September 3, 2015

Tahoe Queen Emerald Bay Cruise | Lake Tahoe

During our recent trip to Tahoe, we took a cruise around the lake with my brother-in-law and his wife.  I've done this cruise with my family as a little girl, so I was excited to share the experience with Charles.  They also offer dinner cruises, but this time we did an easy afternoon excursion.

I booked it through our resort to save a little money (something I always recommend!), but they also have a website here with more information and cruise options.

A shuttle picked us up from South Lake Tahoe and whisked us to Zephyr Cove where the Tahoe Queen was docked.  After grabbing a drink, we watched families enjoying water sports at the cove.  It happened to be an extraordinarily sunny, warm, and clear day for May.

We pulled away into a welcome breeze and before I knew it we were at the center of the lake with nothing but blue surrounding us for miles.

The snow capped peaks over the water added to the majesty of it all.

I love this photo of Charles and his brother with the peaks and water behind them.

Pulling into Emerald Bay, the water began to change colors....

Isn't it gorgeous?  Emerald Bay is perfection.  It truly reminded me of Switzerland for a few moments.

Aside from the scenery, the best part of the afternoon was laughing with our excellent company.  I am fairly sure my face was in a permanent smile as we all chatted and joked.   This was the perfect activity for the four of us to spend time together.

After leaving the gorgeous bay, we headed back to Zephyr Cove with plenty of great memories in tow.

I am so happy I can still experience something I loved as a child, unchanged.  I hope Tahoe stays this beautiful and preserved for future generations to continue enjoying as well.

August 31, 2015

Coit Tower and North Beach | San Francisco, California

I love exploring new neighborhoods each time I visit San Francisco, so when we were there for a whirlwind day in May, we hit up Coit Tower and North Beach.

We took an Uber to Coit Tower to avoid the steep walk (well worth it), and the views from the top were incredible, even for a very gray afternoon.

I was hoping for much more vibrant photos, but San Francisco is a temperamental lady, so you have to take what you can get.  We've gotten way too lucky in the past, so I suppose we are still ahead in the weather department.

We were really hoping to go up into the tower, but the line was incredibly long.  (It was Memorial Day weekend.)  Luckily this isn't even close to our last visit to San Francisco, so we decided our time would be better spent doing a little more exploring rather than waiting in line.

We hung out at the top for a bit to enjoy the view.  Charles realized that with my camera zoom we could get a great shot of Lombard Street.  (It was actually really fun to watch the cars from a distance!)

And of course the Golden Gate Bridge.  (I also spy the Ghirardelli sign!)

We walked back down the hill into North Beach, which is a fantastic and beautiful little community.  It has a lot of Italian influence and is packed full of galleries and restaurants with Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill hovering over it.  Not mention loads of beautiful 1920's Victorian homes.

By the time we reached Washington Square Park it was finally starting to brighten up.  The park at Columbus and Union is anchored by Saints Peter and Paul Church at its center.  This is the heart of the Italian community In North Beach and a hub of activity.

I really enjoyed exploring this new neighborhood.  There are so many wonderful Italian restaurants, coffee shops, and delis here, we plan to come back and eat explore more.  I have my eye on Il Casaro Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar and I hear that Mama's at Washington Square has an epic breakfast menu, albeit with long wait times.  North Beach is also home to City Lights bookstore, an old haunt of Jack Kerouac and what many say is still the best bookstore in the city.

If you have any North Beach/Telegraph Hill favorites I'd love to hear them.  I am always keeping my San Francisco 'to do' list updated and ready for a surprise trip.  (You never know!)

August 28, 2015

Fire Sign Cafe | Tahoe City, California

I wrote about our favorite eats in South Lake Tahoe, but we also tried a fantastic little spot in Tahoe City (about an hour away) called Fire Sign Cafe.  It was easily our favorite meal of the trip and I WILL be back for more the next time we are in the area.

Charles and I happened to be on a drive around the lake the day we visited, so we planned to stop at Fire Sign Cafe for brunch after reading rave reviews.

The location was very unassuming.  We could have easily missed it.  Aren't the best places always like that?  I stepped out of my car and this quaint little field was right next to the restaurant.

The Fire Sign Cafe was converted from an old house, so you sort of feel like you are going over to a friend's place for home cooking when you pull up.


We were seated by the fire place, and it was just as cozy as you'd imagine.

I ordered a flavorful chai tea latte to start.  It was heavenly.  A warm drink in a cozy restaurant?  I can't think of anything that feels more 'Tahoe' to me.

We shared an array of dishes that were hearty and full of flavor.  If you get the pancakes, be sure to upgrade to the blue-raspberry sauce on the side.


The huevos rancheros were divine, with homemade black beans and ranchero sauce.  Not to mention a VERY generous layer of melted cheese and fixings.  Cheese is the way to my heart, hands down.

Their loaded home-fried potatoes are the real star of the show.  Cheese, veggies, potatoes, more cheese. All things good.  (For the record, the side we shared was massive and filled its own plate.)

We were so happy with our meal.  There were so many things on the menu I would loved to have tried, from the eggs Benedict to the scrambles to the burgers to the homemade desserts.  This place does it right, all homemade, family owned, and great portions.

Also, Tahoe City is really pretty.  It would be a great home base for another trip to Tahoe...

Fire Sign Cafe
1785 West Lake Blvd.
Tahoe City, CA 96145
(530) 583-0871
Open daily for breakfast and lunch 7 am - 3 pm