Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lake Tahoe

For the past 7 years, my extended family has converged on a cozy clubhouse that sits on the tip-top northern point of Lake Tahoe. For those non-Californians reading, Lake Tahoe is the weekend playground of San Francisco Bay Area residents. The ~3 hour drive towards the Nevada border brings you to mountains and skiing and hiking and lakes and beaches and gorgeous weather and gambling and restaurants and AFFLUENCE. A tiny condo sitting lake-side runs an easy $1.5 million these days.

They call it the "Millionaire's Playground" - this is a more idyllic shot though

When my cousins Kathy, Stacey and I originally thought this up we had various optional activities planned for each day from Friday through Sunday including hiking, golfing, visiting the swimming pool, beach-going, shopping, etc. But the vacation has morphed to be very much "come and go and do as you want". Really, the only true thing we all do together is all-you-can-eat sushi at a local jaunt on Thursday night, feasting at the clubhouse Friday and Saturday nights and usually a trip to a Reno buffet on Sunday. That's right - my family prioritizes food as VERY high!!

The other thing which gets prioritized rather high: boating! My cousins own a boat that they actually keep ON Lake Tahoe; talk about convenient. Before the wind kicks up in the afternoons, as many cousins as can cycle through take trips out on the boat to water-ski, wake-board or just go along for the ride. And sometimes, if the wind dies down again before darkness covers the long summer nights - they'll take late, late afternoon trips as well:
Wildfires made the sky hazy - but the pink you see is just sunset :)

My family is lucky enough to have 3 Tahoe vacation-home owners which makes gathering 35+ folks together for a long weekend, a very affordable vacation.
My parents have owned this home since I was 7; Ah the memories..

After eating together each night we basically spend the hours between dinner and bedtime - playing games. It's usually card games but board games make an appearance too. Poker, mah jong, dominoes, bridge, a game we call H-E (for H-E-double-toothpick) which is multiple player solitaire usually come out multiple times over the 3 days.

H-E: multiple player solitaire and Mexican Train Dominoes

Really the best part of this trip is that our enormous family gets to spend some extensive time together - more than you get over dinner at Thanksgiving. My mother is #11 of 12 kids, so our family from grandparents down consists of just over 100 people to keep track of. It's weekends like this that really make it possible!

And I'd say the second best part of this weekend was getting the following picture:
Lucca made lots of new friends - namely, my cousin's daughter, Evan

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