As the temperatures soar, historically, Southern Nevadans flee the valley for northern cool spots such as Lake Tahoe, well-loved for its pristine blue water, sandy beaches and anywhere-but-Vegas feel. Some who own a retreat in the area have been gone for weeks already.
Every June for the past 25 years, Las Vegan Denise Cashman has headed to her home in Incline Village to escape the heat with her husband Tim, co-owner of Las Vegas Harley-Davidson. It’s a ritual that allowed their two daughters to experience small-town life.
“It’s picturesque. People compare it to Switzerland. A lot of Europeans really love to come to the lake,” Cashman said. “It’s that crystal-blue water. I love to swim, kayak and hike up there,” she said. And due to a record snowfall this winter, the lake water level is higher than in years.
Cashman added that she’s met many Bay area Californians who moved there for relief from taxes.
“A lot of them from San Francisco like to come to Tahoe because of the I-80 corridor between the Bay Area and Reno.”
The Cashmans support The Tahoe Fund, a public, private partnership “doing great work to preserve the lake. The clarity of the water is huge. They are trying to build a bike path. The goal is (for it to go) all the way around the lake because the road there is so narrow. It’s gonna be great.”
The 190-mile circumference of Lake Tahoe supports a wide range of communities in California and Nevada. Generally speaking, the north shore of both states hold higher property values than south shore, according to Vanessa Guajardo, marketing director for Oliver Luxury Real Estate in Tahoe City, California. She added that our state’s lower property taxes make the Nevada side more popular for ownership. There are also separate chambers of commerce for the north and south shore areas.
Guajardo describes the firm as a “family-owned boutique brokerage, and we’re a Christies affiliate, so we’re internationally exposed.” A large block of their buyers are tech types and company owners, she said. “Incline Village is definitely a magnate for billionaires, even over millionaires.”
Trinkie Watson, a regional Lake Tahoe broker said the entire shoreline of the lake provides something for everyone, and that it’s really a matter of personal choice, whether you’re looking for northern seclusion, or the lively nightlife of the south shore. “There is a lot happening in South Tahoe,” she said, adding that many buildings dating back to the 1930s are being replaced or updated, and new businesses are opening.
Watson expects this to be a record-breaking year for multi-million dollar home sales. There are 13 on the market on Tahoe’s Nevada side priced from $10,900,000 to $99,000,000. On California’s west shore, three are listed, ranging between $19,950,000 and $32,000,000.
“People feel more confidence in the economy, now that it’s not an election year,” said Watson. “We’re getting more interest in homes that have been on market for over a year,” she said, adding that homes in this price range typically take a year or longer to sell.
Here is a sampling of Lake Tahoe homes on the market.
$35M estate in Glenbrook
The Pines, a rare, serene compound described as a one of the largest privately owned on Lake Tahoe is on the market for $35 million. It was part of the original estate named Whispering Pines, in Glenbrook, created in the 1930s as a summer retreat for the Scripps newspaper family. The property changed hands the ‘50s and the ‘70s and is currently owned by Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness and a co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, according to public records.
The original 26-acre estate was divided, and The Pines is now comprised of two parcels totaling 13.6 acres with a main house built in 1998, a guest house and a caretaker’s house. The property includes three garages plus a workshop; a three-hole golf course and practice green, river-rock waterfalls and fresh ponds where koi and rainbow trout thrive year-round.
Besides the panoramic lake and forest views, it comes with 400 feet of sandy shoreline, the original boat house, a 27-foot boat slip, shared pier, two private buoys and beach hut for storage.
The estate’s main two-story, 13,600-square-foot, mountain-style home takes advantage of the impressive view, from the kitchen to the bedrooms to the wraparound porches offering stunning sunset views. The main floor entry wows with a 35-foot ceiling lined with Douglas fir beams above a double-sided granite fireplace that touches the ceiling. There is an indoor subfloor spa near the fireplace, as well as outdoor hot tub and pool, office, library, sun, movie and game rooms.
The second floor has two wings anchored by a sitting area at the top of a double-sided staircase. One side holds a huge master suite with a cathedral, wood-lined ceiling; two walk-in closets, waterfall steam shower, spa tub and small gym overlooking the property’s granite boulders. The other wing offers a dorm-style bedroom and three good-sized guest suites overlooking the lake and forest landscape.
The 3,000-square-foot guest house, with its redwood half-round log exterior, has “Old Tahoe” written all over it. Made from the original house at Whispering Pines, the four-bedroom, three-bath home has some of the original features dating back to 1935, including wood beams, knotty pine walls, carved fireplace mantle, and wagon wheel light fixtures.
The estate includes a single story three-bedroom, two-bath caretaker’s cottage with fireplace and its own backyard.
Summertide was once owned by
On the north shore of Crystal Bay, situated atop a bluff overlooking the Lake Tahoe granite shoreline, lies the historic estate called Summertide, where Howard Hughes reportedly entertained President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, among others.
The property was created by Tasker Oddie, a Tonopah miner who became the state’s 12th governor and a U.S. senator. Eventually, an English Earl, known in this country as Bill Wellesley, came to own it. He leased it to Frank Sinatra during his ownership of the Cal-Neva Lodge. In 1970, the lake property was sold to Howard Hughes and in 1995 the Howard Hughes Corp. sold it to the current owners Bruce and Nora James for $3.5 million.
On four lakefront acres surrounded by tall pines, it includes a renovated log home, water-front guest cottage, garage, private pier, boat lift and mooring buoys. The view is maximized by a sprawling porch facing the lake and a balcony off the upper floor. At the top of the stairs leading to the pier, a hot tub awaits returning guests.
Built in 1934, the log home has been renovated by the owners who tried to stay true to the style and period. The main house has fieldstone floors, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, log cabin walls and wood-beamed ceiling. Its kitchen has been updated with gray cabinetry, granite countertops and a stainless-steel stove and range hood.
The two homes have a combined seven bedrooms, six baths, and 3,800 square feet.
320-acre compound in
Fort Bidwell, California
If remote is what you need to unwind, there’s a 320-acre sanctuary for sale near the northeastern California town of Fort Bidwell. It is near the Werner mountains, “the least visited wilderness area in the lower forty-eight,” according to listing agent Chris Hinkel of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty.
It includes two private, spring-fed lakes, three rustic cabins and a “traditional home.” It is accessible by car, but a small aircraft would come in handy and could be landed at two nearby airstrips.
The current owner, Jack Bazler, who lives in Marin County most of the year, bought the compound in 2003 “to escape the population explosion of the North Lake Tahoe area.”
“This special spot … exceeded our desire to find beauty and adventure in a tranquil environment. The gorgeous trees, wildlife and lakes exceeded our expectations,” he said.
At a 5,500-foot elevation, the property is a haven for bald eagles, and the 3- and 5-acre lakes are laden with trout. It has been on the market several years, and was recently reduced from $1.6 to $1.3 million. Its remote locale is both its best feature and what has held it back from selling, Hinkel said.
The property is on a timber production zone, which offers special tax benefits.
“The best use would just be a getaway because it’s a serene, beautiful peaceful setting so I think keeping it as a family compound would probably be the best use,” Hinkel said.
About the estate
Price: $35 million
Size: Two parcels totaling 13.6 acres
Location: 1820 Highway 50, Glenbrook
Features: 1998 main house, guest house and caretaker’s house; three garages, plus a workshop; a three-hole golf course and practice green; river-rock waterfalls and fresh ponds; 400 feet of sandy shoreline, the original boat house with a 27-foot boat slip, shared pier, two private buoys and beach hut for storage.
History: The property was part of the original estate named Whispering Pines, which was created in the 1930s as a summer retreat for the Scripps-Howard Newspaper family. The property changed hands the ’50s and the ’70s and is currently owned by Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness and a co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, according to public records.
Listing: Trinkie Watson, Broker Associate, Chase International Realty