This post is brought to you thanks to my friends at @VisitCarsonValley. This was a sponsored & compensated trip and all opinionated opinions & observations are 100% my very own. This trip was also in conjunction with a visit to @TahoeSouth – you can read all about it here.

As part of my Nevada trek, the next stop was Carson Valley, Nevada, also known as the Land of Legends and/or the Land of Everyday Legends.

Visit Carson Valley, NV – Land of Legends – June 2019

Don’t miss a visit to Carson Valley, NV – Here’s a quick compilation of photos from my sponsored trip in collaboration with Visit Carson Valley, June 6 & 7 2019 This area is jam-packed full of fun & adventure – businesses featured: Carson Valley Inn & Casino Dwayne Hicks Photography

It’s all about the elevation!

Carson Valley is a quick drive over from Lake Tahoe. The Kingsbury Grade Road aka Route 207 takes you from Lake Tahoe South to Carson Valley. It’s an elevation change that goes from to 6,283 feet in Stateline NV, up to 7,344 feet at Daggett Pass, and then back down to 4,274 feet in Carson Valley.

Carson Valley, NV

It’s so incredibly peaceful & picturesque. Surrounded by hills & mountains with the Sierra Nevada’s keeping watch from the West, it had a comforting down-home feel that appeals to this Midwesterner (I grew up in Central Illinois). You can really get a feel for what it was like for the tribes who graced these plains.


Here’s more about Carson Valley (and I got this from their website – because hey, they say it best!)

Nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevadas, Carson Valley begs visitors to not just drive through it, but to it. Located 45 miles south of Reno-Tahoe International Airport and 12 miles east of South Lake Tahoe, the region includes the communities of Minden, Gardnerville, Topaz Lake and Genoa (Nevada’s first settlement dating back to 1851). It offers a window to the authentic American West. The region’s natural beauty is legendary: wide-open farms, ranches, bands of wild horses and birds of prey dot the landscape. And of course golf with views that will leave you wanting more. The valley’s museums, arts, antiquing, Basque dining, a myriad of outdoor recreation, and 50+ miles of trails add to what sets this destination apart.

Indeed – you may want to hit the gas when you reach the open vistas of the Valley but, read on and find out why and where you’ll want to stop in Carson Valley

Image Courtesy of Carson Valley Inn Casino

Lodging: Carson Valley Inn & Casino, Minden, NV

Yes, you ARE in Nevada which means casinos. This fun spot sits right on US Highway 395 North so it’s easy to get to and has plenty to stay for – roomy rooms, restaurants, good sized casino plus a ton ton ton of music & entertainment. Make sure to check out their ongoing line up – always someone fun in town & playing at the Resort

Dining in Carson Valley

So many great places to eat throughout the valley. The Farm to Table concept is definitely a theme in the area:

JT Basque – This delightful restaurant feels very homey & welcome. You’ll feel like your at a very large version of your grandparents dining room. Basque dining is traditionally family style – multi-course &  plentiful. The meals come with soup and salad AND.. a complimentary bottle of wine.
You must try the Picon – a staple item that’s quite potent – one sip and you’ll understand why it’s in a small glass. It’s a tradition! Another tradition is to throw a dollar up on the ceiling – you’ll see quite an array of dollar bills when you walk in.
Fun fact: Spanish and French Basques played an important role in Northern Nevada history as sheepherders and later as inn and restaurant owners. The building dates back to 1896 and is steeped in history. The restaurant has been in the Lekumberry family for years and JB & Marie is featured in the Carson Valley website as one of the Legends of the Valley. 
Overland Restaurant & Pub
Located in a lovely old building from 1901, amazing food & lovely decor – located right on the main street that runs through Gardnerville and right down the road from JT Basque.
Sierra Chef, Genoa, NV
We had a chance to make our own pasta along with Chef & Owner Cynthia Ferris-Bennett. The fun pasta-making classes are held in their Sierra Chef Culinary Center, a super kitschy and divine place located right on the main drag through Genoa (right across from the location. We were greeted with small bites & wine and then got to it. I felt like a pro by the end of the class, we dined on the fruits of our labor AND got to take some home.
Fun fact: Cynthia is a native Nevadan and she is the great-great-great-grandniece of George Washington Gale Ferris of the 1893 Chicago’s World Exposition and creator of the Ferris Wheel.

Wild Horses!

The highlight of the visit was the 3-hour tour into the backcountry to view wild horses, raptors and more, with Wildlife photographer, Dwayne Hicks of Carson Valley Tours. Dwayne is the wildlife whisperer of the Valley and, if you want to see wild horses properly, he’s your man. I say “properly” because you really want to be respectful of this area and all that the community has done to make sure the backcountry stays pristine and the animals are kept safe & live in peace.
Definitely, if you are planning on a visit, arrange for a tour with them. The landscape is just breathtaking and seeing the wild horses was a bucket list experience.

Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park

Originally built in 1856 as a log cabin, the house has been home to four generations of Dangbergs lived at the Home Ranch, and they each help in understanding the changes that occur in the histories of American ranching families. They also left a fascinating collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents dating from the early 19th century all the way to 1990. Many of these connect with daily life in Carson Valley, and many others show the family’s private lives.
The tour was a fascinating snapshot into all those different generations & every room had artifacts that were amazing to see so well preserved.

Random Fact: The Dangbergs have a connection to the Ferris family which includes the inventor of the Ferris Wheel whose descendant, Chef Cynthia Ferris-Bennett, still lives in Carson Valley and is the owner of Sierra Chef. Whew …. that’s a lotta history!

Other Adventures in Carson Valley (that I missed and need to come back for):

Hiking in Carson Valley: Genoa Waterfall Hike

Explore the mountains and the views above Genoa. Choose from a variety of trails and options including the Genoa Trail. From Dangberg, drive to Genoa where you will take this beautiful hike to the waterfall above the town and a birdseye view of Carson Valley. The Genoa Canyon Waterfalls hike is a 5.4 mile roundtrip moderately trafficked out and back trail.
View trail information here,

Soaring in Carson Valley:

Minden, Nevada is the place to be for the world’s best soaring! Thermals regularly climb to 18,000’. While riding nature’s elevator in the world-famous mountain wave, you can enjoy the beauty of the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe.

Image courtesy of

Let’s have drinks! 

Genoa Bar & Saloon is the oldest thirst parlor in Nevada, built in 1853. 

And it definitely feels like you are back in time when you walk in. SO many items are original (lighting, cobwebs, etc). This is definitely the place to go and so many have stopped by the in past. All the sitting Nevada governors, Mark Twain, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Clark Gable & Carole Lombard.. And now, Mia Voss 😀
Saucy Fact: When Raquel Welch visited us, she was asked to leave her bra. She agreed but insisted that all the other bras be taken down! Her’s is the black leopard print hanging on the antlers. Rumor has it, if you peek in at the bras in the safe (all the ones taken down) you have to relinquish yours as well (gender dependent, of course) … ps. that’s not a picture of the bra or the safe but it’s a rather dusty old buffalo.

I need to come back so I can meet Dana Gaworski, the Eccentric Mixologist who is featured in the Legends of the Valley at Visit Carson Valley 

Bently Heritage:

What an amazing addition to Carson Valley – prominently located in the middle of Minden, Bently Heritage is a combination distillery and tasting room that is a vital part of the community. Their message of sustainability & stewardship is evident in all they do.  Bently Ranch is located just outside of Minden that produces sustainably raised, grass-fed, dry-aged beef, as well as the rye, oats, wheat, corn and barley milled and malted to produce Bently Heritage spirits.
This place hits me right in the feels for many reasons:
  • Sustainable Production
  • LEED Certified Facility
  • Historic Renovation
  • And… BOOZE. 
We toured the Distillery which was a sight to behold – incredibly efficient and well-run with energy efficient equipment everywhere. It’s a LEED-certified facility located in the historic Minden Creamery Building, originally built in 1916 – how cool that it’s still standing and now functioning as a distillery??!!

We then headed over to the historic Minden Flour Mill building that has been renovated & made into the ultimate eye-candy taste testing establishment.  The hundred-year-old Minden flour mill sits proudly on the National Register of Historic Places. Once the largest operating mill in the area, today it has been restored to modern LEED-certified standards. The mill once again processes grain — only this time to create some of the finest spirits in the world. Now THAT is what I call “repurposing!

A great place to imbibe. We taste tested all their products in many forms: straight up and several fun drink concoctions crafted by our tour guide, Lucas Huff, the Events & Mixology Director. We even had a quick visit with the Proprietor, Christopher Bently!

Weather in Carson Valley

At an elevation of 4,700 feet above sea level and sheltered by the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada to the west and the Pinenut Mountains to the east, the broad Carson Valley enjoys relatively mild winters among its four distinct seasons.

Zombie Apocalypse Rating for Carson Valley, NVClick To Tweet


The picture below should answer your question as to the preparedness of the area:

Zombie Apocalypse Rating: B
While Carson Valley may have a “boots on the ground” team in place, it gets a B rating. Mainly because it’s just SO dang flat plus the livestock will draw Zombies. However, if you can keep your livestock safe (I keep flashing back to The Walking Dead Season 2 when Dale gets ambushed by a zombie that’s nom nomming on a cow), AND possibly keep them for food later once all supplies are depleted. I think there are a lotta folks with firepower in the area so I suspect the locals will keep things safe but if you show up as an outsider, you’ll need to bring supplies and also skills. So don’t show up empty-handed and empty-headed.
Another positive, Bently Heritage will have a lot of booze on hand to keep you pleasantly distracted.

Speaking of Toyota:

Notice how the Zombie Response Team car was a Toyota? It’s a theme for this trip! Thank you to Dolan Toyota in Reno Nevada for the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro loan – this was a fabulous vehicle to get me from Reno to South Lake Tahoe to Carson Valley and then back to Reno.  Click HERE to read my opinionated opinion on this car including the Zombie Apocalypse rating.

Still need more information?

Even after all of that? Here are two more choices:
  1. Check out the Google Photo Album – complete with videos & pics of this amazing area
  2. Visit Carson Valley has put together a fabulous list of ALL the wonderful things to do in the area – click here:

Reference Links:

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6 replies
  1. Chef Dennis
    Chef Dennis says:

    Damn girl, you do visit the best places! I can’t wait to head out to Carson Valley and enjoy the area thanks to your great tips. I also love the Zombie rating and the shout out for that sweet ride from Toyota!

    • Mia Voss
      Mia Voss says:

      That was one of my favorites, for sure! And the Zombie Apocalypse rating hopefully will never come in handy for anyone. But.. ya know, just in case! 😀


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