Viewing posts from: August 2014

Hidden Spots for Some Quiet Time

by stanfordsierra

08 29, 2014 | Posted in Preparing for your visit, Recreation | 0 comments

During the summer when we host Stanford alumni and their families, Stanford Sierra is packed full of guests. We keep our maximum to 180 during the spring and fall conference seasons, but during the summer, we often have upwards of 250 guests! It can get pretty loud and chaotic here on serene Fallen Leaf Lake.  So Bruce Campodonico, our head of maintenance (that title doesn't really give Bruce credit for all he does here), is on a mission to create hidden, peaceful spots where you can get away from the bulk of your fellow event attendees. Here is a rundown of what Bruce has created so far:

The Snooper Chalet

The Snooper Chalet

Bruce and his crew built the Snooper Chalet so our 5 & 6 year-olds in the summer would have a home base. This is also where yoga classes are held. During the conference season, the Snooper Chalet is quiet. You get there by taking a left uphill when you see the cleared area on your way back to the parking lot.
The view from the Snooper Chalet

The view from the Snooper Chalet

Behind the main lodge Bruce and his crew built a stone wall and included a nice seat. It's a nice shady area and there isn't much foot traffic, just a few of our staff members heading to and from the lodge.
Building the wall

Building the wall

I think the seat built into the wall looks like a throne...
Two staff members chatting on the throne!

Two staff members chatting on the throne!

During the summer it's chaos on the lakefront during daytime hours. But in the fall, it's often quiet and a great spot to read or just relax.
The ski dock is a quiet spot during the fall

The ski dock is a quiet spot during the fall

Bruce's latest creation is a gazebo on the lake. Perfect for a romantic moment or some quiet alone time. The gazebo is between the entrance to Stanford Sierra and the main lodge.
Lakefront gazebo

Lakefront gazebo

Look for the stone steps leading down to it...
Stone steps leading down to the gazebo

Stone steps leading down to the gazebo

So if you see Bruce during your visit to Stanford Sierra
Bruce!

Bruce!

say "hello" and thank him for all the cool stuff he has built around Camp!  

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Going the Extra Mile for Your Guests: The Coordinator Checklist

by SierraMerril

08 21, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Location, Meeting, Preparing for your visit, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Conference Coordinators should be sure to schedule free time for their participants during their stay on Fallen Leaf Lake.

Allowing your guests free time to explore the Fallen Leaf Lake area can be inspiring, reenergizing, and a welcome break from meetings. Views like this on the Clark Trail are only a 30-minute hike from Camp!

Are you planning a meeting, wedding, retreat or conference at Stanford Sierra Conference Center? Camp’s staff takes care of most everything while you’re here, but there are a few extra things you can do prior to your arrival to make sure your participants have the best experience possible while at Fallen Leaf Lake! As hosts for several conferences a year, we also go through this coordinator checklist to make sure our guests are prepared for a well thought out and planned event.
  • Look at your agenda and make sure you’ve scheduled free time for your guests. Attending a conference at Fallen Leaf Lake, but not having time to paddle on the lake, hike, or relax and read a book just isn’t right! While the main focus of your stay with us may be work, free time can inspire and reenergize your participants.
  • Give your participants a packing list. We’re happy to provide a basic list for you and your guests, but do they need to bring specific items for the conference? Slides for a presentation? A nicer outfit for a formal dinner? Their best 70s garb for Disco Bingo?
  • Provide your guests with clear directions for getting to Camp.  Your first visit to Stanford Sierra Conference Center can be unnerving. We are at the end of a winding and narrow, but beautiful road. Watch our driving video and share it with your guests so they know what to expect on the drive into Camp.
    Tote bags are great conference gifts! As a coordinator, think about what gifts a guest might use while at Camp.

    Creative Camp participants show off their new tote bags!

  • Create a #hashtag for your event. Use your social media hashtag to advertise your event and connect your guests before and after their stay. You’ll also have access to your guests’ great pictures. Be sure to connect with us (@stanfordsierra) and tag us on Instragram and Twitter so we can see how much fun you had!
  • Create gift bags or schwag for your guests. Everyone likes free things. Even better? Free useful things! Think about what your guests may be able to use during their stay. Hats? Sunscreen? Flashlights? We’re happy to hand your gifts out at the front office when your guests check-in, or have them waiting in their rooms.
  • Have a craving for a special menu item or snack? Be sure to let us know if you’re hoping for something special at your social hour, coffee break, or any one of your meals. Our baker, Steve, receives several requests a year from repeat groups who can’t wait to enjoy his seven layer bars!
  • Request selected wine and beer. The Fountain, Camp’s store, is stocked with a variety of beer and wine. But are you looking for something special? Perhaps a few cases of wine from your favorite Stanford affiliated vintner? Let us know and we can ensure your group has all of your favorite beer and wine on hand.

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Catering Rules from Geoffrey Zakarian

by stanfordsierra

08 14, 2014 | Posted in Dining, Special Events | 0 comments

I get regular emails from an online event website, Bizbash , and usually find some useful nuggets of information. A recent post included  catering rules by top professional chef Geoffrey Zakarian. The article was my introduction to Geoffrey Zakarian, and now I'm a fan! I think his advice is great (plus he's kind of cute). He has successful restaurants in NYC and is the recent Iron Chef winner, so I think he knows what he is talking about. He also has one cookbook and another available this fall, My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients Sounds great to me, I'm going to pre-order that book! Here are a few of his catering rules and how to apply them to an event at Stanford Sierra: Create a story from start to finish - Take advantage that your event is at a Camp in the mountains. Our events are spring or fall, so plan seasonal menus and use appropriate decor. Here are a couple photos from a fall wedding where the bride and her planner did a great job with the decor and Chef Dave created menus to complement the theme of the weekend

The rehearsal dinner was a casual BBQ theme on the dining room deck

The rehearsal dinner was a casual BBQ theme on the dining room deck

Decor for the reception dinner included burlap and live centerpieces in rustic wood planters

Decor for the reception dinner included burlap and live centerpieces in rustic wood planters

Chalkboard signs directed guests to weekend events

Chalkboard signs directed guests to weekend events

The cocktail hour should be no more than ... one hour - Whether your guests spent the day in a meeting or out on the hiking trails, (hopefully at least a little bit of the latter!) I think the fresh mountain air makes people hungrier! So even more reason to keep the cocktail hour to an hour, then get your group up to the dining room. The best place for social hours at Stanford Sierra is in the Old Lodge and on the deck.
Christina setting the wine for a social hour in the Old Lodge

Christine setting the wine for a social hour in the Old Lodge

The Old Lodge deck overlooks Fallen Leaf Lake

The Old Lodge deck overlooks Fallen Leaf Lake

Dress up a buffet-style table Chef Dave and his staff will take care of this for you. Let us know if you have particular requests, otherwise, we'll set our Stanford Sierra creative geniuses to work!
Smoked salmon set for a spring brunch with a creative shape and basil sprigs

Smoked salmon set for a spring brunch with a creative shape and basil sprigs

Take care of yourself, exercise and never forget that you need to be the seemingly smartest person in the room at all times I do my best to follow the first two, and for events at Stanford Sierra, I leave the third part to Chef Dave and our dining room manager Jess.
 Jess, dining room manager, and Chef Dave

Jess, dining room manager, and Chef Dave

Dave and his crew create wonderful meals, then Jess makes sure the serving is seamless. Jess has added many creative details to rooms sets for our recent events. Let us know your requests for your next event at Stanford Sierra and we'll make it happen!  

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Extending your stay on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore: Part Two

by SierraMerril

08 07, 2014 | Posted in Lake Tahoe area, Location, Recreation, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I highly recommend extending your stay in Tahoe after visiting Stanford Sierra Conference Center. In my last post, I suggested a few hikes and restaurants in the South Lake Tahoe area. Hiking and eating are two of my favorite things to do, so I started there, but Tahoe has a lot more to offer! Last summer my family visited and I realized I needed to diversify my typical activity suggestions to include fun things for all ages, abilities and fitness levels. So, here are a few more fun things to do on the South Shore:

Activities

Tallac Historic Site and Taylor Creek Visitor Center: Located near Fallen Leaf Lake off of Highway 89, these are both great places to explore with kids. You can visit one or the other, or walk along the bike path to get between the two. The Tallac Historic Site offers a self-guided walk through historic buildings and beautiful scenery. Check their event calendar to see if anything interesting is happening while you’re in town! The Taylor Creek Visitor Center is just down the road (less than a mile) and provides information about some of the area wildlife. There is a pretty neat Stream Profile Chamber where you can see the animals and plants in the stream through large windows. During the fall, don’t miss the Kokanee Salmon Festival! The creek is filled with Kokanee salmon swimming upstream to spawn—it’s quite a sight!
Lakeview Commons is located on Lake Tahoe and only a short drive from Stanford Sierra Conference Center.

The weekly paddle board race at Lakeview Commons is fun to watch! Be sure not to miss the locally made ice cream at the snack stand!

Lakeview Commons and El Dorado Beach: All summer, Lakeview Commons and El Dorado Beach (Lakeview Avenue and Highway 50, South Lake Tahoe) offer many activities for individuals and families. The beach is a fun safe area for kids to splash around in and swim in Lake Tahoe. A concession stand sells locally made ice cream and other snacks, and there are boat rentals on the beach. One of Tahoe’s most popular activities is paddle boarding, and this is a great place to learn! South Tahoe Standup Paddle offers rentals, lessons and guided tours right on the beach. For your daytime beach visit, make sure you have a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen and sunglasses! In the evenings, Lakeview Commons has free outdoor grills (bring your own charcoal and food to grill) and a great view of the sun setting behind the mountains. During the summer, there are paddleboard races starting at 6:30pm on Wednesday nights, and there is live music and vendors on Thursday nights.

Scenic Spots

If you’re spending a few extra days in Tahoe, don’t miss one of Tahoe’s most iconic sights: Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay and Fannette Island are two of the most photographed places in Tahoe. Views from the parking lots on either side of the bay are wonderful. If you’re up for it, walk down the steep path to Emerald Bay Beach from the Vikingsholm parking lot and take in the views from lake level.

Emerald Bay and Fannette Island are just a short drive from Stanford Sierra Conference Center.

Emerald Bay is one of Tahoe's most photographed spots. Fannette Island sits in the middle of the Bay and is the only island in Lake Tahoe.

The Heavenly Gondola is another great place to see amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. Located in the Heavenly Village, the gondola takes you to the top of the mountain. Be sure to stop at the halfway point to enjoy the best views of the basin. At the top, enjoy fun summer activities including tubing, zip lining, hiking, and a ropes course! Heavenly Village is also an entertaining place to spend a few hours. There are many different shopping, dining and entertainment options in the Village which makes it a great area to stroll, window show and enjoy an ice cream cone on a hot day!

Looking for more suggestions? Just ask the front office when you're at Camp and they'd be happy to make more suggestions for enjoying a few extra days on Tahoe's South Shore.  

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