Few towns in California stir such a vast array of feelings as this one. History buffs recall the ill-fated pioneers whose lives and families were forever changed by this setting. Locals and visitors hold dear the rich history, diverse culture, and unique environment experienced only in this little Mecca.
Although Truckee’s mystique and charm is enjoyed year-round through varied seasons, perhaps no season embraces Truckee’s comfortable mountain facade quite like the summer. When the ravaging heat of summer drives Sacramentans to the cool mountains for reprieve, Truckee has become a family vacation favorite of ours and thousands of other Sacramento area families.
Truckee is a great place to take a family cycling getaway. Throughout the year many great family-friendly festivals pop up, particularly during the summer months and cycling is a great way to enjoy them.
Where to Stay
We’ve stayed a few times at one local favorite. The Historic Truckee Hotel has 36 guest rooms, eight with private baths and claw foot tubs and provides its guests a set of earplugs to cushion the whistle and rumble of the nearby train, which proves to be no nuisance without them—actually charming. A lavish continental breakfast only adds to the flavor. The history is as rich as the decor. A quaint gift shop near the main lobby offers scores of gift or souvenir ideas and a warm and inviting parlor is the perfect place to warm up after a leisurely stroll through town.
Where to Play
All families are captivated by the Donner Memorial Park. Our kids are fascinated by actual artifacts from the Donner Party and always scan the gripping list of the survivors and the deceased. The McGlashan Butterfly Collection, one of the world’s largest, is astounding. Beautiful nature trails offer a spectacular way to drink in the beauty of Donner Lake. It’s often breezy in the summer, so our kids like to fly kites or play on the lake’s pristine beaches.
Refueling in Truckee
No need to pack food for a day trip or an overnight-er as Truckee has wonderful fare to choose from. If you choose to taste the flavors of Truckee at the Cottonwood Restaurant overlooking the historic district with its historical artifacts and photographs, this dining haven sits atop fascinating history and today makes its own with a famous “eat with your fingers” Caesar salad, succulent steaks, delectable fish dishes and extraordinary desserts. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the High Sierra and enjoy live music and incomparable dining. It’s family-friendly but pleasantly classy.
If you crave a treat for your sweet tooth, stop in to Smart’s Wagon Train Coffee Shop. Kids of all ages will find both old-fashioned and modern style baked cookies and pastries worth every bite. Purchase a few at the counter to go like our kids do every visit. www.wagontraincoffeeshop.com
Or if decadent chocolate gets you going, sample the town’s best hand dipped chocolates at Sweet’s.
Pastimes in Truckee
While you’re strolling or cycling through town, be sure to browse through Vrooman Woodcarvings & Wildlife Gallery.
Our tweens and teens love to golf and a low key, unintimidating course is perfect. How about a round of golf at one of the nearby courses? Tall Ponderosa Pines line beautifully maintained greens and fairways at the Ponderosa Golf Course in Truckee. Or the Old Brockway Golf Course just twenty minutes from Truckee offers nine holes of history and proudly applies organic management practices. This course was home to the first Bing Crosby Golf Tournament where Bing invited his cronies for golf get-aways while performing nearby at Cal-Neva. Holes one through three, and eight and nine, are known as “the loop” after Dean Martin’s drinking escapades there.
Unassuming and relaxed atmospheres make these courses the best ever for young or beginner golfers.
Be sure to plan a visit to Truckee, during the glorious summer months. The beautiful and idyllic summer weather is a lovely compliment to the vast activities and pastimes that await you anytime of year.