by Carmel L. Mooney
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. While 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 are enjoyed year-round through varied seasons, perhaps no season embraces Truckee’s comfortable mountain façade quite like the fall while the ravages of winter have not yet enveloped the tiny basin and the streets
are still sparsely populated before the skiers and the travelers arrive.
Whether it’s a family weekend getaway or a day trip, Truckee provides a delightful destination for experiencing autumn’s splendor.
The kid-friendly Historic Truckee Hotel with its 36 guestrooms, eight with private baths, and claw foot tubs 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 served in the elegant Victorian parlor with fine teas and coffees, only adds to the flavor. The history is as rich as the décor. 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 stroll through town.
Hania’s Bed and Breakfast Inn is another charming spot within walking distance of all historic downtown Truckee’s shopping and dining. A completely remodeled 1884 Victorian with southwestern style décor and hospitality second to none, Hania’s has Queen size beds, and a cozy romantic hot tub overlooking the town and mountains for a soothing respite from the elements, modem outlets, quality linens, and beautiful pine lodge pole furniture. This is the perfect place to unwind overlooking Truckee from a hilltop and escape Jack Frost or the drizzle.
Ask Hania about her new Donner Lake condos available for groups. This way you can be by the lake yet just a minute to two from downtown Truckee. From this vantage point, you can enjoy the nearby enchanting Donner Memorial Park. There you’ll view actual artifacts from the Donner Party and 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 fall colors throughout the park.
No need to pack food for a day trip or an overnighter as Truckee has a 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, all prepared with signature sauces to please the palette. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the High Sierra and enjoy live music and incomparable dining.
For a more rustic and casual atmosphere try OB’s Pub and Restaurant for the best slow-roasted prime rib around. Excellent appetizers, hearty dinners, and homemade desserts make this a local’s and a traveler’s choice time and time again.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a window shopper, Truckee has something for everyone.
If you crave a treat for your sweet tooth, stop into Smart’s Wagon Train Coffee Shop. There you’ll find both old-fashioned and modern-day style baked cookies and pastries worth every bite. Purchase a few at the counter to go. Or if decadent chocolate gets you going, sample the town’s best hand-dipped chocolates at Sweet’s.
While you’re strolling through town, be sure to browse through Vrooman Woodcarvings & Wildlife Gallery.
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. 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.
Whatever you do be sure to plan a visit to Truckee during the glorious fall months. The brilliant colors of nature there is a lovely compliment to the cornucopia of endless activities and pastimes that await you.
Carmel L. Mooney is a travel columnist, author, and radio talk show host.
Visiting the High Sierra, you may find weather changeable, even in summer months. Come prepared for a variety of weather and ready for a lot of adventure! No matter the season, there is never a shortage of activities for you and your family!