By Kira Heinrichs
So two of my friends were tying the knot this last weekend in South Lake Tahoe, and I couldn’t have been happier about the entire situation. The #2 reason (second only to witnessing two fabulous people commit their lives to one another of course) I was so ecstatic was that this was, I am pretty sure, the first wedding my fiancé and I have ever attended just as guests with no obligatory duties. I’m in the midst of planning my own wedding, coming this October, and right about now was really ready to quit focusing on the details and just enjoy a party!
I started planning our weekend in Tahoe earlier in the week and I had it all mapped out. Literally. Turns out Tahoe, our friends, and any other elements there with us had other plans. So we rolled with it and had an awesome time anyway. That’s part of the beauty of this place, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy it.
In Actuality… We played hooky from work – a great start to any weekend if you ask me. We took off a little after lunch time in an effort to beat the east-bound 50 traffic and it worked. Win!
My Plan: Settle in the hotel, get all dolled up, and head to a nice romantic dinner with a view at The Chart House. I was going to get the Alaskan Halibut, and he the filet mignon, as we watched the sunset from our window table overlooking the Lake.
In Actuality… Our friends (who WERE in the wedding) were in need of ride from the rehearsal site. So we swung by to pick them up, checked into the hotel and found ourselves on the patio of the restaurant Fire & Ice. Rumor has it on the inside, they make your food to order on a giant Mongolian type BBQ while you watch- but it was 75 and sunny out, and the thought of eating inside at a moment like that made me shudder. So we opted for the limited appetizers menu and drinks on the patio instead! This place has a giant patio, with tons of seating and a giant fire pit; there was no way I could pass that up.
My Plan: Wake up around 7 a.m. Saturday morning to strap on our shoes and go for a hike. We’d head west to the CA side; stop at the grocery store to pick up a picnic lunch to stuff in our packs. I’ve never actually hiked in Tahoe, which I find very unfortunate, so had googled all the best trails and mapped out the trail we’d take – including the ice cold mini-lakes we’d be diving into around noon time.
In Actuality… We did wake up early, around 8 a.m. Drank coffee in our room while we talked (about what, I have no clue now). We put on our swimsuits, covered them with clothes we could hike in if we wanted to, and called down for the car. The sign said RIGHT TURN ONLY so there went our plan of heading to the CA side… we followed the law and it took us east. After a short stop to grab water, we saw a beach entrance and followed the road to a campground with a view. We stripped down to our swimsuits and laid back on two hand towels he had in the trunk of his car. It was bliss. A quiet, serene beach filled with a bunch of other people doing exactly what we were: relaxing.
In Actuality… At the craps table on our way back to the room, we hit a heater. And you know what they say: “you never walk away from the table when you’re on a heater.” So we stayed, walked away with a little more than we’d started with, and scrambled up to our room to get ready as fast as we could.
I’m happy to report that the rest of the night went just as planned: we watched two beautiful people tie the knot in good fashion and danced the night away with some old friends and some new. Hats off to who ever thought of serving a few cocktails and then throwing a photo booth in the middle of the room.
I’m a Sactown girl; of course I’ve been to Lake Tahoe more times than I can count. And of course I’m not surprised one bit that it ranks as the nation’s best. If you’re into planning, there are SO many things to get your engines revving in South Lake… But this weekend was my all-time favorite trip there to date: a let-loose, let-it-all-go, leave-it-all behind kind of weekend at a time when by fiancé and I needed it most.
*Thank you Pat and Kelly, we’ll return the favor at our wedding in 8 weeks!