Must See-Must Do Awards – 2015



David W. Toll at Tuscorora Nevada Travel Network – Must-See Must-Do for 2015 I compiled this list because of the overwhelming sense that so many of the great people who are doing exceptional things here are just not getting the attention they deserve. As always, this list reflects our personal preferences — lots of nominations on the website but no votes — just Robin and me (and Shorty). Enter your nominations at our Facebook page or in the Comments at the bottom of this page.Please treat yourself to these wonders, excitements, pleasures, comforts and satisfactions in 2015.
The Nevada Travel Network 2015 Person of the YearThe Nevada Travel Network 2015 Person of the Year
is Joel Dunn, Executive Director of the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau. He came to the job from the city’s Parks & Recreation Department where among other things he managed a busy schedule of summer baseball tournaments. Joel Dunn and his Little WillieThose tournaments stimulate the Carson City economy generally, and provide a healthy flow of revenue to the city in particular.So he is well-grounded in the basics of putting heads in beds, but what sets him apart and earns him this shout-out is his willingness to color outside the lines. He has reorganized the office and pruned expenses within the bureau while adopting the most advanced methods and technologies to bring public attention to our state capitol and its attractions, all very practical steps to take.

Little Willy in the Las Vegas Sesquicentennial Parade
Little Willy in the Las Vegas Sesquicentennial Parade

He has also bought a Willys postal delivery van, hot-rodded it, and painted it silver just in time to trailer it overnight to Las Vegas for their Sesquicentennial Parade, and then all the way back home again that same night for the traditional Nevada Day parade in Carson City the next day. “It’s got a small block Chevy 283 engine with a 700-R Ford transmission,” he says. “I’m pretty sure it’s the fastest parade float in the state.” And he established the Social Media Symposium that has helped expose dozens of rural tourism professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs to current best practices in the social media.

As a consequence of his team’s efforts, Carson City has a big and active online presence, as was proved by the recent ‘contest’ conducted by USA Today in which Carson City took first place as the most travel-worthy state capital in the USA. Bravo.

Nevada Travel Network’s 2015 Hidden Treasure of the year

Pinochle Afternoon at the Martin Hotel, Winnemucca Nevada
Pinochle Afternoon at the Martin

The Nevada Travel Network 2015 Hidden Treasure of the YearThe Martin Hotel is our first two-time winner, and takes its second ‘award’ in a different category from its first one, which was Restaurants obviously enough. But beyond the good Basque-style food and the picon punches for which it is justly famous, the Martin is also a major community resource and plays a role in Winnemucca’s over all well-being. Its Banquet Room serves as the venue for community events of all kinds and for the great and near-great entertainers booked by Great Basin Arts & Entertainment. And the Ladies’ Pinochle Club has a monthly luncheon meeting out by the bar. Every city should have a Martin Hotel!


The Nevada Travel Network 2015 City of the Year

Winnemucca in winterNevada Travel Network’s 2015 City of the yearWinnemucca
is a pleasant, open and friendly place, and by Nevada standards it’s a city, although a small one: it has a city charter, it is the Humboldt County seat, and . It is the Humboldt County seat, and the business hub for a large part of northcentral Nevada and well-known to travelers along I-80 for its excellent dining and lodging options and some of the state’s signature events. After a spate of homicides in its formative years, Winnemucca has a placid history — except for the September Day in 1900 that Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch held up the bank and got away clean with more than $2,000 in bagged coins! It calmed right back down again after that and is as quiet and comfortable today as anyone could wish.
The Nevada Travel Network 2015 Attraction of the YearNevada Travel Network’s 2015 Attraction of the year

The Virginia & Truckee Railroad, Virginia City Nevada
The Virginia & Truckee Railroad made fortunes for its owners.

The V&T Railroad has been extended from Virginia City to the eastern edge of Carson City. The locomotives that clatter, hiss and clank as they pull their antique coaches along the historic route through Gold Hill, American Flat and Mound House were technological marvels in a cast iron age. They still are marvels, and one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the 19th century

The Nevada Travel Network 2015 Hotel of the Year

Shorty the Wonder Dog at Harrah's Laughlin
Me and Posse2 out by my pool at Harrah’s

The Nevada Travel Network 2015 Hotel of the Year Harrah’s Laughlin. [review by Shorty the Wonder Dog] This is one of my favorite hotels because it is very dog-friendly. When we checked in I got a big swagbag with a nifty dog bowl in it and some very swank treats. One day we walked all the way to Davis Dam on the new trail, and there is something especially piquant about those damp river smells in the dry desert air. It’s like sweet and sour in a way, the kind I get to lick out of those little cardboard thingies when the posse brings home take-out.

Further Awards:

The Nevada Travel Network 2015 Restaurants of the YearThe Nevada Travel Network 2015 Restaurants of the YearHoney & Salt, Las VegasHoney and Salt, 1031 S. Rampart Blvd, Las Vegas. We took a friend’s advice and tried this local favorite for a dinner out. The food is adventuresome, delicious and priced within reason (shrimp with linquini, $22) but the biggest reason we went there is the same reason we go to Luther’s when we are in Wells — we wanted to eat where the locals eat.
Star Broiler at the Winners Inn, Winnemucca Nevada
The Star Broiler at the Winners Inn, downtown Winnemucca makes the list not only because it’s a great restaurant with a locally resonant name, but also because it’s a symbol of the revival of the Winners. This hallowed property had fallen off the pace in the race toward the 21st century, and the excellence of its dinner house is a strong signal that it is catching up again.
Campo Reno
Campo Reno 50 N. Sierra Street in downtown Reno. When owner-Chef Mark Estee brought his esteemed “rustic Italian” menu from Mammoth a few years ago he immediately added to the appeal of a night out downtown without gambling attached.
The Nevada Travel Network 2015 Event of the YearThe Nevada Travel Network 2015 Event of the Year

Barn owls are a favorite target during the ranch tours.
Barn owls are a favorite target during the ranch tours.

Eagles & Agriculture one of the most unusual events on any state’s calendar. It attracts hundreds of visitors to the Carson Valley each February for this unique opportunity to photograph the birds, tour the ranches, and gape in wonder as bald eagles congregate in the meadows. These haughty raptors are there because it is the birthing season for the cattle, and like the scavengers they are, they eagerly devour the resulting placentas and the occasional stillborn calf. But instead of being merely gruesome it’s a pageant of life in the natural world upclose. This year it takes place February 19-22. Details here.