As you well know by now, I love to go up to Truckee and Tahoe to ski in the winters. Especially when we have snow like we have this winter! But there are a lot of other places to check out that are off the mountain.
For example, there’s Fifty-Fifty Brewery in Truckee. It’s bound to be packed these days since everyone should be going up to take advantage of all the snow we’ve been getting. I recently was recommended to try it out on a stay at Northstar with my son and a family friend, who are in these photos with me.
My son got an Eclipse which is a whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout that was over 11% and cost a whopping $22 for a big bottle (he purchased one after the glass I bought), ohhh but it was really smooth and tasty! They also have burgers and other food there, and it’s a really great place to stop on your way home from skiing or to enjoy while staying at Squaw or Northstar.
It has a cozy atmosphere with twinkle lights tucked off the main road in Old Town Truckee at 1197 Brockway Rd. It gives another option for an quick meal and a good beer other than Bar America or some of the more touristy places on the main street of Old Town Truckee! Enjoy!
It’s that magical time of the year when the temperature in California dips down into the frigid 50’s, an occasional rainstorm passes through, and…an ice rink forms in Civic Park? That’s right, downtown Walnut Creek hosts an ultra-cool ice rink through Walnut Creek On Ice.
The rink, which opened on Nov. 9, and will remain in place until late January, has become a local favorite during the winter, to give us Californians a little taste of a white winter, but saving us the 3-hour trip to Tahoe! You can take a date to the rink for a couple skate, or maybe teach the kids how to skate at the open rink.
There are even an ice skating academy and private lessons for those who are getting serious about being a future San Jose Shark or the next great Winter Olympian. This is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your friends, family, and loved ones this winter. How nice does a short stroll to La Scala after a couple hours on the ice sound?
If you’d rather skate in a colder locale, foggy San Francisco and icy Lake Tahoe both offer some awesome rinks, too! At the Embarcadero, you can skate with beautiful Bay and Bay Bridge views and then saunter over to the Ferry Building for hot chocolate. In Union Square, you can circle the rink between the buildings and even take in a “Drag Queens on Ice” show. And in Tahoe, of course, Northstar’s village ice skating rink is not to be missed. It’s 9,000 square feet of joy, surrounded by bars, cabanas, and fire pits – and if you’re up at Northstar anyway…it’s free!
Walnut Creek is the hub of the East Bay for a reason, and hosting cool events like an ice skating rink is one of them. The rink itself is in its 14th year of operation downtown, meaning Walnut Creek On Ice has brought snowy joy to our citizens since 2004 – this is bound to be the best year yet. Let me know if you check it out, and how you liked it!
Recently, there was an unfortunate incident that involved a member of the Parkmead community. Ryan McLeod, a teenager who just graduated from Las Lomas and lives in the neighborhood, had a skateboarding accident up in Tahoe that resulted in a massive head injury.
Our neighbors John and Anne spearheaded an ice cream social to bring the neighborhood together to provide support for the family. Prayers and words of encouragement were said, cards were dropped off, and posters were made. There were individual videos created and all were sent to the family at the Reno hospital. It was a very uplifting event that hopefully provided some hope to Ryan and his family. It was heartwarming to see our little community rally around a neighbor, family and a friend to many.
Ryan continues to improve, and recovering will be a long process with a lot of unknowns still to come, but there are a lot of prayers and faith for the best. The Parkmead community has shown its true colors by springing into action to support the McLeod family however possible, and it makes me proud to live in such a wonderful community.
Winter is here, and it’s time to hit the slopes! Hopefully, we get some more snow this week! I love going up to Tahoe to ski, especially when the sky is blue and the snow is powdery. But, unlike many who probably prefer Northstar, Squaw and Heavenly, I love Mt.Rose! It is where I learned to ski growing up, it is a local’s resort and it has some great runs, especially if the chutes are open.
Mt. Rose is the highest peak in Tahoe and usually gets the most snow every winter. But it’s also just a cool place to hang out! Most of the mountains in Tahoe have villages, bars, restaurants, ice skating rinks, and other things to help you relax and recover after a day on the snow. And Mt. Rose is no exception, but it has a more casual local vibe with fun activities on the mountain and just some great runs (“Northwest” is my favorite), including a few with a view of Lake Tahoe!
In fact, they have some unique events like the Santa Crawl, where you can get heavily discounted lift tickets by dressing up as Santa for the day while you’re on the mountain. They also do a Beerfest, New Year’s Eve spectacular, poker runs and many other events throughout the year. Recently, they also added a “Magic” lift, a dual conveyer belt for one of their hills (it’s the 1st one in North America and only the 2nd one in the world!).
I always have a great time when I go to Mt. Rose. Usually, I stay in Reno and then it is just a 20-minute drive up the hill, but it is also easily accessed from Incline or Kings Beach; even from Northstar. They have a newer lodge on the old Slide side of the hill and many locals on a nice day will tailgate in the parking area. The Mt. Rose lodge is more crowded, but the bar is my favorite, with no kids allowed and a taco/burrito bar.
Nothing can top the beauty of Northern California. From the ocean, to the mountains, to lakes, rivers and cities, the Bay Area is one of the most breathtaking places in the world.
We have officially kicked off the summer season, the rain has stopped and given NorCals mild summer weather, it’s a perfect place to explore, especially during these upcoming months. I’m a big fan of road trips – there’s nothing like hopping in the car, rolling the windows down and going for a drive on a warm summer day.
With that in mind, I found a great article on OnlyInYourState.com listing 11 great scenic drives in Northern California. I’ll list a few of my favorites out below for reference, but take a look at the full list, and then take a trip!
1. Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway – Lassen National Park
2. Yuba Donner Scenic Byway – Tahoe National Forest
3. Emigrant Trail – Tahoe/Donner Area
4. Route 101 Redwood Highway – Del Norte Redwoods State Park
Ah, the long-anticipated three-day weekend that everyone looks forward to at the end of summer: Labor Day is upon us! Whether you’re spending the last weekend of summer at a BBQ, up in Tahoe or just having a staycation at home, it’s a great chance to relax with family and friends and soak up some rays before the long trek into winter begins.
To me, Labor Day means time spent at the lake, good food and a short break from the crazy working world. If you’re looking for something to do over the long weekend locally, check out what’s in store for Labor Day in Walnut Creek:
Broadway Plaza parties: L’Occitane and Tommy Bahama’s are among the stores that are celebrating their grand re-openings in the newly refurbished downtown shopping district. Great excuse to get out, check out the remodel and shop ’til you drop!
The Walnut Creek Concert Band will be putting on a Labor Day Park Concert show at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, September 5th.
I hope everybody has a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. I leave you with an interesting Labor Day thought …
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the first Labor Day was observed on September 5, 1882. An estimated 10,000 workers gathered for a New York City parade organized by the Central Labor Union.
Unions were very important back then, but think now about our labor force of freelancers and entrepreneurs and how it’s changing! Millennials are much more apt to live the “Google life” now, where all their food, health and leisure amenities are literally in the offices with them. Or, they freelance! My freelance writer left a cushy job in P.R. to work on his own schedule with his own clients and he joked earlier that “every day is Labor Day for him if he wants it to be!” Funny how things have changed.
I stumbled across an interesting blog recently that collects scientific research to prove that money can, in fact, buy happiness if it’s spent correctly.
For example, if you are spending your income on gifts for others, experiences for yourself, and time with your family, you’re scientifically more likely to be happy.
As someone who dedicates many hours of her life to work, I can relate with the difficulties in finding the free time and money to make all of those things happen.
That’s not to say I don’t achieve happiness, but with the right mindset, I could probably increase my level of happiness – and so can you.
In the blog, the author writes:
Consider this: The two days your spend waiting for your Amazon Prime package to arrive doesn’t build the same kind of anticipation as planning and dreaming about that vacation to Belize does. You take the time off work, brush up on your Spanish, read travel blogs and more, all the while thinking about how epic this trip is going to be. And once it’s over, you’ll tell the story of zip-lining through the rainforest to anyone who will listen for the rest of your life.
I’ve made it a point to spend my time and money skiing in Tahoe; this year, I bought a pass to Squaw Valley. Not only does that allow me to escape the office for a day and do one of my favorite activities, but it oftentimes brings me in close proximity to my youngest son, who attends school in Reno.
And if you’ve followed my blogs or received my newsletters, you know I enjoy combining charity with my real estate work; from this past winter’s coat drive to my passion helping past and present military use their VA benefits to buy a home, to playing in charity poker tournaments to fostering Weimaraner’s until they find their fur-ever home!
So, if you try, buying happiness is possible. I choose to experience happiness through experiences, giving to charity and spending time with my family and friends and that does take money, but in the end it is a decision to choose to be happy.