A chat with Reno Tahoe local, Laura Lawson Visconti

I recently spent a glorious couple of days exploring Reno Tahoe for the first time with my friend Laura, and was immediately smitten by the stunning views of Lake Tahoe juxtaposed against the quirky artistic charm of Reno. I wanted to share some of the photos from our trip as well as some thoughts from LLV on finding home in #renotahoe. Hope you enjoy 'em! 

V

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V:  LL, we’ve been friends for years –– since your early Seattle days. I obviously miss you being around, but can you tell me about your journey to finding home in the Reno Tahoe area?

L:  Oh man… I’ve lived up and down the entire West Coast: from Orange County to Seattle, and everywhere in between. It’s taken awhile to find “home” but it’s been worth the wait! My husband Nick is from Truckee, and throughout our time in the PNW it was always his goal to come back to launch a coffee roastery (coming this fall!). We’ve been here two years now, and this is definitely where we’re supposed to be. I am launching my own creative agency next month, and am grateful to live in a place that supports entrepreneurs like Nick and I. The Reno Tahoe area has the best community: an eclectic hodgepodge of ski bums, creative business owners and really just the best humans you’ll ever meet. Throw in a healthy sprinkling of tourists to make the economy function, and it’s definitely one of the more unique places I’ve ever lived. I’ve never had a bigger circle of friends, or been more involved in a church. I run into someone I know literally every day. I still love experiencing the vibrant heartbeat of big cities, but now they feel stifling in a way… like, where are the trees? The mountains?

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V:  We ran around Reno and Tahoe for a couple days, and I got to see a glimpse into your world. You very obviously have a sense of pride about your home, as well as the locals I met along the way. What do you think it is about Tahoe that runs deep in the local's veins?

L:  There’s something special about choosing to make your home in the rugged wilderness –– you’re signing up for a grittier, gutsier life; but also a more rewarding life. The community here really does rally together. You don’t hear people arguing about politics; instead conversations revolve around trailheads and chair lifts. This past winter was record-breaking –– we had over a dozen power outages in January alone. Neighbors knocked on each other’s doors, offering extra batteries and flashlights, and helped each other with the snow. Then we all met at the bar at the end of the day to compare tall tales. No one locks their front door. It’s a safe community –– a good place to raise a family. It’s not for everyone, which I think is partially where that local pride stems from –– we’re the ones who have figured out how to make it work, and that’s not always easy.

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V: Describe your perfect day at home… (obviously it’s with me visiting!)

L: Haha, of course! Nick and I actually see our friends a lot more now that we live in Tahoe, as they just come to us. I love catching sunset at Donner Summit –– the history there is so amazing, and the views don’t get much better. Kayaking has become a big part of my day-to-day life in the summertime: I either kayak Donner Lake in the morning, or head to Tahoe’s East Shore in the evening for sunset. Coffee is a must. Then I’d either opt for a traditional beach day, complete with floaties and beer, or go on a massive day hike –– we did Twin Peaks the other day (11 miles round trip), which was epic. Finishing the day in Reno for a delicious dinner at Centro would be the perfect ender.

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V:  Okay, let’s get to the important stuff:

·   Best cocktail in town? Mediterranean Mule from The Shore Room at the newly-opened Renaissance Hotel in Reno.

·   Best dinner + view? Lone Eagle Grille in Incline Village, hands down. You literally can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

·   Fav local’s spot (promise we will keep it a secret!)? The abandoned train tunnels on Donner Summit –– also fun to snowshoe in the winter!

·   Most rewarding hike? Love showing newbies Monkey Rock for an amazing first glimpse of Lake Tahoe, but my personal favorite overnight backpacking trip is the Sugar Bowl to Squaw stretch along the PCT: 17 miles total.

·   Which of these are doable in the fall when I come back? :D All of them –– every experience feels brand new when there’s a blanket of snow!

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V:  Now the most important question of all… when are you free so I can come back for Pt. 2?

L:  Girl, I’ll be here all winter: snowboarding, ice skating, hot toddies, warm socks, snowshoeing, gorgeous views… there’s nothing better! Fair warning: if you visit me in the snow I will make you shovel ;)

V:  Deal!  

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This adventure was made possible due to Reno Tahoe. All opinions expressed are my own.