Here in the Sacramento area, we are restored by our proximity to natural wonders like Lake Tahoe, the mountain ranges that surround us, Yosemite, the coast, the confluence of great rivers and even our tree-lined avenues and parks. Sacramento is also a place that is increasingly more urban, with a thriving arts, culture and foodie scene. When nature calls, South Lake Tahoe makes for a world-class vacation of convenience.
Riddled with granite boulders, sandy beaches, blue skies and sunshine, the South Shore of Lake Tahoe straddles one of the most beautiful places in California and Nevada. Only 100 miles away, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to recharge your battery—whether for a day trip, sleepover, weekender or more if you’re lucky.
Our recent adventure at the South Shore was an overnighter that started with the Live at Lakeview Summer Concert Series. We attended the first concert of the season, which showcased Helena Kletch + JT and Mescalito. This popular event pops up at Lakeview Commons along the water’s edge every Thursday through Aug. 30 for free, from 4:30–6:30 pm.
The inaugural concert was different than most of the events planned for the 2018 summer series—it was 100 percent local, from the talent down to the beer served. Yet throughout summertime, musicians from far and wide will entertain a mix of locals and tourists.
“We try to bring in bands that have never played in Tahoe before,” says Leslie Schultz, marketing director for the event. “I am from Nashville and South Lake Tahoe, so I’m bringing in musicians from places like Nashville, and all over the country. One of my favorites this year is from Sacramento, Ideateam, and their album release show is here on July 5.” Hint, hint, Sacramento.
When we arrived at the shore, a stage was set before ascending granite covered in smiling locals. The lake was filled with boaters and kayakers enjoying perfect weather. People danced down by the lake to Mescalito, a South Lake Tahoe-based band that plays a mix of hippie-jam, funk, jazz, rock, blues and psychedelic music. Their set was tight and had the crowd captivated from start to finish. The five-piece features Martin Bush and Simon Kurth on guitar and vocals, Lowell Wilson on keys and vocals, Keith Overmen on bass and Chris Grant on drums.
Around Lakeview Commons, I was reminded of how many hippies populate the Lake Tahoe area. Slacklining, hacky sacking, patchouli reeking and dreadlock sporting abound. I even saw a toddler spinning poi—no joke. There was also a calm in the air and the scent of pine trees on the breeze. Vendors purveyed amethyst geodes, toe rings, yoga classes and dream catchers. Charmingly, there was also a fairground food truck with carnival lights in the shade of the towering forest.
After the show, we went to Sprouts Natural Foods Café, just a short walk away from the concert venue. The menu was in no way preachy about health, but all of its items were straight up comfort food through the lens of healthier eating, with lots of vegetarian options. I had the turkey rice bowl while Jo (our photographer) had the veggie rice bowl. They were hearty and loaded with shredded cheese, and we ate every bite.
The owner of Sprouts Natural Foods Café showed up with his wife for a beer while our servers were closing down, so we were fortunate enough to chat with them.
“For most of my life, I’ve tried to eat healthy. I just want to eat good food and [drink good] beer. You can eat here and feel good,” explains owner Tyler Cannon. “We make our ingredients cleaner every year, with organics and better sourcing. Our menu is simple and has been the same for many years, but we always strive to source better ingredients.”
Sponsoring the Live at Lakeview series, nearby Basecamp Hotel houses touring bands each week all summer long. They also provide glamper-friendly designer shelter for all. A renovated Mid-century motel, Basecamp Hotel brings rustic mountain cabin vibes to an elevated, modern aesthetic. And to boot, there’s an onsite brewery—Outpost Brewing Co.—complete with a silver Airstream, blazing firepits and orange adirondacks in the adjacent, lakeside, wood chip patio. Sadly, we arrived after Outpost had closed. Always ask a local when in doubt—so we got a recommendation from one. The word on the street was to check out Lucky Beaver Bar and Burger.
Shenanigans were discovered on foot as we meandered down the street past casinos and marquee signs. We drank some beer and played video poker and blackjack, then called it a night.
In the morning, Basecamp Hotel served up a great continental breakfast with good coffee. We checked out and made office camp at the pricey yet beautiful lakeside Beach House.
Begrudgingly, we headed home to Sac into the late afternoon heat while belting out ‘70s tunes.
To learn more and to see the full Live at Lakeview lineup, visit Liveatlakeview.com. The events are free and happen every Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m. through the end of August. Live at Lakeview takes place at Lakeview Commons, located in South Lake Tahoe at the corner of Hwy 50 and Lakeview Ave. For more on Sprouts, check out Sproutscafetahoe.com, and for more on Basecamp, hit up Basecamphotels.com.
**This piece first appeared in print on pages 16 – 17 of issue #269 (July 2 – 18, 2018)**