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My Girls’ Getaway to South Lake Tahoe

Labor Day Weekend, the hubby and I took the kids and the puppy to the Bay Area to visit with the in-laws. There is no such thing as “vacationing” with kids, right? Returning to work on Tuesday morning after getting home at midnight the night before, I felt exhausted and completely drained.

The good news was that my girlfriend of the past 24 years (oh, my, that makes me feel old to type that) and I had a girls’ getaway planned to South Lake Tahoe just two days later! We usually try to plan one child-free trip a year, after we discovered on our first one how refreshing and freeing it was to be hanging out, just the two of us.

As we were planning this year’s trip, my friend was focused on a destination that would have cheap airfare for both of us.  I vetoed most of her suggestions, and finally said, “you know, I live in an amazing place. Why don’t you just fly here and we will vacation at Lake Tahoe?”

She had some reservations that my husband would claim he was “sick” at the last minute, but I guaranteed that he’d give me a Get Out of Jail Free Card, so plans were made.

We stayed at a beachside resort called the Aston Lakeland Village. The resort was amazing. It was a few miles past the major casinos in South Lake on the California side, and had a private beach with kayak rentals onsite and a pool and hot tub that overlooked the lake.

We drove up on Wednesday night, and I timed the drive to hit Highway 28 right at sunset, taking the first of many steps to proudly show off this place I now call home.

tahoe sunset

Thursday morning, we hiked down to Vikingsholm Castle. Call me a geek, but every time I’ve seen this castle from one of the lake cruises, I’ve always wanted to check it out. The hike down to the castle is steep enough that I haven’t wanted to do it with my four- and seven-year-old yet, so this was a great opportunity to take advantage of being child free.

It was truly fascinating to learn about Lara Knight, who commissioned and designed the castle and learn about the local history. We were the youngest people on the tour, but hey, we got our education for the day!

My friend on the beach in front of Vikingsholm.  Ironically, she was wearing a shirt with a Viking helmet on it!
My friend on the beach in front of Vikingsholm. Ironically, she was wearing a shirt with a Viking helmet on it!

After hiking back up to Highway 89, we were famished, so we ate lunch at a local favorite, The Red Hut Café, where my girlfriend got a burger that looked to die for, and I tried to be healthy by ordering a salad.

The next night, I introduced her to the nightlife in South Lake Tahoe. On a Thursday night, we found that the only two places that were happening were Cabo Wabo Cantina and Opal Ultra Lounge. The bands at Cabo Wabo have been great every time I have been there, and Opal was more of a club scene. The nightlife really didn’t heat up until 11 pm, when I have to admit I started to wonder how long I’d last, as I hardly ever go out to bars and stay up late anymore! However, thanks to the $1 drinks at Opal, I was soon motivated to dance the night away.

Friday morning was a little rough, needless to say (darn $1 drinks), but we rallied immediately so that my friend could have a wakeboarding lesson from Tahoe Waterski out of Camp Richardson marina. I was more than happy to be her flag girl. Her lesson was taught by a woman who fixed my friend’s wakeboarding form in minutes, which was fascinating to watch.

We then did some lounging on the beach at Camp Richardson (and me getting a little open water swim in) and stopped by Sprouts for lunch. Wow: that has to be one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in recent memory. If you’re ever in South Lake or even just driving through, you can’t go wrong with Sprouts (that is, if you prefer healthy, organic fair… if you like greasy burger joints, then never mind!).

That afternoon, we did what any mothers approaching middle age would do after staying up way too late the previous night would do…we took a nap. Ah, it is so lovely to take a nap and know that little people won’t be disturbing your slumber! Once we woke up, we walked over to the farmer’s market on Ski Run Blvd., where I stocked up on some “local” strawberries, and we stumbled upon the Blue Angel Café. This was another restaurant that totally blew my socks off, and I was thrilled with the waitress’ recommendation of the kale salad and the fish tacos. YUM. We sat outside and listened to the band at the farmer’s market and watched everyone out walking their dogs.

Our way back to the resort was  a sunset walk on the beach, where we then sat in lounge chairs to watch the grand finale of the sunset (Tahoe offers amazing sunsets, doesn’t it?!).  Then, we took another nap. What can I say?! The nightlife doesn’t start until 11 pm, so we were preparing for another late night. Cabo Wabo and Opal were really fun again, and we added in Peek Nightclub to the mix that night. I swear the people at Opal were trying to kill this Momma with FREE drinks for the ladies, but I resisted, and chose to drink water so that I could power through on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday morning, the last day of our trip, I snuck out of our room while my friend slept, and caught some glass water for my morning swim in Tahoe. The ultimate treat for me was to dip into the hot tub afterwards, as I was definitely a bit chilled after my morning swim!

We then headed back down to reality, where I relieved the hubby of the kids, and then the kids and I gave my friend a tour of downtown Reno before I dropped her at the airport.

I couldn’t be prouder of the Biggest Little City and neighboring Lake Tahoe. Hosting a staycation here was a brilliant plan.  We had an amazing time, with a perfect balance of nature, nightlife and awesome food. Girl getaways are key to my survival as a mother… I think we all need a bit of time to unwind and just enjoy our girlfriends without having little ones around to interrupt our thoughts and plans!

This is me claiming the title of Tahoe Queen for the day!
This is me claiming the title of Tahoe Queen for the day!
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About Lynnette Bellin

Lynnette Bellin
Lynnette Bellin is the owner and site manager of the Reno Moms Blog. She is a married mother of a tween girl and a rambunctious little boy. Lynnette moved to Reno in 2001 after choosing to live in a place that she loved for its natural beauty. Lynnette has written four children's books, including The Kindness Ninja and a series of three books called Adeline’s Magical Moments Collection. She has been obsessed with blogging since 2002. She is also on the board of Think Kindness, a local non-profit that inspires measurable acts of kindness. Lynnette loves to experience the outdoor adventures in our area, including skiing, hiking, camping, and open water swimming. She is especially thrilled to have her kids starting to love the same hobbies, and spends a lot of time shuttling them to the pool, Lake Tahoe or the ski area depending on the season. Lynnette’s life is a blur of kid activities, mediating sibling arguments, making homemade meals, and hugs and kisses, mixed with days of working in content marketing.

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