Kids and Family

Writers’ choices

Illustration By Shawn Turner

Best place to view the autumn foliage in Reno

McCarran Boulevard between Interstate 80 and Cashill Boulevard
About this time of year, many people drive to Grass Valley, Calif., or even Sacramento to check out the blazing fall foliage along the highway, and we’ve got to admit, those are beautiful drives. But with the price of gas hovering around $3 a gallon, why don’t you take advantage of the flora that has been maturing in Reno over the decades? The Virgina creeper, oaks, cottonwoods, aspens and locusts have turned the view from the McCarran bridge into an impressionist’s delight with fiery reds, cadmium yellows and bloody burgundies, giving the landscape a whole new look.

Best place to drive to escape from Northern Nevada’s frigidity of winter

We love the fact that there’s a place called Death Valley. Absolutely love it. It keeps the twits out. And yet, every time someone says he’d never visit a place called Death Valley, we have to fight back the urge to ask him or her, “Good Lord, fool, didn’t yo mama ever teach you never to judge a book by its cover?” The reality of Death Valley is that it’s this wondrously scenic, awesome, colorful book with this dandy, creepy cover. And yes, while the place earns all the hellish names of its various attractions (Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course, Furnace Creek) during its notorious broiling summers, these same places in January are godsends for those who need a respite from the snow. Only six hours away via Highway 95, it should take just one Saturday afternoon winter picnic in 66 degree, crystal-clear desert air while gazing at the epic Panamint Mountains to convince you, totally and forever, of Death Valley’s special grandeur.