Emerald Bay SP
Narrated by Russ Christoff

The view overlooking Emerald Bay, is one of the most photographed panoramas in California.

From here visitors can see Faited Island, Lake Tahoe and the distant Nevada shore.

Emerald Bay State Park preserves this area, which includes Eagle Falls, and the scenic four and a half mile shoreline trail, between D.L. Bliss and Viking's Home Castle.

The 590 acre park also contains 100 campsites at Eagle Point Campground, where camping is available by reservation during the summer months.

Parking areas are available at the Emerald Bay overlook. And, a moderate mile long foot trail leads down to the shoreline and Viking's Home.

Visitors can also view Viking's Home from tour boats sailing from ports around the lake.

The building of the 48 room Viking's Home was commissioned by Laura Jane Knight in Santa Barbara after she purchased the land in 1948.

Two hundred workman were brought to Emerald Bay to execute the superb craftsmanship seen here today.

Now a state park property, Viking's Home is opened for tours during July and August for a small admission fee.

I took the tour and talked to the guide, Helen, who had a surprising connection to the castle.

Helen, you are the main tour guide here. You know more about this place than probably anyone. What are the little things that people should see when they come to Viking's Home and take the tour?

GUIDE HELEN: Well, there are many details that are quite interesting about the house. Overall, it's one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States today.

And some of the features concerning it are the spikes that come out from the gutters and the cross-dragons at the roof peak.

Also the crown chimneys are quite fascinating.

You will also notice that the sod roof is quite a spectacular sight at Viking's Home.

When Mrs. Knight was here she had it seeded with wildflowers, and it was really a most exciting sight.

RUSS CHRISTOFF: There is also an island. When people think of Emerald Bay they think of that island. What is that?

GUIDE HELEN: That was a teahouse that was built in conjunction with the Viking's Home in 1929. Many people mistake that for Viking's Home.

But it is only a tearoom. She would take her guests out. They would go out in small motor boats, and then yardmen would be positioned along the pathways up to the top, and would assist Mrs. Knight and her guests, and then they would have their tea.

She loved entertaining. She had people here all summer long. There would be 8 to 12 guests, with a staff of about 15. And, it was just a gorgeous, gracious summer vacation.

RUSS CHRISTOFF: Now, Emerald Bay and Viking's Home has a special meaning to you doesn't it?

GUIDE HELEN: It certainly does. I've felt very fortunate to have spent 43 summers of my lifetime her at Viking's Home.

My family knew Mrs. Knight very well, and she was kind enough to invite us up during the summers when I was a child. So I spent my first 14 summers here then.

Since that time, I have come back and worked with the State of California for 29 summers showing people through the home.

RUSS CHRISTOFF: Emerald Bay and Viking's Home are beautiful in their setting but there is something special about them, and why we are preserving them.

GUIDE HELEN: Indeed, the setting is remarkable. Viking's Home itself is one the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture still remaining. The handcrafting is outstanding.

It has features than can be found nowhere else in the United States.

It also represents an era that has long past. And, it's exciting to see school children come through and see how people use to live, here at Viking's Home.