At Family Nature Summits – Lake Tahoe Day 5

Living room at Thunderbird Lodge

What would you do if you knew as a child that you’d never have to work a day in your life? What if you knew that you would inherit more money than you would ever need? That’s the story of George Whitell, Jr. and Thunderbird Lodge.

On Day 5 of Family Nature Summits, I went on a field trip instead a hike. It was time for a little culture.

Our group traveled by van to Thunderbird Lodge on  the shores of Lake Tahoe. The tour, led by a volunteer docent for the Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society, concentrated on the features of the house and grounds but I was more interested in the man.

George (1881-1969), as the docent called him, was the product of a wealthy San Francisco family. As a young man, he went from one party to another, acquiring boats and automobiles. He bought the Lake Tahoe property when he was in his fifties, and a recluse. The lodge was small, because unlike Mrs. Knight of Vikingsholm, part of yesterday’s trip, he didn’t want any overnight guests.

Look at the  picture of the living room. What struck me the most was that there was no art on the walls – no Picassos, Monets, Manets – though the docent told us that the house was restored to its glory days.

Isa with her teachers

The opening above leads to his bedroom. An equivalent bedroom on the other side was for his wife of fifty years. They didn’t have any children and most of his fortune went to charity after his death.

The last evening at FNS is devoted to skits by the children – from the 3-5 year olds in Early Discovery to the silliness of the Young Adults (18 to 25).

But Isa wanted to know why adults don’t have a skit. She spoke to the president, Pamela Morrison, who said “Maybe next year?”.

The Bears skit

The last day and evening is also when we say “good bye and see you next year”. Speaking of next year, Family Nature Summits will be in Western Maine, in the While Mountains, June 30 to July 6, 2018.

I already have it on my calendar and will sign up very soon along with my two granddaughters.

Check out the website and see you in Maine.

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