Destination California: Enjoy Lake Tahoe at the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion

Destination California

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) — Everyone knows that if you come to Northern California, you’ve got to head to Lake Tahoe, especially during the summer.

There are so many fun things for families to do, and there’s also a beautiful hidden gem on the west shore.

FOX40’s Melanie Townsend visited a 100-year-old home owned by the California State Parks System, one of the finest estates on the west side of Lake Tahoe.

Imagine you built a mansion so grand and noteworthy that it became a historical landmark — and eventually, a state park. This is what happened to the original Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, which was built in 1902 by Isaias W. Hellman.

The mansion housed one of the wealthiest families in early California history.

“The house is 11,700 square feet in a California craftsman style,” Heidi Doyle, the Sierra State Parks Foundation executive director, explained. “So, using original materials from the Lake Tahoe basin … what we see behind us, all the granite, came from Lake Tahoe.”

The estate stretches across more than 1,000 acres of the Sugar Pine Point State Park. The Pine Lodge mansion was the family’s summer home from 1903 to 1965 until it was saved by the state. 

“The intention was to tear down the house and turn this into a campground, a lakeside campground,” Doyle told FOX40.  

Thanks to some passionate advocates, the Pine Lodge is now a home for all Californians, Doyle said. 

“It’s a family home. It’s very livable, even though it’s 11,000 square feet — much larger than my personal house. I can see being in here,” Doyle said. 

Guests can now tour this eight-bedroom, six-bathroom home set in the summertime of the 1930s and learn about the unique craftsmanship. 

“The uniqueness of handwoven redwood, we have not seen this anywhere else,” tour guide Lindsay Harbison said. 

Doyle’s favorite spot is a window in the kitchen.

“I love it. I always imagined doing dishes and looking at Lake Tahoe,” she said.

The masterpiece requires a lot of upkeep, and the tours help pay to fix damage caused by time and recent earthquakes in the area.

The good times continue outside as visitors kick back on the front porch, hike one of Sugar Pine Point’s beautiful trails or have plenty of fun in the sun at Lake Tahoe.

“We really encourage people to absorb nature because it’s the combination of history and nature that makes this park so special,” Doyle explained.

Aside from its architectural charm and history, you can’t beat this lakeside view, making the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion another great destination in California.

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