I spent my childhood between San Francisco during the school months and Truckee, CA, during the winter and summer months we were out of school. My folks had built cabin in the 70s before the shmancy Tahoe Donner community was established. Over the past 15 years, Truckee has become a total destination. We graduated from remote mountain town, to resort mountain town with an exclusive second-home community, to, now, destination touting both a Ritz and owner-exclusive community in Martis Camp.
My Truckee remains the same - our original 70s log cabin kit-built getaway that now has a satellite cabin so we can house more of the family at a given time. However, every time I go "into town" (all of 2 miles away), I find some new treasure. The young, industrious community in the area has been capitalizing both on local talent and creations and access to lesser-known but brilliant works to concept unique shopping experiences to both locals and those of us who escape to the Sierras on weekends.
Heather and Brian's Bespoke was one of the first shops I came across that made me realize Truckee's downtown stretch hit a game-changing stride. This eclectic shop focuses on unique work from independent artists and spans jewelry, home goods and clothing.
Along my regular sequence is jewelry master Lorien Powers's shop on Bridge Street, just down the block from Moody's Bistro (where Paul McCartney has been known to pop in for a casual jam - no joke). Lorien's designs skew industrial but hold a tough femininity that daintiest chick can rock. Her work ranges within her focal area - from chunkier metal pieces to stunning precious solitaires set in gold. Watch for her Etsy shop to introduce new works and give her a gander on Facebook to see more variety.
Long-time Truckee staple La Galleria has been a mecca for stunning artistic home decor, jewelry and accessories for over 30 years. There is SO. MUCH. STUFF in this teeny, alley-esque boutique. Prepare to spend time looking through the various pieces, as incredible finds may be tucked away. La Galleria features both local artists and talent from farther away, such as Lilly Barrack in New Mexico and Poland's Tomasz Plodowski. The staff at La Galleria are the sweetest; they're both patient as you explore the shop and participatory in your exploration & decision-making (read: the best kind of bad influence!). Courtney helped me seal the deal on the stunning Labradorite & diamond earrings set in rose gold from Liven Co. (bottom right).
Last, but certainly not least, I stumbled into Nox, a boutique established a couple of years ago that I just hadn't had a chance to explore. Nox specializes in clothing, accessories and gifts made primarily domestically of natural materials. I met the brains behind Nox, Liz, who is an absolute sweetheart. She turned me onto German-based women's shirt master house 0039 Italy and nourishing skincare line Acure Organics. I love the concept behind Nox and had to cut myself off before getting into more retail trouble. I can't wait to come back and see how Liz rounds out her spring picks.
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Lease shares in Truckee are incredibly popular for Bay Area peeps. For a weekend in the Sierras with less of a commitment, Truckee Donner Lodge is a conveniently situated and even better priced option (nightly rates range from $84-$204, depending on the season). For a splurge, check out the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, home to one of the most serene spa settings I've ever experienced. (Rates start in the low $200s in the mid spring season and spike to the high $600, depending on room and time of the summer.)
If possible, get up to Truckee in time for Thursday evening during the summer. Starting June 11 through August 20 this year (2015), Donner Pass is shut down starting at 5PM for Truckee Thursdays, the town's standing summer street fair series. Shops extend their displays onto the streets, restaurants emerge with foods trucks, and a beer garden is in full force with live music.