Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Get-Away: Tahoe Style!

Summer is finally here and I can't think of a better way to start it off than with a post about my favorite spots in Lake Tahoe. When I was growing up I spent many summer vacations at Sand Harbor State Beach. It was my home away from home and something we always looked forward to as kids. 
I've compiled a list of must do's in Tahoe so get some peeps together and take a ride!

*Start your adventure at Tahoe's Northwest Shore- Tahoe City. There is plenty to keep you busy including, shopping, eating, drinking, golfing, swimming, or renting a boat to take in some breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding scenery.

*Lunch at Gar Woods. But don't plan on doing anything else that day if you go for the Wet Woody pitcher. The food ranges from burgers and steaks to seafood. Gar Wood's outdoor patio is a stone's throw to the water and will provide excellent views of Tahoe while enjoying a cocktail and some food. There is also a public doc with buoy's provided for all the boat in diners.

*If you are feeling lucky, you may want to stop and gamble at Cal Neva Resort. It is the only property in the country located in two states- on the California & Nevada border. The hotel was once a secret haven for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, San Francisco's upper crust, Hollywood's stars and international dignitaries. Gambling isn't the only thing to do here. You can also schedule a secret tunnel tour and learn about the history of the hotel. 

*Travel north to Lakeshore Boulevard, drive through Incline Village and admire all the huge "Cinderella houses" (as my sister and I like to refer to them). Try some more gambling and maybe an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency Resort . There is also a private beach owned by Hyatt where you can rent cabanas and eat, drink, or swim all day long.

*South of Incline Village on State route 28 is Sand Harbor State Park. White sand beaches, clear blue waters, rocky coves, panoramic lake views, sunburns and childhood memories make up all the great qualities of this special beach. Hands down my favorite place. Get there early in the a.m. to secure a good spot in the sand! There is a beach area for non-boaters which also fills up very quick on the weekends. If you frequent Lake Tahoe you know that the winds and white caps pick up by 3pm so get there early!  During July and August, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor offers the Bard’s best plays set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of Lake Tahoe.

*If the modest person in you wants to get a little daring, try the 'Nudey' beach- as our parents liked to call it. This not-so secret beach lies just south of Sand Harbor State Park. You can hike or boat in. My experience here is very limited as our view came from about a mile away while boating on the lake!

*You will find plenty to keep you busy in Tahoe's South Shore
. Visitor's can hike, golf, swim, boat, ski, gamble, eat, drink, play, and stay all week in the lake's biggest 'city'. During the summer months you can catch an outdoor concert at the popular Heavenly Valley Resort.

*Emerald Bay- if you are in the car, get out and do some rock climbing and take some pics of Eagle Falls. If you boat in, anchor at Vikingsholm and take a swim. Its crowded on a good day but well worth it. Lunch, drinks, hiking, swimming = good times. Emerald Bay is also one of Tahoe's most photographed landmarks. 

*Some people like to do physical activities while on vacation. If that's you, try hiking the Rubicon Trail. It starts at the Vikingholm Parking lot at Emerald Bay and ends at D.L. Bliss State Park. The hike is roughly 4.5 miles long so pack some snacks and plenty of water! Caution: Do not try and hike this trail after a good night of drinking adult beverages!

*Continue north on Hwy 89 to Sunnyside Resort where you'll find good eats and drink, great views of the lake, and outdoor bar with dining. Private beach and docks for summer vacation rentals make this a great week long getaway. Like me, you can spend many hours sunbathing in the water or beach. 

There are so many more things to do in Tahoe but I hope this list of favorites will steer you in the right direction or help you decide on your next vacation destination!

How To Deliver An Unforgettable 2-Minute Toast

Recently one of my favorite designer discount websites- created an offspring just for men. The new site, is great and has some wonderful articles on men's clothing, accessories, and all around etiquette. I am stealing their article because I think it's important for men and women to deliver eloquent toasts at any occasion. We have definitely all seen the best man, maid of honor, or frat house buddy give drunken, crying, toasts at weddings. Its funny, but sometimes highly inappropriate stories and un-funny jokes make you gasp. 

Get ready to take notes!

By Euan Rellie

Nothing better illustrates the ongoing decline of gentlemanly manners than the over-emotive, inarticulate and generally pointless speechifying that passes for a modern rehearsal dinner toast. Before you stand up and add another eye-roll-inducing log to the pyre of modern manhood. But, as it turns out, making a good toast or short speech is not hard at all. If you follow the rules.

Rule 1: Adopt a mildly provocative tone.
This ensures that the audience will listen. It’s the basis for the English best man’s speech. If you tease the subject a tiny bit, but with affection, that will make your emotions more convincing, and it will render your toast memorable and authentic.

Rule 2: But not too provocative.
One friend of mine joked incessantly in his toast about how the bride’s family “all work in the New Jersey construction industry… and we all know what that means.” Given that the family in question looked like extras from Goodfellas, this did not go down well. And my friend Tim Geary opened his speech at his own wedding by announcing, “This is the first time I feel no guilt over having slept with the bride the night before the wedding.” His new mother-in-law failed to laugh. (My sister-in-law Whitney Cummings can do a good roast. Google her. But please, stop well short of where she does.)

Rule 3: Make jokes at your own expense.
These always go down well. And, in my case at least, they are easy to pull off; “Sorry I’m wearing such an inappropriately lurid dinner jacket. It looked better on Eddie Izzard.”

Rule 4: Make jokes at the expense of your guests.
At my 40th I announced, “I wanted to invite my oldest and best friends tonight, but instead I invited you shallow media/fashion types and hangers-on.” That was a double. It satisfied rules 4 and 5.

Rule 5: Don’t be too nostalgic.
My dad remarked at his 70th birthday, “If you don’t drink and you don’t smoke, you won’t live any longer, it’ll just seem that way.” He ended with: “I’d like you to raise your glasses to the people who couldn’t be here tonight because they were too far away, or else sick, or because in some cases I didn’t invite them.”

Rule 6: Use no notes, ever.
You’re smart enough to prepare three or four lines and remember them. You’ll deliver them more convincingly. And it’s more fun if you riff a bit.

Rule 7: Make an admiring remark about the prettiest girl at the party.
Ignore this rule if you got married within the last 18 months, or any time when you are toasting your own wife.

Rule 8: Extemporize, sure, but prepare a punch line.
At my wife’s birthday this year, I concluded that “she’s not perfect, but she’s perfect for me.” Corny, I know, but she liked it—and for some reason it caused a couple of other women to profess undying love for me.

Rule 9: Keep it short.
Really short. Shorter than this piece. This is the most important rule of all.

In addition to his day job of writing for Park & Bond, Euan Rellie moonlights as managing director of the boutique investment firm Business Development Asia.