EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2018.
Monday, Feb. 18, is Presidents Day — a holiday that, when first celebrated, was held in recognition of George Washington's birthday, but now honors all presidents of the United States.
In commemoration of the event, we've taken a look at the known trips commander-in-chiefs have made to Lake Tahoe before, during and after they held office.
While many stopped in the basin along the campaign trail, some visited simply for leisure.
Ulysses S. Grant
According to Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin, Grant was the first president to visit Lake Tahoe back in the late 1870s. "He had left office and came out wanting to see the Comstock," McLaughlin noted.
Grant's 1879 excursion included a trip to Carson City in addition to a voyage aboard the steamboat "Meteor" to Tahoe City.
Rutherford B. Hayes
One year after Grant's appearance at Lake Tahoe, Hayes traveled to the region during his presidency — and his time in the basin mirrored that of Grant.
"Both came and did a similar tour," said McLaughlin. "Grant did his one way; Hayes in the opposite direction."
Both men journeyed on the "Meteor" and crossed Spooner Summit in the stagecoach of Hank Monk.
John F. Kennedy
"JFK was here because he came out when he was running for president — you always come to Carson City because it's the capital of Nevada," McLaughlin said, continuing, "While he was here he made a quick foray up to see the site of the Olympics — they were over, but he wanted to see where they were held at Squaw [Valley]."
Other rumors state that on his way back to Carson City, Kennedy stopped at Cal Neva Lodge (which was owned by his friend Frank Sinatra) and met with Marilyn Monroe.
"The story was that Kennedy stopped by and had a sexual encounter with [Monroe], but we can't be sure that he stopped," McLaughlin explained. "It makes sense he would because of Sinatra, but Monroe was filming in Southern California and it's unlikely she'd come up for a one-hour stop."
Nixon was vice president to Dwight Eisenhower when he spoke at the opening commencement of the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.
He visited the region again while on the campaign trail during his own run for the presidency, and signed the Bi-State Compact (which created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) at the start of his term in 1969.
Like Nixon, Reagan played a role in the creation of the TRPA — he approved the Bi-State Compact while serving as governor of California. As governor, Reagan met frequently with Paul Laxalt (then governor of Nevada) — who had a property in the basin.
Apart from his political visits, Reagan also frequented the basin on personal trips and skied at Heavenly Mountain Resort (then called Heavenly Valley) in 1968.
George H.W. Bush
While specifics about Bush's visit are unknown, McLaughlin says he stopped in the area alongside then-Vice President Dan Quayle.
"He came to Tahoe and met with Steve Wynn, a big gaming kingpin who has recently been discredited by the #MeToo movement for sexual improprieties," said McLaughlin.
Perhaps Clinton's most memorable Tahoe appearance came in 1997 when he attended and spoke at the inaugural Lake Tahoe Summit. Clinton returned to the event for its 10th anniversary in 2007.
But his most recent trip to Lake Tahoe happened less than a year ago: Last July Clinton planned a trip to Edgewood Tahoe during the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament; however, when word got out he opted for a visit to Genoa Lakes Golf Club in Douglas County.
Obama remains the latest sitting president to visit the Tahoe Basin. On Aug. 31, 2016, he spoke about his commitment to environmental protection at the annual Lake Tahoe Summit, which was held at Harveys Outdoor Arena in Stateline that year.
During his speech, he noted his desire to return to the region — but it hasn't happened yet.
A few days prior to Obama's appearance at the Lake Tahoe Summit, then-candidate Trump held a fundraising dinner at Harrah's Lake Tahoe.
He arrived at Lake Tahoe Airport on Aug. 26, 2016, and his event took place later that night.
However, it's a visit Trump made to Tahoe in 2006 that has been getting media attention during the past month. In January the Wall Street Journal reported that a limited liability company formed by Trump's attorney made a six-figure payment to Stormy Daniels, a pornstar, to keep her from discussing an alleged affair.
The affair reportedly started with a sexual encounter between Trump, then a reality TV star, and Clifford during the 2006 celebrity golf tournament.
Coming soon to the Tahoe Basin: Your next method of working out.
Known as Gym Love, South Shore's newest business joins the fitness industry with its 24-hour service, climbing wall, group classes and more.
"Mostly we're taking what we're good at in the food and beverage industry and applying it to the fitness industry," said Ted Kennedy, one of the people behind local businesses including California Burger and Base Camp Pizza, and now owner of Gym Love.
Planning for Gym Love began approximately two years ago, according to Kennedy. Since its conception, the fitness center's focus has been on providing a comfortable space for those who have been too intimidated to set foot in a gym.
"We wanted to throw a bigger net around typical gym members, someone who is already in shape and in confidence. We wanted to provide a place for folks who might normally not be part of a gym membership and make them feel welcome, confident and coach them up, get them involved," Kennedy said, adding that there are multiple ways Gym Love staff will focus on helping newcomers feel comfortable at the facility.
"We'll be asking if there's anything we can do to help, if they have any questions, thanking them on the way out, calling them by name," he said, continuing that 50 percent of people who join a gym quit within a year.
"When they do exit interviews they talk about why they quit and the three big answers that get the most percentage are first, they don't feel connected to the gym or other members, so we want to address that, get to know people and get them to know other members and us. The second is that it's boring. To address that we did a climbing wall and live music," he said. "The third reason they quit is cleanliness, and we'll stay on top of that."
Not only does Gym Love offer staples like cardio machines and free weights, but the business also features a climbing wall, hosts Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and live music 6-9 p.m. daily. The team is also looking to add standard classes such as pilates and yoga, and has plans to open an outdoor Tough Mudder-style course next summer.
"We wanted to add to the fitness offering in town. We don't feel like we're competitors with other gyms; we just want to elevate the whole town's fitness level and we also wanted to provide a gym closer to the tourist corner for residents who live nearer to that, and also tourists," noted Kennedy.
According to the Gym Love website, the fitness center focuses on three Pillars of Success: training, nutrition and testing. Gym Love attendees are able to train with a fitness mentor and high performance coach, receive ongoing nutrition help and guidance, and get scored on hydration and metabolism.
Pre-sale memberships are now available for purchase on the Gym Love website. The standard monthly rate is $32.13, and the standard plus health plan (includes weekly fitness, hydration and body composition testing) is $42.93. Class fees range based on skill and age level. According to Kennedy, prices will increase upon Gym Love's official opening.
The business will donate 10 percent of its profits to charity. According to Kennedy, the Gym Love team is planning to start with local entities, but may extend its reach to other organizations in the future.
Editor's note: This story is adapted from the summer 2018 edition of Tahoe Magazine, a specialty publication of the Sierra Nevada Media Group. The magazine, which is packed with plenty of features and advertisements about all that the Tahoe-Truckee summer has to offer, is on newsstands now across Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Reno. Go to tahoemagazine.com to read it online, and be sure to pick up a copy today!
All summer long dinghies and sloops can be seen slicing through the wind-churned afternoon waters of Lake Tahoe. Marked by ideal conditions many days of the summer, sailing on this jewel of the Sierra requires prodigious skill — but it's an iconic, and some would say crucial, component of any summer vacation in the region.
Spending a day on the clear waters of Lake Tahoe in a sailboat is a unique experience, as it offers both ends of the watersports spectrum: Participants can choose to take it easy and cruise, or go for the high-intensity option of racing.
It's a feat that's a must-try, and one that long-time sailors of Lake Tahoe cannot help but recommend.
"There's no better way to see the lake. There's no 'blub, blub, blub' of the engine, like on bigger boats, and you don't have to share it with hundreds of people like on a paddlewheeler. It's intimate, clean and super special," said Tyler Salvo, captain of the monohull Tahoe Cruz and co-owner of Tahoe Sailing Charters, located in Tahoe City. "I've been sailing my whole life, and I've sailed all around the world. I find sailing in Tahoe to be absolutely one of my favorite places."
To Salvo, the quality of getting on a boat like the Tahoe Cruz is unlike anything one would find elsewhere.
"The raw power of the rig, the sails in the wind, it's something that can't be described," he said. "I've spoken with so many people who haven't been out on the lake — but that's the draw. A trip to Tahoe without getting on the water is a missed opportunity."
Tahoe Sailing Charters offers cruises perfect for those who merely want to get out on a boat and enjoy the ride. The 50-foot Tahoe Cruz was originally made for racing the Transpac Regatta, a journey from Southern California to Hawaii, but now finds its home hosting two-hour cruises on Lake Tahoe.
The Tahoe Cruz accommodates 27 people, and offers afternoon and sunset rides that feature unique views of the region each day of the week.
"It's a visceral experience. As the wind tapers off, it's a cruise-y ride with mellow music, and you can sit back and enjoy it," said Salvo. "The view from the middle of the lake is unparalleled. From a shoreline you can see parts of what the shoreline has to offer, and the opposing mountains, but in the middle of the lake you can see it all — it's real special."
Tahoe Windjammers Yacht Club commodore David Young echoes this sentiment.
"It's a very unique and beautiful venue; sailing up here gives you something different — it's quiet, silent. We sailors go out and get in touch with nature," he said.
The South Lake Tahoe-based nonprofit Tahoe Windjammers Yacht Club hosts numerous races throughout summer. While many of the participants have been sailing for some time, the events are also open to those who want to learn and improve.
"(Tahoe) is a very challenging area to sail in because we're a high mountain lake, so the sailing here is very difficult because the winds are shifting and changing," said Young. "It's good, it hones your skills. If you can sail here, you can sail most places."
Sailing conditions in Tahoe are regularly demanding, yet ideal, due to the temperature difference between the lake and the surrounding region.
"When the valley gets up to 100, the wind picks up (here). It's the same reason San Francisco gets wind: The valley is hot, sucks the air off the water and creates major winds. It's fairly consistent wind on most afternoons," Young explained. "In order to sail efficiently you're constantly paying attention to wind, and we get decent waves in the afternoon when it's blowing. It's a lot more engaging, especially if you're racing. You're constantly doing stuff."
Regardless of your experience level, be sure to get out on the water during your stay in Tahoe this summer.
"Sailing on Tahoe, to me, is a no-brainer. If you're coming up to the lake, do some hiking, mountain biking — any day activity — and round it out with a sunset cruise and dinner at a nice restaurant in town. It couldn't be easier," said Salvo.
One of the largest components of Tahoe's nightlife is the mix of countless breweries, bars and restaurants that offer unique drinks difficult to find outside the basin. In our Drink of the Week segment, we'll showcase one type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try during your stay in the region.
This week's drink is South Lake Brewing Company's Doggie Dayz Experimental IPA, a concoction that made its debut just over one week ago, according to staff.
The beer comes in at 5.8 percent ABV and 40 IBU — it's a hopped-up and refreshing American-style IPA. Doggie Dayz Experimental IPA is "brewed with Weyermann Barke Pilsner malt and flaked rice for a subtle grainy sweetness, yet dry finish," according to SLBC's description of the drink.
"Doggie Dayz is hopped liberally with Cashmere, Azacca and El Dorado hops throughout for potent notes of tropical fruit. Think Fruity Pebbles!" continues the description.
True to its explanation, Doggie Dayz checks off all the markings of a traditional IPA: It's dry and hoppy (not to mention bitter), yet somewhat sweet and an ideal beverage for summertime. Fans of IPAs will not regret giving this brew a try.
SLBC is a family-friendly establishment located at 1920 Lake Tahoe Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. The brewery is open 2-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Learn more at http://www.southlakebeer.com.
Tahoe is no stranger to entertainment. Each season, top-notch performers travel to the basin and take stages on both North and South shores, adding excitement to the region's nightlife scene and welcoming partygoers of all ages.
But with so many offerings, it can be a challenge to narrow down the must-see venues. So we've done the work for you. Here are the top seven spots to catch a show this summer.
Harveys Outdoor Arena
Home of the yearly Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series, this Stateline venue hosts numerous big-name entertainers each summer. Located in the casino corridor, it's in the center of the action and features on-site vendors (and lots of fun).
Top acts like Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Pitbull and Chris Stapleton have already taken the stage in 2018, but more are to come: Alternative indie outfit Florence + The Machine performs Thursday, Aug. 9, and is followed by pop star Janet Jackson one day later. Dave Matthews Band wraps up the series on Friday, Sept. 7 — visit http://www.ticketmaster.com to view a complete lineup and learn more about concert times and ticket prices.
Bonus: While over in Stateline be sure to check out MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa's outdoor area, which hosts the fifth annual Hops in the Yard Beerfest on Saturday, Aug. 4. It's four hours of unlimited beer tasting that showcases homegrown brewers, over 20 handles and a few food trucks. Check out http://www.montbleuresort.com for all the details.
South Shore's Live at Lakeview series is held each Thursday at Lakeview Commons, a waterfront venue that boasts free entry, a beer garden, bike valet and much, much more. The location hosts up-and-coming acts from around the nation, and it's this, combined with the atmosphere, that gets people to stick around.
Lakeview Commons is a family-friendly setting — and it offers spots to tie up your hammock as well as throw a Frisbee around. Stop by for a little bit, or stay for the duration of the weekly event — the venue suits itself to both scenarios.
Dirty Revival (funk and soul) performs on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 4:30 p.m. Visit http://www.liveatlakeview.com for a complete lineup and additional information.
Don't worry — the best venues aren't just on South Shore. Tahoe City is known for its summer Concerts at Commons Beach series, and it's similar to what you'll find at Lakeview Commons. The shows are free to attend and family-friendly, and are held right on the water — what better backdrop is there?
The venue is great for picnicking, and local vendors (both food and drink) are on the premises offering beer, wine, sushi, barbecue and more. There's also a playground, so bring the kids.
Concerts at Commons Beach is held every Sunday through Sept. 2. Americana roots group Mumbo Gumbo takes the stage this week, and more information is available at http://www.concertsatcommonsbeach.com.
Also on North Shore, Kings Beach hosts its free summer-long concert series — Music on the Beach — on Friday evenings. The parties feature a mix of music, beer from Alibi Ale Works and additional refreshments. Local vendors are also onsite at the beachfront venue.
Relax by the water and dance the night away on the shore with friends and family (kids are welcome, but pets are not). Afro-Latin funk ensemble Sang Matiz performs this Friday (Aug. 3), and Lumanation will take the stage two weeks later (Music on the Beach will not be held on Aug. 10).
Valhalla Tahoe's annual Art, Music and Theatre Festival welcomes performers from far and wide, and many will take the stage at this historic location throughout the season.
Before it became a theater, the Boathouse was part of a 75-acre estate — over time it became an iconic part of Tahoe and back in 1996 transformed into the theater it is today. Over the years it has hosted musicians, dramatic productions and comedic theater.
Interested in seeing something besides live music? Look no further than Sand Harbor's Warren Edward Trepp Stage, which hosts the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival each summer. Specializing in grand productions, the venue is located on the water with Lake Tahoe in the background. Need we say more?
This year's season includes "Beehive: The '60s Musical" and Shakespeare's "Macbeth." The former is an Off-Broadway retro-hit revue and the latter is the playwright's iconic tragedy. Both shows conclude their runs at the end of August. (Tip: Pre-order food to enjoy while catching a show.)
But that's not all Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival has to offer: Throughout the season, the venue also welcomes Reno Philharmonic, Reno Jazz Orchestra, a Neil Diamond tribute and much more. Visit http://www.laketahoeshakespeare.com for information.
It's not outdoors, but The Loft (located in Heavenly Village) is the go-to spot for both magic enthusiasts and fans of electronic and house music. Its intimate, 107-seat theater is home to daily Magic Fusion shows that put the talents of the nation's top entertainers on display. And every so often the venue's lounge hosts house music gigs for adult crowds only.
One such gig is this Friday's performance from Dom Dolla, an electronic DJ and producer based in Australia. Check out http://www.thelofttahoe.com for everything you need to know.