Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nevada Magazine’s 75th-Anniversary Edition Now Available

In January 1936, the state highway department introduced Nevada Highways and Parks — known today as Nevada Magazine. In 2011, the state’s official tourism publication celebrates its 75th anniversary. To honor the milestone, the magazine has produced a 192-page special edition, now available for purchase.

Subscribers, history buffs, and general Nevada enthusiasts can order the 75th-Anniversary Edition now at nevadamagazine.com, or, for faster response, by calling 775-687-0603. The edition features 24 re-printed stories from 1936 to 2010 and provides a fascinating historical perspective on Nevada, including the Pony Express, atomic testing, Nevada’s mining legacy, Hoover Dam, wild horses, “Bonanza,” and more. The collector’s editions are $19.95 each, plus $4 shipping and handling. Nevada state employees can get the 75th-Anniversary Edition for $15 by e-mailing pati@nevadamagazine.com or calling 775-687-0633.

Today, Nevada Magazine is a division of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, published bimonthly, and based in Carson City and Las Vegas. Check out old cover images here.

In Nevada Magazine’s January/February 2011 issue

Nevada Magazine’s January/February 2011 issue — the Las Vegas Territory Special Edition — will be available soon on newsstands throughout Nevada. In it are a feature on Las Vegas’ fascinating history, a roundup of Southern Nevada towns, and a Q&A with Brian Sandoval, who takes office as Nevada Governor on January 3. Also highlighted are Southern Nevada’s parks and recreation areas, off-the-beaten-path destinations, main attractions, and a history story about Potosi, the state’s first lode mine.

As part of its 75th anniversary, the magazine is highlighting Nevada’s six “Territories” in 2011, customizing each of the year’s six issues to honor Las Vegas Territory, Reno-Tahoe Territory, Pony Express Territory, Indian Territory, Cowboy Country, and Nevada Silver Trails. The March/April 2011 issue will cover central Nevada’s Pony Express Territory.

Cover photo: Anders Sorensen

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nevada Magazine’s 2011 Historical Calendar Now Available

The 2011 Nevada Historical Calendar, produced by Nevada Magazine, is now available for purchase. For more than 30 years, Nevada residents and enthusiasts have enjoyed the award-winning calendar full of photographs from years gone by. It also makes for a great holiday gift.

Each calendar is $12.99 plus $4 shipping and handling. To order, visit nevadamagazine.com, or contact Publisher Janet Geary at 775-687-0603 or jmgeary@nevadamagazine.com.

Nevada state employees can get the calendar for a special price of $10 each by contacting Pati Stefonowicz at 775-687-0633 or pati@nevadamagazine.com.

Also available for pre-order is Nevada Magazine’s 75th-Anniversary Edition, which will be printed in early December, in plenty of time for holiday gift giving. This 192-page collector’s piece, selling for $19.95 each plus $4 shipping and handling, will feature photos and stories from the past eight decades. Visit nevadamagazine.com for further details, or contact Geary.

By clicking here, customers can order the anniversary edition, the calendar, and a one-year subscription (six issues) to the magazine for the great value of $41.95.

In Nevada Magazine’s November/December 2010 issue

Nevada Magazine’s November/December 2010 issue is available on newsstands throughout Nevada. Featured in the edition are the opening of the Hoover Dam Bypass, which includes the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, and a roundup of new Nevada-themed books. Nevada Magazine also names its inaugural Writers’ Contest winner, Eddy Ancinas. The Lake Tahoe resident took gold with her story, “Back in the Saddle,” about an Elko-area cattle drive.

Also in the November/December issue, the magazine spotlights Made In Nevada businesses, offers a comprehensive listing of buffets around the state, explores the popular Las Vegas attraction CSI: The Experience, and concludes its Tour Around Nevada in Elko.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sparks resident wins Nevada Magazine’s 2010 Great Nevada Picture Hunt

A year after a Texas man won the grand prize in Nevada Magazine’s annual photo contest, a Sparks resident has delivered the gold back to the Silver State.

Sean Kukowski, who captured a thrilling 2009 summer lightning storm over the Reno area, is the Grand Prize winner of Nevada Magazine’s 33rd annual Great Nevada Picture Hunt—the feature story in the publication’s September/October 2010 issue.

The winning image (above), titled “Reno Lightning,” was taken from a hillside off of State Route 445, known as Pyramid Highway. “This storm took me by surprise,” Kukowski says. “It had some of the most impressive lightning I have ever seen.”

In addition to the Grand Prize, photographers were judged in five different categories: City Limits, Wide Open, Adventure, People, and Events. All the 2010 category winners are Nevada residents, including Las Vegas’ Bill Gerrard, who won the City Limits category and took Runner-Up in Events. Gerrard’s winning photo is of the tram that connects CityCenter to other Strip resorts.

Ellen Sargent, from Indian Springs, swept the People category with sepia images taken at the Overland Ranch in Ruby Valley. The subject of the winning image, Len Wines, was captured during his final branding at the 137-year-old ranch. The Runner-Up image is that of Len’s grandson, Pat, from the same branding.

Other winners are Reno resident Michael Horsley (Wide Open, “Incline Night Shot”) for his nighttime winter overview of Incline Village; Reno’s Krista Williams (Adventure, “Hidden Beach Paddle Surfers”) for her intriguing photo of two paddle surfers taken from the shore of Lake Tahoe; and Ralph Willits of Las Vegas (Events, “Shot Show”) for capturing a leaping dog at an annual hunting and outdoors trade show.

To view the winning images, pick up the latest issue (at right) at national bookstores and where magazines are sold in Nevada, or visit NevadaMagazine.com. Look for an ad in a future 2011 issue covering rules of submission for the 2011 contest, or check back regularly at NevadaMagazine.com.

Also in the September/October issue, Nevada Magazine highlights some of the state’s more accessible ghost towns, visits Virginia City’s Mackay Mansion Museum, Lake Tahoe’s Thunderbird Lodge, and Reno’s Freight House District, covers two fabulous Fallon restaurants, and continues its Tour Around Nevada in Boulder City.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ely's Jailhouse Motel

It's places like Ely's Jailhouse Motel Casino that epitomize the essence of rural Nevada. We found that out during our delightful stay there earlier this month.

Where else can you eat at the Cell Block Steak House — one of northeastern Nevada's finest — for example? Diners can enjoy their meal in the privacy of their own jail cell. "It’s the best meal you’ll ever experience behind bars," reads the Jailhouse website.

The brick exterior and interior walls fit the property's Wild West theme, complemented by myriad framed black-and-white history photos on the casino walls illustrating the history of the area and state as a whole.

Appropriately, the guest rooms, which accommodate up to four people, are referred to as "cells." The motel also has a Garden Coffee Shop for those who want a cheaper, faster alternative to the steakhouse.

There are a host of slot machines (one-armed bandits) available, but their presence is not overpowering and will go virtually unnoticed to the non-gamer. The property offers a small fitness room and hot tub as well.

Next time you're in Ely, give the Jailhouse a try. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nevada Magazine celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2011

In January 1936, the state highway department introduced Nevada Highways and Parks — known today as Nevada Magazine. Always an information source for Nevada residents and tourists, what started as a black-and-white digest-sized bulletin has grown into a colorful magazine (see past issues here). Today, Nevada Magazine is a division of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, published bimonthly, and based in Carson City and Las Vegas.

In 2011, the state’s official tourism publication celebrates its 75th anniversary. To honor the milestone, the magazine will produce a 192-page special edition, to be printed late this year. “Nevada Magazine is an icon in the West,” says Publisher Janet M. Geary. “Just the other day I was talking to a man in Las Vegas who owns every issue of the magazine. We are excited to celebrate 75 years of Nevada history.”

Subscribers, history buffs, and general Nevada enthusiasts can order the 75th-Anniversary Special Edition now at nevadamagazine.com or by calling 775-687-0603. The special edition will feature re-printed stories from the past eight decades and provide a fascinating historical perspective on Nevada, including the Pony Express, atomic testing, Nevada’s mining legacy, Hoover Dam, wild horses, and more. The collector’s editions are $19.95 each, plus $4 shipping and handling. ORDER HERE

In addition, the magazine will highlight Nevada’s six “Territories” in 2011, customizing each of the year’s six issues to honor Las Vegas Territory, Reno-Tahoe Territory, Pony Express Territory, Indian Territory, Cowboy Country, and Nevada Silver Trails. For more information on Nevada tourism’s Territory designations, visit nevadamagazine.com.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nevada Magazine announces 2010 Best of Nevada winners

Nevada Magazine’s July/August 2010 issue is available on newsstands throughout Nevada. In the edition, the winners of the 13th Annual Best of Nevada readers’ survey are revealed. From Brewery to Wedding Venue, the anticipated annual listing includes 17 categories.

Readers can also explore some of the Silver State’s unique, fragile environments via a feature on Nevada’s lakes and the environmental challenges facing them and a story about Nevada’s nine National Wildlife Refuges. Desert NWR in southern Nevada and Sheldon NWR in northwestern Nevada are covered extensively.

A story about Nevada tour companies (the cover image, also shown below, features a helicopter view of Hoover Dam) helps travelers plan their next Nevada adventure, and after a day of Nevada sightseeing, nothing hits the spot quite like southern-style soul food, the topic of this issue’s Cravings story.

A piece on St. Thomas tells the interesting history of a town that was once submerged by rising Lake Mead. The ghost town is now above water due to prolonged drought in southern Nevada. The Events Spotlight takes readers to the counter-culture festival in the Black Rock Desert, Burning Man, and the People feature spotlights Madeleine Pickens and her nonprofit, Saving America’s Mustangs.

Finally, the magazine’s Tour Around Nevada continues in the historic town of Ely. On July 17, Nevada Magazine will attend Nevada Northern Railway’s celebration of Engine No. 40’s 100th birthday. Visitors to the Ely event can pick up free magazines and other Nevada information, and Nevada Magazine staff will present a plaque and framed story to the town.

Writers’ Contest Deadline is Approaching

In addition to its popular Great Nevada Picture Hunt photo contest, Nevada Magazine is holding its first Writers’ Contest in 2010. Submissions — writers are required to keep their stories at 1,500 words or less — must be received by Monday, August 2 at 5 p.m. (PST). The first-place winner will be published in the November/December 2010 issue.

See contest details at nevadamagazine.com. Refer questions to Editor Matthew B. Brown at editor@nevadamagazine.com or 775-687-0602.

July/August 2010 cover image photo by Matthew B. Brown

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Mackay Mansion Museum

A visit to The Mackay Mansion Museum—or Virginia City in general for that matter—truly is a "Step Back in Time" (which just so happens to be the slogan of the Northern Nevada historic town's Convention and Tourism Authority).

The museum reopened for tours on May 1 of this year, and we were lucky enough to be escorted around the property by the man behind the mansion's renaissance: Octavio A. Cresta. He has leased the mansion through 2014 and has furnished its bedrooms with period pieces from his Uniquities Fine Antiques and Home Decor store out of Incline Village.

A stroll through the mansion is eloquent, rugged, and a little bit of spooky all rolled into one. When you walk into the stylish bedrooms, you get a feel for how absurdly rich John Mackay was. Mackay was the "Boss of the Big Bonanza," which put his net worth at about $100 million in his glory days. He moved into the mansion, originally built as the Gould and Curry mining offices, after his home was destroyed in the city's Great Fire of 1875. The grand room (see photo above) of the Italianate-style house claims the original fireplace and overhanging mirror—the mirror's frame appears to be plated with gold.

The museum also has its share of rustic items, from an old fire-fighting wagon to myriad household items of the day (stoves, sewing machines, laundry soap, etc.). Like many old Nevada buildings, there are rumors of the paranormal at the mansion, too. The most famous story concerns actor Johnny Depp. While filming the movie "Dead Man," Depp stayed in Mackay's former bedroom. He supposedly saw a ghostly apparition in the form of a little girl, who other people have claimed to see in the house.

The mansion is open to the public for tours daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Winter hours, which begin around November 1, are to be determined. Private, exclusive tours can be tailored to your needs. Call 775-847-0373 for more information.

Photos & story by Matthew B. Brown. See more photos here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nevada Magazine announces 33rd annual Great Nevada Picture Hunt

For more than three decades, Nevada Magazine’s Great Nevada Picture Hunt photo contest has been a favorite among readers. One Grand Prize winner in this year’s contest will receive $250 and a Lake Tahoe helicopter tour courtesy of HeliTahoe. Five category winners (City Limits, Wide Open, Events, People, and Adventure) will each receive $100. Send photo submissions, preferably via e-mail, to tony@nevadamagazine.com by 5 p.m. (PST) on Friday, June 11, 2010. If you need to mail your images, call 775-687-0606 for instructions. To view past contest winners, or for more details on the contest, click here.

Nevada Magazine also recently switched subscription service providers to Minnesota-based PMG Data Services. “We are happy to announce our new association with PMG,” says publisher Janet M. Geary. “This company will be handling all the circulation needs for our readers.” Now, ordering a subscription via nevadamagazine.com is easier than ever. Soon, customers will be able to change their address, check their renewal status, and get their questions answered online.

In Nevada Magazine’s May/June 2010 issue

In the May/June 2010 issue (shown at left), available on newsstands, we explore Nevada’s softer side, with a photo feature on the state’s wildflowers and a guide to stargazing around the Silver State. A story about family-friendly attractions in and around Las Vegas and Reno provides readers with options that will keep the kids entertained, and our events-themed Spotlight covers a number of family-friendly outings to plan for this spring and summer.

A story about Nevada’s trio of wineries is perfect for when mom and dad need a break from the kids. Not to ignore Nevada’s rugged side, this issue’s History story recaps the famous 1910 Jack Johnson-James Jeffries heavyweight boxing match in Reno. The other feature highlights the state’s little-known military operations in Fallon, Hawthorne, and Las Vegas. Finally, the magazine’s Tour Around Nevada continues in the southeastern border town of Mesquite.

Cover image by Chris Talbot

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tonopah’s Central Nevada Museum


I arrived in Tonopah on a windy and cool March afternoon and, after checking into my hotel, headed directly to the Central Nevada Museum.

The museum sets back from the main road, and, as I turned into the facility, I was greeted by three World War II bombs displayed in front of the museum yard. This included the “Guide Bomb” that was tested in secrecy during the war. Further back toward the main building, the yard was full of old mining equipment, ore cars, and other early 20th- Century machinery.

As I entered the museum, there were walls of old photos and glass-encased displays filled with old typewriters, telephones, rifles, etc.—directly out of the Old West. Old sepia photographs, era uniforms, and clothing worn during the height of the big silver strike in the early 1900s lined the walls.

I roamed through the displays until I found the Tonopah Army Airfield display tucked in the back of the building. After a brief review of the display, I worked my way back to the front and found the museum researcher, Angela Haag. I told her of my interest in writing a story about the airfield, and Angela, without hesitation, opened up her knowledge and understanding of the airfield’s history.

Since it was near closing time, I feared we would not be able to cover much during the visit. However, no clock-watchers here! Angela not only shared her knowledge but also surprised me with a DVD about the airfield and more specifically, the testing of the Guide Bomb (forerunner to the 21st-Century Smart Bomb) and, in addition, shared an autographed photo of Amelia Earhart (see below) that was given to an aviatrix friend that lived in Tonopah at the time.

I could have stayed longer conversing with Angela, but time was not on my side. Before leaving, she suggested I contact Allen Metscher, President of the Central Nevada Historical Society and the specialist in Aircraft Accident Research Archaeology & History for the airfield.

After returning to my home in Phoenix, I contacted Allen, and we had a spirited conversation regarding the airfield, its contribution to the war effort, and, most interesting, the number of young airmen killed during training—110—mostly from P-39 and B-24 training flights.

I cannot say enough about the quality of the museum and Angela and Allen’s helpfulness. They are eager to share their knowledge. You will feel at home immediately when walking through the museum doors. If you have any interest in the Tonopah area’s history, stop in and pay them a visit. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ice Fishing at South Fork Reservoir


Sitting and fishing through a hole drilled in the ice was once a concept that failed to interest me. Five years of appeals from my friend in Elko did not persuade me. “It’s not like you think,” he’d say from time to time, going on to describe the pleasures of ice fishing at South Fork Reservoir. In spite of his enthusiastic endorsements, he might as well have invited me to play golf in the snow.

He finally prevailed by linking the idea with his 50th birthday, making an ice-fishing foray part of the festivities. We had been friends so long that I could not say no, and I soon found myself on a frigid February day, bumping along the lakeside dirt road, rock hard except for the low-lying mud holes we mushed through in four-wheel drive.

Now standing on shore in a borrowed snowmobile suit and thick-soled boots, I scan a surface wind riffled and blue just months ago, now frozen flat, dazzling white, and who knows how thick. Or thin.

I venture onto this layer of frozen water, feeling secure only because my heavier friend precedes me. The auger turns relentlessly—scraping, boring, bearing down, drawing ice up in a pile around the pending hole like fence-post dirt, but white. Finally piercing the last icy inch, frigid water bursts up gushing, clinging, riding the still churning auger.

And now, another piercing: a night crawler poked through and threaded onto a fishhook. Lowered into the water on a small rod and reel held steady in a PVC pipe frame, he dangles. And we wait. With a slotted spoon we take turns clearing the hole of the ice crust forming relentlessly on the exposed dark water.

Far above the twinkling snow, the sky so cloudless, the air so clear, the Ruby Mountains stand so perfect in their form that I gaze again and again, almost in disbelief. Bald eagles perch in a far away tree. A hawk soars. Canadian geese fly by on the strength of whooshing wings.

Below me, an eerie groan, then a cracking sound so ominous that heard atop any other surface would have sent me scrambling for firmer footing. Thickening and growing, but crowded and constricted by the lakeshore, with no place to go the ice splits somewhere. Following lines of least resistance the crack moves with startling speed toward us, then shoots beneath like a runaway train, but the ice does not give way.

Captivated by the unforeseen—stunning beauty above and ominous sounds below—the squirming night crawler suspended under the ice is the last thing on my mind. My friend notes a quivering in the slender tip of one tiny ice-fishing rod, more definitive than wind would bring. The rod begins to bow, tremble and shake, its holder quivering, rattling against the ice.

Due to my distracted lapse in vigilance, it would serve me right if the fish succeeded in hauling the whole rig into the hole, but I sprint toward it sliding like a kid into third base and pounce on the rod. The fish appears—about 20 inches of silver-flashing fury—detectable in frantic snatches through an eight-inch porthole in the ice.

He surges and runs again and again, eventually tiring, but still resisting. Eventually I hoist him through the 18-inch lid on the lake. Taking my gloves off to remove the hook my exposed hands feel the bitter cold.

Seated on ice in lawn chairs, when we’re not talking, it’s immensely quiet out here, but for the ice cracking and the almost-undetectable clatter of snow grains breezing across the ice’s blanket of snow. In the south, coyotes begin to howl. From the west, coyotes answer.

The fading sun enhances the cold. The chill shocks my face when I dare turn into the breeze. Eventually, my feet, though encased in layers of wool and thick boots, relay their message: it’s time to consider heading for shore and the shelter of the truck.

We gather our gear and fish into a makeshift sled—a large plastic bin bolted to garage-sale skis cut to fit, it slides deftly over the snow as we tow it behind us. Near the shore the ice has thawed only slightly but gives way beneath, dropping me a half-inch or so to the mucky bottom.

One step more, onto dry ground with the firm earth under my feet, it’s all good, an amazing—sometimes spooky—experience. I’d come again. Peeling off my thermal jumpsuit and feeling the jolting cold again, I pull myself up into the truck. Closing the door brings a sense of delight and satisfaction—like I had gotten away with something.

Cell-phone photos taken by Jay Dudley. In the first, Jay's friend, Perry, uses the auger.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Touring the Hawthorne Army Depot

One of the great things about being a journalist is that you get to live vicariously through so many fascinating people and their careers. A prime example of that was my recent tour of Hawthorne Army Depot in western Nevada.

While they weren't about to let me test the latest in U.S. rocket-launching technology, I did get a comprehensive tour and overview of the various activities that occur at HWAD (Hawthorne Will Always Deliver).

The itinerary included an overview briefing with the commander, a drive-by tour of the long-term and short-term housing, a look at the Depot's new Groundwater Treatment Plant, a windshield tour of the WADF (Western Area Demilitarization) area, and a bird's-eye view of the terrain that has been utilized to train troops being deployed to Afghanistan.

But the most interesting part of the day was the visit to mini-Kabul, if you will. The Depot has built a small simulation of a typical Afghanistan city/town (see photo below), which troops use to train in. The buildings are somewhat sophisticated, with multiple levels, doors, and windows and dummies meant to represent opposing soldiers. It's surreal to be among these training grounds at their most peaceful, and then to imagine a day later they could be buzzing with training soldiers.

Although we did not get to see the site, the Depot is also in the process of testing geothermal wells. The goal is to have a fully operational plant by 2012.

For more photos, visit Nevada Magazine's Flickr profile. Also, check out Nevada Magazine's May/June 2010 story about military operations in the Silver State. In addition to Hawthorne, we cover Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and Fallon Naval Air Station in Northern Nevada.

Story & photos by Matthew B. Brown

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vote in Nevada Magazine’s Best of Nevada 2010 readers’ poll

Nevada Magazine’s annual Best of Nevada readers’ poll is now available online at NevadaMagazine.com. The 13th annual poll allows readers to weigh in on categories ranging from Best Casino, Hotel, and Restaurant to Best Place to Take Kids.

Results will be published in the July/August 2010 issue and on NevadaMagazine.com in late June. “We encourage everyone to go to our Web site and vote for their favorites, including in our small towns and rural areas,” says Publisher Janet Geary.

To vote, visit the NevadaMagazine.com homepage and click on the Best of Nevada 2010 logo, or just click here to get started. The categories are divided into three parts: Northern, Southern, and Rural Nevada. You do not need to fill out all the categories to submit your survey. However, two lucky voters out of those who complete their ballots will win complimentary two-night stays at Eldorado in Reno or The Venetian/The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Voting ends on Thursday, April 15.

The 2008 and 2009 Best of Nevada winners can be viewed at NevadaMagazine.com.

In Nevada Magazine’s March/April 2010 issue

Nevada Magazine’s March/April 2010 issue hits newsstands in late February. In it are features on the 75th anniversary of Nevada’s state parks and the Pony Express sesquicentennial—150 years ago riders saddled up to deliver mail via the historic trail, crossing Nevada between Sacramento and Missouri.

Also highlighted are the newly reopened V&T Railroad route (connecting Virginia City and Carson City) and other places to ride the short line, Basque eateries, six ways to splurge in Las Vegas, Barry Manilow’s new show at Paris Las Vegas, Genoa’s first Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, and the magazine’s Tour Around Nevada continues in Lovelock.

To vote in Nevada Magazine’s Tour Around Nevada, click here.

Writers’ Contest

Click here for more details.

Valley of Fire State Park cover photo by James Phelps

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hoover Dam Helicopter Tour

Over the weekend, Associate Editor Charlie Johnston and I were treated to a 15-minute Hoover Dam Helicopter Tour, courtesy of Look! Tours and Stars and Stripes Air Tours.

We arrived at the Stars and Stripes heliport (1251 Airport Road) before 1 p.m. After a short delay, due to some feisty winds, we were soon up in the air and in the capable hands of pilot Curtis Cornelius (see photo below).

This was my first helicopter flight, so I was excited. I had never seen Hoover Dam before, so it was easy for me to be amazed at the dam, the new Hoover Dam Bypass (currently under construction), and the Colorado River, which from a bird's-eye view is strikingly green due to the lime in the surrounding rocks.

What surprised me, however, was the unique formations that define the land around Black Canyon and Hoover Dam. The earth juts up in tinges of brown, red, and green, and the mountains appear at a glance to be carved out of rock. It's all the more impressive after flying over a vast, flat expanse of dirt and sagebrush in approaching the dam from the airport.

It was also quite the view to see Boulder City Golf Course such a nice shade of dark green, even in February. For such a short flight, the variance in scenery tricks you into thinking you were in the air a lot longer. Watch a video about the experience here.

Look for a story on Las Vegas tour companies in an upcoming issue of Nevada Magazine. If you're skeptical of the hovering variety, don't worry, we'll offer some suggestions that will keep you on the ground.

Photos & story by Editor Matthew B. Brown

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Powdery Day at Diamond Peak

My uncle's a Republican. Republicans listen to Rush Limbaugh. So, on the way to Diamond Peak on a recent Friday, as a passenger I had the privilege of listening to Limbaugh rant about how Obama is failing us and how global warming is a farce.

For the record, I don't consider myself Democrat or Republican, but I do like to think of myself as logical. Global warming is pure science, a non-debatable truth that can be proved with data, despite what Limbaugh or anyone else says.

My point, though, as far as this blog is concerned, is not at all related to global warming. Rather, on my way to Diamond Peak, it occurred to me that we (not just skiers and snowboarders, but anyone who depends on a faucet for a drink of water or a hot shower) have to appreciate the decent snow years just a little bit more nowadays, and 2010 has been just that — so far.

On this day, February 12, there was plenty of powder to go around from myriad storms that have passed through the Lake Tahoe area recently. Combine it with the fantastic views of Lake Tahoe (see photo above), and Diamond Peak in Incline Village contends with any of the major resorts in the area. Yeah, you're going to get more terrain at some of those other resorts, but you're also going to pay nearly double for a lift ticket.

If you haven't been yet, give Diamond Peak a try. You just might find that it has everything you're looking for at a reasonable price (plus the main lodge — see photo below — just underwent a significant renovation). And don't wait, because you never know what Mother Nature has in store for next ski season. Then again, if you believe Limbaugh, maybe you can afford to be patient.

Check out more Diamond Peak photos at our Flickr account.

Photos by Matthew B. Brown

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reno Philharmonic Lights Up the Pioneer Center

I had the pleasure of attending Reno Philharmonic's "Latin Temptation" at Reno's Pioneer Center last night. I had seen one prior show—a cowboy poetry and music performance—at Pioneer Center, but this was completely different in almost every aspect.

The Reno Philharmonic, led this season by music director and conductor Laura Jackson, performs regularly at the venue. Jackson spoke before the show to members of the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network and said, "This is where I want to be." Her flamboyancy and energy during the performance backed that statement up. You can tell Jackson enjoys what she does, and her stage presence alone makes it worth seeing one of the Phil's remaining shows.

Although I don't consider myself a classical music buff, I was thoroughly entertained, especially by the opening act, which featured selections from Georges Bizet's Carmen. Click here for a sampling.

Event though the pace was a little slow at times for my taste, accordion extraordinaire Peter Soave put on an amazing show playing to the music of Astor Piazolla. The night ended with a tribute to Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Apparently, Jackson has a sense of humor as well. After intermission, she said to the crowd, "I wonder how many of you have been to a Latin show where two-thirds of the music is French."

Hey, it was an entertaining two hours, and that's all that matters.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

See Raphael's The Woman with the Veil through March 21

I guess I didn't truly understand the significance of what I was about to see until I greeted locked doors at the main entrance of the Nevada Museum of Art on Friday, January 8. It was after regular hours, of course, but there was a scheduled media event as far as I knew.

I made my way toward the back of the museum and came across a side door, where a security guard asked me to push a button. I explained who I was, they checked "the list," and let me in. After verifying who I was a second time, security escorted me through another set of doors. It was about this time that it sank in how monumental this really was.

Actually, when Raphael's La Donna Velata or La Velata (The Woman with the Veil), c. 1516, was transported to the museum, it was quite the production as well, according to Rachel Milon, Director of Communications and Marketing for the NMA. You would have thought Barack Obama was being escorted to the museum, given Milon's description of countless police cars—with flashing lights—and an armored car delivering the painting at 2 a.m. to its 10-week temporary home in Reno.

The painting came from Portland, will be on exhibit in Reno from January 9 through March 21, then head to Milwaukee before returning to its rightful home in Italy. As I stared at the painting during a special media preview, before the onrush of folks who had received a special VIP invite to the unveiling, so many questions came to mind: Why didn't Raphael sign this particular painting, like most artists do?—(still not sure). How was the painting transported from Italy?—(by plane, under heavy security).

Much like the Rembrandt: The Embrace of Darkness and Light exhibit that runs through January 17, Milon expects a tourist boon from the Raphael exhibit. The museum is even partnering with local casinos on special room packages.

One thing is for sure, after Friday I can tell you I have much more of an appreciation for the arts. Whether you consider yourself an art aficionado or not, this is one exhibit you want to see before it leaves Reno. For hours and contact info, click here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Experience the “Ahh!” of Eagles & Agriculture


It has been described as a signature event in Northern Nevada’s Carson Valley. Coming into its eighth year, the Eagles and Agriculture Event has shared the wonder of agriculture and wildlife with nearly 3,600 participants. The centerpiece of the experience is found in the Saturday chartered bus tour and buffet lunch. This is where “ahh!” can be felt the greatest.

By 8 a.m. the luxury coaches are boarded with bundled participants ready to see Bald Eagles and with a little luck, the birth of a calf. The tour guides, affectionately referred to as BSers, introduce the pair of bird experts. Typically members of the Lahontan Audubon Society, the bird experts are on hand to identify avian species, discuss biology, home range, and habitat requirements. They also keep a tally of the birds spotted throughout the morning.

BSers are locals versed in history, agriculture, geography, political issues, and a fair bit of hear-say. The coach is a buzz with questions and fun facts to know and tell. We are headed to the first ranch stop to meet the rancher who has worked and cared for a piece of Carson Valley land for many years.

As the bus unloads, the bird experts set up spotting scopes aimed at prime targets, and the rancher begins to spin his story describing the agricultural livelihood. Some say the best part of the tour is “being on the private ranches and hearing their history.” Others describe the ahh! as “meeting neighbors who make this valley important.”

After the fifth ranch is visited, the last eagle, Red-tailed hawk, waterfowl, bobcat, and other occasional wildlife are spotted and recorded, and the bus heads back to the Carson Valley Inn where an unbelievable buffet lunch is being prepared. En route, the BSers help the participants select the best mooer. That’s the one that can imitate a cow or bull the best. At lunch, each bus will delegate their best to compete for the mooing contest prize, and bragging rights. Bird tallies are announced, raffled prizes are won, exhibits are visited, and new friends are made as lunch winds down. The ahh! of the Eagles & Agriculture experience is coming into view.

This year, the chartered bus tour & buffet lunch is on Saturday, February 20, starting at the Carson Valley Inn at 7:30 am. The cost is $60 per person. For reservations contact the Carson Valley Arts Council at 775-782-8207 or online at visitcarsonvalley.org to download the registration form. For additional lodging and visitor information call the Carson Valley Visitors Authority at 775-782-8144 or toll-free at 800-727-7677.