Silver Anniversary at Sugar Pine Point on Tahoe’s West shore |

Silver Anniversary at Sugar Pine Point on Tahoe’s West shore

Building on the success of their recent Extraordinary Evening at Vikingsholm event, which they co-hosted with the California State Parks Foundation, the Sierra State Parks Foundation (SSPF) is expanding park events to increase public awareness and involvement in Tahoe area state parks.

Sugar Pine Point, Lake Tahoe and#8211; and#8220;With the uncertainty in the state budget, we want to be sure everyone has a chance to experience and support our state parks,and#8221; says Marguerite Sprague, executive director of the Sierra State Parks Foundation. and#8220;The state parks are affordable, delightful destinations for visitors and locals alike, and these events will highlight different aspects of the parks that people might not otherwise get to appreciate.and#8221;

Take a time-travelling day featuring Washoe storytellers, plein-aire artists, vintage cars, boats and activities at Sugar Pine Point’s Living History day, Saturday, July 25 from from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fabulous music will be provided by The Wronglers, the bluegrass band headed by Warren Hellman. Pine Lodge, a three-story, 11,700 square foot, shingle style, Craftsman home built in 1903 and Phipp’s cabin will hold an open house with costumed characters and pioneers. Guided nature hikes, two miles of beach for sunbathing and water sports, children’s crafts and book talks are also part of the fun.

For 61 years the Hellmans and later their daughter Florence Ehrman entertained family members and friends in the summertime. The estate remained closed to the public until Esther Lazard, daughter of Florence Ehrman and granddaughter of Isaias Hellman, sold the property to the state of California in 1965. On Living History Day several family descendants return to enjoy the park and share the family history with the public.

Author Frances Dinkelspiel will present her biography, and#8220;Towers of Gold,and#8221; the story of her great, great grandfather Isaias Hellman, the rags-to-riches Wells Fargo president who built Pine Lodge. Carol Van Etten will present the history of boating at Sugar Pine referenced from her many Tahoe books.

Elders of the Washoe tribe, whose ancestors were the original residents of the Tahoe Basin, relate their history during story telling sessions. Visitors may take guided nature hikes through the nature preserve to the and#8220;highest lighthouse in the worldand#8221; or along the Washoe Path of the Water Babies.

Prominent local artists will demonstrate their talents at various points on the grounds throughout the day. Bill Clausen of Homewood creates watercolor paintings of Sugar Pine Point. Cathy McClelland of Kings Beach uses acrylics to portray whimsical bears and other lakeshore wildlife. Andy Skaff, of Tahoma specializes in plein air landscapes.

The park is nine miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89. Tours of the mansion are usually priced at $5 for adults and $3 for juniors, but on Living History Day all activities are free.

Bring swimwear, towels and beach toys. Picnicking on the vast lawn overlooking the lake is encouraged, so bring your own lunch or buy specialty sausage or hot dog lunches, ice cream and beverages.

Contact Ranger Heidi Doyle at the California State Parks Sierra District office, (530) 525-9528 or visit

Visit or call us at (530) 525-9460.

Aug. 15, 8:30 p.m. Milk and Cookies Star Party at the Sugar Pine Point Pier. A trio of UCLA astrophysicists will guide a viewing of the celestial sphere, as we hope to take in the Perseid meteor shower while munching our nighttime snacks. Suggested donation: $7 per person; $20 for families of four. Free parking.

Aug. 22, 10:30 a.m. What’s Bruin? Bear Brunch: Join us for bearclaws and coffee at the Pine Lodge gazebo, where Ranger Brian Barton will talk about black bears: how they live naturally, how they tend to behave around us people, and how we can work to co-exist with our ursine neighbors. Suggested donation $5.

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