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(2019 - Winter/Spring Issue)


Bliss comes easily when stars and one of the deepest lakes in North America are involved.

There I am, at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe standing on the edge of Lake Tahoe in deep dark Nevada. A moon so bright it casts a massive light onto this glassy freshwater lake, the second deepest in America. In the stillness, I only hear my breathing and the commands of star guide Tony, a notable local astronomer who has led twilight sessions for Fortune 500 companies such as Google. We crank the telescope skyward for a second and wait. No special meteors tonight but that doesn’t matter.

On my recent visit, Nevada had blazed trails in other ways.

Home to wild horses, hot springs and good old-fashioned western hospitality, this mountain state, comprised of five regions, has activities that extend beyond glitzy Las Vegas. There’s plenty to write about, from the state’s central region with its silver trails; to the Loneliest Road in America in the North Central region; northern Nevada’s cowboy country and America’s Alps dubbed “the Ruby Mountains”; and the world of Reno-Tahoe in the northwest where the Black Rock Desert becomes Black Rock City during the annual communal arts gathering of the Burning Man.  

Welcome to the Silver State of Nevada.


“The Biggest Little City in the World” has struck it rich. An urban revival is transforming downtown Reno into a hub of culture, culinary experiences and unique stays without losing its Old West sensibility where local shopkeepers are quick to greet visitors. High rollers hit The Silver Legacy Resort Casino located in a four-city-block district called “THE ROW” while relaxed hipsters hang out at the pet-friendly boutique hotel, The Whitney Peak. Sometimes you see them clinging to the façade of a zany climbing wall ranked “the world’s tallest” by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Cheaper than neighbouring rival California, this laid-back stomping ground is even luring stars who prefer its casual vibe. My own celebrity moment happened over lunch at the Roundabout Grill at Whitney Peak Hotel. Who was that Annie Hall lookalike in the black bowler hat and wearing the signature wide cinched black belt? I couldn’t resist. There I was hanging out with none other than the Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton in town to host “Meet Diane Keaton,” a wine event to showcase her wine label, “The Keaton.”

Downtown Reno is loaded with unique surprises like that. I later ventured over to the revamped Reno Riverwalk District, a collection of over 60 boutique shops and entertainment venues along the legendary Truckee River. You can also enjoy themed pedestrian-friendly trails like The Riverwalk District Pup Crawl known for its pooch-friendly hangouts providing water and treats.

For wine lovers, the Wine Walk, a monthly self-guided wine tour of local establishments, is a good way to meet locals at one of 18 local wine-friendly establishments. Inside a bric-a-brac shop called Reno eNVy which also doubles as the Reno Tahoe Visitor Center, one of the participating Wine Walk proprietors Scott Dunseath was in fine form assisting the long cue by his wine station. “Scott, name a good wine place,” I implored. The Whispering Vine Wine, which was also Diane Keaton’s go-to wine spot, topped his list.

Back on First Street at a consignment boutique called Labels, Wine Walk patrons gathered inside this former AAA ’60s-style building for wine tasting and shopping, part of the warm meet-and-greet process of shop owner Blythe Anderson and her dad. Between promoting their ready-to-wear apparel and vintage clothing, the duo also shared some sightseeing tips.

A few tips involved culture. The Will Bruder-designed Nevada Museum of Art pays homage to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert while the distinctive geodesic dome roof of the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts moves you to a new dimension. 

To unwind, try the Spa at Silver Legacy, a new USD$100-million centre at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino featuring special holistic treatment rooms, local indigenous spa products and signature fire-ice-themed treatments such as the fiery snow facial.


Less than an hour’s drive south from Reno, bathers commune in the various hot spring mineral pools at David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort.

Since 1862 this landmark property has lured guests who wanted to wash away the dirt and hardship from the arduous Pony Express Trail and the Emigrant Trail. Today’s visitors will enjoy the fine dining and beautiful views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains just like famous guests Mark Twain and Clark Gable once did. 

In the quaint town of Minden, rare finds are strewn across the dusty landscape. Some even revere Minden as Nevada’s first modern city due to its distinct architecture and street planning. Dial back time on a visit to the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center housed in a former school. See rare Native American woven baskets designed by Dat-So-La-Lee, a native Washoe Indian born in Carson Valley who has been revered as “the world’s most famous basket weaver.” Other unique Carson Valley treasures include medical instruments used by the area’s first female doctor.

Over at the new Bently Heritage Estate Distillery, it’s all about premium spirits created from local sustainable ingredients in this true farm-to-flask experience. The restored facility is situated in historical buildings, which once housed the flour mill and creamery.

On the drive across Carson Valley from Genoa in the northwest through the towns of Gardnerville and Minden, cattle farms and tall grasslands stretch until the deep brassy ridges of the Sierra Nevada outline the horizon like a camel’s back.

One particular ranch stands out from the rest. The Dangberg Home Ranch is a must-see historical homestead. A tour of the home shows how four generations of Minden’s most prominent family lived. Visitors learn about the rags-to-riches story and the quintessential American dream of the patriarch, a German immigrant who led a life of prosperity and influence, as well as other stories connected to the Wild West. The interiors are all original with family heirlooms, which vividly capture the personalities and styles of the day. 

This is the Great American West. Considered Northern Nevada’s most scenic valley, Carson Valley is at the crossroads between the Sierra Nevada range and the Great Basin, the high alpine and the high desert.

Travel Planner

Complimentary hotel shuttle bus service is available at the Reno Airport. For more information on Nevada, visit:

Travel Nevada: TravelNevada.com

Carson Valley Visitors Authority: VisitCarsonValley.org

Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority: VisitRenoTahoe.com

Bently Heritage Estate Distillery: BentlyHeritage.com

Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park: DangbergHomeRanch.org

David Walley’s Resort Hot Springs & Spa: DavidWalleys-Resort.com

Nevada Museum of Art: NevadaArt.org

Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts: PioneerCenter.com

The Riverwalk District and Wine Walk: RenoRiverwalk.org

The Spa at Silver Legacy: SilverLegacyReno.com/spa 

THE ROW: TheRowReno.com

Whitney Peak Hotel: WhitneyPeakHotel.com

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