A Unique Solo Retreat in Lake Tahoe

This past December, I had a free weekend to take a little trip by myself, so I browsed Airbnb to see if I could find any interesting get-aways near me. I came across an odd little place called The Redlight in Truckee, California, just north of Lake Tahoe. The description read:

“Meet other adventurers in the shared lounge. Enjoy our beer and wine bar or hang out in the sauna. There is a dog on site.”

After reading this, it was a done deal! I booked it immediately. The next day, I set off on my 2 day solo journey. First, I checked out South Tahoe for a walk around the frozen shore, then drove north via the eastern side of the lake. I highly recommend stopping at Sand Harbor for a walk! The Nevada side is less traveled and perfectly serene.

A beautiful Lake Tahoe winter
South Lake Tahoe views

Walking on ice in Lake Tahoe
South Tahoe shore is frozen over

Lake Tahoe from Sand Point Serene Image
Sand Harbor hike on Lake Tahoe’s eastern side

A Night at the Redlight

When the sun went down, I headed for The Redlight. Once I made it to Truckee, which is about 30 minutes north of the lake, The Redlight was easy to spot. There’s only one red barn with a big red light out on the main street. As I pulled up, I was unsure of myself. Would this be a fun and random night or a strange one? Was anyone else even there? Before I could back out, I walked up to the door and saw a key pad to enter a code. I starred at it blankly, and suddenly an energetic woman in a sparkly fringed top opened the door and said, “Well, bless your heart, you didn’t read the sign! Come on in!”

I stepped into a dimly lit bar with red walls and a Moulin Rouge vibe. The server was dressed up in a vintage dress and hat.

Bartender at the Redlight in Truckee, California
The Redlight’s Bartender—totally in character!

Three other travelers sat at the bar and welcomed me as if I had come into their home…which happened to be straight out of the 1880’s. Right away, they invited me to join them for drinks in town, so my night was shaping up quickly!

First, I settled into the dorm-style bedroom. This wasn’t just any dorm, though! The beds were inside of little cubbies, each with its own individual reading light, electrical outlets and a curtain for privacy. Not to mention how comfortable they were!

Classic detailing in the light fixture of the hostel dorm
Classic detailing in the light fixture of the hostel dorm
Creative touches around The Redlight house
Creative touches around The Redlight house

The Redlight is a newer place in town where people of all types and ages gather. There were skiers, solo adventurers, poeple living long term and even people from other countries working and staying in the hostel. The whole experience was a mix between a hostel stay, bed and breakfast and a home stay. At night, the bar filled up and was really the place to be! They had all kinds of crazy hats that people would put on to get into the theme. I found out that the building used to be a brothel back in the day, hence the moulin rouge theme.

Nicole Hammonds in character Wall detailing at The Redlight

Truckee is actually such a fun place to be, especially if you’re just stopping through for some skiing or hiking. There are restaurants, bars, shops and cafes—and the nicest people! I landed at Moody’s with the best whiskey sour in town and divine Neapolitan pizza. Later, we used the sauna, an amazing amenity to have, especially in the winter. The rest of the house included a library room, a sound-proof music room, a kitchen, a deck, a Hello Kitty themed bathroom and last but not least, an adorable dog.

The house dog just chilling at the party

What a fantastic place this was. I met so many interesting people, listened to stories and had good conversations. The Redlight experience is one that I highly recommend for anyone. I can’t wait to go back!

Before heading home, I cooked a meal on my camping stove by the take at a view point in Tahoe City on the west side.

A lake side dinner in Tahoe City
A lake side dinner in Tahoe City

1 Comment

  • Mary Beth
    Beautiful views, interesting people and good food! What's not to love!

Leave a comment