Summer Guide 2017
Do summer like a superhero
There were times during the last few months when all of us here at the RN&R wondered if we might succumb to cabin fever before summer arrived. But warmer, longer days are here at last. Summer officially begins on June 20—the day of the summer solstice, when Earth will reach the point in its orbit where the North Pole is tilted closest to the sun.
This year, in honor of Earth's annual journey around its star, we've put together a Summer Guide that's all about movement. So, whether your summer plans involve getting outside to stretch your legs or getting back on the dating scene, we've got you covered.
In fact, we had so many ideas for summer fun that doing them all in time for this guide seemed like it might be beyond the abilities of a mere mortal—which is why we recruited a superhero. He's Reno Man. Or is he mild-mannered reporter Clark Cant? Or is he local grocer Scaught Bates? Who knows.
He is, admittedly, not faster than a speeding bullet. Nor is he more powerful than a locomotive. And, come to think of it, he's certainly not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
So what can he do?
Well, he can scale a rock wall (given time). And he managed to tick off quite a few of the activities in this guide, within the course of a single day—which we're pretty sure qualifies him for superhero status, perhaps not in Metropolis or Gotham, but certainly here in Reno.
Would you like to be a superhero, too? Take on Summer Guide 2017, and you'll have earned your cape and tights.Of course, of course
So, since something like 95 percent of Reno's population just moved here from California two weeks ago, a little history lesson might be in order: Long before Nevada was known as a hotbed for corporate handouts, and even before it was known for drinking, gambling and sleep deprivation, the state was part of something called the American West. Maybe you've heard of it. It's sometimes referred to as the Wild West. There are a bunch of movies about it. It was a little different than modern California. There was no kale, no avocados, no ocean, and no cars that run on sunshine.
It was a dirty time and a dirty place where people shot guns, drank whiskey, fought in the streets, and eked out a meager living doing tough, backbreaking work like mining and ranching. That’s part of the legacy of Nevada. It can be tough to remember that when you’re sitting in an air-conditioned midtown restaurant eating arugula and planning your next podcast. But this is a place of wildness, of wide open spaces, of high desert and dirt trails. This isn’t something new. This is something old and dirty.
And the best way to see Nevada, to explore these wild places, to connect with that dusty legacy, is by the best mode of transportation this side of a flux-capacitor-equipped Delorean: the horse.
Horses are large, gentle, beautiful animals that have carried humans from caves, through stone, bronze, and into today’s weird digital age.
Nevada is home to more wild horses than anywhere else in the world. Don’t try to ride them. Don’t harass them. Don’t hurt them. Let them be. We Nevadans don’t take too kindly to people who fuck with our wild horses. Take a picture. But be respectful.
But there are other horses—domesticated horses. You can ride them. And it clears the head and grounds the spirit in a way that nothing else does—except for maybe taking mescaline and riding a dolphin through the ocean. But this isn’t the place for dolphins. This is the land of horses.
Never ridden? Want to learn? Ride the trails? Check out Verdi Trails West. Visit verditrailswest.com.Drink then drive
What's a sport can you play without putting your beer down, even when it's your turn? Disc golf. What location has a disc golf course and also brews beer? Brewing Lair—67007 CA Hwy 70, Blairsden, California—about an hour northwest of Reno.
This place looks like a state park, with 30 acres of family-friendly, leashed-dog-friendly, forested land, where the formulary philosophy is, “We will only brew beer that we like to drink.” That means a hop-centric menu of IPAs, a hoppy Belgian ale in two versions—6 percent or 9.6 percent—and, coming soon, a summer sour ale.
Brewing Lair sells snacks such as cheese and salami. Hungrier visitors are welcome to picnic and barbecue. New this year: ping-pong tables, kettle corn and an overflow parking area that’s a 10-minute trail walk to the brewery. Learn more at thebrewinglair.com
Incline Village is a bit closer to home on the northeastern end of Lake Tahoe, so if you plan your route right, it’s on the way home to Reno from just about any Tahoe-area hiking, paddleboarding, swimming or Shakepeare-Festival-watching location you want it to be. This makes Alibi Ale Works—204 E. Enterprise St., Incline Village—pretty much the après-everything hangout.
Alibi brews a full rainbow of beers, including innovative flavors such as the “oak-fermented gose with watermelon,” which is expected be on tap soon. There’s no kitchen, but Alibi takes its relationships with food trucks and caterers seriously, hosting Sunday brunches, taco Tuesdays and sushi Wednesdays. Large picnic tables outside and a communal table inside are conducive to making new friends. Learn more at: alibialeworks.com.Move on
Whether you're moving on from a breakup or a divorce, or recovering after the death of a life partner, getting back on the dating scene is a big decision.
The internet is full of articles about how to tell if you’re ready to start dating again. But, really, the signs are pretty simple. Have you stopped obsessing about your ex? Have you found yourself wondering if attractive strangers are single? Have you even stopped scoffing and rolling your eyes at the plots of romantic comedies? If so, chances are good that you’re ready.
Here’s what to do: Put away your breakup songs playlist, and make a new one with songs about moving on. Start with REO Speedwagon’s “Time for Me to Fly.” Next, go out and find a singles night. You might want to start at meetup.com, where you’ll find local events for people of different age groups and interests. Or you may want to go the old-fashioned route and wing it. Whichever route you choose, remember this: Dating should be about looking for a good match, not validation—so just be yourself, and take things at the pace that feels right for you.Take the back way
Let's face it. No one lives in Reno without spending time at Lake Tahoe. Why would they?
Getting to the lake is usually done by going to Truckee, then up to the lake, or up the Mount Rose Highway, or up Spooner Summit from Carson City. Occasionally, someone might try Kingsbury Grade.
Then, there is the back way into the Lake Tahoe basin. For anyone accustomed to the usual runs, it probably sounds unlikely that there is another, more beautiful route. But there is.
Drive south on 395, through Carson City, into Carson Valley. But don’t stay on 395 into Minden. Just keep going straight south. It will turn into California Route 88. You’ll pass place names like Fredericksburg, Paynesville and Alpine Village. The scenery will improve with every mile.
At Sorenson’s Resort, you might want to stop for a meal at the Country Cafe. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, though reservations are a good idea for dinner, particularly on weekends. There is also lodging.
Just past Sorenson’s on 88, turn right onto State Route 89. This is when the good stuff really starts—granite cliffs, huge stands of pines, air that is as clean as the scenery is beautiful. As the miles pass, don’t be surprised if you cannot keep going. A stop for a hike is not uncommon. Deer are sometimes seen. Oh, and no billboards, no structures.
When you reach Meyers, you are almost at the lake. Don’t be surprised if Lake Tahoe is a bit of a letdown after the drive there. After all, you are entering the basin at its most developed, commercial point—South Lake Tahoe.
But until then, the trip will be sheer pleasure. And for goodness sake, take a camera..Put it in park
William Fisk Harrah was a businessman and founder of Harrah's Hotels and Casinos. He was also an automobile enthusiast who assembled a 1,400-car collection during his lifetime.
After Harrah died in 1978, his hotels and cars were purchased by Holiday Corporation, the company that owned the Holiday Inn chain of hotels. Cars from the collection, which had previously been open to the public at a location in Sparks, were put up for auction.
In a June 28, 1986 article, the New York Times reported on one of the auctions, during which a yellow and black French-made Bugatti Royale went for $6.5 million—the highest auction price that had ever been paid for car, at the time. Clyde Wade, then curator of Harrah’s collection, told the Times reporter that selling the cars had “been like the breaking up of a family. We’ve had some great times, and we’ve had some sad times. Now we won’t see the collection as it has been ever again.”
Eventually, most of the collection was sold, save for 175 cars that Holiday Inns donated to a nonprofit organization, which, in 1989, opened the National Automobile Museum (the Harrah Collection), 10 Lake St.
The museum’s gallery spaces include complete mock streets with storefronts from different periods in history, lending a theme park atmosphere to the visitor experience. The collection includes cars owned by Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, James Dean and Andy Griffith. Visitors can also see the 1907 Thomas Flyer, the car that won the 1908 New York to Paris Race.
Learn more at automuseum.org.Get things off the ground
The Truckee Meadows is surrounded by mountains, but climbing them can be daunting for beginners. Even if you're an expert, there's still the drive to get there. Why not try something a little closer to home? You don't have to go to the mountains to climb when you have another way to reach for the skies.
Basecamp, located at the Whitney Peak Hotel, 255 N. Virginia St., houses the “World’s Tallest Climbing Wall” as declared by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The 164-foot wall, overlooking the Reno Arch, offers climbing routes for beginners to experts and skill levels between. Basecamp also houses small walls inside for kids. Visit whitneypeakhotel.com/climbing.
Reno is also home to RockSport Indoor Climbing Gym, 1901 Silverada Blvd., where, in addition to climbing, you can rent a 25-foot portable climbing wall for events. Learn more at rocksportreno.com.Bust a move
You can dance if you want to. You can leave your friends behind. Cause your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, well, they're no friends of mine. This summer guide is all about motion. And dance is motion. Whether you want to go clubbing at one of the casino hot spots, do the regimented countrified thing at a line-dancing bar, get hyped at a hip-hop night, mosh at a punk show, cram into the college crowd at Lincoln Lounge's Soul Night, or take your clothes off, turn up ABBA or Frank Zappa or whatever, and prance around your kitchen, you can do it. You do you.Take it to-go
Why go to food when food can come to you? Food trucks around Reno have grown in number over the past few years. It's become a big movement (pun intended). From wood-fired pizzas to tiny tacos to classic ice cream trucks, there are a plethora of options available this summer.
Want to be spoiled for choice? Visit Idlewild Park, 2055 Idlewild Drive, on Fridays between 5 and 9 p.m. and choose from a buffet of options, ranging from barbecue to Asian cuisine.
If you are looking for a space to have a drink and a bite, visit the Calle Tacos truck that’s often at The Eddy, 16. S. Sierra St.
Here’s a tip: To find the best food on wheels, look to your social media. Local food trucks are often on Facebook, or you could download an app like Roaming Hunger, free for Android and iOS, to help you find them.Blaze a trail
Tahoe and Incline Village have more to offer this summer than good scenery and a cool dip. It's time to pump up the tires, gear up and soak up the sun on your bikes.
With winding roads and rocky paths, there are acres of ground to cover in the Incline Village. Trails vary in length from a single mile to more than 30. If you’re not a cyclist, the trails can be explored on foot as well.
The trails offer an opportunity to explore the Sierra Nevada mountains and engage with nature. This also qualifies as a workout—a win-win situation. Just remember to wear loads of sunscreen, drink lots of water and enjoy the ride.
Learn more about Incline Village trails by visiting mapmyride.com/us/incline-village-nv/.Putt her there
There's an old quip, often attributed to Mark Twain, although there's no evidence that he actually said it, that “golf is a good walk spoiled.” We're not crazy about that game either. It takes too much water to maintain all that grass. This is the high desert. Playing golf here is like racing camels in Scotland.
But mini golf? We’re all for it. It’s a short walk enhanced.
And where to go in Reno is a no-brainer: Magic Carpet Golf, 6925 S. Virginia St. It’s been there since the early ’70s and has a nice, well-worn retro vibe that will induce feelings of childhood nostalgia even if you never played mini golf as a kid.
There are a lot of trees, lots of shade, and all the features—the genie, the purple octopus, the dinosaurs—have a charming, hand-made quality. Some of the holes can be a bit tough, which, as long as you’re not a total whiner, just adds to the experience.
“Fun for the whole family” usually means fun for the kids, mild boredom for the parents and downright agony for any teenagers dragged along, but this little family-owned business is legit fun for little kids, young people in need of an out-of-the-box date idea, middle-aged stoners, and everybody else.
Visit magiccarpetgolfreno.com.Get two-tired
No matter how much you know about biking, you can always know more. Up your bike game over the summer with these tips:
Good luck finding street parking for The Eddy—16 S. Sierra St.—downtown’s new container park/beer garden/food truck gathering spot/outdoor game yard. But roll up on a bike, and you’ll find what is probably the most rock-star parking in all of town. On the west end of the property, along the Riverwalk, a bike corral that looks like it sprang from the pages of Dwell or Wallpaper offers plenty of space to lock up. Two old-school, coin-op parking meters at its entrance serve as collection devices for Reno Bike Project, making philanthropy spontaneous and cheap.
Get the map
What’s the best route from here to there on two wheels? RTC has a downloadable Reno/Sparks Bike Map in Spanish or English, showing lanes, paths, planned paths and popular routes. Print your own, or pick one up at one of dozens of local businesses. Visit: rtcwashoe.com/public-transportation-22-124.html.
Fix it yourself
A bike repair station at University of Nevada, Reno, between the Knowledge Center and the “Joe”—for newbies, that’s the student union—includes, among other tools, a hex key set, tire levers and a pump. No reservations. No fees. No staff. Just ride on up and fix your own bike. To learn more about biking and bike repair on campus, visit unr.edu/bicycle/campus-info/repairs.
People who buy bikes for Burning Man on the way to the event may end up paying top dollar—or twice that—for a bike that’s in crummy shape. People who shop in advance—that means now, in early summer—will pay a fair price to an organization that provides kids with bikes and bike skills for a bike that works. And tell your out-of-town friends that Kiwanis Bikes will even buy back their dust-caked cycles after the event or store them ’til next year. Visit kiwanisbikes.org/burning-man.html.