The Lake Tahoe region of northern California is, arguably, the best place in the state for year-round outdoor activities, from world-class mountain biking in the summer to epic skiing in the winter, with hiking, camping, and all manner of lake activities occupying their seasonal niches. It’s an appealing place for a second home for anyone who’s looking for an active lifestyle year-round, no matter what your jam. Anchoring the California side of Lake Tahoe (which encompasses a stretch of Nevada south of Reno, as well) are the towns of Truckee and Tahoe City, both real mountain towns with good healthcare, solid schools, chef-driven restaurants, and year-round communities that thrive in the context of healthy tourism. And the real estate market continues to be nimble, even as it normalizes after the madness of the 2020 pandemic boom.
When Martis Camp, a luxury community just a few miles from Truckee, broke ground in the early 2000s, all the talk was about the Tom Fazio-designed golf course. While this 7,751-yard course, which opened for play in 2008, is still a big draw, it’s all the other amenities combined that make Martis Camp different from other luxury communities. Now in its second decade, Martis Camp is really showing its character as a place to call home.
I recently spent a long weekend at Martis Camp doing an experiential deep-dive into the community’s range of resort-like amenities and touring available homes. There’s a palpable tranquility here, and part of that vibe owes to the essential nature of its mountain ecosystem, but the rest of it can be attributed to excellent design, which has a built-in experiential focus on top of the obviously important architecture. Brian Hull, President of Martis Camp Realty, describes the intentional focus on residents’ experience, saying, “People come for the amenities, and they stay for the authentic mountain experience.” Many real estate developments have a club, a restaurant, even a spa, but Martis Camp has created a bonafide community where people can come together around shared interests, and it’s this, combined with a range of resort-style offerings, that makes Martis Camp quite possibly the best place to own a custom luxury home in the Mountain West.
Much of daily life centers around the Family Barn (especially if you have kids), which houses a casual restaurant, two bowling lanes, an art workshop, a basketball court, and pinball machines — and it’s adjacent to the pool, which is nicely tucked into the forest. Out front is an amphitheater where concerts are held and the food trucks come out, and just up the hill is a 50,000-square-foot lodge that includes another sit-down restaurant, a coffee shop, a full-service spa (with its own adult pool), and an impressive fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment. The community also offers tennis (and pickleball, of course), a putting park, and a pond stocked with trophy trout.
There are two features that I consider icing on the already-delicious cake: There is direct access to Northstar California Resort (meaning you don’t have to drive to the Northstar entrance a few miles away but can reach the slopes via Martis Camp’s own lift service), an incalculable benefit of living here, not to mention access to the adjacent Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, the most upscale lodging and dining in the area. And the newest addition to Martis Camp’s long list of amenities is the Beach Shack, a lakefront outpost with loungers, paddle boards, kayaks, showers, and a full lunch menu and bar. Residents can reserve space here as a benefit of home ownership, and there’s even a shuttle to cart you to the beach if you don’t feel like driving.
But what about the homes themselves? I toured 10 homes over two days (there are only 19 homes currently on the market at press time), and I was struck by their architectural diversity, from what I call Mountain Zen (with subtle Japanese influences) to Minimalist Contemporary to Western Modern, all custom-designed by architects well familiar with the specific logistical and aesthetic demands of the environment. There are a total of 671 homes across 2,177 acres, and lots range in size from 1/3 of an acre to 4 acres. And while this sounds like a pretty large community, when you’re onsite, it feels much smaller, very wooded and private. Even the homes on smaller lots are oriented to maximize privacy. Suffice it to say that, at Martis Camp, you can have the home of your dreams in a community that perhaps even your wildest imagination has dreamed of yet.
View available Martis Camp real estate listings here.