It started when Ski Magazine declared Truckee the Best Ski Town. We thought it was cool that someone finally acknowledged what we already knew ~Truckee was very unique. We’d been there about 15 years when it happened. It was local’s town through and through. Sure, there were tourists clogging the roads on the weekends, but you knew to stay low during the busy seasons. It was the kind of town where everyone’s kids went to the same school (because it was the only school), they all played soccer together; they’d known each other since pre-school.

When East West Partners bought Northstar-at-Tahoe, property values started to climb. Everyone said, “This is great. My house is worth so much more.” All our construction friends built spec homes. The gated, private, golf coursed, subdivision at Lahontan changed the landscape forever. Suddenly, private jets filled the airport. Truckee was the hot spot for trophy homes, multi-million dollar “cabins” that the owners visited once or twice a year. East West Partners added two more golf communities, Old Greenwood and Gray’s Crossing. There are now 8 golf courses in town.

Last weekend OB’s Restaurant had its closing party. It’s been at the heart of the town since 1970, but now it’s gone ~ the owner can’t afford the downtown rent. Molly’s Cupboard is gone too. I’ve heard rumors of others, which I won’t mention. Most of the locals sold out and moved away (us included). Now the town is at least half second homes. The schools are suffering from declining enrollment. Affordable housing is hotly debated subject on the town counsel.

I occasionally drive up there to wander around a bit. I’m a tourist, now. Cruising in and out of my favorite shops on Commercial Row, I don’t actually buy anything, it’s too expensive ~ like “OH My God, I am NOT paying $600 for a pair of pants!” Sometimes I find things I want at the thrift shop or the little used book store in the alley.

Reading through this post, I realize how sad it sounds. For a few people, it has been a boomtown. But I fear for most locals it is more like KABOOM.


Nessie Noodle said...

I feel you on this one Cathy... I was born in T-town, graduated from HS there and worked summers downtown, Ponderosa Deli, JoAnne's Stained glass, the tshirt shop.

My parents were the ones who originally converted Pianetta (spelling?) into a resturaunt back in the day from a laundry mat to resturaunt. I grew up at Earthsongs and some of our famiy friends still have their names on the menu at the Squeeze. I used to sit in the window and help my mom roll out pasta before the building blew up where Dragon Fly now is...

The extended fam and I had dinner at OB's the weekend before they closed. it is really sad- change has come and taken over.
My god parents live down town, so we still do the walk downt here to get mail and the like (but I hear the post office is on its way out too?)

Tiffany said...

Sounds like a lot of the coastal towns here in Maine. We'd flounder without the tourists, but so many of them have bought up coastal property that it has pushed the fisherman inland and turned so much upscale. I wish there was a better way to keep some "local" (affordable)balance with the tourist/upscale.