Into the Wild American West: Genoa, Nevada

Genoa Nevada USA

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?

Planning Pointers:

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved. Video footage is a creation of my husband, Shawn.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

22 thoughts on “Into the Wild American West: Genoa, Nevada

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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 :-)

      2. 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 :-)

    1. 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.’ :)

      1. 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!

    1. 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! :)

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  3. 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! :-)

    1. 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?

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