Nevada Correspondence – April 2016

In this edition:

Baker, Carson Valley, Ely, Las Vegas, Reno, Silver City, South Lake Tahoe, Tuscarora



 “April showers bring May flowers”

Spreading fleabane (erigeron divergens)
                         Spreading fleabane (Erigeron divergens)

We’re hoping for more rain in April, as it’s been a dry February and March in eastern Nevada. Fortunately, we already have some spring flowers appearing at the lower elevations, including purple milkvetch (Astragulus species), spreading fleabane (Erigeron divergens), and plantainleaf buttercup (Rannculus alismifolius).

The upper elevations still remain snow covered, and the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive will slowly open as conditions allow. In the winter it is closed at 7,600 feet at the Upper Lehman Campground.

Then it will open to the Osceola Ditch trailhead, at about 8,500 feet. A short spur trail from the parking area leads through ponderosa pines, mountain mahogany, and aspens to a meadow, through which the Osceola Ditch runs. You can then continue hiking 4.5 miles to the east to Strawberry Creek, only dropping 400 feet in elevation as you follow the ditch. This ditch was built in 1889-90 from Lehman Creek to the mining town of Osceola, a distance of 18 miles. The ditch provided water for gold mining, but because of low water years and leaks, was only used until 1899. Now it’s a very pleasant hike that is seldom traveled.

Exploring the Osceola Ditch trail
                                                    Exploring the Osceola Ditch trail

With snow melting, the cave pools in Lehman Caves are filling, reflecting the stalactites and stalagmites and making the cave especially pretty. Cave tours are offered at least four times a day, at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. You can purchase tickets in advance at Astronomy programs will be held on Saturday nights at 7:30 pm starting on April 2. Be sure to bring a warm coat and a lawn chair while you check out the night skies in one of the darkest spots around. For more information, call 775-234-7500.

A marmot after emerging from hibernation still sports a luxuriant winter coat
                                             A marmot after emerging from hibernation still sports a luxuriant winter coat

With flowers brightening the landscape, birds adding their mating songs to the sweet air, and hibernating animals like marmots reappearing, Baker is awakening from its winter slumber.

The Lehman Caves Café and Gift Shop opens April 15, and owner Susan Geary announced that the shake machine is back in operation. The Magic Bean coffee cart on main street is also reported to be opening mid-April. And a catering business, Salt & Sucre, has recently opened in the valley, offering baked goods and a variety of other foods. The Border Inn is hosting the Home and Garden Show on April 30 starting at 11 am, and various vendors will have items for sale.

Gretchen Baker

(Read more at Gretchen’s fascinating outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor)


Carson Valley

Winter returned to us in March, after an incredibly warm and dry February. But alas, spring is inevitable, and all critters, humans included, emerge  from their caves in April looking for adventure!

Biking on Foothill Road & Carson River Road

A view from Carson River Road
                                                                                A view from Carson River Road

One of the most pleasurable things to do in the Carson Valley this time of year is to ride a bike! Opportunities abound for all levels of road and mountain bike enthusiasts. For our maiden voyage, Erik and I headed out Foothill Road to Fredricksburg and Carson River Road. Very scenic and easily accessible, this ride gives a ton of bang for the buck! (For more information Click Here.)

If you are a rookie like us, don’t be intimidated by the bike jocks that invade this route; despite our commuter bikes and ragtag appearances, they were actually quite congenial. I even overheard one remark to another as they whizzed past us, “I really admire people who ride bikes like that “! For ride suggestions, the Alta Alpina cycling club has a great website (insert link).

Jobe's Peak
                                                                            View of Jobe’s Peak from Foothill Road

Hike of the Month — Rickey Canyon

View of Smith Valley and the Wassuk Range from the Rickey Canyon Trail
   View of Smith Valley and the Wassuk Range from the Rickey Canyon Trail

If you’re more interested in keeping your feet on the ground, there are plenty of fantastic hikes in the Carson Valley. For easily accessible, well-groomed and moderately well-traveled trails, see the CVTA website and previous Carson Valley Correspondence. Or for a uniquely Nevada-style adventure, step out of your comfort zone and go “outbacking.” Rickey Canyon can be accessed from Upper Colony Road in Smith Valley, NV. This well-marked BLM access point leads into the Burbank Canyon Wilderness Study Area, with fantastic views of rocky cliffs and distant mountain ranges (the Wassuk Range and beyond, the Sweetwaters, and the Eastern Sierra. Although much of the area has been burned in recent fires, there are vast slopes of beautiful well-established bunch grasses and pockets of enormous decadent mountain mahogany.

We encountered not another soul on our seven hour journey, and it was evident from the condition of the road that it had not been used by humans for months (only critter tracks marred the snow cover). On the way up Rickey Canyon, we were treated to an ungulate sighting (group of pronghorn antelope?), and five miles in, to breathtaking vistas of Topaz Lake, the East Walker River and the Sierra. The elevation gain makes this a tough and chilly trek, so bring a lunch, water and a coat and hat! And if you want to be able to walk the next day, be prepared to take some rest stops (ouch!).

Carson Valley Happenings:

The Carson Valley Visitor’s Authority website cannot be beat as a reference to local happenings catering to a variety of tastes and preferences, but I’ll highlight my favorites here.

The Carson Valley Arts Council  (CVAC) hosts a screamin’ series of art exhibits and concerts at the Copeland Gallery and CVIC Hall. This month’s trio of artists, Carolyn Denning, Cheyenne McAfee and NancyRaven, present an eclectic and imaginative grouping of art ranging from tinwork to pinhole photography. The CVAC concert offering this month is Run Boy Run, whose tunes range from lyrical to joyful and even raucous, playing April 22 at the CVIC Hall in Minden.

Cartoon by Erik Holland
                                               Cartoon by Erik Holland

Country music singer and wild horse advocate Lacy J. Dalton will be performing at the Carson Valley Inn April 8 at 7 pm, and there is a huge lineup of performers slated for the Genoa Cowboy Festival April 28-May 1.

Speaking of country, the Douglas County Commission voted recently to “amend” the Master Plan to allow increased residential density and commercial development on and around the Corley Ranch, a beautiful agricultural area near the Ruhenstroth community south of Gardnerville. This move has prompted many local residents to ask, “Why have a Master Plan?


Amy Meeks



Garnet Mercantile Revitalizes Ely’s Downtown Area

When Ely lost its main retail store, JC Penney a few years ago, steps had to be taken to provide clothing, shoes and household items for the community. After contacting several retail outlets and having no luck in getting any of them interested in opening a store, the citizens of Ely do what we have always done in the past when faced with a problem – we pulled together and did it ourselves.

Working with other communities who had lost major retail vendors, we learned how to form a cooperative market, sold shares of stock, chose a board of directors, hired staff, and reopened the space stocked with the items we knew were needed here.

The new inventory included work clothes and steel-toed boots for the workers at the local mines, school clothing, shoes for the entire family, and household items like bedding.

garnet-mercantile2The new store was named the Garnet Mercantile after the local garnets that are found here. The concept of the Mercantile came from the French word mercante that means to market and to buy and sell. Thus the Garnet Mercantile opened.

The store has slowly developed and provides needed merchandise. But like elsewhere, competition from the large stores in large cities and internet shopping has taken part of the sales. People like to travel out of town once in a while and shopping is always part of a trip.

So the question became how to keep the Garnet viable and provide for the community. Once again the local citizens stepped up and decided to open space inside the store for entrepreneurs who created unique items to sell. These people are craftsmen who create one of a kind products but do not want to invest the time or money in their own storefront. By providing space to display and sell the products, the people have a place to market. A commission is added to their prices and this amount goes to the Garnet to cover overhead for the entire store. Using this system, the Garnet does not have to purchase all the inventory and the craftsmen don’t have to pay up front for rent, utilities and staff. It is a win-win system for all.

At the present, the Garnet Mercantile provides space for over a dozen small businesses offering a

variety of items including Native American jewelry; hand-made soap and lotions from goat milk; jams, honey, salsa and other food products from local suppliers; photography of local scenery and wildlife; hand-made furniture from local woods; local artwork including oil and watercolor paintings; jewelry repair, and many other items.

The Garnet Mercantile now functions as an incubator for small businesses. People can bring in their products or services like photography and have a place to operate without the added expense and complications of their own storefront. As the business grows, the owner learns about marketing, inventory, staffing, and all the other aspects of running a business. When they are ready and want to make the change and feel they have built up enough customers, then they can move on to their own location if they want to. If they prefer the convenience of staying in the Garnet Mercantile, they continue with their products, sometimes taking on added space if needed.

We have had entrepreneurs do both. Some have moved on to their own space and expanded; others remain with the support of the Garnet Mercantile. As some move out, others are eager to move in and have the opportunity to market their products or services.

One example of this expansion is a home-based business that has been here locally for many years now opening a downtown location to offer photo scanning and conversion to digital files for people who want to preserve their old family photos. This home-based business will bring a new service to the store and expand their product line. This is good for everyone.

A catalog of products and services available is in the works and eventually will be featured on the internet to expand marketing possibilities.

By making use of a closed building that sat unoccupied for a few years and turning that space into a new retail opportunity to provide space for entrepreneurs to meet the needs of the community, Ely has regenerated its downtown business area. As people return to shopping in the downtown, other businesses have begun to appear to revitalize the downtown. Losing a main retailer who had been in the community over 90 years could have signaled the end of our downtown. But local citizens took on that challenge and have added new life to our town.

Lorraine Clark


Las Vegas

Bound at the Cromwell & Minus5 Ice Bar

Bound at the Cromwell - Caesars dotcom photo

There is always something new to be learned, and I just learned that my properly crafted gin martini isn’t just for the end of my work day. I recently met esteemed mixologist Salvatore Calabrese at Bound at The Cromwell who taught me that martinis are more than a sophisticated 5 p.m. cocktail. Calabrese, one of the world’s most respected bartenders, is best known for his Breakfast Martini. It comes from Salvatore’s wife insisting he eat breakfast. He replied with a gin-based cocktail mixed with the finest orange marmalade, the same topping he uses for his toast. Breakfast is now served at my house at 9 a.m. Bound is open Mon. – Thu. from noon to 3 a.m. and Fri. – Sat. from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. 702-777-3777.

Minus5 IcebarLas Vegas is hot and that’s why Minus5 Ice Bar at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place is so popular. It’s a unique ice-themed experience where guests enjoy vodka cocktails served in a glass made of pure ice, all within the beauty of a -5° Celsius (23° Fahrenheit) ice environment. It begins with donning Minus5 parkas, gloves and boots and entering a frozen room complete with ice walls, an ice bar, ice seating covered with faux fur pelts, ice tables and a variety of ice sculptures.  The 1,300 square-foot frozen venue includes 120 tons of fresh 100% pure Canadian ice and features a state-of-the-art sound and LED light show.  Minus5 opens daily at 11 a.m.  702-740-5800.

Diamond Jack Bulavsky

April Festivals in Vegas

Spring and outdoor activities go hand-in-hand in Las Vegas. Just keep in mind that the weather will be hot, sunny, windy, rainy, and have conditions all in between.  It is a good time to prepare for anything!  A few of the great festivals that are on tap this month follow, so, speaking of taps…

Great Vegas Festival of Beer
                                                                                         Great Vegas Festival of Beer

The Great Vegas Festival of Beer takes place on Saturday, April 9th in Downtown Las Vegas from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. Over 400 craft beers from more than 100 breweries will be on hand for consumption with early entry fees of $50 (until April 9th) for entry at 2 p.m. The normal 3 p.m. entry time is $40 in advance or $45 at the gate. And, if you have been reading my columns, you will note that this is similar to the Downtown Brew Fest that was held in October last year. The difference, this time, is there are more breweries and more craft beers from which to choose. The fest also starts earlier than the Octoberfest and, basically, costs the same. Do not miss out on this festival if you are a beer connoisseur!


The 15th Annual Pure Aloha Festival is being held in the parking lot at the Silverton Hotel on Blue Diamond Road between Thursday, April 14 and Sunday, April 17. The schedule is Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. until 12 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon until 12 a.m. and 10 p.m., respectively. A carnival, live Polynesian entertainment and various food and retail vendors are featured. Admission is only $8 for general admission and $6 for seniors, military and children ages 5-10. You can also purchase $34 tickets for the concerts that begin at 7 p.m.

Come on! Touch-A-Truck! This is the 10th anniversary of the truck touching event at the Orleans in their northwest parking lot at the corner of Cameron & Harmon. You can park in their free parking garage located off of Cameron just north of Tropicana. This is fun for everyone for $6 advance tickets or $8 at the door. It is held on April 2nd from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. You will be able to explore over 100 vehicles from Firetrucks to Bulldozers to Semis to Cement Mixers.  Go blow the horns!

Henderson will be celebrating 63 years of history with their Heritage Parade and Festival on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Water Street. The event has free admission and includes entertainment, food vendors, a car show, parade and various activities. This is another fun event for the whole family outdoors in, normally, beautiful weather for the Vegas area.

— Pauline Cimoch


Bellagio Conservatory Display Honors Japanese Culture

Bellagio Conservatory - Japanese CultureThe new display at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens continuing through May 14 features blooming cherry blossoms, peaceful waterfalls and traditional Japanese architecture. Focal points exhibited among a total of 82,830 flowers include: a symbolic 12-foot-tall tea house; hand-made wreath named Senbazuro Nest, complete

with 1,000 Origami cranes; 14 colorful floating parasols; two bamboo structured Tsukubai waterfalls outlining the path through a 30-foot dogwood tree; a pond with 75 Koi fish; birds; an 18-foot-tall cherry blossom tree; a topiary turtle made of 850 fresh cut roses; five rustic twig fountains covered in moss; and three hand-painted Japanese lanterns.

Below the whimsical garden is a sacred scene featuring a 26-foot traditional Japanese Temple sitting on a shore of calming waters that is replicative of the original Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan. Across the shore sits a majestic six-foot topiary crane, made from 2,600 carnations and ostrich feathers. This beautiful display is free to the public 24 hours every day.

Beauty & Essex Will Open in Las Vegas  at The Cosmopolitan

Beatuy & Essex at CosmpolitanBeauty & Essex opening on May 16 at The Cosmopolitan is a partnership between the TAO Group and acclaimed personality chef and restaurateur Chris Santos. Since opening in 2010, Beauty & Essex has been a popular dining destination on the Lower East Side in New York City. There it is a multi-level restaurant and lounge that revolutionized dining in the neighborhood with Chef Santos’s brand of innovative, communal share plates and stylish design.

Chef Santos has more than 20 years of experience honing his culinary craft as an executive chef in New York City’s hottest restaurants. In 2005, he debuted his restaurant, The Stanton Social. Throughout his career, Santos has appeared as a guest chef on major network shows, been a resident judge on the Food Network’s show “Chopped,” and served as a repeat guest chef at The White House and Camp David.

Vegas Uncork’d Will Present 10th Annual Culinary Festival

Caesar Augustus welcomes 7th Annual Uncork'dVegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit will celebrate its 10th anniversary April 28 – May 1 with extravagant soirees and a world-class lineup of renowned chefs from Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, The Venetian and The Palazzo.

For the first time, Vegas Uncork’d will venture downtown with epicurean revelries, including a Steakhouse Redux at the iconic Golden Steer featuring Michael Mina. There will also be a Mystery Dinner hosted by Emeril Lagasse, at a location to be announced.

New and notable additions to the festival will include After Hours Sake and Sushi, Giada’s Italian Inspired Brunch, Dinner and a Show with Mr Chow, BA Navigator Downtown Tour, a Sensory Lunch at Bacchanal Buffet, Nobu Matsuhisa’s Ultimate Omakase, and the Craft of the Cocktail with Salvatore Calabrese. Tickets are available online.

— Jackie Brett



If you are planning to travel to Reno in the month of April, you picked the right month! There are many exciting opportunities and events, including the Reno Ukulele festival, the Reno Earth Day celebration, and much more. April typically brings warmer weather, inviting a stroll downtown by the river. Our moody Northern Nevada weather could change at a moment’s notice, so bring a jacket just in case.

Reno Ukelele FestivalThe Reno Ukulele Festival, taking place April 14-17, calls out to ukulele players and music lovers alike. This festival is hosted by the Nugget Resort in Sparks, and discounted room rates are available. Several professional concerts will take place, as well as open-mic performances. Workshops will be held each day of the event, accommodating all skill levels, including beginners who are interested but have little-to-no experience with the ukulele. There will also be many interesting specialized workshops for the more advanced ukulele players. The event schedule, ticket purchasing, and more information can be found on the Reno Ukulele Festival website.

For a better idea of what the event will look like, go ahead and take a look at the this video.

If you will be in Reno on Sunday, April 24th, check out the Reno Earth Day celebration. At this celebration, we are able to learn about and share appreciation for our planet while getting to enjoy great entertainment, food, crafts, and many other activities.  There are over 300 exhibitors that collaborate to make the earth

day celebration a fun and memorable experience for everyone. Workshops and many other interactive activities are available. The event takes place at Reno’s beautiful Idlewild Park, from 11 am until 6pm. More information can be found on the Reno Earth Day website.

For a more relaxed and independent activity, a stroll in the Riverwalk District in downtown Reno is a great idea. The last few winters have been lacking the heavy snowfalls in the surrounding mountain ranges, which unfortunately lead to low water levels in the spring. Fortunately, the 2015-2016 winter season has brought plenty of snow with it, so finally the Truckee River is flowing abundantly once again. Along with catching beautiful sights of the Truckee River, there are many art galleries, coffee shops and other small businesses along the Riverwalk District. For more information click here.

Little Nugget Awful Awful 3Amidst all of the fun to be had while visiting Reno, you will have to eat at some point! Whether you’re looking for a memorable experience or just something to gorge your mouth with at the end of a night out on the town, the Awful Awful burger is always a great option. This famous burger, found at the little Nugget Casino in downtown Reno, got its name because it is “awful big, and awful good”! It is a rather large classic double cheeseburger that is served on a giant mound of fries. I personally am not able to finish the whole thing on my own, but it sure is fun to try! There is nothing spectacular about the casino, it is just a small casino with somewhat rundown bathrooms and a small diner in the back. Yet it is all of this that makes it such a classic experience. This place offers the small town feel that puts the “little” in the “Biggest Little City in the World”. The Nugget in downtown Reno serves these burgers 24/7 which makes it the perfect nightcap before heading back to your hotel room. Or, hey, even breakfast if you’re into that!

Charlotte Meeks


Silver City

Silver City, Nevada: 50 Years of Arts and Cultural Resources Production

Although the residents of Silver City, Nevada enjoy their privacy most of the year, they are also welcoming hosts to a number of free, public events and programs that reflect the unique “Arts and Cultural Resources Production Center” character of the community.

Late afternoon view south from Silver City, with the Pinenut Mountains in the far distance.
                                 Late afternoon view south from Silver City, with the Pinenut Mountains in the far distance.

A Little History: Located on the Comstock a few miles south of Virginia City within a National Historic Landmark, Silver City has its roots in the mining boom of the 1860s. By the 1940s, the town had become a quiet place, a curiosity for passing tourists who saw it as a ghost town.

But by the mid 1960s, a new wave of residents began to arrive and Silver City experienced a “cultural re-population” that continued for the next 5 decades. As former Silver City resident Jim McCormick describes it, the new residents infused the community with fresh ideas and energy. In his 1987 Nevada Historical Quarterly essay “Silver City-Reminiscences, Facts and a Little Gossip”, McCormick recalled that in the new residents repaired the dilapidated school house/ community center; voted themselves onto the town council and instituted a rare participatory democracy system; expanded the town park, adding new playground equipment, trees and a lawn; restored and remodeled historic structures to create unique homes; re-invigorated the volunteer fire department (which then became one of the first in country to welcome women as firefighters); and re-instituted the annual Silver City Fireman’s Ball, with popular bands like the Sutro Sympathy Orchestra drawing a large crowd of music lovers from California and Nevada.

Studio window at the McCormick house in Silver City
                              Studio window at the McCormick House in Silver City

Over the next 50 years, the community of less than 200 people produced a remarkable body of work that has had a demonstrably positive impact on the town, the state and beyond. Residents have contributed their diverse talents and skills to produce regionally and nationally recognized work in archaeology; visual art; theatre; music; historic preservation; and academic research and projects resulting in technical reports and a wide range of other publications. Many created hand-crafted items in silver, wood, gemstones, clay, etc. and examples can be found in diverse places, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the region’s historic cemeteries, homes and buildings.

Silver City Is an Arts and Cultural Resources Production Center: As a result, in 2014 the Silver City Advisory Board resolved to recognize the existing character of Silver City as an “Arts and Cultural Resources Production Center”, and formally recognized the considerable work residents have contributed and continue to contribute to the production of important work in the areas of arts and cultural resources. The Board also formally recognized the extraordinary support the entire community has given and continues to give to local arts and cultural resources production, events, and programming.

New Zealand artist Sophie Scott and Rasta
            New Zealand artist Sophie Scott
Stencil by Sophie Scott based on an old photograph of Silver City
   Stencil by Sophie Scott based on an old photograph of Silver City

We’ll highlight several of Silver City’s public arts and culture events over the next year, but we’ll begin with The Resident Artist Program in Silver City. The multi-faceted visiting artist program began in 2014. It provides a venue for those from other parts of the U.S. and the world to engage with the community and the region through the arts. People creating in the performing, visual, or literary arts are invited to reside for up to 4 months at McCormick House, a geodesic dome designed in the 1970s by Nevada artist Jim McCormick, in exchange for offering free public performances, exhibitions, readings, workshops, etc. in the community.

2015 visiting artists included New Zealand-based artist Sophie Scott and Michigan artist Brian Schorn. Scott’s show featuring paintings and stencils based on historical photos of the Comstock and Tahoe regions drew an enthusiastic crowd from all around northern Nevada. Schorn offered free workshops on poetry, Surrealism and sound ecology. His solo exhibition at St. Mary’s Art Center featured 22 mixed media assemblages he created with objects found on the historic Comstock. The exhibit was later in a Sierra Arts sponsored show at 50 West Liberty Street in Reno’s Arts District.

"Drought" by Scott Schorn
                                                                                     “Drought” by Brian Schorn

Free Workshops with Scott MacLeod in March and April 2016: The spring visiting artist at the Resident Program is widely exhibited and published artist/writer Scott MacLeod of Oakland, California. MacLeod is leading free, public memoir writing workshops on Mondays in March and April from 10am-noon. At 6:30pm on Wednesday

Scott McLeod leading a group project to build a ship model from frond objects
Scott McLeod leading a group project to build a ship model from found objects

evenings in March and April, he’s facilitating a group art project to create a ship model with found objects. The resulting art piece will be gifted to the community.

MacLeod’s fiction, poetry, theater and critical writings have been widely published in the US and abroad, and he has co-produced several international cultural exchange projects between US, France, Soviet Uniion and Czechoslovakia. His work is archived at the Avant Writing Collection of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of Ohio State University, Columbus and the Experimental Writing Collection of University at Buffalo, New York, etc. His installations and paintings have been widely exhibited in the Bay Area as well as internationally. Visual arts awards include the San Francisco Art Institute’s Adaline Kent Award and a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Visual Arts Award.


Upcoming visiting artists include internationally acclaimed photographer Frances Melhop (August 2016); London-based illustrator Claire Scully (summer 2016); UK artist Stewart Easton, who works in hand embroidery and digital print on fabric; and the international cultural research team Marksearch (summer 2017).

For more information about the Resident Artist Program in Silver City, contact program director Quest Lakes at (775) 287-7598 or see the program’s Facebook page.

— Quest Lakes


South Lake Tahoe

Shoulder season, the time of year between the peak winter and summer travel seasons at places like the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, experiences a downturn in visitors and activity.  Winter has turned to spring and people put away their skis and snowboards and start to think warm weather thoughts. Tahoe is put on hold for people until the warm summer months lure people back in droves. But if you want a less crowded and quieter time, the gem of the Sierra Spring may be right what you need.

Ski season is winding down but people can still hit the slopes in April, and with periodic snowfalls throughout the spring you might get some fresh tracks. Probably best to get on the mountain in the morning for a half day before the sun turns the snow to mush by the afternoon. Heavenly Resort plans to stay open into April, and the snow is holding out pretty good.

Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay
                                                                                         Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay

Daylight savings time leaves a lot of afternoon time to do some other Tahoe springtime things.  With the big thaw underway, it brings all the creeks and waterfalls in the area to life.  The Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe meanders through the city and is great place to go for a stroll and see the river at its capacity.  Or head over to Emerald Bay and see Eagle Falls going full blast above the most photographed spot in the world.  The water may still be too cold for swimming or boating but the empty beaches at Zephyr Cove or Nevada Beach offer a nice place to catch some rays or just sit and think good thoughts.

The Upper Truckee River at South Lake Tahoe
                                 The Upper Truckee River at South Lake Tahoe

Nightlife at South Tahoe doesn’t take a break, and one band that will be performing April 10 at the South Shore Room inside Harrah’s will have you grooving and cruising on  a righteous trip to a land without bummers. Dark Star Orchestra will bring the Greatful Dead to life with some of the Dead’s exact set lists from some of the concerts the band did while touring for four decades.

Rates at local hotels and casinos drop during this time of year.  At MontBleu Resort, Casino and Spa they recently did $25 million in renovations to all their hotel rooms, so you can enjoy a top flight room at a discounted price.

Across the street at Hard Rock Casino they also underwent a major renovation to the casino and hotel.  Also at Hard Rock is the Oyster Bar if you get a hankering for some seafood.  They offer classics like shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, steamed clams and pan roasts.  The smell of Tabasco as they fry up the shrimp and crab for the pan roast reminds me of the famous Union Oyster House in Boston. Very good for a lunchtime date with clients or friends.Oyster Bar at Hard Rock Cafe - B Packer

Locals kind of need the spring season to happen to slow things down and rest before summer comes roaring back with the millions of people that come to visit.  But tourism is also the lifeblood that keeps the town going.  So if you’re in need for some rest and relaxation, it’s the springtime at Lake Tahoe.

 Sam’s Place Update

The oldest tavern on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe at Marla Bay is currently under remodeling and is changing their name back to what is was in the 1950s.  Sam’s will revert back to Wally’s Huddle Grill and Tavern.  Coming soon, most likely by the summertime.

Brendan Packer



Tuscarora’s Souper-Man

Master potter Ben Parks opening his kiln in Tuscarora.
             Master potter Ben Parks opening his kiln in Tuscarora.

One of the busiest citizens of Tuscarora is Ben Parks, who divides his time between running the Tuscarora Pottery School and serving as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at the Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital in Elko. Every other year, Ben combines his professions by making soup bowls for the Horizon Hospice Souper Bowl charity event.

The roar of the loaded kiln through a Tuscarora night is a magical sound. Then there’s the suspense when the kiln has cooled down enough to open and reveal its treasures. This year, Ben threw, glazed and fired two hundred beautiful soup bowls for the biennial fundraiser.

The Horizon Hospice benefit held at the Elko Convention Center in early April traditionally raises between $60,000 and $70,000 for in-home care to the terminally ill in Elko County and for the Horizon Center for Grieving Children, Teens and Families. It’s a labor-intensive labor of love on Ben’s part — and for a very good cause.

More than thirty businesses and organizations enter soups for the Souper Bowl. Those in attendance taste different soups donated by local chefs and vote for their favorite. The winning chef receives an award. All the participants take home a beautiful pottery bowl handmade by Ben Parks.

Recently fired "Souper Bowls" made by Ben Parks, yet to be removed from his kiln in Tuscarora.
                                      Recently fired “Souper Bowls” made by Ben Parks, yet to be removed from his kiln.

The Tuscarora Pottery School was established in 1966 by Ben’s parents, Dennis and Julie Parks, now retired. This summer, Ben will hold a two-week workshop from July 9-27. There’s room both for beginners and for advanced students. You will find more information on the summer workshop at the Tuscarora Pottery School website. (

It’s a darn good reason to come to Tuscarora this summer!

Nancy Harris McLelland





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