Lake Tahoe is impossibly beautiful and Emerald Bay is its most beautiful piece. Highway 89, some hundreds of feet above the water, skirts around the Bay. There are several places to stop and soak up the view, but I encourage you to walk down and into a world Helen Smith has known almost all her life and has worked very hard to preserve. Her family's friend, Mrs. Laura J. Knight, had 200 highly-skilled craftsmen construct the Vikingsholm estate in the 1920s. As a child, Helen came every summer. Many others stopped by too, including celebrities such as Charles Lindbergh. They all marveled at the beauty of Emerald Bay and the way Vikingsholm seemed to grow organically from the surrounding granite and forest. After Mrs. Knight passed away, Helen and others secured Vikingsholm's protection as a California state park, and they've labored ceaselessly ever since to raise money to rehabilitate, maintain and interpret the mansion and its history. Thanks in large measure to Helen's devotion, we can all spend moments of our own summers in this magical domain by the edge of the lake. So much of what we value most is made possible by committed and caring people such as Helen. We owe them and her a great debt of gratitude. And by the way, even when Vikingsholm is closed to the public in the winter, it's fun to wander down. If the snow is good, strap on snow shoes or cross-country skis and keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles soaring in the winter sky.