Celebrate fall at Apple Hill


The Apple Hill area near Placerville

The Apple Hill area near Placerville

Fall is the time of year to celebrate the incredible and magical transformations that nature undergoes. Many individuals have their own traditions on how to enjoy this beautiful season, but most often they involve colorful leaves and harvested produce. Lucky enough, South Lake Tahoe is just an hour’s drive away from the autumnal wonderland that is Apple Hill Growers Association, Located between Pollock Pines and Placerville, this community is comprised of more than 50 ranches that include apple orchards, pumpkin patches, wineries, and Christmas tree farms. In my experience (and that of many others), an annual trip to these farmlands is a must.

Baked Goods at Apple Hill

Baked Goods at Apple Hill

I recommend the best way to navigate Apple Hill and experience all that it has to offer is to grab a map at the first ranch you pass by once there or download and print this PDF Map. Most of the farms and orchards follow a looped route, making for easy access along the way. Some visitors enjoy just driving along and stopping at each ranch that they see, while others prefer picking specific ones of the map. Any method you decide upon will showcase the wonderful and unique discoveries at Apple Hill. Download the official Apple Hill App.

Pumpkin Varieties at Apple Hill

Pumpkin Varieties at Apple Hill

One of the most popular sites is High Hill Ranch. Overlooking incredible valley views, this spot boasts their popular apple cider, apple pies, and homemade fudge. The grassy areas near the pond make for a great picnic and children’s play area, so it’s a perfect spot to enjoy a scenic lunch after buying some delectable goodies.

Nature Trail at Apple Hill

Nature Trail at Apple Hill

Kids Inc. is also a popular ranch and despite the name, it’s a great choice both for kids and adults (it’s one of my traditional stops). Visitors can watch the apple pies they are about to eat being made; pick pumpkins from the patch to turn into Jack-O-Lanterns or yummy pumpkin treats; interact with farm animals in the petting area; explore the corn maze; and sample the craft-brewed hard apple cider. Kids Inc. also has a gorgeous Nature Trail, leading guests on a winding path through the orchard and down to a creek.

Delicious fresh donuts at Apple Hill

Delicious fresh donuts at Apple Hill

Another must-see spot is Rainbow Orchards. There you can fill up bags with apples and gourds to take home, as well as buy ready-made souvenir pies to bake once you’re back home, as a reminder of the special time you had at Apple Hill. Don’t be alarmed by the line of people; they are waiting for the warm, fluffy Apple Cider Donuts that are worth the wait! Just the donuts alone are worth the drive to Apple Hill, in my opinion.

Wine Tasting at Apple Hill

Wine Tasting at Apple Hill

While California boasts popular wine countries, you don’t need to book a weekend in Napa in order to experience some incredible wine tasting. Apple Hill is also proud to host award-winning wineries that are available for guests to tour and taste the seasonal fare. Offering wine tasting menus for just under $10 a person, each winery has a unique atmosphere and breathtaking views of vineyards and valleys.

Pumpkins galore at Apple Hill

Pumpkins galore at Apple Hill

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year and Apple Hill is a quintessential autumn haven. Throughout the years, as so much of the world is transforming and moving forward, this quaint locale has kept its charm. So clear a weekend and bring your apple picking sacks and empty stomachs to Apple Hill.

Which Apple Hill ranch is your favorite must-see? What delicious apple treats do you enjoy baking? Please share with me your fall traditions!

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Capture the Taste of Tahoe with the 10th Annual Sample the Sierra

Sample the Sierra is the official kick-off to fall at Tahoe South on Saturday, September 14, 2019, celebrating the best of the harvest season in the local region. The crowd favorite farm-to-fork festival brings together local food, wine, spirits, and brews showcasing the finest samplings from South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County. Whether guests are first-time visitors or regular attendees, there is much to be enjoyed as local restaurants and establishments highlight their best dishes and beverages.

The fest will include over 20 booths featuring a different winery, distillery or brewery expertly paired with a restaurant utilizing local produce in signature dishes. A commemorative anniversary canvas tote bag will be available for purchase online for $7, or for $10 at the gate, ideal for stowing goods purchased from the numerous artists and artisans at the festival marketplace (full list available online).

Food providers include Burger Lounge, Café Fiore, Chicken in a Barrel BBQ, Cold Water Brewery & Grill, The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, Gunbarrel Tavern & Eatery, Lake Tahoe AleWorX, MacDuff’s Public House, Poor Red’s Bar-B-Q, Primo’s Italian Bistro, Revive Coffee & Wine, Riva Grill on the Lake, Solid Ground Brewing, Stateline Brewery, Tahoe Pops, Ten Crows BBQ, The Cork & More, and The Loft Tahoe.

Drink providers include Bella Grace Vineyards, Boeger Winery, Booch Craft, Cold Water Brewery & Grill, Crystal Basin Cellars, E16 Winery, Hart 2 Hart Vineyards & Everhart Cellars, Findleton Estate Winery, Lake Tahoe AleWorX, Lava Cap Winery, Madrona Vineyards, Mediterranean Vineyards, Nello Olivo Winery, Rosa-Lucca Estates, Rucksack Cellars, Sentivo Vineyards, Shadow Ranch, Sidellis Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Sierra Vintners, Solid Ground Brewing, South Lake Brewing Company, South of North Brewing Co., Stateline Brewery, Tahoe Blue Vodka, and The Brewery.

Pairings will be announced online closer to the festival date.

A crowd favorite event is the Sierra Chef Challenge, which is a “Masterchef” style cooking competition featuring the best talents in Tahoe South. The 45-minute mystery box challenge always leaves the crowd on their toes and in awe. Sample the Sierra also has live music from local bands providing the soundtrack for the event.

Sample the Sierra Lake Tahoe

Both visitors and locals look forward to the Sample the Sierra weekend, planning a fun trip around it. Families can savor the lasting days of beautiful weather with a bike ride, hike or beach day to accompany the event at Bijou Community Park. Tickets are only $50 for adults for unlimited tastings and $40 for under 21 year-olds, while children under three can attend free. Tickets can be purchased at http://bit.ly/SampletheSierra2019.

Check out Sample the Sierra on Instagram:

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Tahoe Craft Beer Contest for Spring Loaded at Tahoe South

Tahoe Craft Beer Contest

Last April for the first time, some of the Tahoe-Truckee region’s best breweries gathered for a truly unique event — a blind taste test where participants were asked to pick their favorite beers.


The contest returns this Sunday, April 7, and this year, the all-you-can-drink event aims to be more accessible with reduced ticket prices and a streamlined approach.

The second annual best of Tahoe Craft Beer Contest, organized by the Tahoe Tribune and Lake Tahoe AleWorX, will take place at AleWorX’s Y location (The Crossing Center).

The contest features an IPA, light and dark beer from six local breweries. The participating Tahoe-Truckee breweries will include Alibi Ale Works, Cold Water Brewery and Grill, FiftyFifty Brewing, Sidellis Lake Tahoe, South Lake Brewing Company and South of North Brewing Company (previously known as Outpost).

All beers will be randomly tapped on AleWorX’s self-serve tapwall with the handles blacked out — making it a truly blind taste test.

That aspect is what originally drew AleWorX into the partnership, said founder and CEO Luca Genasci.

A person’s brew preference often comes down to graphics, marketing and factors that don’t actually pertain to the taste of the beer, he said. Removing those elements from the equation “really forces you to isolate the taste bud experience.”

“Last year it was really fun to see the sensory experience … because you really don’t realize how much your visual … knowledge of the graphic of a specific brewery.”

The cost of admission gets you as much beer as you want from noon to 4 p.m. the day of the event. Tickets are priced at $35 and can be purchased at bit.ly/TahoeBeerTicks.

The beers will be randomly organized within the three styles: IPA, ligh, and dark. Voting will be done online during the event and there will be scorecards to mark your tasting notes.

For the uninitiated, AleWorX’s tapwall is self serve. Attendees get a wrist band that when held up to the screen area associated with the desired beer, the tap opens and allows the person to pour as much, or as little, beer as they want.

Aside from the beer, there will be live entertainment (the duo of Adam Bergoch and Alex Barrera will be performing) and AleWorX food available for purchase.

Of course, though, it’s all about the beer.

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The Tahoe South Craft Beer Scene Is Growing

After spending the day out in the Tahoe South playground, the best way to relax and unwind is with a frosty pint of local craft beer. The art of craft beer has taken the nation by storm within the last few years, and Lake Tahoe has joined the ranks. In recent years, new breweries have been popping up all over town, displaying unique and signature taps. Here are the most recent establishments to enter the Tahoe South beer scene.

Beer Trail Tahoe South


South Lake Brewing Company

South Lake Brewing Co.

Eecently opened near the Y, South Lake Brewing Co. introduces a line of taps inspired by the natural beauty and essence of Lake Tahoe. Owners Chris and Nicole Smith pour their love for their hometown into their recipes and customers can really taste the subtleties and nuances in the beer. Sample the Angora IPA with hints of mango and pine or Marlette Blonde with notes of pear, honey and tangerine.

Lake Tahoe AleworxLake Tahoe AleWorX

Another new brewery near the Y and a second location at Stateline, Lake Tahoe AleWorX allows for the customer to be in control of their craft beer experience. The taproom displays a selection of brews where visitors can pour their own pints. Customers can also be walked through the brewing process and see what makes AleWorX unique. The Cali Common is a citrusy pilsner handcrafted with fresh Lake Tahoe water, which goes well with the in-house menu of small bites and pizzas. Check out the new, second location, now open at 31 US Hwy 50 Stateline, NV.


The Hangar Taproom and Bottle Shop


The Hangar Taproom and Bottle Shop

The Hangar is a taproom and bottle shop with a unique beer selection. With 30 rotating taps and a can and bottle selection, we’re pretty sure you can find something you like. As long as it’s, beer. Also check out our dog park, corn hole, bocce and patio.

Cold Water Brewery & Grill

Cold Water Brewery & Grill 

South Lake Tahoe’s “Best Overall Restaurant,” as voted by the readers of the Tahoe Tribune. Cold Water Brewery & Grill is a favorite of local’s and tourist alike because of its premium handcrafted all-grain beer that’s brewed on-site. Their beer goes perfectly with their seasonal driven menu that’s been dubbed “California comfort food at its best.” CW is ideal for your large party gatherings and those small intimate dinner dates in their rustic cozy setting.

Sidellis Brewery


Sidellis is a relatively new establishment that has quickly become a local favorite and the owners really make an effort to get to know the customers’ interests and tastes. With a rotating variety of taps, the brewers like to experiment with unique flavor combinations and profiles. Some examples include the Mangoana, a mango habanero white ale, and the Nut’Hella, a chocolate hazelnut amber ale. Their food menu also has something for everyone, from classic bar food fare to specialties such as the Peri-Peri spiced pulled pork.

The Brewery at Lake Tahoe

The Brewery at Lake Tahoe

The Brewery is Lake Tahoe’s original brewpub. Today it offers a full menu including char-broiled steaks and burgers, ribs, seafood, pasta, wraps, paninis and gourmet salads.
Now considered a “must visit” at Lake Tahoe, The Brewery will so impress you with its brew, its cuisine and its friendly staff that you will surely return on your next visit too!

Stateline Brewery & Restaurant

 Stateline Brewery & Restaurant

Stateline Brewery & Restaurant serves filet mignon, prime rib, ribs, halibut, lobster tail, rotisserie chicken, pasta and gourmet pizzas. They also offer a full bar with a great selection of microbrews and wines. There is event a private room available for weddings, groups and other special events.


South of North Brewing Co.

South of North Brewing Co. at the Basecamp Hotel has been an “off the beaten path” favorite for over one year but has recently acquired taps from Desolation Brewery. This cozy locale has visitors gather around fire pits to unwind after a long day while sipping on refreshing pints. In walking distance from Stateline, this Brewery welcomes both locals and Tahoe South visitors to sample the beer and snack on the variety of brats/sausages.

Tahoe Brewfest

Lake Tahoe Brewfest

Yearly, in June, the Lake Tahoe Brewfest takes place at Heavenly’s California Base Lodge bringing together all of the breweries from the Lake Tahoe area’s emerging beer scene. Kick off the summer with craft brew tastings (4 oz.) from all over Lake Tahoe and surrounding areas, a homebrewers competition, live music, arts and craft vendors, and delicious food! In partnership with FNCTN, the festival will feature breweries from both the North and South shore of the lake, as well as other participants from Northern California and Nevada. The event will be a showcase of all that is happening in beer today.

Beer, not your thing? No worries, this family-friendly event is free to attend and open to all with plenty of food, live music, games, shopping, and more. Local arts and crafts vendors will be on-site to showcase their items.

All proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe.


Sample the Sierra 2018 Lake Tahoe

Sample the Sierra

Each year in September, Sample the Sierra brings together local chefs/restaurants with neighboring growers/producers to turn out scrumptious samples craftily paired with the appropriate wine or brew. The festival marketplace includes locally made goods such as jam, soap, honey, and olive oil along with specialty products created right here in the county, such as fine art, jewelry, and crafts.

Sample the Sierra also features the Sierra Chefs Challenge, a cooking challenge between three regional chefs cooking with locally sourced ingredients. Watch three of the most talented chefs prepare delicious meals – and even get the opportunity to taste them!

The weekend is full of festivities for the whole family including farm tours, music, live entertainment, and art.

Visit our top events page to learn more.

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Top 5 Winter Gear Rental Shops in Tahoe South

Skiing at Heavenly at Tahoe

Tahoe South is always prepared to help skiers and snowboarders of any skill level, experience or age find the right rentals and equipment for some endless winter fun. Specialists are waiting in shops to accommodate guests and provide top quality gear. Ski and board rentals are a great option both for visitors and locals who want to hit the slopes for a period of time without committing to a full season. Here are the best shops offering high-performance equipment and rental services.

Heavenly Sports:
Winter gear at Heavenly Sports

Heavenly Sports at Cecil’s Plaza

With 9 slopeside rental locations around Heavenly Mountain Resort, Heavenly Sports offers high-performance rental equipment. Specialists help guests of any skill level and experience find the right skis, boards, and boots that will ensure fun and safety on the slopes. Rental services include full-service ski and board tuning; complimentary in-shop storage for all rentals; group services and free delivery. Heavenly Sports also features a Junior Trade-In program where young skiers and snowboarders can exchange used equipment for a new ski or board package for 50% off.

Powder House Pro Snow:
Winter gear at owder House Boot & Demo Ski Store

Powder House Boot & Demo Ski Store

Out of their 8 stores, Powder House’s newest location offers top of the line demo skis and boots for sale. This shop specializes in boot fittings and boasts a “Try Before You Buy” program where individuals can test out different pairs before buying. Located in Heavenly Village, Powder House carries top brands such as K2, Marker, Volkl and Rossignol, as well as hosting a Wintersteiger tuning system.

Shoreline of Tahoe:
Winter gear at Shoreline of Tahoe

Shoreline of Tahoe Snowboards

For visitors who are unsure about the duration of their stay in Tahoe South or are stuck with unpredictable weather, Shoreline’s rentals are a great fit. The hassle free policy allows guests to reserve first day rentals, keep the gear for as long as needed and then settle when the gear is returned. This shop offers different rental packages based on skill level with options of Recreational, Demo, Performance and Children rentals.

Sports LTD:
Winter Gear at Sports LTD South Lake Tahoe

Sports Ltd at South Lake Tahoe

Now the largest sports store at Tahoe South, Sports LTD has been a local favorite since 1982 and meeting the needs of both the community and visitors. There are various rental packages fit to accommodate any skier and snowboarder, as well as a “Try Before You Buy” policy. Guests can also rent out specific gear elements such as boots and poles.

WattaBike n’Snow:
Winter Gear at Watta Bike n'Snow

Watta Bike n’Snow

WattaBike n’Snow has every aspect covered in order to have a safe and successful day on the slopes. Services include easy-turning skis and snowboards for beginners or high-performance equipment for more experienced users. This shop also provides helmet and snowshoe rentals. WattaBike n’Snow sells retail and consignment boards, skis and boots, as well as gloves, helmets, goggles and more.

As always, we want to hear from you! Are you a skier or snowboarder? Which resort is your favorite?

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