Just over Kingsbury Grade from the East side of Lake Tahoe lies the small town of Genoa, Nevada. Even though the name is spelled just like its counterpart in Italy, it is not pronounced the same way. Instead of JEN-o-wah it is pronounced Juh-NO-ah. Genoa is the oldest town in Nevada and was founded by Mormons coming through the Sierra Nevada range during the 1850s.
Antique shopping is available on the main street of Genoa — Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann
This town of 250 people is nestled into the hillside and contains a handful of small restaurants and stores as well as a luxury hot springs resort. A day trip over the mountain into Genoa will take about an hour and once you are there, there are plenty of places to park and enjoy the small town. There are two museums: the Mormon Station State Historic Museum and the Genoa Courthouse Museum, a small park and several Victorian style homes. Since Genoa is so close to the mountain, the afternoon sunshine gets cut off early and sunset happens at about 3:30 or 4:00 in the summer. Bring an extra sweater or jacket if you are visiting Genoa for the whole day.
During the day, check into the David Walley's Hot Springs Resort and enjoy their various hot pools and spa amenities such as massages and facials. For lunch, eat at 1862, the resort's Western themed restaurant, which was built in…1862. 1862 serves up BBQ sandwiches, handcrafted pizzas and a nice selection of wines and cocktails.
The 1862 Restaurant & Saloon serves western-style food with class — Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann
For dinner, the best choice is La Ferme, a world-renowned French restaurant run by Gilles LaGourge and Chef Yves Gigot. It is located in a cute, pink building in the center of town and they serve wonderful French Country dishes such as Onion Soup with Grated Pecorino, Pomme Frites, Braised Rabbit and Creme Brûlée. Their bar is also a popular place to grab a round of drinks. If you want a fun bit of history, walk down to "Nevada's Oldest Thirst Parlor" the Genoa Bar & Saloon for some beers. This crumbling building has been located in this same location since 1853 and serves locals as well as visitors. The decor is full of old mining equipment as well as some of the original spiderwebs.
If you are lucky to be in this beautiful area during the end of September, visit Genoa during their famous Candy Dance. The tiny town fills up with arts and crafts vendors and lovers during this three day event. It can get very crowded and parking is an issue, but during the rest of the year, Genoa is sleepy and wonderful for a day trip.