With the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe displaying its quiet splendor mere blocks away, the artifice and forced glamor of the casinos just on the Nevada side of the border are set in stronger contrast than I’ve ever seen elsewhere. At least in Las Vegas, you’re so surrounded by casinos and flashing lights that it’s […]
“I’m not from Reno,” an ex of mine patiently explained to my mother for the third or fourth time. “I’m from Tahoe. They’re different. Very different.”
He was absolutely right, and not out of some misplaced sense of local pride in his hometown. Reno is a fascinating place to observe, but the deeper you look, the sadder the story gets. The small touristy area tries so very, very hard to hold a candle to its bigger, brighter cousin: Las Vegas. It fails. As soon as you venture out of that small, insulated touristy area, the overall impression becomes one of dilapidation and dust.
Lake Tahoe is almost exactly the opposite.
Like Reno, there are a few casinos — but that’s about where the similarity ends. While gambling is Reno’s main draw, it’s more of an afterthought in Tahoe. The further you venture from the smattering of casinos, the more you feel you’re experiencing the real Tahoe. In a few minutes of driving, you reach the lake or the mountains — snowy and perfect for skiing or snowboarding in winter, and full of breathtaking green and granite beauty during the summer.
Instead of the downtown area being dragged down by its surroundings, as in Reno, the downtown Tahoe area is elevated and given a certain rustic charm by the wild beauty all around.