The pioneer past comes alive in the tiny town of Genoa.
In a world obsessed with all things new, Genoa, Nev., makes a virtue of its focus on the old. As the state's earliest settlement, Genoa claims its oldest saloon, sits on the original pony express trail, and may even have the oldest rock walls in Nevada. Area code is 775.
When Genoa was founded in 1851, few people sought amusement in the adjacent Sierra Nevada. Today, anyone can use a trail system that includes the roaring downhill Sierra Canyon Trail from Spooner Summit and the gentle West Fork Trail along the Carson River. carsonvalleytrails.org.
Inscriptions on a modest grave in Genoa Cemetery and on a statue in Mormon Station State Historic Park pay homage to Snowshoe Thompson, Genoa's grittiest celebrity. From 1856 to 1876, Thompson strapped on handhewn wooden skis more than nine feet long to deliver mail to snowbound residents of the wilderness between Nevada's Carson Valley and Placerville, Calif. snowshoethompson.org.
Some of the choicest handmade treasures in Nevada—American Indian and otherwise—may well be tucked away in Genoa Antiques, one of three antique shops in town. 782-3893.
Mark Twain, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood all caroused in the 1853 Genoa Bar, where the 10-ingredient Bloody Marys win acclaim. Above the bar gleams a 19th-century mirror sent by ship and wagon from Scotland. genoabarandsaloon.com.
La Ferme Restaurant, set in one of Genoa's great old houses, brings the town into the present with such contemporary dishes as crisp duck leg with apple confit and a roasted venison chop with pear-apple syrup. 783- 1004, lafermegenoa.com.
Photography by Asa Gilmore
This article was first published in May 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.