Guidebook like sitting down with a good friend |

Guidebook like sitting down with a good friend

Joan Walthall

“Lake Tahoe, The Guidebook with a Point of View” by Suzanne Stone

This is a book for all seasons and for all readers, whether they be local residents or out-of-town visitors to Lake Tahoe. Written with heart, an all-encompassing breadth of knowledge, and peppered with amusing personal anecdotes, one feels intimately welcomed to the Lake Tahoe area and, indeed, can easily imagine gathering around the author’s hearth for a well-steeped cup of tea.

Stone begins by discussing “the nature connection” in and around the city of South Lake Tahoe, her place of residence. Ever conscious of the beauty, fragility and spirituality of Lake Tahoe – a national treasure – and its environs, she imbues the reader with a sense of belonging and the importance of acting as a personal caretaker. Stone ably interweaves in-town sightseeing (“Walking the City in Winter: A Meditation on Old Cabins”) with hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail and eagle watching near Emerald Bay. An environmental enthusiast, she also talks about her role as “guardian of the forest,” learning with other community members how to protect the trees while at the same time ensuring that the community remains fire-safe.

Stone puts her local savvy to work in an honest and down-to-earth discussion of public transportation choices, whether by summertime trolley, bicycle, or city bus. She is quick to inform readers of the need for driver and pedestrian etiquette in a resort community, where full-time residents and visitors intermingle on a daily basis.

In the “recreation and entertainment” section of her book, Stone touches on the rustic, the cultural and the flat-out mob scene: shopping for valley produce at the summer farmer’s market; the queen’s court and tempting food treats at the Renaissance fair (where the author plays cello in a Celtic music ensemble); Shakespeare accompanied by glorious sunsets on the beach at Sand Harbor; the underwater fish-profile chamber populated by spawning kokanee salmon in the fall at Taylor Creek; and the crowd-pleasing New Year’s celebration at Stateline.

A number of photographs in the book, both in color and black-and-white, provide sensory impressions of both the grandeur and diversity of the Lake Tahoe area.

Other neighborly presentations in the book are “Meet the Locals,” which includes profiles of notable personages and a section on Tahoe Tessie, Lake Tahoe’s own Loch Ness-type monster; and “Community Spirit: The Idiosyncrasies,” presenting an in-depth view of South Lake Tahoe’s socioeconomic and environmental issues from an insider’s perspective.

Stone includes an appendix at the back of the book with a directory of useful names and numbers, a handy reference for local residents wanting to extend their community interests as well as for out-of-town visitors to the Lake Tahoe Basin.

In a book-cover endorsement of Stone’s work, Nancy Oliver Hayden of the Tahoe Heritage Foundation succinctly expresses her reaction to the author’s unique approach: “‘Lake Tahoe, The Guidebook with a Point of View’ is like having a good friend take you by the hand and lead you through a maze,” an opinion that will be enthusiastically shared by all who read Stone’s guidebook.

The author will conduct a book signing from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 18 at Neighbor’s Bookstore in the Village Center, 4000 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Suite 23, (530) 541-6296. Her book is also available for purchase online at

– Joan Walthall is a member of the National League of American Pen Women.

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