For years now our annual family trip has always taken place in a big beach house, over looking the Pacific ocean. It is the Christmas gift my in-laws have given all of us, ever since my oldest child was a baby…the gift of a family vacation. But on this, our 10th year, we found ourselves in the mountains, tucked away in a big cabin near Lake Tahoe.
Because our family keeps growing, and changing jobs, and moving out of state, we needed to find a new place to accommodate our changing needs and schedules. I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about the change of location, having grown so fond of our beach getaways, but the change was so much fun! The mountain scenery was gorgeous and the children loved the hiking and the lake. The weather was pretty much perfect, aside from the odd thunder shower that would crop up in the evenings.
We started off our weekend with a 1 mile hike down to Emerald Bay, where we took a tour of Vikingsholm, which was a gorgeous mansion built to be a summer home for the late and very wealthy Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight. It no longer serves as a summer home to anyone. The estate and all the land that goes with it, which includes a small island in Emerald Bay, is now property of the state of California. It is such a beautiful bay, one of the few areas around the lake that has not been developed.
The kids did great on the hike. Going down was a breeze! One mile of smooth path, all downhill. Coming back up was more challenging, but mostly for the adults.
Miss P walked for the first part but was soon riding in her pack on her daddy’s back.
Daisies grow in large clearings all around the lake. Looking at them felt like looking at a page out of a picture book. Almost too beautiful to be real.
The children played near the bay while we waited to tour Vikingsholm.
Mrs. Knight wanted her summer home to reflect her love of Scandinavian architecture. Everything about the home, right down to the locks on the doors, where inspired by Viking and Scandinavian designs.
This little wooden nook that jutted from the front of the home was Mrs. Knights personal writing nook. I’ve never wanted to be rich but I would love to have my own personal writing nook (especially one that overlooks a pristine bay).
The kiddos were not real excited about the prospect of touring someone’s old home, no matter how impressive it happened to be. I will say though, at the end of the tour all the children said they really like the old house!
It was this little room that particularly caught my eye. This was Mrs. Knights personal maid’s sewing room. It was my favorite room of the house.
This is the view from the top of the hike. What you see behind the girls is Emerald Bay. The little island you see was also part of Mrs. Knights’ estate. She had a tea room built on the island and approximately 3 or 4 times a summer she would hold a tea party out on the island for her and her guests. Sadly, only the foundation of the tea room is left.
Back at the cabin the children entertained themselves with bubble-blowing on the deck, pool playing in the game room, monkeying around on the couches, playing video games, and swimming in the hot-tub.
One evening we decided to have a pizza dinner in the park. While we were there a storm cloud loomed over the playground and dumped rain on us for about 7 or 8 minutes. We all took cover under the gazebo until the storm had passed. Right after dinner while the kiddos were playing, a rainbow appeared in the sky over the park.
After dinner one night, I noticed Uncle E had a lot of pretty girls piled in his lap, so I got my camera out and told them to give him a kiss.
I love the expressions on their faces! The picture quality isn’t the best because of the low lighting and squirmy little girls, but I love these shots.
On Sunday we ate a late breakfast, lounged around the cabin until after lunch and then headed down to the lake for an afternoon on the beach.
The weather was perfect and this particular beach on the South Shore was amazing. You could walk almost a 1000 feet out from the shore, and the water never got above your waist. The children had a blast playing in the water!
Justin rented a kayak and everyone took turns paddling it around the shallows of the lake. It really was the perfect place for them to learn to maneuver a kayak.
Even the little girls got a turn.
Mr G is more of a land-lover. Happy and content to sit on the warm beach enjoying the scenery and the snacks.
My father-in-law with his only daughter
Another of my father-in-law, but this time with his three sons
The last night at the cabin the children were fed and bathed early. They all piled on the big couch to watch a movie while the grownups went about the business of tidying and packing. We needed to be fed, packed-up and out the door by 10:00 am the next day.
The morning brought lots of commotion and of course the truly sad part of any vacation…saying good-bye.
We would all go our separate ways, carrying with us fond memories, and looking forward to the next time we are all together again.
Thank you Lake Tahoe… you were very, very good to us.