Black Bear Inn
at Lake Tahoe


(530)544-4451    RESERVATIONS  

Click on this diary to read a few guest room diary comments left by our guests.

Black Bear Inn is listed as a Lake Tahoe destination in Nexos magazine, Oct/Nov 2015.

The Aug/Sept 2014 issue of Sactown magazine has a section on Lake Tahoe that our Chamber of Commerce could have written. "50 fun ideas for Tahoe" and we're part of it. Get a copy of this if you can.

Sactown Magazine
BEARPAW footwear


Photos from the BEARPAW Footwear photo shoot in March 2012 - - taken at the inn.

The February 2012 issue of Sacramento magazine lists Black Bear Inn in their Weekend Getaway article titled 10 Romantic Inns. Thanks for the mention, Sac Mag!

Sacramento Magazine again!
On the cover of Travel Smith magazine

Black Bear Inn landed on the cover of Travel Smith's Winter 2011 catalog, which highlighted lodges around the U.S.

The December 2011 issue of Sacramento magazine gave Chef Alex a nice paragraph in a feature section of what's new at Sierra ski resorts: The Iceman Cometh!

in Sacramento Magazine

Fodor's once again names Black Bear Inn as the only accommodation in all of Lake Tahoe for their coveted Editors' Top Picks.

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Two guests from Austria just showed us a 2011 German-language travel magazine that lists Black Bear Inn as one of the best places to stay when visiting Lake Tahoe!

Fodor's Choice again.

A photo shoot in June 2010 for a women's clothing catalog.

Ski Magazine's December 2009 issue says, "Romantics should book Black Bear Inn..."

Sierra Heritage included Black Bear in their article about bike-friendly inns in June 2009.

Victoria gave Black Bear Inn an excellent write up in the December 2009 edition.

In their Lake Tahoe feature story, the Aug/Sept 2008 edition of SacTown magazine lists Black Bear Inn as one of two places to rest your head.

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San Francisco Chronicle gave Black Bear Inn a nice write up on July 17, 2008.

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May 18, 2008 - - the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune gave us a great write-up.

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7x7 Magazine lists Black Bear

Ski Magazine, March 2008 reviews Black Bear Inn for skiers headed to Lake Tahoe.

Executive Traveler, Jan. 2008: "A delightful alternative to the brash casinos."

7x7 Magazine lists Black Bear

7x7 Magazine, Jan. 2008: "The inn prides itself on its neo-rustic decor...framed artwork, chandeliers and plush couches. Stay in the main lodge or your own romantic cabin."

ABC's The Bachelor returned to Black Bear, and the episode aired in April of 2007. This time it was Lt. Andy Baldwin and Amber.

Our lodge is given a flattering write up in the Travel section of the December 2006 edition of Sunset magazine.

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Tahoe Quarterly Magazine, Summer 2006

Read the nice write up we got in the "B&B Beauties" section of the Summer 2006 Tahoe Quarterly magazine.

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Black Bear Inn has a huge, five page spread with seven giant photos in the June 2006 edition of the Thai-language magazine Traveller's Companion. We don't have the faintest idea what the article says.

The Thai magazine Traveller's Companion

The January 2006 issue of Ski Magazine lists the Black Bear Inn as its lodging pick for "romance."

The Jan/Feb 2006 edition of Out Traveler lists Black Bear Inn as a great place to stay during Gay Ski Week.

article about the Ascent gay ski week

The Winter 2005 edition of Elite included Black Bear Inn in its Lake Tahoe winter getaway article.

In July 2005, Waco Today interviewed Jerry about moving from Texas to Tahoe. (Jerry went to Baylor law school in Waco.)

Black Bear Inn is named as one of the best places to stay in the Winter/Spring issue of Sacramento Bride & Groom.

The Jan/Feb 2005 Via lists Black Bear Inn as one of the best places to stay in South Lake Tahoe.

Black Bear Inn is named one of California's Top 10 B&B Inns by the American Historic Inns readership

Sacramento Magazine recommends Black Bear in their Dec 2004 issue.

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Black Bear Inn is mentioned in the May 6, 2004 issue of The Arizona Republic.

We are mentioned in the Jan/Feb 2004 issue of Bride's Magazine.

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We were mentioned in the first issue of Air Resorts magazine (August/September 2003).

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The Great Towns Of Northern California has a nice write up for Black Bear.

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We were mentioned in the Summer/Fall 2003 edition of Sacramento Bride & Groom.

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The May 2003 Men's Health mentions Black Bear Inn as a "fabulous place to stay" in South Lake Tahoe.

The Tracy Press published an article about Black Bear on March 2, 2003.

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Skiing USA, a publication put out by Fodor's travel guides, gave us a nice write up.

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The travel section of The Washington Times had an article about Black Bear on 11/3/02.

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Black Bear Inn was used as a "Dream Date" location on the ABC program The Bachelor. The episode aired on April 22, 2002.

Black Bear Inn is listed as a Lake Tahoe destination in Nexos magazine, March 2002.

Estates West mentions Black Bear in "The Best Of The Best" section as a significant destination in Lake Tahoe.

Pilot Getaways, Winter 2001/2002 mentions Black Bear as a place to stay when flying into Lake Tahoe.

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Alaska Airlines says, "Within shouting distance of Heavenly Valley, Black Bear Inn is a bed-and-breakfast built from scratch to be both charming and luxurious . . . an ideal place for sublime indulgence."

Orvis shot some photos for their Fall Women's clothing catalog in our great room.

We were written up as one of the 100 best B&Bs in the first edition of California's Best B&Bs.

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Travel Holiday, May 2001 says, "... this inn achieves the coveted "rustic elegance" so many lodges strive for -- then throws in a dose of romance ... "

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National Geographic Adventure lists Black Bear Inn as an upscale retreat for hikers exploring the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Black Bear Inn is listed as a prime getaway for Silicon Valley executives in Click magazine.

The first edition (2000) of Moon Handbook: Tahoe says, ". . . Black Bear Inn is so elegant, so inviting, and such a marvel of craftsmanship and design that you may find it difficult to leave . . ."

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Black Bear is one of the two accommodations mentioned in the Dec 2000 issue of Passport Newsletter.

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We are mentioned in the Winter/Spring 2001 edition of Sacramento Bride & Groom.

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Black Bear Inn is listed as one of the Best Places To Stay in South Lake Tahoe in the December 2000 issue of Ski magazine.

We have a write up in the new, first edition of California For Dummies travel guide.

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Our front sign is shown as an example of Peter Truszewski's craftsmanship in the Fall issue of Tahoe Quarterly.

We are mentioned in the first three paragraphs of an article in the September issue of Ski magazine.

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We were written up in Best Places To Kiss In Northern California.

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We were mentioned in the travel section of the Dallas Morning News on March 12, 2000.

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We have a short write-up in the premier edition of Tahoe Quarterly magazine.

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We were featured on an HGTV travel show called Vacation Living. The first airing was August 17, 2000. It is still airing on a show called Fine Living.

We were awarded Best New Construction of 1999 by the Chamber of Commerce.

- - - from Pilot Getaways;
published Winter 2001/2002; written by Laurel Hilde Lippert :

    If you want a special experience, stay at the exquisite Black Bear Inn Bed & Breakfast. Owners Kevin Chandler and Jerry Birdwell have built a luxurious mountain lodge with five generous guest rooms and three cabins in the "Old Tahoe" style with timber beams and river rock. The overstuffed furniture, king beds, spacious bathrooms, and thoughtful decor are very inviting. "We wanted everything to be a little bigger than what you have at home," says Kevin. A hearty breakfast is served every morning. The Heavenly shuttle picks up guests outside the front door, and you're a short walk from two of South Lake Tahoe's best dinner restaurants.


- - - from California's Best B&Bs;
published July 2001; written by Elizabeth A. Borsting :

    Realtors often use certain adjectives and jargon in order to mask a more accurate description of a property.  Charming can often equal antiquated, vintage usually means old, and rustic is another way of saying rundown. Enter the Black Bear Inn, one of Lake Tahoe's most prized retreats, where rustic is finally getting the respect it deserves.
     Though short on history -- the inn was only built in 1999 ---- it's destined to greatness. This luxe retreat is found adrift on a wooded acre overlooking Tahoe's mountainous beauty. If you enjoy skiing, paradise has been found with 19 champion resorts all within a snowball-toss from here, including the renowned Heavenly less than a mile away. The warmer months offer another type of nirvana, one where fishing, golfing, hiking and sailing are the primary pleasures. Cross the California state line, just a short drive down the road, and you're surrounded by a crop of casinos on the Nevada side.
      The Black Bear Inn is centrally located, comfortably appointed and unabashedly luxurious. Even if you lose at the craps tables, at least you've hit the jackpot at the end of the night.
     Choose to slumber in the main lodge where five ample-size guest rooms await, or reserve one of three cabins shaded by towering pines. Let yourself be spoiled by such conveniences as king-size beds, river rock fireplaces, televisions and VCRs (some rooms even offer DVD players), and telephone and data ports.
     The five rooms in the main lodge offer varying appointments from wet bars and sitting areas, as found in the Sequoia Room, to vaulted log beam ceilings and balconies as illustrated in the Fallen leaf Room. Beyond the inn are the trio of cottages: Bonanza Trail, Sutter and Snowshoe Thompson. The Bonanza Trail is actually a duplex containing two separate rooms, the Stagecoach and Black Bart chambers. Snowshoe Thompson and Sutter cabins offer spacious digs with more than 900 square feet, separate bedrooms, kitchenettes and exceptional views. From the three cabins you can also expect open floor plans coated in hardwood with roomy bathrooms and a generous dose of privacy.
     The slopes in the distance might be enticing, but it's hard to pull yourself away from the comfy confines of the Black Bear Inn. Before venturing outside, fill your tummy with a heaping batch of freshly baked muffins presented on an old grocery counter, or grab an ice-cold bottle of orange juice from the well-worn washbasin. Entrees may include a brie omelet, eggs benedict or blueberry coffee cake. If you're residing in one of the cabins, you can request to have your meal brought to your room.
     The three-story Great Room is an architectural marvel with a magnificent river rock fireplace, a soaring cathedral ceiling, chunky log beams and a sweeping staircase. Later in the day, as the sun fades to black, guests gather here to sample wine and cheese. Suddenly, as you gaze out from this sublime setting from one of the plush sofas, you realize that being labeled a couch potato isn't really so bad after all. The inn also has a steaming outdoor hot tub, a perfect spot to end the day.


- - - from Travel Holiday;
published May 2001; written by Heidi Schuessler :

    Around the turn of the last century, rich West Coast families retreated to the south shore and surrounded themselves with every possible luxury. If you want to re-create that feeling of Old Tahoe largesse, head to the Black Bear Inn. Opened in March 1999, one mile from Heavenly Ski Resort, this inn achieves the coveted "rustic elegance" so many lodges strive for -- then throws in a dose of romance.
    The cedar-planked building is hidden in a row of motels on Ski Run Boulevard, so it's easy to overlook. Inside it's a different story: The focal point of the two-story building is the Great Room, with soaring log beams connected by pine trusses. A 34-foot-tall river-rock fireplace stands opposite two arched windows. In the back are three cabins and impeccable flower gardens.
    Inside, owners Jerry Birdwell and Kevin Chandler have decorated every available space with antiques from their native Texas, like distressed armoires, an old spinning wheel, and a buckboard carriage. Most of the western details (wagon wheels and an occasional bearskin) easily share space with stacks of books on Impressionist painters.
    The creative touches make for good conversation over breakfast: One guest room, the Frontier Room, has one wall made from the rough gray boards of an old sharecropper's cabin, and a worn blacksmith's apron hangs over the bed. With three separate cabins and only five guest rooms in the main lodge, privacy is assured. I stayed in the large Sequoia Room, with cathedral ceilings, a gas fireplace, a king bed, and a sitting area with two cushy love-seats. It was so calming and comfortable that I took a morning off from hiking to watch a movie on the DVD player (all movie rentals are complimentary).
    The only indulgence missing here is room service, but the owners make up for it other ways. There are thick robes for the outdoor hot tub, and cheese and private-label wines are served daily at 5 P.M.  Breakfasts, such as baked eggs layered with thin slices of ham and herbs, and grapes, are delicious.


- - - from Moon Handbook: Tahoe;
first edition, published 2000; written by Ken Castle :

    Opened in 1999 by retired Texas attorney Jerry Birdwell and his partner, Kevin Chandler, this spectacular, all-new inn with its log porte cochere is located halfway between the new Marina Village on Lake Tahoe and the California entrance to Heavenly ski resort. It is nestled between some nondescript motels, but don't let that bother you. The lodge and its one-acre grounds are so impressive and inviting that you'll feel like you're in the ultimate Tahoe Valhalla, more of a mountain executive retreat than a bed and breakfast inn.  The most compelling feature is the magnificent lobby -- something you would expect to see in a much larger lodge.  It has a 34-foot-high cathedral ceiling, which is supported by massive cut logs and is graced by an equally stunning river rock fireplace that rises from floor to ceiling.  This Great Room has intricate stone and lodgepole trim, giant picture windows, chandeliers, a grand piano, and rustic Western collectibles that Birdwell has scoured from the back roads of his native state.  Adjoining this room is a large dining area with several tables and a bar, as well as a full commercial kitchen.  Two guest rooms are downstairs, while the others are on the second floor and accessible from an open mezzanine that overlooks the parlor.  All rooms are spacious and individually decorated, with design elements that range from river rock gas fireplaces to authentic barn-wood wall paneling.   The Fallen Leaf room has exposed log beams and French doors leading to a sitting balcony, the Seneca room has a 10-foot ceiling and large bow window, and the Sequoia room -- really a suite -- has a large sitting area, wet bar and DVD player.  All rooms come with a private bath, king bed, television, telephone with data port, daily maid service, a full hearty breakfast and use of the lodge facilities, including an outdoor hot tub.  In addition to the lodge rooms, there are two cabins in the large, wooded rear yard, both with rustic American decor.  These come with king beds, fireplaces, kitchenettes, televisions, telephones and a full breakfast.  Downstairs, next to the side entrance and parking lot, is a ski and boot storage room -- a nice touch.  In the main lodge, a chef serves a complete breakfast that might include omelets, frittatas, potatoes, bacon and sausage, fresh fruit, home-baked breads, juices and coffee.  The Black Bear Inn is so elegant, so inviting and such a marvel of craftsmanship and design that you may find it difficult to leave.  Without a doubt, this is the premier small inn of the region and, hopefully, the first of a new generation of upscale lodging properties that showcase the Old Tahoe style of architecture.


- - - from Passport Newsletter;
published December 2000 Vol 35 Issue 12; written by Ginger Dingus :

    Not too many years ago, visiting Lake Tahoe meant that you would have to settle for something less than a truly first-rate hotel and sophisticated cuisine. But all that has changed, and this year-round recreation area now offers dining and lodging on a par with its stunning scenery . . . The Black Bear Inn, with its timbered walls, plank floors, leather chairs, antler chandeliers, bear skins and farm antiques, captures the spirit of a classy sportsman's retreat. A two-story, river rock fireplace dominates the comfortable parlor and adjacent breakfast area. There are seven guest accommodations -- five double rooms in the main lodge and a two-room cabin with kitchenette, all with gas fireplaces. Children younger than 16 are not accepted.


- - - from Sacramento Bride and Groom;
published Winter/Spring 2001; written by Suzi Rupp :

    . . . If you want to be pampered while enjoying that 'at home' feeling before and after your ceremony, choose a bed and breakfast inn. The Black Bear Inn is a perfect choice. This charming inn offers two options for your honeymoon suite: the wonderfully appointed and secluded Sequoia room upstairs in the main lodge or the intimate Snowshoe Thompson cabin snuggled among the pine trees behind the lodge. In all, the inn offers four individual cabins and five lodge rooms, all exquisitely and uniquely decorated in western style reminiscent of Lake Tahoe's grand old mansions and estates. Each cabin features a fireplace, kitchen and 'mud room' for skiers to remove wet boots before entering. The cabins and lodge are filled with antiques carefully selected by owners Jerry Birdwell and Kevin Chandler who provide every possible amenity for their guests. "We want all of our guests to feel like they have 'come home,' " Chandler says. . .


- - - from California for Dummies;
published 2001; written by Cheryl Farr Leas :

    Wow! This stunning lodgelike B&B looks like it jumped straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalog, complete with gleaming knotty-pine woodwork and a two-story riverstone fireplace in the soaring living room. Extraordinary craftsmanship, impeccable rustic-goes-chic style, beautifully outfitted rooms (gorgeous bathrooms!), lots of lounging space, and super-friendly hosts add up to my favorite place to stay in Tahoe, period. Geared more toward adults than families with kids, though.


- - - from Ski Magazine;
published September 2000; written by Ken Castle :

    Plenty of great ideas have been born on cocktail napkins, but transforming them takes more than an extra shot of Johnny Walker. In the case of the Black Bear Inn, South Lake Tahoe's newest B&B , the vision was there, right from the start. Proprietor Jerry Birdwell believed that Tahoe was ready for a change -- a return to the days of rustic elegance and pampered luxury that typified mountain hotels in the early 1900s. And as it turned out, he was not alone in that belief.
    Leave it to Birdwell, a strapping former defense attorney from Texas, to sound the charge against architectural mediocrity in California. Having owned a vacation home at the lake for several years, Birdwell poked around the handful of old estates that remain from the past century. He took copious notes and photographs, then got down to business by sketching, on a napkin, his plan for an Old Tahoe-style lodge.
    When the Black Bear Inn opened for summer 1999, on a site down the hill from Heavenly's California entrance, the vision had evolved into bricks and mortar -- or rather stone and timber. Most impressive is the soaring three-story Great Room, boasting a massive river rock fireplace, rough-cut log beams and trusses, and a 32-foot high cathedral ceiling. Gaze around the room and your eye is drawn to the sweeping log staircase leading to a mezzanine and four of the five guest rooms.


- - - from The Best Places To Kiss In Northern California;
       published Fall 1999; written by Linnea Lundgren :

       Every once in a while we come across a new inn that leaves us breathless (just like a kiss). The Black Bear Inn, located on the road to Heavenly Ski Resort, is one such place. Modeled after some of the West's great lodges, this seven-room inn captures all their majesty and rustic style, but offers a more intimate experience without the crowds, fanfare, or enormous size. Put simply, it's a scaled-down lodge perfectly suited for cuddling couples.
       One look at the impressive Great Room and you'll want to stay. The centerpiece - a 34-foot-high river-rock fireplace - parallels equally magnificent rough-hewn log poles that stretch up into the cathedral ceilings. Opposite the fireplace is a river-rock wall with French doors opening to the backyard patio. Museum-quality country and farm antiques accent the interior, including vintage sleighs snowshoes, and some interesting conversation pieces, such as a pie safe (designed to keep sweet tooths from sampling the goods) and spikes from the old Truckee railroad. Guests can continue to admire the Great Room during the evening wine-and-cheese hour, when tempting treats are set out on an antique workman's bench fronting the fireplace.
       Five rooms in the main lodge, also exemplifying the lodge theme, continue to impress. Our favorites? We recommend the second-floor Fallen Leaf Room, where you can share a smooch on the private balcony, and the spacious Sequoia Room, a tucked-away retreat for those wanting complete privacy. No matter where you decide to stay, all rooms are delightfully decorated and feature private entrances, TV/VCRs hidden in armoires, king-size beds with hard and soft pillows, private bathrooms done in slate and pine, and glass-enclosed showers large enough for two. Create instant romantic ambience anytime by flipping on the gas fireplace via a bedside switch.
       Out in the backyard, more kissing spots await, in particular the sheltered hot tub, perfect for post-ski soaks. There's also a charming duplex cabin, which holds two equally lovely rooms decorated similarly to those in the main lodge. At the time of our visit, two additional cabins were being built that look like they will be just as romantically promising when completed.
       Come breakfast time, the innkeepers take full advantage of their interesting antique collection. Fresh-baked muffins are presented on an old grocery counter, and an old-fashioned washbasin is filled with glass bottles of orange juice and milk. Sit at one of the tables together and enjoy such treats as Eggs Benedict, blueberry coffeecake, or (our favorite) a green apple, walnut, and Brie omelet. After such a feast, you're certain to have enough energy for both skiing and kissing.


- - - from the Dallas Morning News travel section;
published 3/12/00; written by Walt Roessing :

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - The sign in the window of the bed-and-breakfast inn said it all: "Gone skiing. Back at 3." Both Dallas-born Jerry Birdwell, 56, who spent 30 years in Big D as a criminal defense lawyer, and Kevin Chandler, 39, a computer programmer who worked 11 years in the Dallas area, were off cruising the slopes of Heavenly Ski Area. That renowned resort is just a mile from the front door of the new Black Bear Inn, owned by Mr. Birdwell and Mr. Chandler.
      The Dallas duo opened their B&B last March after moving from Texas two months earlier.
      "It's great to be free of the rat race," says Mr. Birdwell. "I now enjoy a stress-free, laid-back lifestyle in the mountains, where I can ski in the winter and bike and hike in the summer."
      The transformation from Dallas businessmen to inn owners didn't occur overnight. It began five years ago when they purchased an empty, one-acre lot a half-mile from Lake Tahoe along aptly named Ski Run Boulevard.
      "It took three years to obtain all the permits, and then we had to take down 29 trees on the property. That hurt because I love trees," says Mr. Birdwell.
      Black Bear Inn consists of a handcrafted two-story lodge with five spacious rooms, each with a kind bed, fireplace, private bath and data port; and adjacent duplex cabin with two units; and a hot tub and gazebo. Paneling in the lodge entrance and one room came from a Texas sharecropper's farmhouse built in 1903. Construction starts April 1 on two more cabins.
      When fully completed, the inn will accommodate 20 guests.
      Says Mr. Birdwell, "Business has been good, with visitors from the U.S., Europe and Australia - plus Texas, of course. The Internet is one of our best sources of customers." Their Web site is        Are there any drawbacks to owning a B&B? Mr. Birdwell responds, "I shovel a lot more snow than I did in Dallas.


- - - from Tahoe Quarterly magazine;
published Winter 1999; written by Theresa Ochiltree :

       Inspired by some of the West's great lodges, Black Bear Inn captures their majestic and rustic style on a more intimate scale by incorporating hand-hewn log trusses, natural stone and vaulted ceilings. The main lodge and three cabins that make up this retreat offer luxury accommodations in an intimate mountain setting on a wooded acre of Ski Run Blvd. Nestled at the bottom of Heavenly Ski Resort.


- - - from The Washington Times
published November 2, 2002; written by Richard Slusser :

       Texans Jerry Birdwell and Kevin Chandler had homes in Dallas and, for about 10 years, at Lake Tahoe before they decided to move permanently to the California side of the lake and build a bed-and-breakfast inn. Their concept was to create a lodge that looked as if it had been in South Lake Tahoe for a long time and was built in a style called "Old Tahoe."
    They did the preliminary design for the inn before local architect Mark Allione took over the floor and, as Mr. Birdwell says, "sort of made it prettier. . . . He balanced things out and made the exterior of the building more attractive. We took some ideas from larger lodges throughout the West and used them on a much smaller scale.
    "We created this business around the idea of making everything comfortable for our guests: private baths, large beds and a full, hot sit-down breakfast."
    They have succeeded in those endeavors. Black Bear Inn opened in March of 1999, and business, Mr. Birdwell says, was very strong until September 11, but by midsummer it was back on track and renewed the owners' belief in their inn.
    The Black Bear is comfortable and calming in the spirit of the Western look by Ralph Lauren. The entrance on Ski Run Boulevard belies what is beyond the exterior and may be a bit of Old Tahoe that survived. The great room in the lodge has the golden glow of bright native pine and a handsome river-rock fireplace that must be one of the most popular areas after a day on the ski slopes. Nearby are comfortable leather-covered wing chairs and large facing sofas with many matching pillows for relaxation. Tables for breakfast are between the sofas and the kitchen.
    The great room can hold its own against any Western hotel or resort in ambience and comfort amid the pine walls and supports. Much of the credit must go to the owners for not overdoing the Western artifacts in the great room or in the guest rooms. They give just the right touch.
    The view through the large, high window opposite the fireplace takes in the deck, where tables and chairs are popular on warm days and nights; the lawn; the large, tall pine trees; and the three cabins.
    We stayed in the Sutter and found it quite comfortable.
    Guests in the cabins may have breakfast delivered. We went into the great room in the main lodge each morning, for the breakfasts were such a treat we wanted to see what the next morning offered.
    We could have returned home after the second night at the inn -- but we could not pass up such a breakfast.
    In the afternoon, wine and cheese are served for apres-ski or apres-beach, depending on the season.
    The three cabins are: the Bonanza Trail, a duplex containing the 450 square-foot Stagecoach and Black Bart rooms, and the Snowshoe and the Sutter cabins.
    Snowshoe is an 840-square-foot cabin for two persons and has 10-foot ceilings and a large bath with whirlpool and large walk-in shower; the 900-square-foot Sutter has a living room with vaulted ceiling and two bedrooms, both connecting to the bath. Each of the accommodations has a kitchenette and a river-rock fireplace.
    The lodge's five guest rooms open from the great room: Seneca and the Washoe (with pine furniture, a handmade mesquite headboard and two club chairs) are on the main floor. Up the handsome pine stairway on the second floor are three rooms: Sequoia (the largest and dressiest room, with a sitting area, wet bar, vaulted ceiling and a view of the cabins and trees behind the lodge), Fallen Leaf (the most requested room) and the Frontier, the most rustic room because it is the only room with barn wood, and that is only one wall.
    Each lodge room has a private bath, a king-size bed, rock fireplace, television with VCR and DVD players, telephone, daily maid service and full breakfast served downstairs. Each guest room accommodates no more than two guests, and inn policy is that this "is not an appropriate place for children under the age of 16."
    In any season, the Black Bear Inn is a cozy, comfortable retreat from the touristy areas and --across the border in Nevada -- the big casinos. Stay for breakfast, especially if blueberry pancakes are on the menu.
    For skiers, a city bus as well as shuttles from Heavenly operate on Ski Run Boulevard -- indeed, Heavenly is at the top of the aptly named street.
    A short walk leads to two very good Italian restaurants.


- - - from Fodor's Skiing USA travel guide
published 2002; written by John Vlahides :

    Black Bear Inn Bed & Breakfast   --  South Lake Tahoe's best and most luxurious inn feels like one of the great old lodges of the Adirondacks, its living room complete with rough-hewn timber beams, plank floors, a knotty-pine cathedral ceiling, hand-knotted Persian rugs, and even an elk's head over the giant river-rock fireplace. The five inn rooms and the three cabins are furnished with 19th-century American antiques, fine art, and fireplaces; cabins, which can sleep up to four, also have kitchenettes. Never intrusive, the affable innkeepers provide a sumptuous breakfast in the morning and wine and cheese in the afternoon. They prefer not to accommodate kids under 16. Heavenly is about a mile up the street. 5 rooms, 3 cabins. Facilities: dining room, wi-fi, some in-room hot tubs, some kitchenettes, cable TV, in-room VCR's, outdoor hot tub, ski storage, lounge; no smoking.


- - - from the Tracy Press
published March 2, 2003; written by Gretchen Macchiarella :

   South Lake Tahoe - Nestled at the base of Heavenly Ski Resort and just up the road from Marina Village on Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for a bed and breakfast.
    Yet there are just a handful of such places that complement a long day on the slopes -- complete with a glowing fireplace, glass of wine and some fellow travelers in the common room.
    Black Bear Inn is probably the closest to a traditional bed and breakfast in the area. All of the rooms are under the same roof, except for a few private cabins, and the huge common area draws people for afternoon wine and cheese. In the morning, a hot breakfast is served, something like fruit-topped pancakes or eggs Benedict, with coffee and juice.
    Each room has a slightly different decor and its own bathroom. The three cabins are scattered in the back of the property, with a little more seclusion but equal access to the common areas. The rooms, and even the private cabins, sleep only two people, with no one younger than 16 allowed in the luxury inn.
    "We get a lot of couples on their honeymoon or anniversaries; people want to be sure it's going to be romantic," said innkeeper Kevin Chandler.
    The honeymoon cabin has a sitting area and a fireplace and is situated at the farthest edge of the property. With a spa tub and kitchenette, couples may never need to leave.


- - - from Great Towns Of Northern California;
published 2003; written by David Vokac :

       Black Bear Inn Bed & Breakfast is one of the finest adult hideaways in the Sierra. The dramatic log complex (circa 1999) has a gazebo whirlpool on beautifully landscaped pine-shaded grounds with a lodge and cabins that epitomize elegant rusticity. Full gourmet breakfast and afternoon wine and appetizers served in a great room with a monumental river-rock fireplace and serene pines/garden views are complimentary. Each beautifully, individually decorated room captures the romantic spirit of the Tahoe area and has a gas river-rock fireplace, all contemporary amenities plus extras like a DVD player, and a king bed.
      "Snowshoe Thompson Cabin" - extra-large, kitchenette, romantic, in-bath two person whirlpool, big walk-in shower, three-sided river-rock fireplace.
      "Fallen Leaf Room" - vaulted open-log-beam ceiling, corner riverstone fireplace, large private garden-view balcony.


- - - from Sacramento Bride & Groom magazine;
published Summer/Fall 2003; written by Suzi Rupp :

       . . . For the ultimate in privacy and comfort before and after your ceremony, choose the Black Bear Inn, a charming upscale bed and breakfast that offers two options for honeymooners -- the delightfully appointed and secluded Sequoia Room upstairs in the main lodge or the intimate Snowshoe Thompson Cabin snuggled among the pine trees behind it. The Black Bear Inn gives an elegant "at home" feeling, reminiscent of Old Tahoe's grand mansions and estates. The main room in the lodge features a 37-foot stone fireplace and massive wrought iron chandelier. Real tree trunks hold up the cathedral ceiling. Four individual cabins and five lodge rooms are exquisitely and uniquely decorated with fine antiques. Each cabin features a fireplace, full kitchen and "mud room" for skiers to remove wet boots before entering. Couples who seek seclusion after their wedding will find exactly what they desire here. Owners Jerry Birdwell and Kevin Chandler provide every possible amenity for their guests, including one of the best breakfasts that you'll find in Lake Tahoe. For dinner, you might have Celtic Catering prepare a gourmet meal and deliver it to your private cabin. This property offers the perfect hideaway for romantics! "We want all of our guests to feel like they have 'come home,'" Kevin says.


- - - from Air Resorts magazine;
published August/September 2003; written by Cathy Weil :

       With your hunger delightfully satisfied, now it's time to find a place to relax and there's none finer than the Black Bear Inn. Lake Tahoe's premiere bed & breakfast is nestled quietly away, yet near the heart of all excitement. This pristine resort property is the perfect place to get away while staying in the thick of the action. Located on Ski Run Boulevard, it's close to Heavenly Valley Ski Resort, less than a mile from Stateline and the casinos and walking distance to Ski Run Marine, home of the Tahoe Queen, one of the lake's famous paddle wheelers. From the moment you enter the Black Bear Inn, you undoubtedly know that you're in for an exquisitely hospitable experience. The high cathedral ceiling, hand-hewn beams, enchanting river rock fireplace, overstuffed furniture, abundance of carefully chosen antiques and pure alpine luxury greet you in the main lodge - as does the warm staff when they welcome you with a nightly wine and cheese reception. Each of the five individually themed and carefully decorated guest rooms in the main lodge and the three cabins include a TV/VCR/DVD player, telephone and daily maid service. Once you've decided to "pull the rip cord" and land for the evening, enjoy an invigorating soak in the outdoor hot tub gazebo. Next, feel blissfully pampered as you lie ensconced in the luxurious softness of Ralph Lauren linens and bath towels and Black Bear Inn's own plus robes while you enjoy the glowing warmth of your personal fireplace. After a dreamy night's slumber, wake up to the inviting aroma of a full, hearty breakfast. The Black Bear Inn staff pride themselves on providing a pure Epicurean delight, including such delicacies as eggs benedict, brie omelets, or freshly baked muffins and coffee cakes guaranteed to send you soaring on your way! Owners Jerry Birdwell and Kevin Chandler want nothing further for their guests than to feel more comfortable at the Black Bear Inn than they do in their own homes. For this season, they have painstakingly, personally seen to every minute detail to make that a reality.


- - - from Bride's magazine;
published January/February 2004; written by Ken Castle :

       . . .Duos seeking intimacy check in to the Black Bear Inn. This Western-luxe bed and breakfast fits five couples into its main lodge, and tucks five into cabins on the manicured grounds. Think the Snowshoe Thompson dwelling looks familiar? No surprise -- it played a leading role in the first season of The Bachelor. Doubles from $240, year-round. . .


- - - from Fodor's Northern California;
published 2004; written by John Vlahides :

       South Lake Tahoe's best and most luxurious inn feels like one of the great old lodges of the Adirondacks, its living room complete with rough-hewn timber beams, plank floors, knotty-pine cathedral ceilings, hand-knotted Persian rugs, and even an elk's head over the giant river-rock fireplace. Built in the 1990s with meticulous attention to detail, the five inn rooms and three cabins feature 19th-century American antiques, fine art, and fireplaces; cabins also have kitchenettes. Never intrusive, the affable innkeepers provide a sumptuous breakfast in the morning and wine and cheese in the afternoon.


- - - from Sacramento Magazine;
published December 2004; written by Kim Pryor :

       . . .Co-owner Jerry Birdwell, a criminal court district judge-turned-innkeeper, decorated the rooms with antiques from his home state of Texas. End tables are made of butcher blocks and egg incubators. Some of the closet doors were taken from an old sharecropper's cabin. A blacksmith's apron hangs on the wall of one room inside the lodge, while an old barn door serves as a mirror frame in one cabin. The antiques fit into the classic Tahoe architecture: hand-hewn trusses, rock and wood walls, massive fireplace in the lodge.


- - - from Tahoe Quarterly Magazine;
published Summer 2006; written by Susan Rock :

     Reminiscent of the great railroad lodges of the West, South Shore's Black Bear Inn has been named one of the top ten California inns by Historic Inns of America. Located only one mile from Heavenly Ski Resort, it's imposing from the outside with a stone and wood exterior and port-cochere. But this purpose-built inn is even more impressive inside. Sturdy lodge pole pine pillars, a magnificent 34-foot tall river rock fireplace and expansive picture windows all create a handsome and stately air.
     "We wanted to build something that looked like it had been here a long time," says Kevin Chandler, who with partner and fellow Texan Jerry Birdwell, a former criminal defense lawyer and district judge, opened this B&B in 1999. "Most people think of B&Bs as someone's home or fixed up motel. We wanted a different look, a different atmosphere."
     The two call the ambiance "rustic mountain elegance." The soaring Great Room is furnished with comfy couches heaped with pillows, leather wing chairs and hardwood floors with Oriental rugs. A wrought-iron chandelier hangs from the ceiling and a nineteenth-century piano stands under the stout split-log staircase leading up to the mezzanine. They have adorned the property with farmhouse style antiques, such as a chicken incubator turned into a coffee table, milk cans for lamps, and wood from a sharecropper's cabin as paneling on the walls. There's a blacksmith's apron hanging in one room, and an old tobacco drying basket in another. Impeccable craftsmanship and solid construction throughout include modern touches like double soundproofing, a mud room for wet boots and gear, and a covered outdoor hot tub.
     Spacious rooms - most with vaulted ceilings - boast king-sized beds, river rock gas fireplaces, TVs, VCR and DVD players, rich Ralph Lauren comforters, bedspreads, and towels and large private baths finished with slate and pine. There are five guest rooms in the main lodge and three cabins with kitchenettes spread out on the landscaped woody acre. Don't be surprised if you're swept off your feet by the sizable and utterly dashing Snowshoe Thompson cabin, with its log beam ceiling, three-sided fireplace and two-person Jacuzzi tub - the bungalow (along with the main lodge) was featured in the first season of the reality TV show The Bachelor.
     The staff turns out freshly-baked goodies in the Black Bear's full commercial kitchen, the site of the occasional cooking class. A different hot breakfast is dished up daily in the dining area just off the Great Room, and wine - a privately labeled vintage from Monterey - and cheese are served by the fireplace in the afternoon.


- - - from Sunset Magazine;
published December 2006 :

     The Black Bear Inn stands out among Tahoe's too-often generic lodgings. The new B&B, near Heavenly Mountain Resort, offers a refined getaway --- especially in winter, when snow blankets the inn's parklike property. Inside, rustic charm mixes with modern convenience: Think antique cabinets and high-speed Internet access.


- - - from the Chicago Tribune;
published May 18, 2008; written by Randall Weissman :

     Charm and intimacy are frequently in short supply at major vacation resort areas, but the Black Bear Inn in South Lake Tahoe provides both qualities by the bushel.
    A small bed-and-breakfast situated off the resort's main drag, the Black Bear offers visitors a secluded refuge from the T-shirt shops and flashing neon of the casinos less than a mile away in Stateline, Nev. During ski season, there is easy access to skiing by the resort's bus in front of the inn, and the lake is a short walk.
     Hiking and biking trails abound around Lake Tahoe when the snow melts. Boating, personal watercraft (JetSki) rentals, parasailing and golfing are other nearby options.
    The drive along the west shore of the lake from Zephyr Cove to Crystal Bay makes it quite clear why Mark Twain wrote that Lake Tahoe was the "fairest picture the whole earth affords."
    The inn's decor could be called neo-rustic - - lots of golden pine beams, a soaring river-rock fireplace complete with stuffed elk head and lots of antiques. But the amenities are 21st Century - - each room has a gas fireplace with electric ignition, flat-panel TV, DVD player and high-speed Internet access. The main inn's five rooms radiate from a central gathering room dominated by that huge fireplace and the 34-foot ceiling. Each room is uniquely appointed with pine and mesquite furniture. Guests can choose more private accommodations in one of the three cabins scattered among the towering pines that dot the one-acre property. All the cabins have a kitchenette equipped with refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker.
    A large covered hot tub is centrally located among the cabins and lodge, a perfect way for recent arrivals to soak away any travel tension and for skiers to soothe aching muscles.
    Owners Jerry Birdwell and Kevin Chandler mingle with the guests each evening at 5:30 for Black Bear wine (produced by Ventana Vineyards in California) and hors d'oeuvres featuring fresh fruit, cheeses, sausages and olives stuffed with jalapenos and garlic (warning: the olives are addictive). They make sure everyone is comfortable. During my visit, it took all of 15 minutes before everyone was swapping stories like old friends.
    While the inn doesn't serve meals other than breakfast, nearby dining options are many. For fabulous gourmet cuisine featuring beef and game with a matching view and wine list, try the Summit in the Harrah's Casino. For something more intimate and much closer, try Cafe Fiore, just across the street from the inn. The kitchen for this seven-table gem is generally regarded as serving the finest Italian food in the area, and many locals consider it the best restaurant in town.
    CHECKING IN: In ski season, huge piles of snow can make it is easy to miss the relatively small sign marking the inn's driveway, but once you spot it there is ample parking. A tiny alcove serves as the lobby/check-in desk, but the friendly staff makes registration a breeze.
    ROOMS: Each of the inn's five rooms and three cabins is uniquely decorated and extremely comfortable. I stayed in the Seneca Room, and it had more than enough room for all but the most restless couple. All the accommodations feature a king-sized bed and ample room for at least a couple of overstuffed chairs so guests can read or just ponder life in front of the fireplace.
    BATHROOM: The bathroom was small but well lit and efficient and came with the requisite hair dryer. Having only a shower was no drawback to me, but others might see it differently. Plentiful toiletries were branded with the Black Bear name and were quite pleasant. Most rooms have only showers. Others have full baths, and the "honeymoon cabin" has a private whirlpool tub.
    KID FRIENDLY: This isn't a spot for kids. The inn was designed as an adult haven, and only one of the cabins has room for more than two guests.
    ROOM SERVICE: As a B&B, the inn offers no room service. Breakfast is served from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and the menu rotates through the mainstays of American fare: omelets one day, pancakes the next, and so on. If you have a special breakfast request, let the owners know, and you'll likely be accommodated. Likewise if you have a food allergy.
    PERKS & PEEVES: I loved the welcoming ambience, and the ski shuttle picks you up right outside the door. The Black Bear is a delightful departure from ski resort hotel rooms. However, winter guests staying in the Seneca room should be aware that the bathroom floor is frigid in the morning.


- - - from the San Francisco Chronicle;
published July 17, 2008; written by Meredith May :

Black Bear Inn: If Paul Bunyan and Ralph Lauren teamed up to create a design firm, this Old Tahoe-style bed-and-breakfast inn would be their architectural showpiece. Massive log beams support a cathedral ceiling, and a 34-foot river rock fireplace stretches all the way to the top, complete with a mounted elk. Whimsical farm antiques add a touch of irreverence. Who would have thought to turn a Gold Rush-era chicken incubator into a coffee table, really? Named one of California's top B&Bs by the readers of American Historic Inns, the Black Bear Inn has piled up accolades since bringing "rustic luxe" to South Lake Tahoe in 1999. Owners Jerry Birdwell, a city councilman and retired Texas defense attorney, and his partner Kevin Chandler, a techie-turned-chef, created a buzz on opening day, and the critics are still humming.

Comfort zone
There are five rooms in the main part of the inn and three more secluded cabins on the 1-acre grounds. The lush lawn and pine forest canopy provide a quiet oasis from the traffic around Lake Tahoe's rim. The grounds are decorated with trickling fountains, lanterns and pine tree stumps carved into bears, eagles and foxes. Each room has a gas fireplace and a king-size bed with Ralph Lauren linens. A bedside binder lists hundreds of movies available to check out at the front desk.

Bath and beyond
While the honeymoon cabin has a Jacuzzi tub, the Seneca Room bathroom is more basic, with soothing taupe tile and a shower. Points to the owners for putting lip balm in the toiletry basket.

Grounds for approval
Breakfast, included in the room price, is a stunner. The portions are Paul Bunyan-size but so sumptuous that it's easy to clean your plate. Service is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., so make sure you set your clock, lest you miss eggs Benedict with the perfect hint of lemon in the Hollandaise sauce, poached pear, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, ginger coffee cake and a pesto-stuffed tomato. Don't miss the afternoon wine and cheese hour, and follow it with a dip in the gazebo-covered hot tub.

Geared up
What's better than instant messaging with a Webcam? Doing it with towering pine trees in the background, while birds chirp and the sun filters through the majestic trees. The Black Bear Inn has free wireless throughout, and every room has a phone, TV, and DVD player.

In the vicinity
Heavenly ski resort is less than a mile up the hill, and the lake about the same distance the other way. Pick your pleasure: water skis, kayaks, wakeboards or Jet Skis; or in winter, snowshoes, snowboards, downhill or cross-country skis. Across the street is Cafe Fiore, said to have the best Italian fare in town.

Good to know
Black Bear Inn bills itself as a relaxation zone for adults. Because it's so small, and the owners want to cater to each guest, the inn doesn't allow visitors. Only paying customers are allowed in the rooms and grounds. The guest rooms are limited to two people per room, while one of the cabins can accommodate two couples. Weekends require a two-night minimum stay. No pets allowed.

Highs and lows
Two of the rooms are on the ground floor of the lobby, where breakfast and cocktail hour take place, making it awkward to enter and leave your room in privacy. On the plus side, there is so much to see at Black Bear Inn, it's like staying in a luxury hotel and a Western museum in one. Spend time looking at the antiques, looking at the art or flipping through the coffee table books on the Wild West. It's easy to strike up a conversation in the vaulted great room during cocktail hour, as the inn's ambience makes guests feel like privileged members of a small club.

Vitals: Five guest rooms, three cabins (including one honeymoon cabin). One wheelchair-accessible room. Rates: $225-$265 for the guest rooms, up to $435 for cabins. $15 less during off-season months of April, May, October and November. Up to $65 more during holiday week, Dec. 25-Jan. 1.


- - - from Sactown magazine;
published July, 2008; written by Bob Cooper :

Natural wood and river boulders are everywhere you look at this spectacular B&B, lending a sense of Thoreau despite being just a mile from the casinos. The theme extends to the five lodge rooms and four luxe cabins, which all have large stone fireplaces and natural-wood accents, and the lobby, with its 34-foot vaulted ceiling. Add to that the king beds, Ralph Lauren bedding and abundant antiques in the rooms (plus the enclosed hot tub in the courtyard), and it's no wonder the Black Bear recently made a cameo appearance in The Bachelor. Only one unit sleeps four (the two-bedroom Sutter Cabin), so nearly all guests are couples. You're served a full breakfast daily -- a typical spread consists of eggs benedict, mango-macadamia coffee cake, broiled tomato, a baked pear and coffee -- in the grand dining room. But in one more nod to romance, if you stay at one of the cabins, it also can be delivered to your patio.


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Black Bear Inn   1202 Ski Run Blvd.  South Lake Tahoe CA 96150   (530)544-4451

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