I very much recommend taking a day at Sugar Pine Point State Park, including the tour of the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion. Or camp at their campgrounds and explore for a week.
|One of Tahoe's grandest houses, available to tour (although the tour may only be open in summer).|
Sugar Pine Point Park is on the West Shore of Tahoe, just south of Tahoma. It is comprised of a couple of thousand acres of gorgeous forest right on the lake, and it has two miles of shoreline. The park has many hiking and cross-country ski trails, beaches, hidden coves, and much to explore including the really big house.
|A view from Sugar Pine Point State Park|
The land was originally acquired by Isaiah Hellman, a German immigrant who came to SoCal in 1859. Mr. Hellman began in retail in Los Angeles, moved into banking, and became the most important banker on the West Coast. He had many achievements, including becoming the first president of Wells Fargo Bank.
In the late 19th century, Hellman decided he wanted a place at Tahoe. This was before there were roads at the lake, or electricity, or any other infrastructure, for that matter. He bought big chunks of land and had a place built. Much of the stone and wood was cut from the land. The rest of the building materials was brought in on the narrow-gauge railroad from Truckee to Tahoe City and then put onto the steamer to boat down the West Shore to the site. The house construction was begun in 1903, finished a few years later, and it served as a grand summer lodge for family members and their guests for many years.
(For those curious about the "Ehrman" in the name Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, one of Hellman's daughters married a man named Ehrman, and that couple lived longer at the house than anyone before or since.)
Most of a century later, the surviving family members sold the property and house to the state of California to use as a park. The state was going to tear down the house, which was rundown. Fortunately, a private group raised funds for restoration, and the house was saved. Now we, the public, own, and get to enjoy, the park.
Here's the link: Sugar Pine Point State Park
P.S. One of the cool things about being a writer is that when I'm struck by a particular place, as I was by Sugar Pine Point, I can set scenes there in a book. Look for Sugar Pine Point Park and the Hellman-Ehrman mansion in my next book, due out August of 2018