Named after Genoa, Italy, but pronounced juh-NO-ah, unlike its Italian namesake, the Nevadan town of Genoa epitomizes the American West. Founded in 1851, Genoa is Nevada’s oldest settlement, and it has the distinction of having had Nevada’s first court, hotel, newspaper, and even its first ‘thirst parlor.’
Like nearby Virginia City, which offers similar wild west charm, Genoa, Nevada has also played host to famous personalities such as Mark Twain. Twain is said to have thrown back a drink in Genoa’s thirst parlor, an establishment which is still in operation today. In more recent times, the town served as the set for the film, Misery.
Shawn and I included Genoa and Lake Tahoe on a day-trip itinerary from Reno. As we took to Genoa’s daffodil-trimmed sidewalks, we saw a motorcyclist in black-leather chaps, classic American roadsters taking a break from meandering along backroads, and locals and visitors enjoying a cool beverage al fresco at the Genoa Bar & Saloon.
Vintage outhouses, wobbly old wagons, and lacy white gables on a flamingo-pink house also caught our eye.
Video of this Experience:
Where in the World?
- Located about 40 miles (70 km.), or an hour south from Reno, Genoa makes a nice day trip. Lake Tahoe is approximately 20 miles (30 km.) east of Genoa. Learn more about Genoa via the town’s website.
- Though I haven’t had the chance to attend Genoa’s annual Candy Dance Art & Crafts Faire, I’ve heard locals say it’s a fun late-September event.
- Looking for more things to do in and around Reno? We’ve also enjoyed exploring the 7,000-year-old petroglyphs at the Grimes Point Archaeological Area, as well as historic Virginia City, and Pyramid Lake.
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved. Video footage is a creation of my husband, Shawn.
22 thoughts on “Into the Wild American West: Genoa, Nevada”
Nothing quite the Old West for me ~ growing up in the rural parts of the West and as a kid loving every Western movie ever made ~ so I very much enjoyed this piece about Genoa. I had never heard of it, but can imagine its history. It would have been something to have sat down at the ‘thirst parlor’ and watch the characters come-and-go. Cheers to a great weekend!
Randall, having grown up in the American Midwest, all this Wild West is still novel to me! :) Shawn’s originally from Canada and jokes about how there was a bit of culture shock for him moving from Toronto to Nevada. In what part of the American West did you grow up? I’d thought you were a Washington State native? Wishing you a splendid weekend ahead too!
Grew up in Pendleton, Oregon and we have one of the oldest (and grandest) rodeos still around. It is one of the big four. Grew up working harvest every summer (great work) and overall just a great town. Seattle is my adoptive home :-)
A rodeo is something that I have yet to cross off my life list. Does this mean that you’ve given the sport a try? :)
A rodeo is truly something to see, cowboys are definitely a different breed ~ and while I enjoy riding, I enjoy the rodeo best from the stands :-)
Like walking into a Western film. Thirst Parlour – being a Brit it’s the first time I’ve heard that expression – so quirky!
Suzanne, indeed there were a few films made there, so you’re spot on in thinking it looks like a Western film set. That ‘thirst parlor’ was used in a Clint Eastwood and John Wayne flicks. We can also relate to the fun of learning a different kind of English too, as we’re often learning new expressions when we watch programs from the UK. One of our more recent favorites is ‘gobsmacked.’ :)
I like your video, your pictures and your video. That was great!
Thanks, Gerard – it’s been fun showing the different aspects of life on this side of the Atlantic. :) Hope your week is off to a great start; what’s it like in NY these days?
In New York it is finally feeling like spring. It’s warmer and the plants are blooming.
Gerard, happy to hear those of you in the Big Apple are thawing out now too. Soon you’ll be able to enjoy a nice glass of your homemade mead (honey wine) outdoors!
I love the video. What a great addition!
Glad you enjoyed the little glimpse of Genoa, Meredith. My husband, who loves chronicling our adventures via video, will be happy to hear you enjoyed his work. Thanks for your kind words! :)
So much of Nevada still does seem to echo the “wild” part of the “Wild West.”
It sure does! I also enjoy sneaking a peek at the wild horses which roam some areas of the countryside. They’re supposedly descendants of Spanish horses.
I really like this post. The photos capture the personality of the town, and the video montage adds a great ‘reality’ vibe to it.Thanks for sharing! :-)
Hi Sonja, and thanks for your kudos! My husband and I noted that tiny Genoa is the perfect size for a bite-sized post, such as this one. :) I haven’t been to Australia yet, but I suspect it has a similar wild appeal as the Western United States?