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Window into a lost-era vacation

It was only a matter of time before Lake Tahoe’s last remaining time warp was taken over by developers with big dreams and deep pockets. Yes, the West Shore—the most pristine residential section of the lake—is poised to become the Sierra’s own Ghirardelli Square. In 2006, San Francisco–based commercial real estate investment firm JMA Ventures purchased Homewood Resort, and its plans to renovate the refreshingly old-school ski area—and surroundings—are well under way. “The traffic and hiking trails have gotten bad enough,” says 42-year-old San Franciscan Perry Pownall, who has spent every summer here since she was a kid. “I shudder to think what’s to come.” Whatever the future holds, the present is still open for business, before the swank descends. Here’s how to enjoy the area while you can:

Drink sunset cocktails on the pier at Chambers Landing (, the oldest bar on the lake.

Swim at Chambers Beach.

Hike the trails around Sugar Pine Point State Park (

Picnic in the wildflower-strewn Page Meadows. Camp in Desolation Wilderness; easiest access is from the trailheads at Meeks Bay.

Sleep lakeside at the intimate six-room West Shore Inn (, just reopened by JMA Ventures.

Kayak up to Sunnyside Lodge ( for lunch on the deck.

Eat a Swiss-chocolate croissant at the Tahoe House Bakery (