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I recently had the opportunity to help celebrate my cousin's birthday in Lake Tahoe and a group of us wild and crazy kids went to lunch at the Lone Eagle Grill followed by the Cal Neva Resort Spa and Casino's Secret Tunnel Tours.

Have you ever visited the Cal Neva? The resort is well-known for its glamorous and sketchy past, but the old gal has seen better days.

It's hard to believe such an infamous place has been left to deteriorate. I didn't capture much of the grit of the resort, but there was serious water damage, the grounds were a bit sad and the interior needed a lot of repair. The parking lot was nearly empty when we showed up for the 3:00 p.m. tour and, aside from a wedding, there wasn't much activity in the lobby. One of our group members also pointed out that the arcade in the lobby took up more square footage than the gaming area. The cashier windows were closed and a sign on the gift shop door noted that it was only open upon request.

That said, we could see the appeal of the place. The resort is incredibly kitschy (in a good way), the original interior and exterior features are spectacular and the people who worked there were great. The view isn't all that bad, either.

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Let's just say it is very clear that cash used to flow through the Cal Neva quite freely.

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While the tour guide took us through the hotel, around the cabin area and underground (a small network of tunnels), he started down the road of conspiracy theories. Let's face it...that's what we came for! The tour doesn't include a peek at the Frank Sinatra and Marilyn cabins, but theories like this gave us more than enough to chew on for an afternoon.

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The tunnel portion of the tour:

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Frank Sinatra's Celebrity Showroom, complete with artwork thought to be full of Illuminati symbolism:

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As we listened to the guide give us the scoop on the Rat Pack, mafia and political scandals and Marilyn, herself, we couldn't help but hope someone would come in and save the place. So much of the resort is in disrepair and a little bit of love and a whole lot of cash could return the Cal Neva to its former glory.

Well, the news came out yesterday that the resort is now under new ownership! Let's hope the new owners will preserve what's left of the Cal Neva's lively past for future generations to enjoy.

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Anyone else fascinated by the Cal Neva's celebrity/mafia/political past? If you've ever visited or stayed at the resort, I'd love to hear your stories!

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