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A Common Thread

Go Tahoe North launches Local Luminaries, a six-episode series about exceptional locals
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The Tahoe community is a mosaic of individuals — makers, artists, athletes, wellness gurus, environmentalists — who all share a common trait: their connection to Tahoe’s landscape. Celebrating Lake Tahoe locals, the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce has launched Local Luminaries; a six-episode series featuring short-film documentaries about locals who embody the character and culture of North Lake Tahoe. The first four episodes highlight six locals, with two additional episodes airing this fall.

“One of the most challenging aspects of creating this series was to narrow our list of locals,” said Andy Chapman, president and CEO of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. “The range of talent was pages long, each with a compelling connection to North Lake Tahoe. That speaks to the vibrant cultural fabric of our North Shore community — full of texture, color, and the notion that someone can experience this environment in vastly different ways.”

The series’ first episode features Jenni Charles, vocalist, songwriter, and fiddle player of the Dead Winter Carpenters. Charles shares her story as a touring musician and new mom, and talks about the bluegrass melodies that introduced her to her husband, Jesse Dunn, at a Commons Beach concert in 2009. Charles has her home base in Tahoe City, and she explains how the outdoors creates a balancing act for her busy life.

The second episode, filmed at historic Thunderbird Lodge, introduces Bill Watson, Chief Executive and Curator at Thunderbird Lake Tahoe. The episode combines Watson’s knowledge of the lodge with stories about the past eccentricities of George Whittell and his famous East Shore castle, built in 1936. Watson is quick to debunk inaccurate local legends, and in turn, expertly recites details from The Thunderbird’s 80-year history.

The third episode is set to be released in mid-August, and features Douglas Dale, chef and owner of Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique in Tahoe City. Dale moved to the West Shore 40 years ago, and transformed Tahoe’s food scene with techniques learned at the Mineji Temple in southern Japan and through an apprenticeship with Hiroshi Hayashi in Boston. Dale explains why living in a mountain community allows him creative liberty to invent new recipes.

The fourth episode features Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington, world-class mountaineers and global adventurers. Ballinger owns and operates Alpenglow Expeditions and recently summited Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. Harrington is a professional rock climber who has been a leading figure in the climbing community since she was a teenager, attempting big wall free climbs and high-altitude peaks across the globe. The two talk about their relationship, what it’s like to come home after months on the road, and how the Sierra landscape lends itself to year-round recreation and high-altitude training.

Watch the Local Luminaries series by subscribing to the GoTahoeNorth YouTube Channel. To explore #TahoeNorth favorites from each luminary and learn more about their stories, visit

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November 8, 2018