On a clear night in Truckee, you can see an abundance of stars from your own backyard. But sometimes, it's nice to get a new perspective.
How about star gazing from the comfort of outdoor hot springs? Sierra Hot Springs is just a 45 minute drive away.
Lodging, meals, and workshops are available for those who want to make a weekend out of it. Stay in a private or dormitory-style room in the lodge or hotel, or set up a tent in the campground during the summer months.
But we think it makes a great night excursion from Truckee, the perfect getaway whether you're a local or just visiting the Tahoe area for a few days. Either way, pack the car with some open-minded friends (the hot springs are clothing-optional) and warm clothing for your walk between the baths.
The Meditation Pool is best for star-gazing. It's open seasonally, so check with the main office before you go. But for daytime soaking, the indoor Temple Dome pool offers equally beautiful views of the valley.
Day rates are extremely reasonable ($15-$20) and give you access to the pools until midnight-- plenty of time to unwind and watch the stars spill across the sky.
If you want to stay in town, consider a different kind of star-gazing at the Cedar House Sports Hotel. We mean, of course, five-star dining at the in-house restaurant Stella ('star' in Latin and Italian).
Seasonal menus keep things fresh. This spring, start with a crisp beet and tart apple salad topped with spiced pistachios, followed by duck pate and cara-cara oranges on crostini, and a main course of curry-crusted lamb drizzled with habanero honey.
Executive Chef Jacob Burton was a nominee for this year's People's Best New Chef award in Food & Wine Magazine. At only 29, Burton has a lot of training and professional experience under his belt, and it comes across in the simple, yet sophisticated dishes he makes at Stella, often incorporating produce from the Cedar House Sports Hotel's own gardens.
Burton also maintains an online instructional library and forum for Stella called Free Culinary School, where home chefs can browse video tutorials on a variety of professional techniques, from pan-roasting halibut to choosing the right saute pan.
Go for dinner or consider stopping by in the early evening to pick up a loaf of artisan wood-fired bread. Dinner begins at 5:30, Wednesday-Sunday at 10918 Brockway Road.