we wanted to head out of the house, so usually, we did our venturing out in the morning and mid-day, came home for her nap, and by the time dinner rolled around, I was usually pretty cozy and not wanting to deal with the hassle of getting myself dressed, let alone wrestling with a two-year-old!
The first morning we were there, we released Baby Girl out onto the back porch of the house to play in the snow there. She had a great time. We were a little concerned about whether or not she would like it, given she is a very southern child and has never experienced such a thing, but we shouldn't have worried about it because I think kids are just hard-wired to love the stuff. We also went over to the Cal-Neva to pick up an FTD delivery that had been made there. Apparently, I had forgotten to tell my mom about the change of venue! Then we headed up the mountain to the Northstar ski resort. We weren't planning on skiing, but I had heard there was a knit shop up there, so I was going hunting. Well, the store wasn't there, but we did find a really great pizza place for lunch.
The next day we went to my favorite breakfast place in the whole wide world, The Log Cabin in Kings Beach, California! I had a heaping plate of Texas-style French toast with bacon. Oh good lord, I think that I gained five pounds with that meal alone, but it was worth every ounce! Then we went in search of sledding for Baby Girl. We had found an ad for Soda Springs and it sounded great. Tubing with a magic carpet lift, so you wouldn't have to hike up the hill every time you wanted to make a run and a special playground for kids with a tube carosel and smaller hill with a magic carpet where you could also tube or introduce your kid to skiing or snow-boarding. Well, we drove all the way up there (about 45 minutes) only to discover that kids under 44 inches couldn't tube, not even with their parents. That wasn't anywhere in the literature. Also, both magic carpets, the big one that we couldn't use anyway because Baby Girl wasn't tall enough and the little one at their little kids' area, weren't working. So, although we were disspointed, we shelled out the money to take Baby Girl over to the play area, not realizing that it was a quarter mile hike through the snow even to get over there. Once we got there was when we learned that the magic carpet and the tube carosel weren't working. Ergh! We weren't happy, but made the best of it and got plenty of exercise climbing up the small hill (I use the term hill loosely) and letting Baby Girl tube down. She loved it, so that improved our outlook. And after about an hour, they did get the carosel fixed, so she rode that for about half an hour! Loved it! Kicked a screaming fit when we decided it was time to go!
That afternoon we hired a babysitter and managed to go have a little Mom and Dad fun on some snow-mobiles. So. Much. Fun. I got to be the first sled behind the guide which meant that I got to go the fastest of the entire group. I loved it and we had some great views of the lake and surrounding mountains. I'm usually a fairly conservative person as far as motorcycles or even driving fast, but seriously, smow-mobiles are cool!
The rest of the week consisted of another afternoon of sledding (this time at a hill on the side of the road), a drive all the way around the lake and even a dog-sledding ride. The dog-sled was actually really cool and I don't care what the animal activists say, those dogs loved it! Anytime the musher told them to stop and rest, they were turned around looking at him begging to run again! Baby Girl had a lot of fun, too. She was leaned forward the entire time, cheering on the "puppies"! The only drawback was the pooping. The dogs are pretty impressive in that they can poop on the run, however, it didn't smell very good when they did it! Oh well, it was still a great time and a unique experience!
Christmas morning was probably my favorite. We woke up in the morning to find that over a foot of snow had fallen overnight and nearly another foot fell during the day. We stayed in our pjs most of the day and had a really great time. Santa left our "real" presents at home for us, but did drop by Tahoe to fill our stockings. Baby Girl got a ton of little toys like matchbox cars and other things that were in the stocking stuffer section of Target. Hubby got some chocolate and a t-shirt and a small photo of a watercolor painting of Tahoe that should get to us sometime this week. And I got a really pretty amethyst pendant. I'm a February baby, so Santa can never go wrong bringing me amethyst.
The day after Christmas came and it was time to go home. I was really bummed about having to leave, but all good things must come to an end, right? Our travel went really smooth (thank god for portable DVD players) and we got home without any trouble.
Oh, I forgot to mention that we did go out to dinner one night while we were there. We went to Lanza's in Kings Beach and it was terrrific! It's really a family and local kind of a place. I had the veal marsala and it was so amazingly delicious! We also ordered lobster bisque from Garwoods one night to pick up and eat at the house. Really good place, we've eaten there a few times on various trips, we just didn't feel like bringing Baby Girl in there this time, hence the take-out.
Oh, and another thing...the yarn shop in Northstar was there, but it had gone out of business apprently. I learned this fact when I found the Lake Tahoe Yarn Company. The owner was really nice and I picked up some dpns and some yarn to make socks for Hubby!