Must See-Must Do Awards – 2016

David W. Toll at TuscororaMust See - Must Do Awards - 2016  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 Jones). 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 2016.

Travel Hero of the Year – 2016

Herb Robbins, better known as Sheriff Stone of Gold Point Nevada

Must See Must Do 2016 - Travel Hero of the YearAnd the Winner is: Herb Robbins, better known as Sheriff Stone of Gold Point Nevada! The history of Gold Point Nevada is unique in detail, familiar in outline: boom. bust, boom, bust, boom, bust, bust, bust. About 50 years ago a deep underground blast went awry and caused a major collapse. “Rather than put out more money, on what had declined to a marginal operation, they turned off the lights and closed the doors,” reads the official history. That should have been the end for Gold Point.

dont sell alcohol, Gold PointBut in 1978 Herb and a friend happened upon Gold Point, and before they drove away again they had bought three vacant lots. He and partner Walt Kremin have been buying and rehabilitating structures around town ever since, an expensive hobby supported in part by Herb’s wallpapering of the hotels arising in Las Vegas, plus a rather miraculous string of slot machine jackpots plus endless labor.
Gold Dust Store, Gold Point NevadaHe, Walt and Red Dog Lil (aka Sandy Johnson) have brought Gold Point to life as a unique visitor experience: an authentic early 20th century mining ghost. Gold Point has never boasted anything as permanent as a brick or stone building; everything was built with pervious, flammable, impermanent wood. No frills — the real deal, as close as you can get to authentic dilapidation in our modern moment — what an amazing achievement! Nevada can use a couple of dozen more Herb Robbins, but in the meantime we honor the one we have as our 2016 Nevada Travel Hero of the Year.

Restaurants of the Year – 2016

Adele's Carson City - Must See-Must Do Restaurant Award – 2016Must See-Must Do Restaurant Award – 2016The Cafe at Adele’s, 1112 N. Carson Street in Carson City 775-882-3353
Here’s a recent Facebook post about this most excellent restaurant: “Had breakfast this morning at Adele’s in Carson City. Of course it was good — it’s one of the best restaurants in Nevada — but it was also an education. I’m a decent cook, for a dabbler, but Chef Charlie Abowd’s pork belly Benedict illustrates the concept of balance. Each thing by itself is perfect (even the vegetable hash, the highest and best use of zucchini and okra). Taken together, though, a little dab of each on the fork, it is a chord, a melody, a symphony of complementary flavors. I hate this kind of writing, and scorn people who do it, but DAMN, Charlie!”

Z Bistro - Must See-Must Do Restaurant Award – 2016Z Bistro at 730 Basque Way Carson City (off N. Roop Street) 775-775-885-2828
From a previous NevadaGram: “There was music: Joe Lachew, well-known Carson City musician, played guitar in a quietly masterful way to weave a beautiful background to the evening.
The food was the foreground. Each plate that emerged from the kitchen was an aria, a solo interpretation of a dish composed, let us say, of sautéed pork tenderloin cutlets stacked with melted smoked gouda and pancetta served with white bean and fennel ragout. It was greeted with pleased anticipation of the guests and then bliss, prompted by the aromatic melodies and visual harmonies delivered with each plate.

Pony Express Deli,Eureka Nevada - Must See-Must Do Restaurant Award – 2016Pony Express Deli, 101 Bullion St, Eureka (A block west of US 50 at the uphill end of town) 775-237-7665
This plain but pleasant cafe is operated by a Mennonite family, and is truly home cooking. Everything fresh, everything good. One example: the burgers might be the best on US 50 in Nevada, which is the same as saying Best in the World. It’s a big patty, cooked so the center retains a little color and then accompanied by onions, lettuce tomato, and pickle, and contained in a perfectly textured home-made bun: majestic. They not only cook the burgers and bake the bread, they serve it with a smile.

City of the Year – 2016

Must See-Must Do City Award – 2016Laughlin - Must See Must Do - City of The YearLaughlin should have been named Fun City; nobody goes there on business unless they are in the fun business. Laughlin is a small town adjoining a line of casino hotels built along the west shore of the Colorado River. There are nine casino-hotels now, strung like beads downriver from Don Laughlin’s original Riverside — his South Tower went up in 1994, the last major addition to Laughlin’s skyline — with a total of 10,021 rooms. There are two main residential enclaves with homes of varying description for the 7,321 people (median age 55) who live here and love it. There’s not a great distinction between locals and visitors in Laughlin. In the early morning you’ll see local people in their 70s and 80s waterskiing before the kids get up.

Hidden Treasure of the Year – 2016

Must See-Must Do Hidden Treasure Award – 2016In 1905 the Great Western Mine began operations and an old town named Lime Point became a new town named Hornsilver. It grew to contain 225 wood-framed buildings, tents and shacks, including 13 saloons, to serve its population of about 1,000. The name was changed to Gold Point in the 1920s and except for the World War II years mining continued into the 1960s, and when it ended the town began to wither.

But in 1978 Herb Robbins happened along, and with a partner bought property and began restoring some of the buildings. Now much of the ramshackle old town has a B&B at its center. Sheriff Stone and Red Dog Lil welcome visitors to accommodations ranging from the 2-bedroom Senator Wiley Home to ‘Old Miner’s Cabins’, each with its own decor and personality and completely authentic, and the food’s good too.

It provides a unique opportunity for visitors to stay in an authentic early 20th century mining town gone to seed. No frills — Gold Point never had any frills — this the real deal . . . or as close as you can get in our modern moment to life in a ghost town.

Event of the Year – 2016

Must See-Must Do Event Award – 2016The Old Sheepherder’s Ball – Must See Must Do – Event of The YearThe Old Sheepherder’s Ball at the Border Inn on US 50 at the Nevada-Utah line outside of Baker each January is an event unique even here in Nevada, where one-of-a-kind is the general rule. Denys Koyle inaugurated it 12 years ago because Elko’s famous Cowboy Poetry Gathering focused attention on the cattle ranching heritage, and she felt the sheepmen deserved appreciation too. Older men in overalls, big hats and boots enjoy the food and companionship with their wives, grown children (and fast-growing grandchildren) and fellow sheep men. There is laughter and music (Sourdough Slim!), and we are all invited to join in. A rare treat, authentic and heart-felt, and this year’s version will be January 15 and 16.

Hotel of the Year – 2016

Must See Must Do Hotel of the YearRed Rock Resort, Las Vegas NevadaRed Rock Resort (a Station Casinos property) 11011 West Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas (702) 797-7777
This is a beautiful building and surrounding property, including three acres devoted to swimming and wading pools. For some reason — perhaps the 72-lane bowling alley or the 16-screen movie theater — this is known as a ‘locals’ place, but the 815-room hotel is quite inviting to visitors. Eleven dining choices range from higher end restaurants to the excellent mid-priced buffet, the lower cost 24-hour cafe and even chain restaurants at the Food Court.The concierge service is exceptional and there is shuttle service to the airport and the Strip. Red Rock Canyon is just down the road for leisurely strolls or more strenuous rock climbing if the fitness center on the property isn’t demanding enough, and the new Downtown Summerlin mall is adjacent to the hotel, just a few steps away.