Vikingsholm is noted for its outstanding architectural and scenic location. It also represents an era from the past of lavish but gracious living. Days at Vikingsholm were not filled with the excitement of one thrilling event following another. Each day seemed to blend into the next. A relaxed, unhurried atmosphere typified the style of life. Mrs. Knight would arrive for the summer in mid June and stay until the middle of September. She usually had a staff at Vikingsholm of approximately 15. A caretaker and his family lived on the property all year around. Four or five yardmen were hired locally each season to care for the grounds. The rest of the staff was brought from Mrs. Knight's winter home in Santa Barbara and consisted of her private secretary, personal maid, cook, assistant cook, pantry maid, serving maid, upstairs maid, chauffeur, assistant chauffeur, and laundry women. Mrs. Knight enjoyed entertaining and had a number of guests visiting during the summer months. At times, ten to twelve guests would be staying at Vikingsholm. A variety of ages was represented among the visitors, from the very elderly to some young children.
Most guests were not celebrities or well known figures, but on occasion some notables, such as Will Rogers, visited. The length of the guests' visits ranged from one night to the entire summer. Meals were sumptuous and occupied a good part of each day. Everyone gathered in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tea was served every afternoon on the terrace or in the library, and occasionally in the tea house on the island. During the day guests enjoyed swimming, hiking, horseback riding, or trips around the lake by car or by boat planned by Mrs. Knight. Gracious hospitality was continuously extended to guests. An example of such hospitality was the care of guests' automobiles. They were washed, serviced, and filled with gas shortly after arrival. If a guest drove his car on a trip around the lake anytime during his visit, even if it was only for a distance of 10 to 15 miles - the car was immediately washed and filled with gas upon its return.
Vikingsholm provided a calm, quiet, subdued way of life combined with an
elegance that is rarely found today. This way of life seemed to complement
the serenity and exquisite beauty of the Emerald Bay setting. One former guest
of Mrs. Knight's still resides at Vikingsholm during the summer months. Helen
Henry Smith was fortunate to have spent the first 14 summers of her life at
Vikingsholm, with her Father and Mother, as a guest. Forty years ago,
Mrs. Smith returned to Vikingsholm as a tour guide and Vikingsholm historian.
She has written a booklet about the home, Tahoe's Hidden Castle. Entire proceeds
from the sale of the booklet go to the restoration and preservation of Vikingsholm.
The Round Room