By Eileen Majors
Photos Courtesy of Sorensen’s Resort
Over the river and through the woods, we wound our way to Sorensen’s Resort after hearing of a Christmas Cabin on the property, which had been relocated from Santa’s Village, a ’50s era amusement park in California. We traveled along the Carson River, where we met the high elevation forest; giant rocks are built into the landscape, rounded smoothly and tucked neatly into hillsides. Soon we landed at our destination where we had requested to stay in St. Nick’s Cabin, one of the cabins from Santa’s Village that opened in 1957 in Scotts Valley, near Santa Cruz, and still lives in the memories of many, including myself, who visited the theme park during its nearly 10-year span of operation.
Our quest to find this Christmas cabin in the woods ended up leading us to a place in the Sierras, where many come to find peace, tranquility and friends. Sorensen’s Resort is a great spot to meet new friends or join old friends to share a variety of outdoor beauty and nearby adventures. It is located on the eastern edge of Hope Valley, 20 miles south of Lake Tahoe. A homestyle cafe welcomes roadside guests, and a path leading up the gently-sloped hillside charts the course to a variety of cabins, each nestled in the woods.
We took the path to St. Nick’s Cabin, a forest green structure adorned with whimsical red and white scalloped trim, fitting for the old elf himself.
Inside, a wood stove and living room were tucked beneath the open beams and staircase leading to the bedroom. A tightly-tucked attic room provided gorgeous views, a comfortable bed and sitting chair. A cedar chest included extra blankets and pillows. Outside the bedroom window we could see only the wilderness, where a mama bear with cubs was said to have been traveling about. A kitchen downstairs also gave ample views of the backyard wilderness through a windowed door leading to a small deck where I enjoyed a hot cup of tea. Just off the deck, stood a giant, smooth rock much taller than I. I enjoyed a seat on one of the wooden chairs and set up my hot tea on the side table to take in the beauty of the hillside and the giant rock, appearing to anchor the scene.
The scent of the evening meal drew guests from the cabins and passersby.
Sorensen’s Country Cafe is known for its hearty meals like Beef Burgundy Stew, Mediterranean Lamb and Ribeye steaks with housemade Cabernet Glaze. Pasta, chicken and even wild, fresh fish are available for dinner daily. Prime Rib is served on Saturdays. After dinner, guests joined each other by an outdoor fire pit to share stories of the day. Some were plotting to fire up the wood stove in the guest sauna, located in a separate building on the grounds. It was evident that for many, this was not their first trip to Sorensen’s.
Morning came and we enjoyed a big and flavorful breakfast in the cafe. Rustic country furnishings and fine wines lined the walls of the room, and large windows showed off beautiful views of the secluded resort. I enjoyed a house-made spinach and mushroom-cheese quiche with a fresh biscuit and fried potatoes. My husband Brian enjoyed an omelette stuffed with all kinds of meats and veggies. You can choose from a list of tasty ingredients to include, and that he did. The food was scrumptious and fresh fruit garnishes added to the colorful presentation. The place is known for bountiful meals, served mountain-style. Their signature berry cobbler is part of the proof of their excellent desserts.
After breakfast we got to talk to the owner John. He and his wife Patty began plotting their venture in Hope Valley 34 years ago, on their honeymoon. Nearby, they also manage Hope Valley Resort’s store and RV park that features full hook-ups and riverfront sites. A fishing area down the road is set up for handicapped persons and is also maintained by Sorensen’s Resort. The area is brimming with things to do and the couple have put together a charming destination. Hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, river rafting and other outdoor activities nearby help draw a steady stream of visitors.
Sorensen’s Resort offers 21 quaint cabins. Bed and Breakfast accommodations range from $125 to $190 per night and include breakfast for two. All cabins have full kitchens. Group cabins and homes on the property can hold up to six persons and range from $185 to $250. Three homes on the property, each with room for six, range from $295 to $475 per night. They host special events throughout the year including a wreath-making class scheduled for December 6, 2014. For a full line-up of available accommodations and special events, visit SorensensResort.com or call: 530-694-2203.