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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Anniversary observations

Uploaded: Aug 20, 2013
Some observations from a distance during a few days away celebrating one of those milestone anniversaries that end in a 0.
We've been north of Truckee in the Graeagle and Lake Almanor areas. What's striking is how few people are here for what should be the absolute prime season for summer vacations.
We were married on August 25 and then went on a two-week honeymoon before we had to pay any attention to school starting (my wife begins her 32nd year of teaching this week). School districts, seemingly across the state, have steadily advanced opening days, although I was particularly struck by news reports that said Philadelphia is not scheduled to start school until Sept. 9—Wow. That must be one short school year.
Some Bay Area districts that are not on year-round schedules (something that still makes nothing but sense academically—it's just tradition that needs to be overcome) actually began school last week. Schools elsewhere in the county—Atlanta, for instance---routinely start in early August but are finished by Memorial Day.
The earlier starting date likely has been driven by administrators' desire for more instructional time before the state standardized testing begins in the spring that provides both school and district with their report cards.
From the standpoint of businesses that thrive on summer-time family crowds, it is a loss of two to three prime time weeks in a season that already is pretty short. The mountain communities from Lake Tahoe north to Lake Almanor are wonderful in the shoulder seasons—particularly fall—but April, May and June just are not as good weather-wise as September and even October.
I recall talking to a guy who owned a ski business in South Lake Tahoe and simply shutdown for the summer.
His comment was summer started with the July 4th week and ended at Labor Day. It was so short then—now it is even shorter.
The upside for people who have flexibility is that the fall season now stretches well into summer. We played the Bailey Creek Golf Course last weekend at Lake Almanor—almost like having it to ourselves—on a prime time Sunday. Come next month, Bailey Creek is offering unlimited golf for a month for $350 (it's $400 in August) compared to the weekend rate of $79. The course is in great shape and, for the most part, very forgiving from the tees.
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