Sunday, September 21, 2008

South Lake Tahoe/Stateline CA - Part 1

Many summer travelers will set out to visit the places they’ve always wanted to see, while at least an equal number will return to familiar stomping grounds and spots that brought fun and escape in youthful times past. South Lake Tahoe in California has been a destination spot for over a century, and continues to lure both old and new timers to its clear, cool waters and pine-lined shores.

Thankfully, many of the original inns and motels that have been offering shelter to winter skiers and summer swimmers alike for decades remain (for now at least), intact and in-business. I paid a visit to these historic environs this past July…

Bordering Nevada, the area known as Stateline is home to dozens of older establishments that have been around long enough to see tastes change and fads fade. In part one of several, let’s focus on these local and classic motels and see how they are getting along, as another crop of summer folks pass through in search of smiles, sun, and that warmly coveted escape from everyday life.

First stop: The Paradice Motel:

Still going strong today, the Paradice sits next door to another old inn that is being refurbished...

The sign retains its neon charms, but I'm sad to see that the "pair-a-dice" topper has gone the way of penny slots:

The Tahoe Sahara Motel was open for business back in the 70's and for some time before that that I'm sure:

This old motel still looks vital and has definately 'gone green' as is popular these days:

Nothing could have been more fun than pulling into the Ravenwood Motel in your '57 Imperial Crown, pointing the kids toward the pool, and settling back with a highball while plotting what shows and dinner adventures await you and the wife...

This fantasy is still possible today, but the gas is really gonna cost you! The now-Avalon Lodge looks like a good option for my next trip:

I visited a number of motels for which I do not own a corresponding 'then' picture for; rather than ban them until I've run across the appropriate postcard, I'll bring them to you now and hope that the postcard shows up 'down the road'...

Here's the Capri, with original neon-bedecked late 50's sign featuring an elegant font that should still be in use today (if I owned a motel chain):

The pool is just over the wall above and looks dippable to me:

Here's the Tahoe Queen basked in afternoon shadows:

A sign closeup was mandatory on this one:

The Blue Jay was a happy place to pull off the road when it was young...

The name remains the same and it looks like there is plenty of room for us based on the sign and empty parking lot...I wonder why?

After all, a refreshing swim in a pool surrounded by pines awaits:

Wait...Something doesn't look quite right from here...Better get a closer look...

Thought so...

For you old timers who remember when the world was only in black and white, I present for your approval---The Royal Motel:

I didn't think I'd find the Royal still standing and doing business...But I did!

It now rents by the month and goes by the old-world handle of 'Ski Haus Lodge'.

While travelling to Tahoe on Highway 50, I stopped in Fresh Pond, seeking a feel for the old times when Henri's Restaurant fed and gassed up eager fortune seekers on their way to Harvey's and Harrah's:

Being uninformed of its demise, it was a shock to find that Henri's was no longer in-situ. Thankfully, the sign remains (why do signs always remain after the buildings are torn down?):

A closeup of the sign in question:

Well, that does it for Part 1 of the Tahoe series. Sorry (yet again) for the long break between posts...

Take care all---