Romantic California Mountain Getaway

Indulge in the luxurious side of the High Sierra with fine dining, spa packages and of course, the best wines California has to offer. From sightseeing and stargazing to golf and sunbathing, couples are sure to find something to bond over while exploring the best of California.

Courtesy Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Courtesy Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Day One

Check into the Basecamp Hotel conveniently located minutes from the Heavenly Gondola and the beaches of South Lake Tahoe. Designed to inspire exploration, the hotel features large communal areas where guests may mingle and discuss ideas for the adventures ahead. The rooms vary from suites to family rooms featuring bunks for large families. Storage is available for all adventure gear including bikes and skis.

Enjoy breakfast at the Driftwood Café. The menu features a variety of items ranging from hearty scrambles to veggie quiches and vegan breakfast burritos.

Anglers should be sure to check out Tahoe Flyfishing Outfitters for the latest fishing reports and guided trips to local hot spots.

Explore the area on two wheels. Whether it’s cruising the town on paved bike paths or exploring the adrenaline pumping trails near by, South Lake Tahoe offers plenty of pedaling. Rentals are available from Sierra Ski and Cycle Works. Check out Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association (tamba.org) for maps of local single-track trails including everything from cruising cross-country to steep technical downhills.

Afterwards, enjoy a refreshing and healthy lunch at Sprouts Natural Foods Café, known for home-cooked organic meals.

Spend the afternoon relaxing at the beach. Located right in town, El Dorado beach is a convenient spot for couples and families. Paddleboard and kayak rentals are available daily. Enjoy a surf and turf inspired meal at Riva Grill.

Courtesy Thunderbird Preservation Society

Courtesy Thunderbird Preservation Society

Day Two

Rated one of the best golf courses in America, Edgewood Tahoe is challenging yet fair and offers 4 sets of tees providing options for golfers of all skill levels. Each year the course hosts the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. Book a tee time in advance to ensure the perfect morning round of golf. Afterwards, enjoy brunch in the Brook’s Bar and Deck.

The East Shore of Lake Tahoe is the most undeveloped area on the lake. Enjoy secluded beaches and quiet coves next to the bright blue waters of Lake Tahoe. Grab a picnic lunch at the Tunnel Creek Café and enjoy a meal at Sand Harbor State Park. Stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and jet skis are available for rent at the park. Paddling along the shore is one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery and the cool alpine waters.

Visit the historic Thunderbird Lodge, the home of George Whittell. The reclusive millionaire is responsible for preserving the East Shore of Lake Tahoe and known for hosting large parties at the Lodge. Discover more about the history of his life and his home at Lake Tahoe during a guided tour. The Lodge hosts winemaker dinners featuring wine tasting with local vineyards, a tour and a gourmet meal. Inquire about Thunderbird Yacht cruises, which may be combined with events such as Dinner-at-the-Castle for a memorable evening on Lake Tahoe.

Return to the Ritz-Carlton for a relaxing night.

Farm To Peak dinner | Courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort

Farm To Peak dinner | Courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort

Day Three

Enjoy breakfast at the classic Old Post Office in Carnelian Bay. This local’s haunt is known for great eggs benedict, fluffy pancakes and friendly staff.

Boat rentals are available from the Tahoe City Marina just down the street. Or stop at Obexer’s and book a lesson with the High Sierra Waterski School for a day of learning how to slalom waterski or explore the maritime history of Lake Tahoe at the Maritime Museum next to Homewood Mountain Resort.

A bike path follows the shoreline along the west shore of Lake Tahoe. Traffic along the west shore is sometimes impacted by road construction during the summer, so hop on a bike and enjoy the fresh air while alleviating congestion on the roads. Stop and explore DL Bliss State Park. Relax on the beach or enjoy one of several day hikes. Sugar Pine Point State Park is another beautiful stop along the west shore.

Return to Homewood Mountain Resort for a Farm to Peak Mountaintop dinner. Enjoy locally sourced gourmet food with wine pairings at mid-mountain with stunning views of Lake Tahoe below. Farm to Peak dinners take place monthly at Homewood. If you missed it during your trip, enjoy dinner on the dock at the West Shore cafe, and cozy up with a cocktail by the fire under the stars. Rent a suite or one of the villas at the West Shore cafe for the night. The West Shore cafe is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the area.

Lake Alpine

Day Four

Head south and fuel up at Freel Perk Coffee in Meyers as you make your way to the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway on Highway 4. You’ll travel along the East Carson River, a favorite spot for rafters and fly fishing, then climb into the alpine forests and volcanic peaks of Ebbetts Pass. There are many great spots to stop for a hike or picnic en route. Among the best is Lake Alpine, a crisp, blue mountain lake set amidst the gleaming granite, perfect for a swim or an easy stroll on the paved bike path along the shore. The Lake Alpine Lodge serves lunch and beverages on the deck overlooking the lake, and also rents kayaks and paddleboats.   

Continue to the High Sierra gateway town of Arnold and visit Calaveras Big Trees State Park, home of the ancient giant sequoia trees. A walk through the North Grove of these 2,000-year-old giants is an unforgettable experience. Just down the road is Sarafina’s Italian Kitchen, where you’ll find home style Italian cuisine, an impressive list of award winning Calaveras County wines and a warm, relaxing atmosphere to help wind down your day. Reserve a room at the Black Bear Inn bed and breakfast in Arnold and rest up for the next day’s adventures.

Courtesy Groveland Hotel

Courtesy Groveland Hotel

Day Five

After breakfast at the Black Bear Inn, drive west to the boutique wine town of Murphys for a walk down Main Street. Try the mimosas at V Bistro, or grab a takeout deli lunch from the organic farm-to-table selections at Outer Aisle Foods. Then get ready to harness up for a unique couples’ experience with the ziplines at Moaning Cavern Adventure Park. You can also opt for a 165-foot rappel into an underground cave or have a go at their climbing wall. Nearby, a short walk will bring you to Natural Bridges, where you can swim together through a spectacular limestone cavern. 

Continue on through the historic towns of Columbia, Sonora and Jamestown as you make your way toward Groveland and your room at the Groveland Hotel. Enjoy live music in the Courtyard Cabaret during the summer. The Cellar Door serves California-fresh cuisine and local wines and beers. Reservations are recommended during the summer. Take advantage of in-house spa services and enjoy a deep tissue massage in your room.

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Day Six

Mountain Sage serves gourmet coffee, filling smoothies and freshly baked organic treats which you can enjoy in their cozy living room or on the outside porch under the wisteria. 

Explore the quaint Groveland downtown area including the infamous Iron Door Saloon. Visit the Yosemite Gateway Museum or enjoy a round of golf at Pine Mountain Lake Golf Course. Alternatively, enjoy a day of horseback riding at Pine Mountain Lake Stables and take in the sights on the trails around the lake.

Grab lunch at the The Grill at Pine Mountain Lake and soak up the sun. The Grill serves a variety of burgers, tacos and salads. Enjoy the hiking trails before calling it a day and heading back to Groveland.

bridal

Day Seven

Finally, head into Yosemite for a day of spectacular scenery to wrap up your trip. Continue up Highway 120 from Groveland into Yosemite and bike your way to adventure. Bike paths wind through the valley giving sightseers a chance to check out the views.

Alternatively, the Valley Loop trail is a 11 ½ mile hiking path that explores some of the best sights in Yosemite. Choose to do the whole loop, or break it up into segments. From the towering Bridal Veil Falls to the face of El Capitan, the views are worth the stop. Wander through overgrown forests and lose yourself following the Merced River.

Afterwards, enjoy a presentation at the Yosemite Amphitheater, which hosts daily programs including children’s theater and educational lectures and films.

Yosemite National Park hosts Vintner’s Holidays during the late fall. Enjoy an intimate wine tasting and meet local winemakers followed by a 5-course gala dinner where each course is carefully crafted to compliment limited-release wines shared by the participating wineries.