Your Friend in High Places Blog

Interesting and timely information to enhance your Tahoe lifestyle

The Thunderbird Lodge at Lake Tahoe

By Michelle Portesi.

Nestled along a hidden cove on Lake Tahoe’s east shore is the site of the Historic Thunderbird Lodge. The estate, with its sweeping grounds on Lake Tahoe’s crystalline shores features many stone auxiliary buildings in addition to the main home that are a testament to ‘Old Tahoe’ architecture and a bygone era.

I’m embarrassed to admit, that in all the decades I have lived here in the Tahoe basin, I have never been to the Thunderbird. That was finally remedied by a friend who works for the Lodge and invited me to volunteer there. We arrived just as a spectacular Tahoe sunset was in progress that illuminated the buildings in an opulent array of light.


Decorating for Christmas
























Now I don’t want to give away all of the Thunderbird’s delights or reiterate all of its history here in this article. You really should experience it for yourselves. The estate’s high season is from May through mid October, where tours are conducted through the estate and you will be enthralled with tales of the Lodge’s background and stories about its series of inhabitants. But did you know that the Lodge is also available to hold a variety of private functions such as weddings and corporate dinners? When I was there the Lodge was decked out for the holidays and I can’t think of a more unique setting to hold a memorable event.

The Thunderbird Lodge is also home to the vintage wooden yacht of the same name that has graced the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance boat shows over the years. Its permanent home is among the white sand, aqua blue water and giant boulders the east shore is known for.


Sunset reflection on the Dreyfus addition to the Thunderbird Lodge
























The Thunderbird Lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its continued operation is entirely through the generous donations to the nonprofit Thunderbird Preservation Society. Volunteers are also often needed and welcome during their most busy months and I can attest to it being a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

To learn more about the Thunderbird Lodge and the Thunderbird Yacht or to book an event, please visit their website:

You can also read about Bill Watson, the Thunderbird’s chief executive and curator and his unwavering mission to preserve this wonderful historic site.


Stone auxiliary building at the Thunderbird Lodge





















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