Friday, September 2, 2011

Tahoe Style, The Thunderbird Lodge

We escaped to gorgeous Lake Tahoe for a few days. It was heavenly!
While there, we toured the famous Thunderbird Lodge.

The Thunderbird Lodge pretty much defined "Tahoe Style" for me!
Called The Castle in the Sky, it was built in the 30's by George Whittell, an eccentric millionaire and bon vivant.

Because of George Whittell, most of the east shore of Tahoe is preserved. He at one time owned 29 miles of the shore from Cal-Neva to Zephyr Cove. Lucky for us, it is undeveloped to this day.

Thunderbird Lodge photo
The lodge is all stone, nestled in the pines and huge boulders that occupy this part of the lake.

Ciprian Photography

The property consists of several buildings, including the main house pictured here.
I was surprised how small and unassuming it is inside.
A great room with a bedroom upstairs on either end. One for George himself, the other for his mistress!
The kitchen, laundry and maid quarters are in the basement.

From the basement, we entered a tunnel that was carved out of stone by local miners, 600 feet long.

Being claustrophobic, I had a major panic attack and had to go ahead of everyone else to get to the end of the tunnel! That's why the photo is blurry--I was running!

Thunderbird Lodge photo
This was the reward at the end of the tunnel!
The Thunderbird Yacht!
Isn't she a beauty? We were lucky that they decided to take her out for a spin on the lake.

This 55 foot long yacht is probably the finest in the world!
This is The Card House where Mr. Whittell had many an all night, high stakes poker game with people like Jack Dempsey, Ty Cobb and Howard Hughes. If Michael Corleone was a real person, I suspect he would have gambled here too with George!

Some people think this property is haunted.
Indeed, we did see a cross on the ground of a closet. A woman felt the presence of a ghost while touring the lodge and threw a cross on the floor. No one has removed it since!

The views from The Thunderbird Lodge are magnificent!
To read more about the lodge, visit the Thunderbird Lodge Historical site here.
There is also a lot about George Whittell, the eccentric man who never worked a day in his life, and was known to tour about town with his pet lion, written here.


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More