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Spending the holiday season in state #4.

Living in Sydney, we don’t frequently get to experience “real” winters. We don’t even own “real” winter gear. We don’t know how to ski or snowboard, Bec has no idea when you are or aren’t supposed to have chains on your tires, and the only time we light a fire is when we go camping. So it probably goes without saying that we were beyond excited to spend 8 “real” winter days in Lake Tahoe with Clark’s uncle and aunt.


From the beaches to the snow.

We were up and on our way to the airport at 3:30 am to catch our flight from San Diego to Reno, Nevada. We had a very short layover in Oakland and then landed in our fourth state before lunchtime. We met Clark’s uncle at the airport, collected our bags and drove through the snow-covered mountains to their home. We got settled in and then went out for lunch at the beautiful Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. After watching the sunset, we spent the night by the fire, ate pizza, drank wine and watched a movie.


Up the mountain, we go.

After many weeks on the California coast, in mostly mild winter weather, it was time to break out the warmer layers again. After a slow morning, we rugged up and headed out to Heavenly Village Way. We had a delicious lunch at Azul-Latin Kitchen, paired with refreshing margaritas, and then we made our way up Heavenly Mountain on the gondola. We admired the breathtaking view from the lookout and walked in the snow (in our not-very-appropriate shoes).

Back at home, we watched yet another beautiful sunset over the lake and behind the mountains. We lit the fire, poured a glass of wine and indulged on a charcuterie board and leftover pizza for dinner.


Sunset cruises with bottomless bubbles.

After another slow morning, we rugged up again and drove to South Lake Tahoe. We had lunch at the Riva Grill on the Lake, then boarded the Spirit of Tahoe boat, run by Tahoe Cruises. They took us across the lake and into beautiful Emerald Bay. We learnt more about the history and geography of Lake Tahoe and saw Vikingsholm Castle, the Tea House on Fannette Island and a Bald Eagle. As we cruised back across the lake, we watched the sunset behind the mountains with a glass of bubbles in hand (one of many with the bottomless sparkling wine offered). Taking the sunset cruise with Clark’s family was a very special way to experience Lake Tahoe.


Touring around the lake.

We had experienced Lake Tahoe on the water, but now it was time to see it from every angle, driving the full distance around the lake. We drove anti-clockwise, stopping to admire the view from the lookouts along the way. We stopped in Tahoe City, where the Lake meets the Truckee River and had lunch at Gar Woods Grill & Pier in Carnelian Bay. We continued back down to the east side of the lake and made it home just as the sun had set, ready to light the fire and put on a movie.


Christmas Eve.

Excitement was building for Bec’s first white Christmas. Although it would not actually be snowing on Christmas Day, being surrounded by snow and rugged up in the cold weather was enough to fulfil the dream. We made a snowman around the side of the house, Bec did a snow angel, we built the Polar Express with Clark’s uncle around the Christmas tree and called home to wish our families in Australia a Merry Christmas.


Christmas Day.

Despite the day starting no different from any other morning, there is still always a special feeling on Christmas morning. The coffee tastes better, the Christmas tree lights seem to be brighter, the fireplace is warmer, and the overall ambience is merrier. We had a lovely Christmas day with Clark’s uncle and aunt, and we continue to feel beyond blessed to be in the situation we are in.


Going back in time.

After a very lovely and merry Christmas, and an amazing and very filling Christmas dinner, we woke, had breakfast and coffee and then jumped in the car to head out for the day. We started by having lunch at the Olive Garden – another American institution we were keen to tick off our list. We then took a journey back in time to the historic mining town of Virginia City. Driving into the town honestly feels like you’ve either driven through a time portal or onto the set of a Western film. We walked up one side of the main road of the town then down the other. We walked in and out of saloons and shops, admired churches and mining memorabilia and spotted wild mustangs. Then we came back to the present day, driving home along the scenic, winding roads through the mountains.


It’s snowing!

We woke in the morning, looked out the window, and Bec exclaimed, “it’s snowing”! It was a beautiful sight. We weren’t even a little mad that it was blocking the view of the lake. We had the fire going all day as we relaxed inside, staying cosy and warm and watching the magical snowfall outside the windows.


Staying with family

Clark’s uncle and aunt have a beautiful home in Lake Tahoe, which they were so kind to welcome us to for the eight days we stayed here (the exact location not shared for obvious reasons).


We stayed in Reno, Nevada, for two days following our time in Lake Tahoe. We explored the city and repacked our bags, ready for a very early morning flight to our next destination and our first stop in country #5Mexico City.


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use as well.

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