Two festivals are happening on the south shore of Lake Tahoe this weekend, Oct. 6-7. In past years, we've found the best way to enjoy both is by pedal power on bikes from one of our go-to's, Anderson's Bike Rental (pictured), situated near the action.
We'll get to that in a minute, along with a restaurant recommendation. But first - the 18th annual Oktoberfest at Camp Richardson will feature German-style foods and beers, children's activities, entertainment, dancing, contests and more (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days). Camp Richardson is on Highway 89 heading toward Emerald Bay, 1900 Jameson Beach Road; (800) 544-1801, www.camprichardson.com.
Just down Highway 89 from Camp Richardson is the Taylor Creek Visitors Center (and scenic Rainbow Trail), which will host the annual Kokanee Salmon Festival (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days). The fest is educational and entertaining, with hands-on activities, trail runs, streamside programs, a salmon barbecue and more; (530) 543-2674, www.tahoekidsguide.com.
About those bike rentals... The 10-mile round-trip Forest Bicycle Trail begins just two blocks from Anderson's and meanders through aspen and fir forests. It takes riders to Camp Richardson and to the visitors center access road, and past Pope, Kiva and Baldwin beaches.
"The trail is more scenic than strenuous," said owner Doug Anderson, though it does have a few ups and downs.
If the bike trail gets too crowded, take scenic detours. For instance, Anderson will give you a map and directions to the rustic road that leads to Fallen Leaf Lake, across Highway 89 from the bike trail. On the way, you'll pass elegant stands of quaking aspen and towering Jeffrey pines, and ride by mountain meadows.
Another detour (also on the map) is the Tallac Historic Site, managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It's a multiacre compound of wood-and-stone buildings that originally served as summer homes for wealthy families from San Francisco.
Walk your bikes by the Pope Estate (built in 1894), the Baldwin Estate (1921) and the Heller Estate, also known as Valhalla (1923). Also on the grounds are the remains of the Tallac Resort (1890-1916), built by legendary entrepreneur Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin as a hotel-casino and playground for the rich.
Anderson has more than 100 bikes in his fleet, with seats that are actually comfortable. Rentals: $10 per hour, $30 for four hours, $45 for a full day. As for specials, Anderson is always willing to knock off 10 percent upon request. Hours for this weekend: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
As for the rest of the season, Anderson's Bike Rentals will be open "until the snow flies," typically around the first part of November. It's at 13th Street along Highway 89 (Emerald Bay Road), not far from the Y, where Highway 50 meets Highway 89. Information: (530) 541-0500; for a virtual tour of the bike trail, go www.andersonsbicyclerental.com.
If you knock back some bratwurst and grilled salmon at the two festivals and you've still got a high-altitude hunger working, we have another to-go - Sam's Place, which opened in 1971.
Sam's is a fine, funky bar-restaurant very popular with the locals. Lots of old wood and a well-used bar usually filled with "colorful characters." Sam's serves very good burgers, pizza, fish tacos and the like. The bartenders know their trade, and big-screen TVs are a bonus during football season.
Sam's Place is at 611 Highway 50, Zephyr Cove, Nev., past the Stateline casinos; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., (775) 588-2844.